So we all work and hard in hopes we can put it all together in a race; at least that's my truth. Well, my truth became reality at Fl 70.3. The past several months training has been showing great numbers. It was a matter of just putting it all together and having the race unfold.
We all go into races having strategies on how were going to execute our plan. My strategy was unfolding perfectly at Fl 70.3 with a few manageable hiccups. I knew I needed to come out of the water with the first pack of women in the swim, which would allow me to ride with them vs. riding alone; key for me, so I thought. The First few miles of the ride, everyone's fighting for their position. I quickly realized after about 20 minutes into the ride I had to make an executive decision. I kept watching my power numbers drop, so I put in a surge in hopes to create a gap between myself and the group; that didn't happen, everyone just matched my effort. So I had to deviate from my strategy slightly; which always makes me nervous. I either had to keep pushing the pace and pay close attention to my watts, OR, I sit in and ride with the group, ignoring my watts, in hopes that everyone else was working harder on the bike than I was, leaving me with better run legs than them. I decided to sit in and hoped it wasn't going to come and bite me in the ass later.
Coming into T2, I was amongst a group of 6 women, it now came down to the run. Again, another strategy needed to be implemented. Quick T2, hold back a smidge on loop one, push the pace on loop two, and hold on or build loop three; most likely hold on. Another strategy, was my nutrition. For me, nutrition is tricky but key.
Immediately out of T2, I moved into position three. I knew if I nailed my nutrition and kept myself cool, 1was going to be on the podium; two very big tasks in 95+ degree heat. Loop one down, still on target, only two more to go; time to push the pace. First and foremost, get up this big hill then free sailing until loop three. I made it and still had something in my legs. I kept moving and grabbing at each aid station. The coke, Ice, and my First endurance EFS flask were my prized possessions. At one point I had to have looked pregnant with all the ice I had dumped down my jersey. It was getting stuck by my Fuel Belt and creating a glorious ice chest. Ice cold water melting and dripping down my stomach and onto my legs, I couldn't have planned it any better myself.
As I was half way through loop two, I realized I could see second place. That certainly fueled my fire. I quickly quieted my breathing and pushed the pace a little more. I really didn't want her to know I was coming up on her. It's always fun to feel good and know you are more than half way through. As I was going into loop three, I saw my parents and gestured to them, I was "ok". Now the last and final loop. Just get up this HUGE hill (at least that's what it felt like the third time through) and your homeward bound.
Again, the aid stations were my best friend. Grabbing everything I could get my hands on to keep myself cool and hydrated. Hydration is a key factor for me. Yes, it is tough to get lots of water in while running. So I'm sure it is quite the spectacle and confusing to the volunteer as I run through the aid station yelling, water, coke, ice, ice, ice, water, coke...Not to mention the fact that I probably get more on me than I do in my mouth. Something is always better than nothing though.
I make it to the final aid station and bypass it. I knew I was only a half a mile or so out from the finish line. At this point, each step my legs were getting heavier and my will was no longer willing me to push the pace harder, it was willing me to hang on. I knew I wasn't going to make up anymore ground on the leader and finish in second place, if I could just hold on a little longer. I tend to run scared the last half mile to mile because I have been passed there a few times and couldn't respond. This time was different though, I felt strong and was able to create a sizable gap between me and the third place girl, so the threat of being passed the last 800m of the run, wasn't a thought. Fueling properly and keeping cool are without a doubt a necessity for a successful race.
I increased my calories on the bike and run during this race. It made the world of a difference on how I felt overall. I knew I had the fitness, my numbers in training were telling me so. I just needed to put it all together, and I did.
Thanks coach Curt Chesney, First Endurance, Zoot Sports, Colorado Multisport, The Right Stuff, Pro Energy Towel for standing behind me and in my corner. You all continue to make racing and training fun!