I know it's not typical for a coach to post a race report about their athlete, but Laurel and I don't have a typical coach/athlete relationship, so here's my take on her race yesterday.
First of all, I'm extremely relieved that Laurel executed a great race. She did everything she set out to do and finished strong. But what I'm most proud of her for is the way she went about doing it.
Laurel was planning on racing Challenge Atlantic City as her big ironman race this year. She was building up to defend her title and race in front of her hometown friends and family. But a few weeks ago Challenge cut the professional prize purse from the race, leaving Laurel (and her would be competitors) scrambling to reorganize their race calendars. We started looking for other races and Ironman Brazil was an option, but the plane tickets were prohibitively expensive and the timing wasn't right. The race was a month earlier than we'd planned on, meaning that she would have to race without the key long rides and runs in a typical Ironman build-up. We really weren't sure what to do. We picked out a different Ironman later in the summer as a compromise, but were still shaken by the disappointment of not being able to race in Atlantic City.
But then, after nightly scouring of the internet, Laurel stumbled upon a $650 ticket to Brazil. She called me and I said "book it now." We both knew that was what she had to do.
So Laurel went to Brazil (solo, mind you) and courageously raced the Ironman, trusting in her ability and her unconventional training plan. She raced more on will than on training volume and ran her fastest marathon time in her 4 Ironman races. Could she have gone faster? No doubt. But she got the most out of herself on turned in a performance most people (including me) could only dream of.
It takes a very brave person to do what Laurel did, to take a chance on herself like that on such a big stage. But, like my mom says, Laurel has always done things her own way and never ceases to amaze us. --Bec