A brief sojourn into my mind on Sunday:
Sometimes I am a little annoyed that I find it so easy to DNF a race. Well, maybe easy isn't really the "right" word, but I have had more DNFs than other people I know. I suppose that once you quit once, it's always easier to quit again...but I'm not really sure I believe that I am a "quitter." I think most people I know have slightly different motivations than I do when it comes to racing.
Over the past several years, each race has just been that: a race. If there was no money involved it did not have a "higher purpose," as many races do. Ironman has a "higher purpose" for most people. It involves a huge sense of accomplishment just to finish the damn thing. It is a long freakin' day. Then you get into the conditions the race presents; their difficulty and the even more rewarding feeling of accomplishment. Add in trying to qualify for Kona or set a PR and an IM adds up to being a fairly "higher purpose" race for most.
Cozumel was not that for me. It was to be the "cherry on top" of a fantastic season. Swim hard, bike smart, and run strong. 2/3 of those were accomplished for me. But when my wildcard was dealt I decided to fold. Walking the whole race (as I wish I had done at Louisville in 2010) would not present me with a sense of accomplishment. Sure, I did the race to finish but not JUST to finish. I am a good enough athlete at this point to feel as though an IM is just a long race. There is nothing special about it, to me. Partly because I'm not good enough at it to make money in the pro field, and partly because there is nothing for me to qualify for. I am not going to Kona as a pro. At least not in the near future. Not only can I not afford to travel and KQ, I can't afford to travel to Kona itself and race.
So with certain things being "off the table," there was nothing to keep me going. No incentive. No rabbit. No carrot. When I first realized that something was very wrong (bending over to grab my T2 bag), I realized that I had not planned for something. That was almost more annoying than the paint itself. KNOWING that I could have prevented my issue. But oh well, time will pass. Injuries will heal. Time off will be taken.
I will write a more thorough race report in the upcoming days, but at the end of the season it's important to assess WHY you do things. So many people say they'd NEVER quit, and that's good...but I'm just not that person. I didn't WANT the finisher's medal and shirt badly enough to spend another 4+ hours walk/running. There's no POINT in that, to me. When I do finish an IM, and I will, I want it to be for the right reasons at the right time in the right place.