My last few races

I am obviously VERY behind in writing my race reports so this is going to be a quick summary of my last 3 races. I know most of the reason why I have procrastinated in writing these race reports has been because of the overall lack of enthusiasm with my racing this season. Despite the fact that 99.9% of what has happened has been out my control and what I am considering very, very bad luck, it is still very frustrating. Add on top of that some great training performances and feelings of great fitness and you get one VERY frustrated athlete. So, after a disappointing first few races, I did quite a bit of re-evaluating and shuffling around the rest of my race schedule, and I had my mind set up to make the most out of the rest of my season.

So, it began. Last minute arrangements were made and off to Calgary I went for what I hoped was going to be a little post-Rhode Island 70.3 redemption. I actually don't know why I didn't consider doing Calgary 70.3 to begin with. I love Canada (it is my home land after all!), my favorite training partner who I train with in Australia every year lives in Calgary (and ended being home and racing too!), and the race venue is absolutely gorgeous. My biggest concern was about this race was the anticipated cold. The water temperatures is notoriously cold and race morning can be hit or miss. Luckily, race morning wasn't too bad and thanks to my super warm Zoot wetsuit and the suggestion to wear 2 swim caps it only took me a few minutes to warm up after I dove into the freezing lake. Those first few minutes were brutal and was I really struggling to catch my breath!!! Overall though I was happy with my swim. I was able to get on some pretty fast feet and came out of the water in a pretty good position. The bike went by so fast and my legs felt good. I posted a new bike PR (the bike course was 4km long so the times don't show it). This was a nice change to how I felt at Rhode Island and it was just little boost I needed.  Unfortunately, the “feeling good” did not last the whole day and the wheels came off just a bit on the run. Despite losing a few places on the run and only finishing 10th (the women's pro field was stacked!!!), I was encouraged with this performance.

I flew home and jumped into a local sprint triathlon we have every year in Philadelphia, SheRox.  I had only 2 goals for this race: go as hard as I could and have fun. The pro field at SheRox is small so we started with the elite amateurs.  The swim was so short it was over before I knew it and for the first time ever I came out of the water in first place. It was probably the first time I ever came out of the swim smiling! I hopped on my bike and gunned it. The first loop was nice because I had the road to myself. The second loop was a little dicey since I got mixed in with the later waves but it was probably a good thing because some of my adrenaline was starting to wear off and I was starting to get a little concerned about being able to run!  Luckily the run was short!  I managed to hold my lead the whole race.  A win, another bike PR and the lead from start to finish. A pretty good day.

After a few positive experiences in the bank and some great training sessions that managed to surprise even myself, I was set and ready for a great day at Timberman. Unfortunately, my bike had other things in mind. When I woke up 2 nights before the race to weird sounds and blinking lights coming from my bike my heart sank. At least I still had the whole day to get it fixed so I tried to stay calm but it wasn't a good omen.  After a visit to 2 different bike stores and a few pleading emails for a loaner bike I was forced to give up the fight Saturday evening. No one could tell me what was wrong with my bike but it would not shift at all.  The disappointment was terrible, especially because I thought my streak of bad luck had ended. Apparently it hadn't and I'm just now accepting the fact that it's "just going to be one of those seasons". There is nothing I can do but move on. As I've said before, there is no way I'm giving up. But from this point forward, all of my fingers and all of toes will be crossed for what is left of this season!

Rhode Island 70.3

From last to 6th.... Yeah, not exactly the result I was hoping for. Unfortunately I feel like I'm starting to sound like a broken record. After getting in a very solid training block I was really looking forward to racing this weekend. I had a good race at Providence last year and I was excited for what I was hoping would be a repeat. The water on race morning was a very refreshing 80degrees so no wetsuit. I put on my Zoot speedsuit, lined up on the beach and was off. I got off to a decent start, managed to get onto some feet and hung for a whopping 200m. I spent the rest of the swim alone and with the dreaded feeling I was in last and WAY behind. I ran into T1 with crossed fingers hoping I wasn't last. Unfortunately, the bike racks were pretty empty. So I headed off onto the bike with a very sad heart. And, even though I knew I needed to pull myself together and bike my a$$ off, I instead just continued to enjoy my pity party. There were all kinds of negative and bad thoughts going through my head. I won't share the details but it was bad enough that I even laughed at myself a few times. Finally by mile 20 (yes, it took that long) I decided to stop the chatter and get on with business. By mile 30, I caught one girl on the bike and applauded myself for not being in last anymore. I told you things were bad! When I hit the run, my legs actually felt pretty decent and I was able to get into a good groove quickly. After about a mile I saw a women up ahead and I focused my sights on her. I might be having a horrible race but somewhere deep down I still managed to find a little fight inside. I caught her and one other girl before the run was over. The run actually went by quickly and before I knew it I was crossing the finish line. I immediately saw my family who had come out to support me and I did my best to hold myself together. It sort of worked..but obviously there was not way I could be happy with this race. I've had people tell me that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you find your true strength. I really hope it doesn't take rock bottom but I'm willing to suffer and believe these challenges are leading me towards something better.

Eagleman 70.3

As most of you know, this season has been off to a rough start. 3 DNF's in a row is hard to swallow. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, and while I held fast to this belief, it was getting pretty difficult to pick myself up and re-motivate myself after each unsuccessful attempt. I thought maybe my dedication to the sport was being tested.  Well, I've been doing triathlons for 12 years,worked hard and sacrificed a lot to become a pro.  I wasn't about to give up now. Maybe I supposed to learn how it felt to not finish a race  (I've only not finished one race in my whole career and that was years ago). Well, I definitely didn't need 3 races to learn that lesson. Maybe I was I supposed to learn how to handle adversity?  That didn't seem quite right either. This weekend, I finally figure it out. It was all about being hungry. I don't mean the kind of hunger you get when you want food because I know that feeling extremely well!  It's that kind of hunger when you really want success, the hunger that forces you to push that extra little bit and not give up, even when every part of your body is telling you too. The sport of triathlon is always forcing us to our push limits and I don't think any of us really know where our limits lie. Often it takes challenging circumstances for us to find the courage and toughness to get past what we may have believed were our limits and in the process, we start to learn what we can handle.  And this is where my past struggles lead me to on race day.  Most the race was unevenful. I went into Eagleman with not a lot of expectations. Yes, I was going to race hard, but after weeks of tapering and not a lot of quality training, I knew my fitness had suffered. I did however, want to get this monkey off my back and finish a race. Eagleman is like a hometown race and it was great to have so many friends around. Plus, the Eagleman crew really know who to treat their pro's. They set us up with great homestays in town and close to the race site. They invited us on a dinner boat cruise along the Choptank River (the same river we swim in) Friday night. Race morning I was pretty calm and I started the race off well with a decent swim. I managed to get in a group of about 5 other women which always helps make the swim go by faster. The bike, unforntuately, did not go quite as well. I felt flat the whole time, was passed by a few women, and just lacked that extra spark. The bike is usually my strength so it was a bit frustrating but I'm sure a lot of it was due to my lack of quality training leading up to the race. Finlly I headed out onto Eagleman's imfamously brutal and hot run course in 7th place and pretty much alone. I couldn't see anyone ahead of me and no one behind me. I settled into a sustainable pace and when I got mile 4, I looked up to see a pro women about 2-3minutes up the road. I was already a little bummed being in 7th place.  There is nothing worse than just missing an award (in this case, with the prize money going to top 6, 7th was the dreaded spot). So, I set my sights on the 6th place women and tried to reel her in. It was not an easy task, she was pretty far up the road and I was not feeling very good at all. As a matter of fact, a glance at my watch confirmed a brutally slow pace.  Despite this, by mile 7 I managed to catch and pass her. I would like to say that at this point I was estastic and relieved but I was starting to unravel quite a bit and I was actually beginning to wonder if I was even going to be able to make it to the finish without stopping.  I thought about how miserable I've been after DNF'ing my last 3 races and how upset I was going to be if I let myself lose this 6th place spot.  I was tired of being disappointed! So, I sucked it up and kept on running. By mile 10 I was practically in tears because my legs were cramping, my pace was slowing and I was hurting so much. The few glances over my shoulder were not encouraging. I did not have much of a gap and my pace was starting to slow. The last 3 miles felt like eternity.  But, I made it across the finish line one piece AND I quickly realized that this is what 3 DNF's did to me, it made me hungry and made me tougher. I know that Eagleman was far from stellar race from a time standpoint and I was even close to setting any PR's. But, I am proud of myself for not giving up, pushing hard and teaching myself I might be a little tougher than I thought!

Philadelphia Triathlon

Racing the Philadelphia Triathlon is always a mixture of emotions. It's a fun race because it's local and all my friends and supporters come to watch and cheer and race. But it always puts a little added pressure on me because I want to do well in front of the hometown crowds. Olympic distance racing isn't really my thing and this always adds to my nerves. This year, however, things were going to be a little bit different. After the debacle which was the start of my season, my fitness was lacking quite a bit so Coach and I decided it would be best if I trained through this race. So of course I went into Philly Tri after a big training block and a lot of subsequent fatigue. The good part about it being a training race was that it kept me from getting nervous and allowed me to relax and enjoy all the race events. Still, I was secretly hoping my body would surprise me and find a way to respond. Nope. The race was brutal. I knew from the minute I started the swim it was going to be a long day. I was breathing really hard, could not get my arms moving and felt like I was swimming through sludge. I got out of the water a little bit behind the pack...ok, quite a bit behind...but it did find out after there race that unfortunately some of the women missed the last turn buoy and ended up cutting course. So, I wasn't quite as far behind as I had thought. I was hoping to make up some ground on the bike but again, my legs weren't having any of it. The run felt a bit better and it was great seeing so many friends out there cheering. Obviously I wasn't really happy with my splits but PR'ing wasn't the goal after all. I got in a hard workout, caught up with sponsors, chatting with friends and overall had a great time. And after it was all said and done, I ended up 4th!

New Orleans 70.3...67.1....53

It started out with me signing up for a half ironman. Then a week before the race, rumors started circulating about the swim possibly being cancelled due to high winds and being replaced by a 2 mile run. Then a few days before the race, I got an email stating they had to shorten the bike course since the roads were destroyed due to storms. So, I headed down to New Orleans fully prepared to race a shortened course with or without the swim. With it being my first race of the season I was antsy to test my fitness and was really hoping for a swim. I must admit though I was feeling pretty rusty since it had been so long since I raced. Saturday morning I was up and at the race course getting in a few light workouts when I received an email that the swim had officially been cancelled. From70.3 to 67.1 miles! After seeing the shape Lake Pontchartain was in, I wasn't all that surprised that they cancelled the swim but I was still a little disappointed. Race morning went smoothly. Preparing to run first instead swim definitely speeds up the progress although I made sure to get in an extra good warm-up. I knew that the race was going to be off to a fast start with only a 2 mile run. We lined up and were off. As predicted, the girls took off and I hung off the back, trying to keep contact but not run too hard as instructed by my coach. We were back into transition before I knew it and off on the bike. The advantage of only running a 2mile run was that I was a lot closer to the leaders starting the bike than I normally am and I was looking forward to biking in the middle of the action. I had just started to settle into a rhythm after passing a few girls in the early miles when I felt a snap by my right hand. I looked down and saw that my right aero bar extension had popped off and was hanging on just by the zip ties that attached my front water bottle mount. My mind began to whirl as I tried to figure out what to do. I tried to re attach the bar while still on my bike and pedaling but it wouldn't go back in, I tried to pull it all the way off but the zip ties were too tight. I tried to bike with one hand but then the extension kept hitting my wheel. Finally I was forced to pull over. I was able to finally pull the bar off as I watched my competitors whiz by. Boo! I stuffed the bar into the back of my shorts and decided to see how I could ride just up on the hoods or possibly down with just the one bar. It was definitely too windy for the one aero bar position so I used mostly my hoods. Unfortunately my lack of ability to be aero killed my speed and I watched the girls get further and further away. I made it back to T2 and called it a day. I was definitely too far behind at that point to be competitive. It was pretty frustrating but, there was nothing I could've done differently to prevent this from happening so I can't be too upset. I was hoping for some feedback on my fitness level but I guess I’ll have to wait until Florida 70.3. I spent the rest of the day having some fun in down town New Orleans, which isn't hard to do!






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