Sometimes it comes easy. Wait, never mind, it never really comes easy. I will agree, though, that some days flow better than others. They seem to have an air about them that makes transitions seamless and life go a little more smoothly. If every day were like that, we wouldn't really appreciate them when they came along.
My Mother-In-Law (she loves that term - sorry Deb) and I set off for Racine, Wisconsin on Friday early to make the 10 hour drive. We had a great time chatting in the car and time passed pretty quickly. We arrived at the "Knights Inn" of Racine ready to be out of the car and excited about a good nights sleep. What we found was a motel that I probably wouldn't recommend to my worst enemy. I should have known with the price tag attached we weren't getting royalty, but I would have settled for decent. Needless to say, the next few nights were a combination of fireworks going off in the parking lot at midnight and the slamming doors of what I'm pretty sure was a room next to us rented by the hour (if you catch my drift). Needless to say, we will NOT be going back should we do this race again. If you plan on staying there - you've been officially warned!!
I did enjoy using my NormaTec Recovery Boots prior to the race (QT2 Team Sponsor). I just wish I would have had a full body bubble to crawl into at night rather than the sheets!
Women's Pro Start - Photo Credit Ali Engin
Race morning arrived on Sunday and the swells were evident (not from this picture, but really, they were there). What was usually a pretty calm point to point swim was going to be a bit more like a washing machine.
As I stood there with the other 20 pro women with a few athletes of world-class caliber, I realized just how lucky and fortunate I am to have this opportunity. No matter the outcome, I love to race and challenging myself by lining up next to these exceptional athletes is an honor and a privilege that I don't take lightly. Let the games begin! The goals were to have a solid day and if I placed higher than 10th, acquire some points to replace my race at San Juan with a higher point value.
The gun went off and we were running toward the waves. The other women were confident and doing a combination of dolphin diving and swimming to make it through the shallow sand bar and crashing waves. I was going as hard as I could trying to hang but alas, I looked around after about two minutes and they were pulling away just 20-30 feet ahead. I had the sick feeling again. I was going to be swimming this one solo.
Out onto the bike I only had one goal - nail the wattage that my coach had given me for the first 28 mile split. One of my biggest issues is finding my legs after a hard swim. They often feel like they are burning and tight. As a result, my wattage seems to take a long time to come up which isn't so ideal in the scheme of things either half or full Ironman. The legs did their fair share of protesting, so this race was no different, but I committed that if my coach said I could do it, well, then I could do it. So I did. I endured the pain, gritted my teeth and just watched the average wattage like a hawk until it finally said what I wanted and then I counted down the miles until the lap split turned over!! Content with my first goal met, I resolved to keep looking for girls and pushing the rest of the bike. The course was very nice with rolling hills and farmland. There were plenty of turns to keep things interesting and all in all I enjoyed the bike course! I finished in 2:28 which wasn't my best bike split, but I felt good about the effort and was excited to get the heck off that bike and hopefully have a good run!
Coming out of T2, I was excited about the half marathon ahead! "Anything can happen" I told myself, as I knew I was pretty far back in the field and there were plenty of girls out there to catch. I resolved to stay focused, bring my heart rate up to my specified number and just wait and see how things turned out. I was feeling decent on the first 6 mile loop which wound us up and down along a bike path and some neighborhoods. It was mostly flat which was nice. I saw Deb and that lifted my spirits as she cheered for me.
On the second loop, things got a bit tougher and I started to see I was gaining on a few girls including my QT2 teammate Jessie Donovan. It was time to put my head down and make it hurt so I could make sure to say I didn't leave anything out there. Regardless of place, that is always my goal. I'm not sick or injured and today was about getting in a solid performance. It was time to do just that.
I pulled alongside Jessie just before mile 10 we encouraged each other a bit. What happened after that doesn't really need to be written about in this blog, but let's just say I learned a few lessons that day that I'll be taking with me to Tremblant. Jessie is an incredible competitor and her tenacity was as a great reminder that we are all competitors out there, first and foremost, so you better bring your "A" game each and every time.
At mile 12.5, we were running side by side and I knew it was going to come down to a sprint finish (which is just what everyone wants at mile 70 of a race :)
I'm thankful for Jessie to bringing out the best in me and making sure I squeezed out every last drop. I'm also looking forward to using some of my new mindset in Tremblant in three weeks as it fired me up pretty good to lose by one second. Every lesson we learn is important and happens for a reason. We can either chose to look at it as a negative or we can take the positive from it and use it in a manner to benefit our own racing and the races of others. I'll always choose to go this route, as I think being bitter or crying sour grapes is a complete waste of time. It's a tough sport. If you don't like it, chose something else. I love good competition and I will never want anyone racing me not to give it their absolute best effort right to the line. I'm super thankful I got that chance to lay it out there on Sunday regardless of my final place (12th) or final time (4:30).
I'm thankful for another solid half marathon split (1:23) since after the humidity of the last few weeks I was semi-convinced I may not be able to run anymore!!
It was great to see friends (Lori B., Liz) and others out on the course cheering! Thank you for all of your supportive words. I heard every one! Thanks to those who wrote on facebook, twitter etc. and on my last blog. That meant a lot to me!!
As always, thanks to my SPONSORS for their support, my coach Jesse, my husband Kyle, family, friends and Deb for hanging out in that seedy motel and doing ALL of the driving!! You are the best!! Thank you for going with me!!
Using this momentum, I'm going to carry that fire in my belly through my 28 hours of training this week to nail every single workout and when I don't think I have any more, I'm going to squeeze out just a bit more so that I'm prepared to do that on August 18th.
I BELIEVE!! Thanks for reading :)