Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In the Books. Galveston 70.3

I'd love to tell you how pleased I was after my first professional race. How it was everything I'd ever hoped for and that I executed really well, but that would be lying.

We've all had them. The race where you made a poor decision, then it spirals into another issue and so on, and so forth. I don't intend to write a blog post about how I did that wrong and be all depressed. I'm not. I'm happy I screwed some serious stuff up right out of the gate.. good, get that out of the way for the year right ;)

To make a long story short, had a great trip down to Galveston and I am so glad I stepped up to the line with a HUGE field of professional women for the US Championships. It was a fun, humbling and inspiring experience that I won't forget any time soon.

I met one of my athletes down there, Miss Bergin as I like to call her, and it was her FIRST 70.3. The highlight was probably accompanying her through that experience and being at the finish line to catch her when she crossed. Having her cry tears of joy, pain, and emotion on my shoulder made me realize what the day was all about.. not my mess ups, but the chance to be out there.

For those of you who are dying to know, I DID NOT ask for the picture with Lance. He was about three rows up in the pro meeting and I decided I didn't want to be like the other hoards of people with telephoto lenses hanging over the side of the gated area zooming in on pictures of his pores. He's just a dude, trying to race his ass off like the rest of us right :) So, I let him alone. It was cool to see him that close though. He kept asking about the rule where you have to wear your number on your back for the bike.. too funny.

The trip down was uneventful and I actually put my bike together myself with not tooooo much of an issue. Had a great breakfast with Mary, Molly and the other QT2 folks who were kind enough to invite us on Saturday.

I've basically been self coaching myself through the last three weeks so it was a little unnerving not to have a "pre-race" talk with anyone but yours truly for my first race of the season. Granted, I'm a coach, but there is something to be said for having someone outside of yourself lay down the law (which was what I needed).

We jumped into the water in full wetsuits (which I was thrilled about) at 6:55, listened to the national anthem and it was all a little surreal being with this caliber of athletes warming up around me as the sun started to crest the bay. The gun went off and I went out hard, but lost the fast girls almost immediately. I had a feeling that might happen. Managed to grab onto some feet and drafted like a champion for the rest of the swim. I FELT fast, tried to pass once, didn't work out, got back on for the ride. I didn't even look at the time when I got out, but I thought I might have gone under 30. Nope, not so much.. I think the swim might have been a bit long from the Garmin reports I was hearing after the race - maybe 200meters, but doesn't matter. Swim time: 33:?? ish. I was proud of myself for drafting though & swimming rather strait?!

Not too many bikes in T1, no surprise there. Headed out on the bike and tried to calm myself down. No luck. We headed out onto the highway and strait into a fairly significant headwind. Bummer. " Same for me as everyone else" I thought. I was immediately passed by Jesse of Q2 like I was biking backward. Tried to pick it up, but my heart rate was already pegged at 175, and STAYED there. I should have backed er down. No such luck. I thought I was hardcore, this is the pro's! I'm going you know what to the wall (insert me whacking myself in the head saying "STUPID"). Saw the Lancemobile.. I say that because he basically was traveling as fast as a car in the other direction and was surrounded by a TV Van and a motorcycle camera. He was leading, but not by much! Those guys were hanging strong behind him!

By the time we hit the turn around at mile 28 I was SO over that wind. I was losing the juice to keep my speed up and my piraformis was really starting to hurt. Even though on the turn around I was going faster, but just didn't feel great. Legs didn't want to turn over and somewhere in the 45ish mile mark I started seeing a few flashing things like the world is on giant strobe light = aka SEVERE Calorie deficiet produced by me going like a wild women for the first half. I broke my own cardinal rules on that bike as a coach and dietitian. Tried to get in enough fluid / calories in those last ten miles, but hadn't really practiced drinking 30+ ounces per hour so as hard as I tried knowing that run was going to be a scorcher.. no such luck. Made it through about three and a half bottles.. needed WAY more.

So happy to be off the bike I ran into T2, and missed the Pro rack completely. The security guy had to flag me down.. and bring me back. Oh man.. just getting better and better :) Headed out on the run I knew things might not be great, but after about two miles I felt like death. Legs were feeling rough, but worse, heart rate was soaring (aka dehydration). At some point I realized I was not going to be able to keep going at the pace I was unless I wanted to risk just passing out / needing medical / not finishing my first pro race. So, I dialed it back and gutted it out.. for 10... more.... miles. UGGGHHH.. that course just looped around and looped and looped some more. I couldn't figure out where the heck I was even going to get off the dang merry go round!! Three times we did this four mile figure 8 thing.

The only things that kept me going were the promise I made before the race "be thankful" the fact that I was healthy, my Ballou Skies family, the friends / family I had watching and that I will get to do this again sometime and it will NOT turn out like this.

All in all, not even close to the day I wanted, but I'm not a quitter. No sense DNF'ing, better to eat my slice of humble pie so I remember not to make bad decisions in the future. That's how real athletes do it and if I want to be a pro I've got to take the good, bad and the ugly and get to know it. I can make peace with it for now, but I don't have to like it. In fact, I can't even think about it much more because it makes me angry so I think it's best to move on. I did the best I could "that day" and I hoping not to repeat it again any time soon.>

The highlights were seeing friends - Mary, Molly, Brooke, Sonja, Tricia, Angy, Vanessa and many more, meeting another one of my athletes, Nat and seeing Bergin through the experience. She is a trooper and gutted that run out right along with me on one HOT HOT day. I was so so so proud of her.

Some other wonderful things happened which I can't mention here yet, but soon. Stay tuned. First pro race in the books and a HUGE congrats to Beth, my good friend and one stellar person and athlete for putting together one solid race for her first professional race out at Oceanside.

I have not YET begun to fight.. OH.. and I got LOTS of compliments on the new kit while I was running around in my death march so I was always happy to hear that and gave a high five or a thumbs up!!

Thanks Betty Designs for such a great kit, Top Gear Bicycle for getting me ready to roll, Powerbar for the power to push!, my Ballou Skies family, and BlueSeventy for the wetsuit that had me wanting more at the end of the swim!

THANK YOU family, friends and bloggers - you guys make me feel like a million bucks and I appreciated the comments on the blog, facebook, twitter and emails that I got before the race more than you could ever know. I never felt alone out there, even in my dark moments :) For that, I am forever grateful.

The most thanks to Kyle, who lets me chase my dreams all over this map and always believes, always hopes and always loves me.. first, last or no finish at all.

In the words of Jen Harrison - ONWARD & UPWARD!! You haven't heard the last of me yet, in fact, I'm just getting started :) I love this blog because maybe in two years, I'll go back and read this one, after many many more starting lines, and laugh and smile at how green I was.. how this race helped make me the athlete that I have become and be thankful that I never let it stop me.. just maybe.


Jennifer Harrison said...

You are right, Kim! We all have SHITTY sucks that it was your Pro debut, but remember you have had many MORE good races than bad...and this race will make you get after the training and all the details that make a good race even harder! Onward & upward! :)

Chloe said...

You are always such an inspiration Kim! Congrats on your first pro race and I can't WAIT to see the excitement for the rest of your season!

Melynda McMillin said...

You are amazing and such an inspiration! You may think about this race and be angry, but think about how many people look at you and think "I want to be her someday!" The greatest thing about you is that you will not let this get you down, but you will let it "fuel your passion" to go above and beyond. That is what makes you amazing! That is why you are a pro!

Kristin said...

You have such a positive outlook and Im sure it was unnerving being so dehydrated, But you made it to the end and didn't give up. Thats what seperates you from some of the others. Keep your head up! Congrats!

Christi said...

We all have our down days and they are the ones that make us stronger. Always forward, my dear, always forward!

millerb said...

As a definite amateur and fledgling triathlete who did a 70.3 last fall, I really appreciate your honesty in sharing about your race. I so look up to the pros and am envious that they always seem to have great races, when I always feel like I'm plodding along. You know you've got it in you and can do it, so don't let this one weigh you down -- just look to the next one.

Damie said...

Congrats on getting out there and being a pro. It is easier to hide as an AG, but now you are stepping it up and being a big girl :)))) You will have a ton of motivation to kill it next time. Can't wait!

Kelly said...

The good news is the "first as a pro" is done and now you can just get out there and race without all the jitters!! Nice job on toughing it out!! Congrats!

Libby said...

you have the best attitude on the planet I love it. I know you are hungry for more and it will make you come back stronger. shitty races due suck but the lessons we learn from them are usually the start of a breakthrough!!! way to hang tough and not drop out on a tough day!

The Miller Family said...

I love how real you are and how so real you are in this sport....your positive attitude will make you succeed for sure

Kiet said...

You put yourself out there in the pro ranks, that's the first step, the subsequent steps will come. Chin up chica!