Sunday, 11 September 2011
The 11th September has turned out to be a tough day for me. Tough because i am NOT racing the first ever running of Ironman Wales, in Tenby. My race kit, number and timing chip lay forlorn in our apartment, whilst I stand on the North beach and watch Steven and the rest of the race participants start their day of racing and feel rather sorry for myself.
The decision to withdraw from the event was one of the more difficult choices that I've had to make during my brief professional racing career. Not only because it was a chance to be amongst the first to race this challenging and beautiful new course in my home nation, but it's a great event to do for the sake of my own profile, the team and my sponsors - not least because of the relatively small female field it offered a good chance of a podium finish for me.
However, despite having raced 16 ironman races in the last 5 years I know better than to be complacent about it. For the past fortnight I have been suffering on and off from stomach upset which has slowed my training down and left me weakened. Knowing that I'd be paid to merely finish the race was extremely compelling and although I thought i had a pretty good chance of making it around the course eventually, that is not how I want to represent myself, my team and coach. Never mind what the effects might be on my health and preparations for my next event.
So, after a week of indecision, sporadic training and feeling that I might be well enough by race-day, I made my decision to withdraw on friday evening: if i was not fully well enough to face a full meal and have a settled stomach for more than 36 hours before race-day, then I would not race. I took myself out on a long ride on saturday afternoon to ensure that I'd not be tempted to change my mind as the excitement mounted in Tenby, and felt sufficiently dreadful at the end of the day to reinforce the decision.
Today I have been as enthusiastic supporter as possible whilst remaining within close radius of toilet facilities, taking in some of the great Pembroke scenery, atmosphere in Tenby and , in admiration of the great job done by the organizers in the face of some heavy unforseen weather conditions forcing them into moving the swim start to the contingency location.
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