Athlete of the Month, July 2015 – Ann Robinson
Athlete of the Month
Still on cloud 9 and enjoying it!
Simon has known me for some time now. He taught me to swim and if you ask him, he will tell you I was his most remedial student. In 2009 I met Simon at the Longmont YMCA where he was doing a clinic for folks doing their first triathlon. I had signed up for Tri for the Cure as my friend had just been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. I hired Simon after the clinic to teach me to swim as it was evident I couldn’t even swim across the pool. He wanted to know my goals and when I told him ‘to finish’, I am not sure he fully understood I was serious. He talked me off the ledge after my first open water experience and wrote my training plans. On August 2nd 2009, I completed that race and I was hooked.
I have always watched the televised coverage of Kona for as long as I can remember. Some of my heroes in triathlon being the Hoyts and Jon Blais. About 4 years ago I had the thought of doing 70.3 but I wouldn’t speak it out loud for another 2 years. I had never run that far and didn’t know if I could. I called my best friend and said I wanted to do a 1/2 marathon. So in 2013 I dressed as Snow White and ran the princess 1/2 marathon. Check, I could do that distance.
I talked with Simon last fall and so the journey began with D3 and Simon. I was afraid, as I have been the queen of panic attacks in the water and I really didn’t know if I could this. So many things to distract from training, husband’s incredible travel schedule for work, being an engaged mom of an 8 and 9 year old, working at the university, lice outbreak, horrible leg injury…but the worst was my own mind getting in the way.
In December, D3 sent an offer to their athletes to meet Will Murray and that changed so much in my training. When most folk’s stand at the start line, they may be excited or nervous, but for me, it was the overwhelming sense that I did not deserve to be there. Not for lack of training or desire just the voices in my head told me I had no business being at the start. I was intimidated by everyone. Turns out that 4th discipline in training, the mind, was my own worst enemy.
After meeting with Will so much changed, we acknowledged that voice but politely disagreed with it, and worked through race starts and the panic attack problem. My first race this season was in May, the HITS Olympic distance in Grand Junction. It was my warm up to IM 70.3. I had the most incredible leg cramp as I stood up to get out of the swim. It threw me back in the water. I got on the bike thinking I was going to have to DNF the run as the cramping in my leg persisted. I got off the bike had lots of trouble walking, but thought I’d start the run. As the last folks passed me I knew I was going to be dead last in the race. I knew I could DNF with justification or I could finish the race and own being last. I chose to finish! It was mentally the best thing I had done. It showed me my toughness and got that fear of “being last” checked off.
Saturday June 13, 2015, Ironman Boulder 70.3 was here. Like most, I was nervous but not to the point I wanted to lose breakfast. I was worried about time cut offs. Will had encouraged me to have a short mantra, mine was “Don’t Quit”. I warmed up, got in my swim wave and prayed for peace. My husband had seen many races and was surprised I was in the middle of the group of women in my wave when the swim started. The gun went off normally a time for a panic attack but none; I was swimming in the pack. Since I am slower I got spit out the back, but no panic. My swim cap wanted to pop off, but no panic attacks and a kayak even hit me. Out of the water and onto the bike.
Since I was the last wave I was out there on my own. First aide station was trying to figure out how those Gatorade bottles could
be emptied into my torpedo bottle. One volunteer tried to help and an entire bottle of Gatorade was now on my bike, my shoes and handlebars. So I rinsed off the bike with a water bottle and off I went. My Garmin died around mile 30 so I had to find ways to keep myself motivated to keep riding hard. It was lonely out there. I got into transition – I had made the second time cut off.
I started the 1/2 marathon, and as I came out onto the course I saw Will finishing. It was hot, and I had not trained in that kind of heat. I normally run 7 minutes walk 1 minute but after 10 minutes I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Since I was starting to get spacey I decided to run 1 minute walk and 1 minute and was religious about it. I was also religious about putting ice down my front, back and pants at every aide station. At mile 4 I rolled my foot in a rut in the road, but couldn’t think about it as I had 9 miles left. Simon and my husband were out near the turn around on the run course cheering for me. I never had the thought of not finishing just getting that medal. Then it happened, after 8 hours and 13 minutes I heard my name as I rounded the corner. I was an IM 70.3! I cried like a baby. I still can hardly believe it. I wore my medal to the restaurant Saturday evening and to bed that night.
So a big huge thank you to so many…my family, my friends who trained with me and cheered for me, Simon, Will and D3. Will I do it again? I will decide that later, for now I am enjoying a break.
y, my friends who trained with me and cheered for me, Simon, Will and D3. Will I do it again? I will decide that later, for now I am enjoying a break.