Disappointment, failure, sadness, embarrassment, these are a few of the adjectives that would describe how I am feeling right now. There have been a few moments where I felt pride and happy even some sense of accomplishment but they are few and far between. I'm tired, I feel emotionally worn out and sad. I feel like I am missing out on the excitement and energy and feelings of joy that my teammates are reveling in. They earned it, I didn't and it breaks my heart.
During the run portion of the race, I was wearing the ironman visor I had bought. When I was on the way back from the first turnaround when I knew for sure it wasn't going to happen I took it off my head and clipped it to my race belt, I felt like a sham. I had 20 km to come to terms with the fact I wasn't going to be a finisher out there on the course. I came up with my attack plan to make my comeback, to seek redemption and get my ironman title. Everything changed after dinner on Monday, it hurt so badly sitting among my teammates celebrating their victory, they were all amazing and supportive and were incredibly kind, it just hurt to know I wasn't an ironman with them. After dinner we were all talking and I made up my mind that I would be back next year, not in 24 months,I couldn't wait another two years it was just too long to hear those words I have been working so hard for the past two years to hear...you know "Amanda Bolger...You are an ...." I won't say it here, because I am not...not yet, not this year.
I want to be excited and pumped up for next year and I know I will be, just not yet. Right now, I will feel what I feel and when I am training next year I will look back on all of this and remind myself that I never want to feel like this again. I know there are lessons that I have learned from the past two years, training for the past 8 months and the race itself and I am sure there will be more to learn on the journey to MTTB 2014. I won't make the same mistakes, next time I will finish the race!
I know some of you asked what happened out there, what was I feeling, did I crash, was it nutrition and all I will say is this: The ironman is like nothing else I have ever done before in my life. While I am disappointed in the outcome of my race, I am happy that I had the courage and the desire to even attempt it and complete 127 miles of the 140 race. It is an incredible experience and not one that I feel I can do justice by trying to write about it right now. But, if you ever get the opportunity to participate as a racer or even a spectator you can be sure you too will be amazed! It is the most exhilarating atmosphere and by far the most professional sporting event an amateur athlete can participate in, in my opinion. That attitude and compassion is evident in the entire community, not only on race weekend but throughout training season as motorists shout words of encouragement and support while driving along the 117 highway.
So far now I will lick my wounds, document my mishaps and successes and get ready for the 2014 season where redemption will be mine.