Sunrise and Sunset in Kona; Poor Race Day Decisions Can Haunt You For Decades

At 4:30 AM : no applause, accolades, crowds, or autograph seekers. Champions are forged by monastic solitude in the temple of discipline. E. Creagan, MD

Sunrise  as seen from the transition area, Kailua-Kona, HI during Ironman 2017

Last month, I wrote in a blog discussing the fact that it's very OK to walk when racing the run section of triathlon.  I even recalled a DNF I had at Boston a good number years ago, temp in the high 80's for this April event, when I went up there with two other friends from Florida, but I never really talked much about it with them.  Even though they were close friends, I never discussed how much like a dope I've felt for these many years.  We'd previously run Boston together in 1979.

I had no idea that one of the other "finishers" also had serious misgivings about that day, and felt that I was the one who'd made the right choice.  This is verbatim from this runner named Steve for whom I've had nothing but admiration for over 30 years.

Regarding your blog of Sept. 27......I was there that day in 2004, and I recall a very pleasant wait prior to the start (compared to our first one in 1979: cold and rainy, 42 degrees, black plastic bags from a friendly cleaner’s establishment) that subsequently degenerated into a hot and humid death march for most participants. Apparently, you’ve been self-flagellating all these years (ie. dip, stupid) over your decision to DNF. Interesting. It says here, you probably made the correct decision.......saving yourself from that may have protected you from extended medical and/or physical grief. I, it could be argued, may have made the incorrect decision. I slogged/limped along for six hours, thirty-four minutes (and change), and paid heavily for it:
    1) physically, for months and months after the event, and
    2) with a wife waiting at the finish, who
        a) was frantic with worry, until she
        b) became grateful with relief, when I finally appeared at the finish line, and then
        c) angrily berated me for my foolishness.
So all these years later we both carry with us, to some degree, the angst of making a decision and acting on it, over exactly the same happenstance. Interesting. Who’s to say who made the correct decision? 


So when racing, and you come up upon a situation for which you have no plan B, maybe the best solution is to pause for a minute, maybe walk for a few more minutes, and review what your ultimate goal is for that day.  If you just slow down, approach your event just a little differently, rather than being a DNF, or having a wife frantic with worry, by slowing down just a little you'll reach the goal you had when the sun came up that morning.

Sunset as seen from the transition area, Kailua-Kona, HI during Ironman 2017

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