Monday, September 19, 2011

Back in Branson

Last I wrote I was bummed about my race in Vegas. I was scheduled to go do Augusta, which would be two weeks later. In the few days after Vegas, my legs felt pretty decent (minus my quads from all the climbing) and I had a little talk with Coach Kevin about doing Branson instead. At first Kevin was pretty hesitant. I think he was just concerned about my state emotionally after Vegas. He says that can take more out of you then a good race, and I definitely agree with him. But once I took the emotion out of the race, I knew that I was ready to go in Vegas and truly believed I just made a few costly errors there. I knew I was fit and ready for a good race. Was I little scared? Heck yeah! You can't come away from such a disappointing race without doubting yourself. That's normal. But I refuse to let fear dictate what I'm going to do with my life. Branson is a 3 hr drive, my kids and husband could watch, and quite frankly I couldn't afford the trip to Augusta. So Kevin agreed but told me to be realistic. I can deal with realistic.

On Friday I dropped the kids off to school and did some last minute errands of the swim/bike/run variety. Lisa picked me up and we hit the rode by 11. We had a nice little girl's drive to Branson. Once there we checked in and then decided to go ahead and drive the course. I went to this race last year but had my first ever DNF with a broken chain. So it was nice to get familiar again. Also, they changed the last part of the course. Last year was a nice decent back into town. This year not so much! It included going around a school, a bike path, and then a nice little 14% climb. Thanks guys! ha! I'd also like to mention that it rained the entire time. This was going to be a tough day.

Saturday morning Lisa and I did a little bike/run. I was worried because my quads still felt a bit heavy and tight. Lisa reminded me I still have another whole day. What really gave me some confidence is teammate Hillary Biscay's message letting me know that I could do a dirty double. She is the queen of the dirty doubles! And she said the 2nd is usually the better race. Okay, keep telling myself this! After our little day before bike/run we met up with my good friend, Jasmine and her boyfriend Brandon. Jasmine is like a little sister to me. At the OTC when we first met she was 19 years old. We were best buds there and did all our training together. I am admittedly jealous that now she and and Amanda get to do all their training together :( In any event, it was just like old times. I have found that I have a hard time being serious at all when she is around. But I guess that's good for the nerves? We hit up the race meeting later that day and by the time I got back to the hotel Lucas and the kids arrived. They were psyched about the hotel. I apologize to the people below our room as they immediately started jumping between the two beds!

Race morning came and Lisa and I set up our transition 2, then took the shuttle to the swim start/transition 1. I left my bike overnight with my friend Amanda E., who was staying at the hotel there. After getting the bike all set (thanks Amanda again for letting us crash your room), Jasmine and I decided to just chill in the lobby instead of sitting in the rain outside. We put on our wetsuits half way, then took off around 615 (race started at 7). We were the last pros to arrive, but we just racked our bikes and headed to the swim start. During warm-up I knew my "swim" body felt a little sluggish. I hoped that I would have someone to swim with because Jasmine would crush all of us in the water. The cannon went off and sure enough Jaz was gone (by the way she beat all the men). Luckily Caroline was next to me and and I hopped on her feet. Around half way through another girl came by and we all swam in together. I had a quick transition and got on the road. Luckily the rain had subsided and stayed that way until about 5 minutes after I finished the race! My legs felt great, but I still played it pretty conservative because I knew this ride would take over 2:45. I caught Nina pretty early on and knew Jasmine would be well up the road. Once one the main road (they closed off a 4 lane highway, how cool is that!) I could see Jasmine ahead but just stayed focused on my efforts as this ride is literally up or down. On one of the ascents I looked over and poor Jaz was changing a flat. I asked if she needed anything and she said she got it. For the next two loops I just tried to stay focused. I knew I was riding away from the other women, but one thing Vegas taught me was anything can happen! Once we got off the 4 lane highway, we were back on a 2 lane highway and things started to get a bit sketchy. A sprint tri was going on in conjunction with the race. Usually I would have been hammering this section, but this section was open to traffic. Several cars were stuck behind some of the sprinters. So I'm riding my brakes because I can't go around the cars, and the cars won't go around the cyclist. It was a tad frustrating and I definitely lost some time here. Finally what felt like an eternity it cleared out and I was back at it and was finally back at T2.

The run was a 3 loop course that took us through the Branson landing which has a bunch of shops. It was great for spectators and they definitely helped keep the morale high. Around mile 2 Matt Leito caught me while he was on his second loop. He told me to stay with him because it took him a long time to catch me. I did just that and it made the miles just click by. I knew I was putting more time on the girls, but didn't want to take any chances. Also, Matt was pretty entertaining so I had to keep up! Matt, I apologize--I usually have a little more wit when I'm not so tired. The best part was seeing my kids multiple times each loop. They would yell things like, "Sprint!!" and "Move it Mommy!" I also got to see lots of Tulsans out on the course, which was awesome. The best is seeing your training partners: Amanda E won the whole amateur race, Susie was 2nd in her age group, and Lisa was hanging tough after an especially long, hard season.

I got to the finish line and was greeted with flowers and huge bottle of wine. I gave Lucas and the kids a quick kiss and the first thing Rowan says to me is, "Is it time to eat now Mommy?" Ahhh yes, kids will keep you grounded!

It began to downpour so we got the kids out of there and warmed up back at the hotel. We hit up awards. Congrats to all the ladies, it was a lot of fun, hard work! We got home by 730 and the kids were out by 745. I think I made it to 8.

I really learned a lot from Vegas. You can ready my full nutrition report on I changed just a few things but it made all the difference!

Again, thanks to all my sponsors who make this possible. Trakkers, Rev 3, Recovery Pump, First Endurance, TYR, Kestrel, Avia, Louis Garneu, 918 XC, Team Red White and Blue. Thanks Kevin for encouraging me and keeping the faith! You always say the right things. And most of all to my family! Your support means more then you'll ever know!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

70.3 World Champs 2011, Las Vegas

Let me start by saying this was an absolutely awesome course! I like it so much better then Clearwater. Just driving the course the day before I knew this had the elements I thrive in: hilly, windy, & "hot"! I was excited for race day and was so ready to go on Saturday I wished it was a day sooner! Sunday came bright and early. This race has two transitions so it threw in some logistical difficulty, but we got it figured out pretty well. I got to transition and wasn't my normal self. By normal I mean that I usually don't get flustered, but I dropped my electrical tape in the dark and couldn't find it, and almost walked off without putting my bike shoes on my bike! What was I doing? Well, in my defense there were 2 or 3 camera crews next to me. No, not taking pictures of me as one would think :) But taking pictures of the bike, or rather the person racked next to me, the awesome Julie Dibens. I was trying to duck out of the video crew's shot half my time setting up. Ha!
We hopped in the water about 10 minutes before go time. I had a nice little warm-up, got in position, and before I knew it the cannon was firing. We took off and I never conceded in the swim like I have in the past. I swam hard and then once it strung out a little bit hopped in behind a few feet, one being the eventual World Champ. I had a great, smooth transition (despite my rough time setting it up) and got out on the course. Right away I knew my legs were ready to bike. I caught up with several girls, and then it became a bit of cat and mouse the whole ride, but also with a male pro?? I tried to keep my distance off the back or get to the front, but never me in the middle because I knew this guy was going to cause a penalty, and sure enough he did. Luckily it wasn't me but not so fortuate for my competitor Melanie McQuaid who hardly needs to draft. She was blitzing through our ride.
Off on the run it took about a mile for my legs to come around. Then I felt strong and ready to pick off some girls ahead of me. My legs were moving, I felt great and I was within 90 seconds of 4 girls ahead while sitting in 8th. Perfect. Around mile 6 I head a rumbling in my stomach. Hmmm, this is not so good. In all of my years of running and triathlon this has never happen. I wouldn't call it a blow-up but more a blow-out if you catch my drift. Luckily there were port-a-johns on site. After a few of these I had nothing. It took all my energy just to move my legs. I've never wanted to stop so badly in my life. But on the other hand, I knew I'd never forgive myself for stopping (although that probably would have been the smart thing to do!)
After letting the dust settle and taking out the emotion, I'm obviously disappointed with my result. I made a few mistakes. While they were simple mistakes, they caused major problems in the end. The important thing is to fix these mistakes, and not spend another minute beating myself over this race. The 10th anniversary of 9/11 is a good reminder that Jessica Meyers having a bad last 7 miles of a 70.3 is hardly a tragedy. Also, I was able to look up and see that my good friend Jessica Jacobs was about to win Ironman Wisconsin. She has had a tough year and it brought tears to my eyes. That is resiliance right there. And then Amanda and Michael Lovato won their first 70.3 together! How cool is that? Finally, I was proud of Heather Jackson for running into the top 5. What a cool chick. I love seeing nice, friendly people do so well. Way to get after it!
I wanted to thank everyone that contributed to my race for Team Red White and Blue! Much much appreciated! And also to my wonderful sponsors, Rev 3, Trakkers, Kestrel, Recovery Pump, First Endurance, TYR, Avia, Louis Garneu, 918 XC. Also to Superleggera for getting my fit just right! Lastly to my awesome parents for coming to support me. You guys are the best pit crew (sorry you always pick the not so great ones!) Until next time!