I bet you thought I was dead. Well, hopefully you didn't think that. Sometimes I felt a little close to heat exhaustion over these last few weeks, but luckily never that close to keeling over. I've been training, I've been working and I've been waiting for my wonderful husband to clip a few pictures from video so that I could FINALLY write my race report from Eagleman, my second professional race.
They always said racing as a professional would be different.
They said it would be much lonelier.They said sometimes it wouldn't even feel like a race.
They said it all comes down to the swim, if you lose the pack there, you'll spend all day trying to find someone else to race.
They said the pressure you put on yourself would be so great that sometimes, if you weren't careful, you could crumble under it as a rookie pro.
They said if you were in it for the money, you should go and do something else, and fast because it would be a long long road that way.
Finally, they said if you wanted to become a better athlete, race against the top women in the world and learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible, then this was the next logical step.
They were right.. on just about everything.
It's been a humbling, humbling year so far. There have been many ups and downs, but more ups than downs in my mind which is nice. Eagleman was no exception. It's helped so much to working with my new coach Jesse and QT2 in terms of having a plan and just sticking to it like glue during the race. In fact, I really don't have any decisions to make at all (which is good!). He has told me time and time again "we're not at the place where you get to race strategically yet" so until that time, I do what the man says, to a T.
There were a big group of us headed down to Eagleman from Pittsburgh and Kyle was coming along with me so I was excited to get out there and test myself once again. The weather was scheduled to be a toast 94 degrees with high humidity. Lovely for racing your hiney off right?!?
The water was calm at the start and even though I was nervous, I knew I was more than prepared so I just needed to go out there and do my best. My last post right before getting set up in transition is really how I felt "I am truly blessed, I don't need times or places to tell me that. Good luck to everyone racing out there today at Eagleman!"
I said goodbye to Kyle, gave him a kiss and then spotted Matty Mo, a fellow Ballou Skies athlete and good friend standing by the side of the swim start and I got an extra hug for encouragement. I don't know how I got to be so lucky as to have friends like this in my life, but man am I thankful. It was that last little boost I needed!! Thanks Matty!!
Jesse had told me that I would have to swim and swim HARD to make it into a pack to swim with. I looked around Mirinda, Meredith, Suzy, Sarah P and so many other great pros around me. As we treaded water it was pretty surreal. They were all right there and I was really doing this, once again. I was a pro. It was pretty freakin cool.
A quick horn and we were off. I was KILLING myself to go as hard as possible. Stroke, breath, stroke, breath, don't loose them Kim, harder, PUSH!! After the first 400 I was still with a few bodies.
By mile 8.5 I was seriously in pain and on fire. My heart rate started creeping up and I knew I was starting to hang out in the red zone. I had free rein to race from 7 miles on, but it was all I could do to even maintain a 7 min mile at that point! Now it was time to just push as hard as I could and get IN where there was cold ice and a place to sit down. Each mile passed so slowly, but I did hear lots of awesome cheering from Aaron, one of my athletes, Ellen and many more friends out on the course. Heck, Joe V from our Ballou Skies team tried to hug me! I was like "no no, too tired, high five" lol!!
Finally, I knew I was almost home. Running through the neighborhoods I just keep thinking about the finish and going from 29th in my first pro race to 8th. Finally, I was going to crack the top 10 and that was something I really really wanted to do today. I finished the run with a 1:31. Again, not exceptional compared to the other ladies or one of my best times, but solid. A solid day. Sometimes, that's just what we need. Solid.
Thanks for all the support out there in Blogland and Facebook land. It's so fun to share this journey and get to be a part of this sport with some of the best people anywhere.
Other THANK YOUs!!!!!!!!!!
Ballou Skies for allowing me to be part of this great team that does so much good for boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Power bar for fueling me with delicious products that never fail me on race day. Newtons for helping me run with good form and hopefully, get speedier with time. Top Gear for outfitting me with a bike that works and helping me learn how to fix it along the way. Jesse my coach at QT2 Systems who I cannot say enough good things about! You are providing the tools to make this dream possible. Blueseventy for supporting our Ballou Skies team with super fast wetsuits and speedsuits!! You all keep me in the game, faster, longer and stronger – I can’t thank you enough!