Friday, June 2, 2017

I'm Not Done Yet: Chattanooga 70.3

In 2015, I was pretty torn about racing.  Kyle and I knew at that point we wanted to have a family, but I was starting to feel like I was really getting this racing thing down.  I'd come to a place as an athlete where I knew what it took to keep my training / workouts / life "crisp and clean" as my coach puts it. This place (that at times seems mythical when you're NOT there) is where you're consistent, you're nailing all the little details and you're mentally and emotionally in a great place when it comes to racing.  You can pretty much be counted upon to execute unless their some massive issue that comes your way, and even then, you just might be able to pull out all the stops and still get it done.

While I teetered on the edge of every race being my last and pulling the plug on the whole thing, I got a care package from my good friend Linsey.  She reminded me that racing and training is a gift and that no matter what, to really feel like I was ready to give it up if I was truly retiring from sport.  She got me some handy dandy shoe lace reminders that sometimes we have more to give than we think and to trust the plan.

When I located all my old race gear (which felt like it was in ten different locations) and dusted off the old race belt, hydration system etc., I found my little lace reminders and it really made me smile. I guess I wasn't done yet after all.   Leave it to my good friend Lins to call that one!

I was asked to do a nutrition talk at Quintana Roo the Friday before the event in conjunction with their facility tours and that went fantastically well.  Everyone was wonderful and we all learned how QR is paying attention to the details that make athletes comfortable and fall in love with their bikes.

The best part about racing at this stage of the game is I feel like I have absolutely nothing to lose.  I've had a great career so this year is like one giant bonus.  It's freeing.  Even though being away from Emma in the days leading up to the race was terribly hard, I had a real peace about the outcome and honestly just wanted to see what I could do in each stage of day.

Best Part About the Trip - Seeing one of my bestest - BETH! 

As per usual, except that I hadn't experienced "usual" in a 18 months or so, the women's swim start was like a rocket shooting off that left me standing there watching it sail away.  I was swimming as hard as I could and yet the women were just gone!  That's going to take some getting used to again!!! I ended up finding myself just ten feet behind two of my teammates, Jennie and Heather, and as hard as I tried to bridge the gap, I made very little progress.  We all swam close, but not together.  That doesn't help anyone, but we all managed to get out of the water and bike within range of each other so that was a little comfort zone kind of place for me!

Backing up, one of my biggest bone-head moves of the day was giving myself a fat lip going into the bike.  As if triathlon doesn't hurt enough, my helmet was on the ground in T1 and I whipped that baby up by the straps as hard as I could directly into my kisser.  Perfect.  It was really fun to have a bloody swollen lip as I headed out on the bike.  As my husband likes to say about me, "not so pro Kim, not so pro."

After the first thirty minutes on the bike, I realized I had more to give than I was currently doing and my safe little distance away from my teammates wasn't going to make my coach happy with the power numbers he devised for me.  I ventured out on my own and decided to see what was in the tank.  One by one, I kept seeing girls ahead and it was fun to be doing my own thing, but to also be catching a few people.  I just stayed focused on my nutrition and making sure I kept the bike upright as I've been outside so few times so far this year.  The bike course is rolling hills and beautiful.  It's a very fair course that allows you to carry some momentum into each hill if you stay aero and ride out those decends.  The bike went relatively quickly for me and although I was a little conservative, I think it was the right move for the day.  I wanted to run well since my run training has really been going well lately.
When I exited T2, I was surprised to see Beth so close!  It was just fun to be in the mix and I had no idea where we were in the field.  I didn't get one report of a place for the duration of the 13.1 miles!  I felt pretty good and I just started ticking away mile by mile staying smooth and focused.  This course is deceptively hard with plenty of little hills, grades and turns!  It was great to see Lisa H. and my other Coeur teammates out there pushing.  The weather was perfect as well with cloudy skies and a temp in the low 80's.  It could not have been better for this girl.

Coming down the finish line was really fun.  It was great to see a time in the high 4:20's and know I had executed a pretty darn good strategy for my first real pro race back after Emma.  I felt excited and happy as I crossed the finish line.  It was wonderful seeing my homestay, Jim Brewer, standing right there.  We shared a big hug just like we did in 2015 when I was 3rd at the full in Chattanooga.

Finish like you mean it!  Smiling!! Always!
Jim Brewer, a heart of gold!  So lucky to have remained friends with him and Sandra all these years! 

The after party at Jim's home was also lovely with plenty of food, friends, toasts and even some young triathletes in training who dropped by to stay hello.  It was fun to share with these young girls how the sport has changed my life for the better.  I hope they all end up getting into something they feel as passionate about as I do about swimming, biking and running and the relationships I've formed.

All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better return.  Thanks for all the cheers, both in person and virtually!  I felt the love.  I'll see everyone out there again at Eagleman 70.3 on Sunday June 11th!
 Congrats to Andrew and Shane, my two FYP athletes who took on this course with me and finished strong!!  It was great traveling together!!

Thanks to my husband Kyle for all his support and love, my coach, Jesse Kropelnicki of QT2 Systems.  I could not do this without you!  

Best of luck to everyone competing and thanks to my sponsors UltragrainQuintana RooCoeur SportsRudy ProjectQT2 SystemsROKANormaTec Recovery, Field Work Nutrition Primo Smoothie Meal and Brooks.

No comments: