If a frog had wings, it wouldn't bump its ass a- hoppin'. - Nathan Arizona, Sr.
The race itself doesn't really have much noteworthy. I felt very good on the swim and was solo most of the day since I stuck right on the buoy line, something I find very easy to do on counter-clockwise courses because I pull slightly to the left. It was nice to have the confidence that I was pacing well and fast without anyone else around thanks to all the time I've spent in the pool with the crew at Conejo Simi Swim Club. I came out right where I thought I should have, doing it all on my own. A nice swim to finish on. Giving up time still, so that's motivating both because it shows the value of the work that I've done and also, giving up four-ish minutes, the importance of the work still to do.
On the bike, I had good legs and fantastic conditions. That and my first time on the Arizona course with a 55T front ring added up to a 4:14 bike split. Everything went pretty much the way it was supposed to. A nice change from Kona.
On the run, the lack of proper volume due to deciding to do IMAZ last minute after Kona really showed up. When I run well in races, it's because I'm running - for me anyway - a fair bit in training. And I just wasn't before IMAZ. So I felt pretty much awful the whole run. The power on the bike was nothing I haven't done before (and run well off of), so I don't think I overcooked it too much on the bike. Maybe a bit given the overall lack of a "normal" build, but I really think it was nothing more than not running enough. That's the simplest explanation, which is what I prefer. Unless I have reason to think it's more complicated, I tend to think that I'd have run better if I'd just run more. Which is what I plan to do for most races that I plan to do.
On the day, I just wasn't fast enough. If you'd told me I'd come off the bike with the clock showing 5:10, I'd have almost guaranteed that I'd break 8 hours. But an 8:06 was as much as I had in me, and I'm honestly not even sure that a sub-8 performance would have gotten me the win on the day. Not when del Corral was really just in cruise control the last 14 miles. It was disappointing to have what I thought was a very good performance on a course I love and to not win, but it was also a very satisfactory way to end the season. Nothing can erase the missed opportunity in Kona, but Arizona was a good reminder that when I make good decisions, I am capable of racing well. Now I just need to not forget that and keep on doing the work necessary to turn those good decisions into good performances on race day.
So, that's the race in a nutshell...
Why did it take me so long to get that out? Well, for the past two and a half weeks, I've been helping my now extremely pregnant wife out by playing Mr. Mom. When she was just very pregnant post-Kona, she gave the okay for me to do another race, in spite of the fact that I was supposed to take over for her as soon as I got back from Hawaii. Over the past three weeks, I've been reminded just how intense a job parenting - and particularly, mothering - is. And it's not like I'm filling her shoes. I'm just shouldering some of what she was doing so she can rest more. But she's still doing a lot. It's remarkable. I've also learned that it's called, "Mommy & Me" for a reason. People are definitely taken aback when a dad shows up with the kid. "Is everything alright?" is the very first question you are asked. "Music Together" might as well be named, "Music With Moms." Dads show up there more often, apparently, though I was the only male over the age of three on any of our trips.
I don't really want to segue into a discussion of gender roles and all that. I'm sure there are plenty of single dads or dads who are the primary parents and all of that. But at least within our own little slice of suburbia, women are still the "moms," (though many of them also work). And it's always impressive to see just how much work they do outside of their "job" simply being a mom. Two and half weeks of it has pretty much kicked my butt. Without question, it puts an Ironman into perspective. "Eight hours? Please..." I just imagine some old wizened grandmother shaking her head at me... That's how I feel anyway. Hats off to all your moms out there. It should be Mother's Day way more than once a year.
And, of course, thanks to my lovely wife, Jill. And my own mom, Diane. You are the real Iron(wo)men.