Monday, May 6, 2013

St. George 70.3 Triathlon Race Report

St. George 70.3 Triathlon is the US Pro Championship and the field was the most stacked race I have ever started. I honestly believe we learn more when life/racing/whatever gets tough. I learned a lot at this race, mostly about staying positive, never giving up, and knowing what is ultimately important in life. This is how my race went down...

Photo: Triathlete
The setting for the swim is nothing short of breathtaking. We were lucky the winds were calm. I managed to grab feet, get kicked only 4x, swallow too much water only once (without panicking when this happened!), and exit the swim in 29 high with a pack of girls.

Photo: Tri Lounge (these guys rock!)
Within a mile of starting the bike there is a long steady climb. Actually one of many all day that don't ever end - the entire bike course is up and down. It is spectacular, breathtaking, and HARD. On the first climb I felt absolutely horrible, but chalked it up to not yet being warmed up on the bike.

Photo: Monique Fletcher
Ten miles in I felt worse. Watts were low, I was getting dropped, and mostly feeling miserable. I generally save my caffeine PowerGels for after mile 30 on the bike. I took them at mile 10. And it didn't seem to make a bit of difference.

At this point I knew my race was entirely mental. I had a choice to give up and back off, chalking it up to an off-day, or I could will my body to go as fast as possible and keep fighting. I chose to fight. I watched as my watt average steadily declined and would eventually end 10w lower than what I held at IM Melbourne. At least the scenery was awesome! I came off the bike in 2:37.

Photo: Monique Fletcher
I started the run in 23rd. For six miles I saw nothing ahead of me except open road scattered with aid stations offering cold sponges. I didn't feel great, but I was running and reminded myself that I would run girls down. My original goal of top 10 was adjusted to top 20. There was no chance for money or points, everything about my race now came down to digging deep because at the end of the day I knew I would be happy if I gave it my all.

My parents surprised me last minute and drove late into the night before the race to show up and cheer for me. My Dad was on course giving me splits that I had five girls in front of me within 5 minutes, then 3, then 1:30. He knew I was having a horrible day, but he knows better than anyone how stubborn I am and knew I would not give up until the finish. My family is close and having them there reminded me what is really important in life. Ten years from now I won't remember how horribly I raced - I will remember how awesome my parents are.

Photo: Tri Lounge
Within the last two miles (and into the finish chute) I passed five girls to finish 18th with a 1:29 run and 4:40 overall time. There was nothing spectacular about my race on paper. But when things don't work the way we had hoped, we always have a choice as to how we will deal with the situation. I know I can race at the top with the best in the sport. St. George is hands down the hardest 70.3 course that exists and I can't wait race it again. The awesome part about bad days, is that there's always another chance to try again. Live to fight another day and know you are stronger for the experiences you survived.

My next race is in four weeks at Rev3 Quassy. Another stacked field. Another chance to race hard!

I am honored to work with an amazing group of Sponsors.
Zoot - Kiwawe shoes were perfect - no blisters.

SKLZ - Awesome recovery products I am loving.

Microscope World - A great "other job."

Cannondale - My Slice is amazing even when my legs don't show up on race day.

Profile Design - Fast wheels, hydration and aero bars.

Extreme Endurance - Recovery at its best!

Powerbar - Fuel that keeps me going strong - green apple gels are awesome.

Bont - Comfortable, stiff shoes that I love.

Rudy Project - Helmet & sunglasses that look great and do their job.

Sable Water Optics - I can see when I swim. Yay! 
Mom & Dad - you may never realize how much it made my day to hear you were showing up to cheer. I consider myself incredibly lucky and blessed to have amazing & supportive parents.