I’ve Decided Not to Quit

So what now? What’s next?

I didn’t really feel like saying anything more after Ironman Lake Placid because it sucked. I talked about why it sucked on the podcast, but if you lay out any more of the details of the sucking it starts to sound like you’re just making excuses and no one cares anyway. So. Let’s sum up: I was very calorie deficient going in; I was stupid and didn’t deal with that quickly or sufficiently enough once I realized; I handled the crazy rainstorm badly (even as I told myself I was handling it great and everyone else was going to blow themselves up); things just kept going sort of wrong and mediocre on the bike; and when I finally tried to pound calories on the run, they came back up and they kept coming back up for about two hours. I walked and I jogged and eventually I finished.

The only thing I feel bad about (still) is that maybe half of the pro women *also* walked at some point on that run and threw up at some point, but most of them managed to rally. And I didn’t. And it’s impossible not to acknowledge that on some level I didn’t rally because at some point I gave up just a little. One of the other girls, Jennie Hansen, yelled at me when I first started walking around mile 16 or so, after another bout of full-body heaving. She yelled, ‘Keep fighting, Kelly.’ And I did, I promise, but then I had to pull over to the side of the road again and then I might have stopped fighting, not completely but a little, because I just couldn’t handle the head-to-toe retching anymore. My abs were sore for days.

I kept thinking the race would come around, even when it sucked well before it *really* sucked. But it didn’t. And I kept thinking I just need to finish this, it’ll be fine. But when I finally, fuck finally, hit the oval and could see the end, it actually hit me how much I had screwed up and this is what that looked like:

There’s been this ongoing debate for the last few months about what the hell I’m doing, if I should get a “real” job. I mean, I have a real job, I make a full-time income (to be clear, mom), but obviously I could utilize some of my non-triathlon skills more, right? I could make more money, right? I could be high-powered something-or-other? So I’ve been browsing job sites and weighing options, but it turns out there are only a handful of jobs I really want and none of those are available or hiring me right now. And, in the mean time, I’ve been half-assing this being fast thing.

It’s not been my best year. There was a solid 5-6 months of one goddamn thing after another. And then I was in my head for a long time after that, waiting for something else to go wrong. But I’m done, fyi, in case you’re keeping track. I’m done having one foot halfway out the door.

Pro athletes’ blogs are littered with proclamations like this. It sounds dumb. And there’s not really anything different about my declaring it to be so.

I disappeared for a little while after Placid. I did Swimrun with Sara — “raced” feels like a strong word for what we did. And I started training again. I have some ideas about plans for late-season. But mostly I stopped looking at job boards.

Thursday I had my first really hard workout again, and Hillary had given me some numbers that were, uh, optimistic. If you know me, you know I will kill myself to hit my workout numbers, fully wreck my body, but I still thought this seemed unlikely. And then I thought about being faster now, about who I want to be racing, about taking that kind of focus out of training and onto the race course. And I hit the numbers (mostly).

And that’s what’s next for now. Being a pro triathlete.

(Photo at top: Payton Ruddock)

2 thoughts on “I’ve Decided Not to Quit

  1. I had this happen in my bike racing but it was a reevaluation time. Results plateaued. Same stuff. Didnt really work at training. We all throw up…it’s endurance sports. Am I going to get better? Is this a waste of time? Family members…get a damn job. I had to have a come to Jesus meeting with myself. And decided to hang with it.
    Hang in there Kelly. Only you know what’s best for you.

  2. Hi Kelly, I have a few advice for you 🙂 If I misread you because I don’t know the full depth of your personality, forgive me.

    1. If every athlete thought of quitting after a setback like yours, there would be no professional athlete.
    2. You had one setback, that’s all it is. That’s all it is. I don’t know you. I just looked at your results. You have a promising future. Learn from this setback and kill the next race.
    3. I’ve been in your shoes and I quit sports to choose a real career. 15 years later, I quit my real career and went back to professional sports. If you ever think about quitting again, I promise, I unsubscribe from this blog! 😉

    Cry a bit more if you still need to cry. Take training easy for a bit if you need still need to. But stick to it. You stick to it. You stick to it. You have 5 bright years of professional triathlon inside of you. I guarantee you one day will come where you will be better than #10 at Kona.

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