Shannon knows Ironman. She’s done 8 as I write this, including a trip around the Big Island of Hawaii a few years ago when the lottery was alive. Shannon has 2 amazingly talented young men as children and a few very cute pups she loves immensely. This sounds like a lot of us who do this sport!
What does throw Shannon extra challenges is that her job requires a great deal of travel, and this year her travel schedule was the busiest I’ve seen in all the years I’ve know her. She makes a point of staying at hotels with good fitness centers, and if there is any way to find a pool, she will find one. I often get an email or text from her saying she doesn’t think she can do a workout, only to see her log come in a few hours later. She doesn’t think she can, then she does it. Again and again, and this astounds me.
That doesn’t mean this build was as planned.
Living in Alberta and training for a November Ironman is never easy. It’s a lot of indoor hours on the trainer which Shannon embraced. She also spent many days at her local gym watching people come and go as she sat…. and rode…. and rode some more… on the spin bike, hopping off for breaks on the treadmill when needed. The long workouts were consistently done, but the supporting parts were missed more often than is ideal thanks to work, family and of course, travel.
Headed into race day she was worried? Had she done enough to get through this? When we talked I was honest with her, that this had been the most challenging build of her Ironman life. I also know that experience trumps more than almost anything on a Ironman race day, and for her, Ironman Cozumel would be a race where her years of training and racing would give her the courage and strength to get this done. I’m not surprised to say, I was right, and Shannon had some very big positives to her day!
The swim… it was a FAST year! She said she had so much fun and loved it! Getting out on the bike in just over an hour was a gift. She was off and smiling according to her husband Ronnie who was sending us updates.
The bike… Shannon has problems with her feet, and she always has to manage this. She had a plan to step down when needed, and I suggested she pour ice water on her feet to cool them off throughout the day. The plan worked, and her foot pain was manageable. The other big plus was nutrition. Shannon often struggles to get calories in on the bike, and on this day she managed it well! At the dismount line her bike leg was strong a PR was in striking distance. There was still a marathon to go, but those of us tracking her on a group text were cheering out loud! She was killing it!
The run was steady, but blisters on her feet derailed the pr that was within her grasp. Blister pain can be debilitating, and the heat combined with wet feet and a marathon on pavement created a blister field that was painful and at times consuming. This is where experience trumps all else. Shannon knew how do keep going. She knew what to focus on, and as much as it was hard to start that third lap with her feet on fire, she was committed to the finish line and got this done!
This was Shannon’s third fastest Ironman, and after a build with less volume than ever before, her results were quite mind boggling. Sometimes Ironman really is mind over manner. Shannon did more than she “should” have been able to do on this day, and as her coach and friend I could not be more proud of her.
Ironman Cozumel means recovery days are spent on the beach with a beer or fruity cocktail in your hand. This is one heck of a great way to celebrate an Ironman! Shannon is off to a new life in a new part of the world soon, but is already looking at races in Europe and the UK that will be almost in her back yard.
Ironman isn’t meant to be easy Shannon, and once again you prove that you my dear friend, are an Ironman through and through. Congratulations. Coach Angie