4:30AM – Alarm goes off, grab breakfast and mix my fuel drinks
5:00AM – Drive to T1
5:30AM – Go to T1, get marked with my race number, get the bike set up and add a few things to my bike bag
6:00AM – Wetsuit on, final things finished, a light rain starts
6:20AM – Head down to water, walk in to knee deep, get ready to warm up, race starts in 20 minutes.
6:25AM – The announcer comes in over the loudspeaker.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have some unfortunate news about today’s event….”
Due to the low air quality caused by smoke from the nearby King fire, the race was canceled. Where we were for the swim was fine, but the run and bike courses had unhealthy levels of smoke particles in the air.
They canceled the event for the health of athlete, volunteers & spectators.
It was the right call. No one wanted to hear it.
I’ve worked hard to train for this Ironman. I made sacrifices. Today was supposed to be the climax to a season of hard work. It is disappointing to not get to experience that as planned.
Most of us travelled for this race. I drove a few hours and took a week off of work. Some athletes flew from around the world: Australia, Scandinavia, Brazil. We all booked hotels or houses – more expenses that now seem in waste.
I have to remind myself though that on the large scale of things, today is still a great day. This is an inconvenience, but the fact that I am physically, financially and schedule-wise able to even think about doing an Ironman puts me in something like the top 1% of the world on the basis of wealth.
I have to remind myself that my home is not on fire and I haven’t lost my life, loved ones or property.
Today is not a bad day – I have nothing to complain about.
What is next?
We’ll find out Tuesday what the Ironman race officials are going to do. I suspect we’ll get a refund or free entry into a future race.
My goal was to complete an Ironman by the end of the year and that is still possible. There are 5 races left, though a few of them are booked up. Perhaps they’ll expand registration for one or even open a new race for us.
On top of that, Ironman is actually just the name of a race series of one company – there are other races of the same distance put on by other companies. I said I wanted to complete an Ironman, but I’d be fine if it was an Iron-distance race. That gives me two other options.
Depending on what race I pick, I’ll need to figure out logistics. How will I get there, where will I stay. Lake Tahoe was my first choice because of the close proximity – any other event presents logistical concerns. I’ll figure that out in stride. Thankfully three of the options are within a day’s drive of me.
The toughest part of picking another race will actually be adjusting my training. I’ve designed my training plan to put me in peak physical condition today. If I race another even in November or December, I’ll have to figure out how to adjust my plan. I’ve taken the last few weeks easy to prepare for this race, I suspect I’ll need to build my milage back up a bit and then taper again.
Completing an Ironman was my personal challenge for 2014. If it wasn’t difficult it wouldn’t be a challenge. I thought I knew all of the difficulties, that they were mostly physical, but this was one I hadn’t planned on.
The challenge goes on, this is just one more facet to fight through.