Monday, November 15, 2010

Clearwater Ironman 70.3 World Championships

The pressure was on for this race; most of which was my own. After last years nutrition and GI debacle, I really needed to have a good race. Confidence is a huge part of racing. If your mental game isn't up to par, the outcome doesn't look promising.

I knew after pre-race training, that good thing were to come. I finally felt the bounce back in my step. Not only did I feel fresh, I also felt a confidence that I haven't had when it came to racing the 70.3 distance.

Even though I had a confidence about me, I still had the nerves of a little kid that was trying something for the first time. Every night before bed, at least a week before the race, I visualize the "perfect race". I go as far as visualizing paces, times, transitions, and winning. The mind is a powerful thing; "what one can conceive and believe, they will achieve." With those thoughts in mind, I attempt to call it a night. Rather than sleeping, the night turns into laying there with my eyes closed. I can't remember the last time I struggled that much with sleeping; I was actually glad when 4:00am rolled around.

Race morning couldn't have gone any smoother. I was able to get through my entire routine without feeling the pressure of time. Before I knew it, all the athletes were lining up at the waters edge. My favorite kind of start; beach start. I was the first one in the water, I held onto that lead through the first turn bouy. Then I found myself hanging onto the feet of one of my competitors. As we had to maneuver our way through previous waves, I gradually lost ground, coming second out of the water.

Transition 1 went very smoothly; definitely an improvement from last year. The bike was fast, as expected. Knowing that it was all going to come down to the run, I made sure I stayed on top of my nutrition. Every 10-15min I sipping on my EFS drink and right stuff mixture. I also ate a bite of a lara bar every 30-40min. Coming off the bike, I felt great! I was happy with how smooth T2 went, and how good my legs felt. I thought to myself, just 13 miles to go...

The first 9 miles of the run, I stayed on pace without too much difficulty. Along the way, I kept thinking just a few more miles to go; if I can just hold on a little longer. Unsure of my position, throughout most of the race, I was thankful every time I saw my boyfriend Shane, he was able to update me on where I was at within the field. As I roll through mile 9 and got to mile 10, I was beginning to fade. My body was screaming, no more!!! However, the words of keep pushing, you have just a little more to go, you can't give up now, you have been so strong thus far, out weighted the pain, and helped me get through the last 3 miles. If it weren't for Shane, those last 3 miles could have been a whole lot worse; he was my strength from within.

After crossing the finish line, I still was unsure of where I finished. The next 15min was the longest 15min ever. I was confident I had won, but I needed to wait for everyone to come through before it was confirmed. Low and behold, I had done it...I am a WORLD CHAMPION!!!

Shortly after my race, a friend of mine sent me this quote; loved it!

It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worth cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. Theodore Roosevelt

Thanks to all my sponsors and coach (Joanna Zeiger):
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You all have helped make my 2010 turn out to be a GREAT year! I am looking forward to racing 2011 as a pro. It is time to up the ante. 2011 here we come!!!


The days leading up to Nationals were nerve racking; so many expectations. After having mechanical problems last year, I was really ready to put it all out there. My pre-race training didn't go as well as I had hoped, my legs still felt slightly heavy. However, I was familiar with the course and had one more day to recover. I looked forward to racing at sea level against the top athletes in the country.

This was the first time I was actually concerned about the heat. Being that I've always trained in the heat and humidity, I never thought about it. But now, living in Boulder, the humidity has become a concern. No matter the temperature or any other external factor, I knew I had put in the work, so now it was time to give it my all. Race morning rolled around, I was ready!!! We all toed the line, anxiously awaited the sound of the fog horn...and we were off. The swim was warm, so no wetsuits. However, I did race in my TYR swimskin.

T1 went smoothly, off to the bike. Now this was where I really noticed the benefits of training in altitude. I felt as though I was flying. Sure wish I would have raced with my CycleOps powertap; it would have been nice to know what kind of power I was holding. Towards the end of the ride, another female and I battled back and forth. She was in my age group, so all the more reason to push the pace. We came into T2 simultaneously; the battle continued on the run.

Leaving T2 just in front of my competition, I was feeling good. The first 3 miles of the run I was on pace; still battling back and forth. With each hill, I was passed on the downhill. I tried to take advantage of the downhill and relax a bit. My competitor saw it as an opportunity to pick up the pace. I can distinctly remember hearing her footsteps and breathing as she made downhill running look so easy. To my advantage, I was familiar with the course. I knew where the last hill on the course was. As a result, I was able to picked up the pace in hopes that I was going to be able to put a gap between us and hold on. With the finish line in sight, I knew the end was near.

After crossing the finish line, I was still unsure where I was at in the field; that's one disadvantage of racing as an amateur. I really didn't find out the final results for a couple hours post race. Reason being is, I was pulled immediately after the race for drug testing. It took a full 2 hrs to get the testing completed. By the time I got back to the race sight, the final results were posted; I was nervous to check. I knew I had finished well, but didn't know the truth. What a feeling to run your finger down the results ,to find out you were the NATIONAL CHAMPION! What a rush!

Thanks to all those that support and sponsor me through this adventure.

Joanna Zeiger (coach)
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