I tried. I did not come to the decision lightly.....It was a long, internal conversation.
I woke up like any other race day. Excited. Ready to make my mark. I was calmer than last 1/2IM. Until I hit the elevator, where someone said, "Did you hear? They moved the swim." I knew they might move it. Hoped they wouldn't. But they did. I understand the move. We had crazy winds and the lake was horrendous with rip currents. The harbor was much calmer. But still! If anyone has raced or done TRIs you know the slightest change in what you expect to happen can change what actually happens.
I had a plan for the swim. It went 1)go to transition and set up. 2)walk to swim start (outside my hotel) 3)hand my clothes off to my mom 3)get into my wetsuit 4)swim to T1. Instead, I set up my transition left my sweatpants at T1, walked the 0.6miles to the new swim start, wait the 1.5 hours till my wave, toss my sweatshirt in the trash, struggle into my wetsuit, and start my swim. Which did not go well. It felt harder than any swim I've ever done. I had to stop and help another swimmer get assistance. And I took in a lot of water (I hope I get another tonsil infection just in time for the ENT). Once I got out I had to find my FLIPFLOPS!! and run the 0.6miles back to T1 with a wetsuit that weighed 8xs heavier.
Swim:56:07 T1: 13:33
Then I had to bike. I thought I was doing really well at mile 10. For some reason I thought I had done 10 miles in 20min. I thought I was going to be a rockstar after doing the math and realizing I would be done in 2hours. And then I REALLY looked at my watch and realized it was 10miles in 40min. And that's with the 15mph wind at my back! At mile 25 I thought I was done. I was ready to give up. But then there was this aid station at mile 30 with rice krispy treats and I thought, "Laura, quit talking crazy! Of course you're going to finish this!" But then I got foot cramps. Like crazy. I had to get off 3 times to flatten out my feet and give them a bit of a rest. Bike: 4:28:54
When I finally made it back to T2, I dismounted and had a sharp pain in my left hip. I had to make a decision. Continue or not. I took all my bike gear off and changed into my run gear. I walked around T2 for a minute or two, watching runners come in and runners go out. My feet still hurt as did my hip. I then sat down took off my chip and cried as I handed it to an official saying I was taking a DNF.
Looking back on it today, I wonder if I made the right choice. Yes, my hip aches but it felt fine after walking back to the hotel. If I had just started the run would it have gone away? Perhaps it was just how I was sitting on my bike? Yes, my muscles ache but not like last year. I can still walk normally. If I had just started the run would my feet have felt better in the different shoes?
I know that had this summer been like last summer I would have powered through. I would have had the mental stamina to push myself and talk myself into continuing. Had my training been there, I would have a new medal.