So far this season is shaping up to be a little bit of a repeat of last year. First big race of the season was super-hot, with not a not so favorable outcome, followed by a much better “redemption” race. More of a mental redemption than anything. Texas was really more of a mental hit, so I really needed this race to pick me up again. It wasn’t even really the outcome in Texas, it was knowing that I was more ready than ever to have the race of my life, and something beyond my control destroyed that. Everything about the race last weekend in Victoria went awesome. Of course I wanted that first place finish, but I knew when I looked at the start list that it probably wasn’t a reality at this point. Everything is a work in progress right now, and I am seeing awesome results in my training. I can’t just wake up tomorrow morning and expect to be #1. It takes time and hard work, and that’s what we are plugging away at.
I’m doing a very good job so far of picking races that need to be modified. The swim course was shortened the morning of the race to 1500m because there was such an overgrowth of weeds in the lake that they couldn’t clear out enough of a path to make up the full distance. Yuck!(I really, REALLY don’t like weeds…as in completely freaked out by them) When the gun went off, I quickly tried to jump on some feet…..and just about as quickly as that, those feet were gone! The lead pack took off right away, and from my angle, it looked like almost the entire women’s field. Maybe I had jinxed myself by saying the day before that as long as I wasn’t the last one out of the water, I would be happy! There was nothing I could do about it now…I wasn’t catching that pack! Much to my surprise when I got to T1, there were more bikes still on my rack! Maybe my swim wasn’t as bad as I originally thought.
Let the fun begin…onto the bike. This is truly my happy place. I always feel like I can get relaxed and regroup. I knew I had work to do, but kept telling myself that I had 90km to catch those girls….It didn’t have to be done in the first 20 minutes. Sticking to the plan, I kept my watts on the lower end of where I was supposed to be. I could have comfortably biked a little harder, but I think a small part of me was hesitant because of what happened in Texas. I really wanted, and NEEDED a good run. Every time someone yelled a split to me…”3:20 from the leader (Heather) ”. Next one….”3:20 from the leader”. Finally at about 50-60 km (I think), I was 2:50…yay! Not huge, but it was a gain! I pulled into second place with about 30km to go, and had a Police escort for the first time in my life! Ok…kind of lame that I got excited over that, but to me it was a reality check that everything was coming together. I held onto 2nd into T2, and stayed about 2:50 behind Heather.
Let’s face it, there was NO way I was catching her, so the plan was to run as hard as I could for as long as I could (hopefully 21km…), and fend off as many girls as I could. I didn’t know how far behind me Malindi was- if anyone was going to run us down, it would be her. I felt AMAZING going into the run, which helped put me in a positive place. I was cooking along at a pretty good clip, and managed to make it into the second loop before Malindi caught me. YAY!. There is a small out and back section at about 9km, which is where I had a chance to see who was on my tail…. There was two: Rachel and Malindi. I know both these girls can run, so I started to think… 4th place isn’t so bad... Then I started to have an argument with myself, which I hope wasn’t out loud. Just because these two were on my tail, why did I automatically assume I would fall to 4th? “You can’t just give up that easily. You have put the work in, now get your ass in gear and GO!!” Ok, out of the dark place. I was keeping my third place position, and got to the out and back section on the second loop. Someone yelled at me: “She’s 40sec behind you!!”. OMG, 2km to go. There was NO WAY I was giving up 3rd. I put my head down and probably sounded like I was having a panic attack, and left it all out there to hold onto 3rd. I was so happy to see that finish line! A 22:35 swim, 2:25:19 and 1:32:32 run brought me to the line in 4:23:48. A PB, and managed to take home the fastest bike split of the day! All in all, a great day on a BEAUTIFUL course! Now for some recovery before Coeur D’Alene 70.3 next weekend!
A huge thank you to all my sponsors and supporters who helped get me to the start and finish line: Skechers Performance, The Bike Barn, Swagman Racks, CarboPro, Podium Imports, Cobb Cycling, Blue Seventy, Garmin, and Cervelo.