This season has been a lot different than last. Last season it was all about going longer, all culminating in an iron distance finish, and getting ready for a 24hour race…then getting injured because 22year olds with 2years endurance age shouldn’t do that. But this season has been all about speed, with 10 races consisting of 4 sprints, 5 olympics, and 1 half (which was walked…). All of those sprints were part of the local Tri The Parks race series, and the last race of the series was a little over a week ago. A lot happened that Saturday…
I was up at 4am and out at 5 to drive the 70minutes to the park. The whole drive there I kept my speakers screaming, and kept becoming more and more focused on the race. I got to the park, still in complete darkness, and set up the Endurance Concepts tent, bike rack, and some chairs. I manned the tent until 715, and set off on my pre-race S*B*R warm up. I was around 65* that morning, and being that I loathe the cold weather, I felt like it was 4*. Warm up felt solid, which I credit to Eileen Steil (massage therapist/Ultra triathlete). I learned that it was a wetsuit legal swim when I got back too. Of course I didn’t think the water temp would drop 4* in the 3 days between when I checked last and the race, but I was wrong. So the water was a little chilly as I waded in awaiting the starting gun.
Slow deep breaths as I waited waist deep in the front of the pack. I haven’t been a front of the pack swimmer, but thanks to changing my stroke for the 3rd time this season, and Maria’s crazy good masters sessions at Dynamo, that’s where I am now. Of course those last 30seconds before we start lasted at least 5 minutes, but everything faded into tunnel vision as we were set off. The plan was to go moderate until the first buoy about 150m out, but I felt great and I went to mod-hard to hard as soon as I hit the buoy. Lats, delts and pecs burning, but inside my head I just kept screaming at myself to push harder. 11:50 swim(its a LONG run from the water to transition and the timing mat), the second fastest in my AG, and quick T1 to a flying uphill mount.
This is the second time on this course this season, so I learned from the first time when I tried to mount uphill in my big chain ring. With my chain set in the small ring like it should, I set off with the plan to stay at or just below FTP… yeah…How about I just ride hard and listen to my body so I don’t blow up. Kept it at or above FTP on the ~14.5 mile rolling course, and dismounted into a full sprint in 38:32.
Now because it was still cold and I was pushing it on the bike, my feet were pretty much numb. But a weird thing happened, even with my hard bike effort; my legs were immediately under me for the run. I started out in low zone4, around a 615/mile, and just kept building. I had a guy edge up to me about mile 1, where the hills start, and I jumped on his heels. If you’re not drafting during the run, then you’re losing time. I stayed with him until the down hill, because I still can’t figure out how to run them, and he slowly put more distance between us on each down hill. I was hurting, I can’t tell you how my legs felt because I was past that point of being uncomfortable, but I just kept yelling at myself that I could push further. I hit the turn around, and found another gear, though sadly the downhills still slowed me. As the last turn approached, I started passing a big pack of athletes, and 3 of them actually cheered out, “Go Hollywood!” It’s funny how people know you from your Twitter handle, but either way the cheers made me run faster. Then I pass SLAYER, who utters a few special words in a really angry tone at me (all for encouragement of course), which was just fueled the fire more. The finish comes into view, I glance at my watch to see my split, and see I’m running -6 pace…and then some guy passes me like I was standing still. IDK how fast he was going, but it had to be close to 430 or less. I keep pushing, lungs burning, and cross the line with a 21:20 5k. PR even for open 5k times, and I have more in the tank to get at. Those damn hills ruining my sub 20 split, but I know what I need to work on.
1:13:07 finish, 15th OA (including masters, clydesdale, and superstar chick Yvonne Bedell), with 51st swim split, 14th fastest bike split, and 28th fastest run. (I like this data; shows where you need work). That time was good enough for an AG win, which means I also won the 20-24 AG in the whole TTP series! And now the surprise… I was 1st in my AG of 10…which is the top 10% in a USAT certified event… See where I’m going? Sprint Nats 2012!!
Yeah; I’m excited, but after I overcame the lightheadedness and nausea that came along with that realization yesterday (yes; 11days post race), I realized something; I may have been the one racing and busting my ass in training, but I wouldn’t be here without help. I’m going to dote on people now; you’ve been warned. Being part of TRAKKERS and having the team’s amazing sponsors (Rev3, Kestrel, TYR, AVIA, RecoveryPump, All3Sports, SBR Sports, First Endurance) has helped tremendously. Every session and race has been done using these products pre, post, and during, and I’ve come to swear by them all. My team members have been great too, with the support, and encouragement they’ve given all season, and becoming a second family. Then there’s my coach Tony Hammett, who seems to know me better some times than I do, and has led me down the path to where I am now(Tony had 4 athletes place in the overall series standings!) It’s his coaching and the Endurance Concepts mindset in their coaches that helped me and pushed me this season. And there’s my family, who I lean on more than anyone else and who are always my biggest supporters and fans.
Enough doting on people though, The big thing is that I’m here, at a national level of competition just 3 years and 1.5months after my wreck. And when everyone around you, including the brain surgeon with like 14years of school under his belt says it has to be ‘a God thing’, ie miracle, you believe them. Even though the first thing out of my mouth, beside, “I’m hungry”, after I came out of my coma was along the lines of , “God gave me a choice, and then brought me back”, people like to hear what the doctors said. So the biggest thanks goes to Him for bringing me here, and allowing me the abilities to preform.
Sometimes we forget it’s not just us, so thank you.