It’s been nearly two months since my Ironman race, and I have yet to write a race report. I’ve tried several times to write one, but after spending nearly 12 hours on the course, it just seemed like my attempt at a race report is nothing but rambling. I even tried to focus on the highlights, yet it still unraveled into and endless post. I tried following Wasabi’s guide to writing race reports, but my so much happened that day, I still couldn’t manage it. (Sorry Wasabi). So, I decided to focus my report on one of the most memorable experiences about and biggest lesson learned from my race, which coincidentally didn’t occur on race day.
I arrived ready to race in Panama City Florida. My gear, on the other hand, was ready to rock it out somewhere in the Nashville airport.
One of my biggest fears when traveling to a race is that my race gear won’t arrive safely to my destination, so I always carry on my gear. Unlike running, triathlon requires three times the gear, so you can bet that my all of my gear was accompanying me on the plane. My plan was simple: use my biggest suitcase to pack all of my non-racing items and toiletries and check that bag, and stuff all of my tri gear into a medium-sized roller that I would carry on. My plan was fool-proof, and flying out of Denver meant that TSA wouldn’t question my belongings since they are used to seeing bike pedals, helmets, air pumps and cleats in carry-on luggage. My flight had one stop in Houston, but we didn’t have to leave the plane. Nothing to worry about–the flight was easy.
As we started to descent into Panama City, I started talking with a guy next to me, who was also racing. We continued talking throughout the landing and as we walked off the plane down to baggage claim. We talked about training, and how start-struck he was when he realized Ironman World Champion, Mirinda Carfrae, who was also on our flight and racing Ironman Florida. I waited and waited for my bag at baggage claim, but had this feeling that something seemed strange…and then I got that sinking feeling in my stomach. I realized I left my gear bag on the plane! I ran to the Southwest office to see if they could help, and the attendant told me the plane just pushed back from the gate en route to Nashville. At that point, there was nothing she could do, and my tri gear was on its way to Nashville. I didn’t know what to think! Could I still race? Would I have to buy all new gear at the expo–potentially dropping hundreds of dollars? I immediately called my husband to tell him of my screw-up, and fortunately, he didn’t rub salt into my wounds, but we came up with a plan. Since he wasn’t arriving until Friday afternoon, and we had double and triple tri gear at home, he would pack a ‘Plan B’ bag and bring it with him. At the expo, I would buy Gu, bike cleats and Newtons, all of which I could never have enough of.
While I was on the phone, the woman from Southwest motioned for me to come over, so I hung up with my husband to speak with her. She gave me the direct phone number to the office in Nashville and told me that they could probably help me get my things before Saturday. I called the Nashville office immediately, and I spoke with the nicest man who said he would take care of me. He would get my bag, and I just needed to get him the proper info to Fed Ex my bag to Florida by Friday, just in time for my race on Saturday.
Well, he kept his promise and took care of things by personally getting my bag from the plane and getting it ready for FedEx. It took 36 hours and $145, but my gear arrived at our resort at 10 a.m. on Friday. I have never been so happy to see a Fed Ex truck in my life, and I will probably never track a shipment online that much ever again. (I was pretty obsessed with that tracker–what did we used to do before those trackers)?
So what did I learn from all of this? I learned not to panic and to always find a way to keep going. Sometimes, things don’t go according to plans, but if we accept it and make the best of it, we can still achieve our goals. I was upset and disappointed, but I had faith that everything would work out, besides, this was entirely my fault. I really had no one to be mad at other than myself and stressing out wouldn’t get my bag to Florida sooner. I still needed to stay focused on my race. As you all know, everything turned out well, and I had an awesome race with a HUGE PR. This was definitely my most memorable experience of my race, and do you know what else I learned? I will definitely not let it ever happen again!
Salty Readers: What were some of your most memorable lessons learned from the 2013 racing season? How will these help you in 2014?