Thursday, October 31, 2013

Austin 70.3 Race Report

Austin 70.3 was my final race of the season and as every athlete typically feels - I wanted to end on a good note. After changing my summer schedule, racing three IMs, probably doing a bit too much, taking a mid-season break in an attempt to recover, and trying to ramp up again, I thought I had enough base/training/fitness to carry me through one final hard race. I might have been wrong. Sometimes the truth is hard to face, but honestly, I think I need to hit "reset" on this season, take a proper break and start fresh with 2014 triathlon racing.

After waking up to thunderstorms and pouring rain, I racked the RS in a muddy transition, warmed up a bit and got ready to throw down one final hard race.

Photo: Mario Cantu
After a 15 minute delay the pro women were off. I found some feet, they slowed down, I went around them and then spent the rest of the swim chasing one girl ahead of me. I felt fairly strong and finally caught her ten feet before we exited the water. Swim = 29:13.

Transition was a muddy mess.

Onto the bike and I wanted a repeat of Superfrog where my effort felt really hard, but sustainable. About ten miles into the bike I felt that pushing hard was taking much more out of me than it should be, but it's a race and there's no point slowing down, so I pushed on. It was time to throw down and I had nothing to throw. Bike = 2:29.

I came off the bike in 11th with a lot of ground to make up. Running is my strength and I typically run my way up through the field, so I set off on a mission. I moved up to 8th, could see the distance between the other girls and knew moving up much more wouldn't happen unless someone blew up. Somewhere mid-2nd loop I hit a rough patch and multiple girls ran past me. Deflating and I was now in 11th, but I knew it really didn't matter. The money at this race went 5 deep, so other than pride and personal satisfaction, nothing changed.

 I considered my options. 
  1. I could kill myself to chase girls back down and move back up into the top 10. 
  2. I could yog my final lap and just enjoy racing for what it is, high-fiving kids and enjoying the funny costumes spectators were wearing. 
I yogged. I slowed down, I smiled, I gave high-fives to all the kids. I took some candy that a spectator was offering. It wasn't my day for a fast race, but it was still a nice day for a run. Run = 1:29.

Final Time = 4:31, 11th.

2013 was probably one of the toughest mental seasons I have endured. I raced more stacked fields all season than I ever have. I had some rough races with a few good ones thrown in. I chased Kona points and came one slot shy of missing the cut. In some ways I felt like the season beat me down and I just couldn't get a break, but at the same time I learned what it takes to race at the top and I got excited when I saw glimpses of what I am capable of. I also saw the world! I met amazing people. I laughed a lot. I fell in love. I experienced events and life that I know were a once in a lifetime adventure. I would not trade my season for anything.

I am fired up for 2014. I always think the longer, harder and steeper the road to the top, the more rewarding it is. My season was definitely long, hard and steep this year, so I look forward to reaching the top next season and enjoying the hard effort it took to reach that point all the more.

A huge Thank YOU to:
Zoot - Aweosme company, amazing shoes, wetsuits, tri kit, etc.
SKLZ - Perfect recovery products and an all-around solid company.
Microscope World - A job I love.
Cannondale - My RS is my dream bike.
Profile Design - Fast wheels, aero bars and hydration.
Extreme Endurance - Immune Boost and Xendurance are the best products out there.
Powerbar - You make fueling before, during and after a race easy.
Rudy Project - Glasses and helmets that work well and look great.
Bont - Stiff shoes that I love.
Winsole - Awesome custom inserts for my bike shoes and great fit to go along with it.
Sable Water Optics - Happy to see so well when I swim!


Kim said...

You went all in Charisa and even though the chips didn't fall exactly the way you wanted, you impressed so many people with your fortitude and positive attitude. You NEVER gave up! I think that's so much more important than riding the wave when it's all going well! I believe in you WHOLEHEARTEDLY and hope to bump into you in 2014 somewhere! Enjoy your off-season!

Jennifer Cunnane said...

I have been SO impressed by your character, talent, attitude, give it your all attitude this season. You never gave up - and THAT will be what propels you to greater heights next season. I had so much fun watching you race in Austin (your yog would be my 5 sec sprint by the way - lol!)... can't wait to see you climb the Kona points and most assuredly get your slot next year in 2014!!

Brynn said...

I LOVE reading your race reports and your determination/motivation totally inspire me! Not everyday comes together the way we want it, but you always push hard and make the most of it which is AWESOME! I'm super stoked and proud to be working with such an amazing woman next year!! Let's get it GIIIRRRL!!! :)

JC said...

Congratulations on a fantastic season. You have a great outlook on the BIG picture and the experience you are having in the moment...something all of us can learn from in all aspects of life!

solarpowered said...

You work hard and play hard. Tough season, but awesome experiences. Savor it and look forward to even better stuff next season. Congratulations.

J. L. said...

Thanks for letting us follow your 2013 season. I have total admiration for you...and I liked your decision to high five the kiddos given the race scenario. Here's to a great 2014 season!