Written by: Jessica Jones, Triathlon Winner and 4D Coach
Ironman Arizona 2017 🌵☀️💨
Rarely do I feel compelled to write a full on race report but this race was unlike any of the others. For the first time in my racing career, I felt ready going into this event. Truly fit and mentally prepared to execute my race strategy that I’d thought about for an entire year. Every swim practice I thought about what I needed to do to stay under that one hour barrier. Every bike workout I thought about the specific power I would need to hold for 5+ hours straight. Every run had me dreaming and at times believing I could finally break 3:30 for the Ironman marathon. Everyday, even rest days, had a purpose and a reason. Recently a Facebook friend posted a quote that stuck with me on Sunday from when the cannon fired until I walked across the finish line (in order to savor that moment even if only for a few seconds).
“Someone once told me not to bite off more than I could chew. I said I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.”
🏊🏼♀️ I lined up in front with every intention of holding on to my teammate Cullen Talley’s feet for a draft. And that lasted approximately 15 seconds. I thought, “well, that didn’t go as planned…” So I found my own rhythm and swam comfortably steady on the way out. As I made the turn, I realized I felt good with the exception of some pain in my lower back from sighting (gotta quit skipping my Foundation Routine!) so I pushed the pace a little harder. When I came out of the water and saw 58:xx on my watch I was like, “yes! Calli Boudreaux owes me a bottle of Caymus!” And so into an uneventful T1 I went. #willswimforwine
🚴🏽♀️ I left the swim behind me and switched gears (pun intended) to my target power. The wind was obviously stronger than I had anticipated and was going to make for a tough ride out on each loop of the bike. I rode the first loop fairly hard, maybe too hard, but felt terrific. Coming in on my second loop I passed a couple pro women and knew I must be having a decent day, or they were having a bad day, or maybe a combination of both. Will yelled out to me, “you’re in second!” Which made me wonder second in AG? Second overall? The third loop was a straight kick in the pants. I was tired, my skin was so dry, my lips burned, and I wanted to be off my bike. The winds shifted a little which made the third trip out not quite as tough. When I finally hooked the turn back into town, I made the sign of the cross and was so thankful to be done. Now just a marathon left…
T2 needed to be quick for me. Will had informed me I was still 3:30 back. Again, I thought back from what? Second place? First place? I need more details!!!!
🏃🏽♀️ I started out feeling good. Really good. But also had to pee. I waited until I got far enough away from Will so I could make a potty stop without being scalded. Maybe took :30??? But very worth it! There was an out and back section in the first two miles where I finally saw the first place girl (in my age group). She was now at least FIVE minutes ahead. So of course the negativity started creeping in and by mile six everything started to hurt. I’m not great at math but I knew I’d have to only get faster throughout this run in order to pull off the catch. My brain shut down and said “no way Jose, just switch to damage control and hang on. Second place is pretty good too, you know.” My friend Lauren Coppins Stevenswas EVERYWHERE giving me splits. “You’re gaining on her!” And “she’s not looking as good as you!” Or “you’re going to catch her!” Then she explained that there was ANOTHER girl even further in front of her (not in my AG) so technically I was in third (these are the details I needed earlier 😫). Talk about letting the wind out of my sails! And it was there, at mile 20, I finally cracked and started walking. I told Lauren to stop giving me splits. I said, “I don’t care and I can’t do this anymore.” Then I looked up and saw the girl in second. Maybe :20 in front of me? That’s when I decided it was time to take the risk and maybe die trying to pull this off. I started running again and didn’t stop until I crossed the finish line. I passed the second place female as if I had just started the run, you know, fresh as a cucumber. The last 10K was 100% pain and torture. My body was shutting down and yelling for me to stop. But as I climbed the last hill at mile 24.5, I saw her. The first place female amateur who had led the race almost all day, puking on the side of the road. At first I thought, “no way. No way is this happening right now. you have got to get it together.” I knew if I could hold pace for a mile and a half more it would be SO close and I still may not even win the race (because of the waved swim start). For 10 minutes I begged my legs and lungs to give me one last push. And when I rounded the corner they announced I was the first amateur to make it home, every ounce of pain left my body and I was overwhelmed with emotion. I looked down at my watch, saw I had completely exceeded my run expectation and thought, “that’ll do pig. That’ll do.”
🌺 while I am grateful for the opportunity, I gracefully declined my slot to IMWC. Maybe some won’t understand why and that’s okay by me. I’m confident that I will race Kona again one day when I’m ready and willing.
🙏🏼 everyone says it takes a village and they are correct. And I’m confident I’ve surrounded myself with the best of the best. The 4D team and spectators were top notch. So encouraging and motivating to have them here all day long. Coach Nan and my other 5am swim pals who push me every week at Crawfish Aquatics, my Savage Sunday ride or die buddies, Tom Townsend and his crew at The Bicycle Shop who keep me rolling, Robert Driskell for a spot on bike fit, Jenni Peters, Jane Swift, Kristen Manske, and crew at Varsity Sports who never stop believing in me or my crazy race dreams, Tammy Seneca for keeping my muscles happy, and Jonathan Hymel and Olivia Bourgeois (who also just slayed IMAZ herself) for staying ahead of any injuries and nagging pains. And last but certainly not least, the man that so many trust to get us to the start line in the best position possible. This has been a crazy year for me and Will with a freak bike accident, unexpected surgery, and loved ones lost too soon. The last five months have been physically and emotionally difficult for us and our family. But never once has he put himself before me and my goals. Even in the hospital the morning after his hip surgery he sent me a text at 4am that said, “you should go swim.” (Of course I responded with the middle finger emoji). I can only imagine the difficulty in his role of friend, husband, and coach but he seems to handle the task with ease and for that I’m grateful for him and his continued belief in me.
It’s been real Tempe, but I’m out.