Saturday, September 15, 2012

Did That Really Just Happen?? Rev3 Cedar Point

My apologizes for a tardy race report. I had heard that the soreness after your first 140.6 can be pretty rough so I assumed it was just something I had to suffer through. It wasn't until I sat at the Dr.'s office with Gwyn on Wednesday that I realized I was feeling especially bad, which I explained felt like getting hit by a truck. It finally dawned on me that maybe this wasn't post-race soreness, but something else. Sure enough, I picked up a nasty case of strep throat on the journey back to Tulsa!! Well, at least I have good timing? In any event, I wouldn't have done my race report justice as I was barely forming complete sentences. So here I sit before the kids wake to bring you up to date. Apologizes again as this could be a long one!
Thank you Eric Wynn for the beautiful photo! Two weeks before Cedar Point, I raced the Rev3 Maine Olympic. No, you didn't see a race report. I wrote one, but made the decision not to post it. And no, the report wasn't ranting about my penalty--incidentally, the head referee Charlie sought me out at Cedar Point and personally apologized. Wow! Seriously, I was so touched! Just a brief explanation; at Maine we started behind age groupers. As we were biking away, I was just behind Nicole and we were passing age groupers. I staggered off of Nicole, which forced me to ride to the left of the lane. I got pulled over by the official, my penalty being "riding in the middle of the road." I tried to explain to him that I'm a pro; if I wasn't riding there I would be in violation of Pro rules. No dice. The guy just didn't get it. And to make matters worse I didn't realize you have to have both feet on the ground. I stood there well beyond the actual time to serve, and my mental state was completely deflated. I was able to run back to 5th, but in the end I needed those valuable points for the series and I have a suspicion this penalty has the potential to bite me in the ass all the way to the very end. So I decided not to post my report not because of the penalty. Maine seemed to be the culmination of the highs and lows, leaving me completely emotionally spent. We've all heard, "God doesn't give you anything you can't handle." Which my response is, "I wish He didn't trust me so much." In all seriousness, I will give you an excerpt from my Maine report:
My best friend Jenn keeping my spirits up all weekend. Those closest to me know I've been having a tough year. There are days when Coach Kevin and I have completely hit the reset button. We even discussed that the entire year might be a reset button. Something deep inside me keeps me going. Call it hard headiness, stupidity...or maybe gumption or resilience. I don't know. I've made it no secret that triathlon saved me from going down a very dark road. After returning from Iraq I struggled. But each morning I had something waiting for me, something to think about, something to give me hope. Perhaps this year I continue with triathlon because I have to prove to myself that I'm still strong, I'm still here, I'm still fighting.
Getting ready for lobster post Maine with Jenn and Courtenay. So once the Maine dust settled, I spoke with Kevin on Friday. We were talking about the points, the season, my fitness. My original race schedule had Cedar Point as my first full distance. But we got to July, life was crazy, and realized it was too much to ask out of my life. I said to Kevin something along the lines that I wish I had a little more faith in myself back in July because I was so close to being able to do a race this long. My swims and bikes were training as if I was doing a full. What wasn't prepared was my run--my longest being 90 minutes. So the more we talked about it, checked out the start list, went over the points for the series and what doing this race would mean strategically, the more excited we both got. Finally, 8 days out before Cedar Point, I called Charlie to tell him I was in! The following days were spent getting ready. It was actually pretty easy as I had barely unpacked from Maine. I made the decision to fly in on Friday, which Kevin was a little nervous about since it was pretty late for a race this distance. But the reality is I wanted to be home with the kiddos and cause as little disruption to their life as possible. I did my interviews right when I got there, looking nice and greasy for the cameras! They asked me several times about winning. I told them my goal was to move up in the series. And really I was more interested in making that marathon, a distance I've never covered either!
Pro Panel with Erin Spitler, a real sweetheart! Saturday the weather was crazy and it threw a little wrench in my usual pre-race swim, bike, run. But I was amazingly calm, trying not to expend any more energy worrying. I hit up the pre-race meeting and pro panel. I was back to my room and resting by 1:30. I went to bed at 9, only to wake up at 10 in a complete panic! Was I really about to do this tomorrow? What did I get myself into? What was I thinking? Why did I think this was a good idea? I'm not prepared for this!! People train the whole year!!! Ahh man, this is not good. I got up, banished the thoughts, got some Melatonin and went back to bed. I slept like a baby until 3:45 when it was time to get up and eat. I remained calm, watching Friends and drinking coffee, until it was time to get down to transition. Right before I left I said, "Do I really have to do this?" I also knew the answer to it. Just go get it done. Smile while you're doing it. Think of Trevor, my little brother, in route to Afghanistan. This is nothing. This is get to do this!
Nice and early sporting some bed head. I set up my transition and before I knew it I was headed down to the swim start with the most beautiful sunrise. Before I knew it the horn was sending us off and I immediately fell in behind Carrie Lester. We were making good time, but things got confusing and with about 1000m to go somehow we got gapped. I just kept a hard tempo going not sure where she went, continuing to pass pro men until the end. Once out on the course I was waiting for Carrie to come by me, which would definitely help with visual on the bike. However, I got word about 30 miles in she was ahead of me. I'm still not quite sure what happen and looking at the results she ended up beating me out of the water by 2 minutes! What was I doing? I was swimming hard, I didn't die out there, was my sighting that terrible? Needless to say, I was a little aggravated, especially since now she was biking with Malaika and my steady gap now was opening up! Darn it!! The upswing, is it forced me to ride my race, my watts--which probably were much more conservative compared to the more seasoned Malaika and Carrie. And by looking at the time I knew I was close to Malaika’s winning split a year ago, so while my legs didn't feel especially spunky I knew I was still in this race. And thank goodness for my Quarq as I would have been in no-man's land that entire bike!
Photos thanks to Nils Nilsen. Finally made one of his shots! I arrived at T2 and took the time to lace up my shoes, the PI Streak 2, and took off. I heard that I was 8.5 minutes behind, which I thought wasn't too bad. We made the decision to wear a Garmin. Yep, I'm a believer now. I was given strict instruction to run at 7:45-7:50 pace the first 30 minutes. Our whole strategy was to get to the last 13.1 miles as fresh as possible. I followed the instructions and it felt like I was walking. I made sure my stomach was settled, which it was, and thought of it as a "warm up." At 4 miles in, I had word I was 12.5 minutes behind. I wasn't discouraged at all! Truth is, I felt great! And I knew to lose 4 minutes in 4 miles means they were taking it out hot and hopefully that would be to my benefit later on. The next miles I steadily increased the tempo. Half way through I got would I was roughly 8 minutes behind. I felt great and told myself, "this is where your race starts." From there I was making big gains and I just let my body do what it's been taught to do my entire life: run! There were several out and backs and I just smiled the whole time at my friends, at how lucky I was to be doing this, and that I can't believe I feel this good! Kevin, he really is a genius! I passed Malaika around mile 22 and started to wonder if I could get Carrie. At mile 23 I got word she was 3 minutes up, and I knew that would be a tall order. I think mentally at this point I put it in cruise control, soaked up the crowds, and really enjoyed the moment. Wow, did I really just do this? 2nd place, fastest run of the day, but more importantly I executed a smart race where I was in control the whole day, finishing in a time of 9:19:39! And most importantly, I got to share the moment with some very special people, near and far! Truly, there is no way I could do it without them!
Thank you Daniel Smith for snapping a pic! So here I sit, barely doing anything the entire week! Ha! We are trying to figure out the rest of the season. The sickness definitely is a hurdle, but I wouldn't change a thing. The whole experience was amazing, and I can't thank Rev3 enough for being my biggest supporter of this journey! I'm lucky enough to call their crew friends. And of course to my sponsors: Rev3, Recovery Pump, Powerbar, Pearl Izumi, John R. Jones, PC, Kestrel, Challenge Tires, Rudy Project, Blue Seventy, and to Team Red White and Blue...each make this dream possible, thank you! To Coach Kevin Purcell for believing in me, being patient and understanding, and always knowing what's best for me. My awesome family for always being on "Team Jessica" and never being embarrassed that their daughter, sister, mom is still an athlete :) To my amazing friends here in Tulsa that train with me through thick and thin. I couldn't do it without you--not just being the best training partners, but the best friends! Suzie, Kim, Ray and Duncan, thanks for sticking with me!! Your support means more than you know! Lastly, to Rowan and Gwyneth. You two always keep my grounded, keep me smiling, and force me to find my strong! I'm one lucky lady!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Rev 3 Wisconsin

It's obscenely early as I sit and wait for my plane home Tulsa, so I figured I'd be productive and knock out my race report. This weekend I had the opportunity to race another Rev 3 event, this time in The Dells, Wisconsin. Without boring you with logistical nuancies of the race, let's just say that after my Quassy fiasco I was unusually anal about my travel arrangements. I arrived to the hotel around 8pm on Thursday after encountering only a few hick-ups.  I built my bike while I waited for my food to be delivered and tuned into some Olympics. Overall it was fairly uneventful, which is just great in my book!  The following morning I linked up with the Rev3 crew as I really wanted to meet everyone behind the scene. I have to tell you that it was quite humbling. I feel like that saying, "they work so hard" is an understatement. By the time their boots hit the ground, it's non stop to put on not just a race, but a weekend of events for athletes and family to enjoy. And what impressed the most is the interaction within the staff; they seem more like family. I can't say enough to sing their praise. If you haven't done a Rev3 race, you are missing out plain and simple! I linked up with The Mary Miller to check out the bike course. How many blondes does it take to read a map?? Ironically we both pride ourselves on being good at directions. Turns out two blondes don't make a right. Unless that's a right turn when you should be turning left! Once we figured out the course, I was pleased that this was going to be a hard, fair course.  There were two substancial climbs, with the rest being undulating hills. Also, the wind was going to pick up as the day went out, which was another element to factor in. The run course was also quite hilly, overall the course was deceptively difficult.  Afterwards I had a quick pre-race interview which got me thinking even more about my race strategy. When asked about predictions, I stated that it would be foolish of me to make any. The truth is we all train hard and you just don't know what each person is coming into the race with. Some might be in a build for an iron distance, others tapered and ready to go. Some might be recovering from injury...the point is you never know, so never count anyone out because anything can happen, especially on a course like this! Once I got back I chilled back in the room with my trusty Recovery Boots until dinner. I got to catch up with my teammate Richie and his wife Melissa. I've said it before and the same applies to Richie--it's great to see nice people do well. He didn't get to this point overnight and he is a great example of years of hard work paying off! Saturday morning I met up with my other teammate Malika for my usual swim/bike/run. I had a little bike drama with my wheel rubbing, which I was stressing about. However, I looked over at Malika who calmly told me she broke her seat clamp, and would have to borrow a bike to race on Sunday. Suddenly my bike drama didn't seem so dramatic! After the pro meeting it was back to chilling, a little dinner, then an early night to get ready for an early morning. Race morning finally arrived. The hotel was walking distance to transition, so I took my time to head over there. The weather was quite cool  and once I got my bike set up and warm up complete, I headed down to the swim start.  I got a little worried because I felt a little too calm. So times those nerves are good to get you going yet I seemed to have none! Once the race started I immediately felt strong and was in a good draft. However, they distinctly told us to keep the buoys on our left and this draft was heading down the center of the swim course. I sited a gal to my right who was keeping the buoys on the correct line, I jumped behind her but the realized the other gals were aiming towards the very last turn around buoy, and we were on a longer course. Turns out later I was following Malika, as we were both confused at the other line. I tried to hop back with the pack but now I was gapped. Doh!!! Dumb dumb!! I stayed strong and a couple times thought I could catch back up. No bueno! I felt great and strong and kicked myself for my tactical error, but focused on minimizing the gap I created. Once out I heard 1:52 down on the leader  wasn't too bad. Once I got to the bikes I focused on staying patient, trusting my training, and be confident that the girls would come back to me. I'll admit, a few times I started to worry.  But finally at mild 40 I saw a speck ahead, then another at 47, then finally Malika in the final few miles. Wow, I guess it worked because a few times I worried I was out of it and now I was headed into T2 in 2nd. I ran out with Malika and got an update that Nicole was 3 min up the road. What an outstanding ride she had! My run legs felt strong, not necessarily "fast", but good enough to hold on to 2nd. Overall I was pleased with my effort. This year I've walked away from each race with one (or two) discipline that was absolutely off. I felt strong the entire day and proved myself that the work eventually pays off. Once again I have to thank my incredible sponsors and supporters! Rev3, Recovery Pump, Powerbar, Pearl Izumi, John R. Jones, PC, Kestrel, Challenge Tires, Rudy Project, Blue Seventy, and to Team Red White and Blue! Coach Kevin for his always level head and encouragement. And to my family and friends for your constant love, help, and sometimes a swift kick to my arse!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

BSLT 70.3 2012!

Buffalo Springs looked like it was not going to make it on my schedule this year. I'm focusing mainly on Rev3 events with Portland coming up after Quassy. However, I have a family reunion the week of Portland in Knoxville and logistically getting to the race and back home to Tulsa looked to be a little tougher than I first anticipated. Plus, I would have to cut my family time short and it's not very often I get to see my siblings(been 2 years since I've seen 2 of my bros) and while I love racing, I stand firm first! So a week after Quassy I got to do my first century ride of the year with Tulsa Tough. I talked it over with Kevin and threw out the idea of taking a short trip to Buffalo Springs instead a few weeks later. It would be perfect because it's logistically an easy trip, plus we had a few Tulsans making the trip. I decided to throw my hat in the ring, and suddenly our Tulsa roster grew and before we knew it we were loading up the bikes on Friday to make the nearly 8 hour drive to Lubbock. This trip was also in conjunction with "girl’s weekend" with Gywnnie. This would the first time she had ever spent any extended time apart from her twin brother. To say she loved all the attention is a bit of an understatement. I have to throw a huge "THANK YOU" to my friends. I know you guys aren't completely used to 5 year old antics, so thanks for your patience the whole weekend! This race had a completely different objective for me. Yes, I always want to show up to the start line and give my very best effort. But sometimes as Professionals we can forget to enjoy the experience around us. This race I wanted to savor the experience; savor having fun with my family and friends and take a step back and remember why we get into the crazy sport to begin with. Buffalo Springs is the perfect place to do that. It just has the low key feel to it and Mike and Marti put on an outstanding race that presents little fuss going into it. Saturday rolled around and our crew made its way to the race site to check it out. We did the usually swim/bike/run and we were joined by my Mom, who drove in from Houston on Friday. We also brought the trailer bike so Gwynnie was able to go out on our pre-race spin and run with the whole gang. Huge thank you to Ray. Obviously for taking care of all of us the entire weekend, but for hauling Gwyn up and down those hills. She had a blast and looking over at her on our spin, I felt like I had to pinch myself on how lucky I am. She makes you look at the whole experience differently. When I was standing up going up a hill on the bike, she looks over at me and says, "How do you do that Mommy?" The next day during the race she hopped on the bike and started shaking the bars left and right, explaining, "This is how my Mom does it!" It's the little things that make up the good stuff in life! Joanna (a new pro in OK) and I hit up the pro meeting that afternoon. It was short and sweet, but best of all entertaining. Immediately following the meeting Gwynnie and Kasey Jacobs (Jessica's daughter) got a quick hair-do from Amanda Lovato. I joke that you can't be around Amanda without something coming out pink. The girls loved the pampering!! That evening Joanna cooked up a storm in our hotel. We were joined by Jess Jacobs and her family, along with my Dad's high school football coach, Coach Ragus and his wife Maragret. I'm sure most people know what a big deal football is in Texas. My Dad's high school team was a two time State Champion under Coach Ragus. My Dad went on to play and start for the University of Houston and was also the Captain of the team. To hear stories about my Dad's work ethic made me really proud. Also, talking with Coach Ragus and Margaret made me realize why they played such a pivotal role in my Dad's life. To say he was progressive during my Dad's high school years would be an understatement. It's amazing how in tune he is with all of athletics. In fact, they even named a Natatorium after him in Lubbock! Finally race morning came bright and early. Before I knew it we were lining up to race. The water was deemed wet suit legal and unfortunately I only have a full sleeve Blue Seventy. The wetsuit is very comfortable, but once we started swimming I realized I was just too warm. On the flip side, I finally had a great swim, catching a ride from new pro Christine Anderson who I know is a great swimmer. Unfortunately we went off course for a bit. I realized what we were doing so I yelled out to her, but she couldn't hear me. I got back on course and the paddle boarder rounded her up. By the final turn buoy she had caught back up to me and we made our way back. When we ran out of the water I realized my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest and I was completely out of breath. Yes, I had swum a bit harder than usual, but I realize now this was the first sign of me getting dehydrated despite massive amounts of fluid intake prior to the race. I was out on the bike after a quick transition. I chose a different wheel set up, opting for front and rear Zipp Firecrest 808 outfitted in Challenge Tires. Last year I used a disc, but lately I've been having a real problem with the disc rubbing my frame when I stand to climb. We are still trying to get the disc right in the "sweet spot." With all the climbs here I just wanted to put my mind at ease. I will say that the 808s felt a lot more agile cornering and climbing. However, on the flat, windy sections I was kind of wishing for my disc! Ahhh, the grass is always greener, right? I got water at every station. I diligently took my nutrition and salt. I rode in no man's land nearly the entire ride, except for the few age group men that passed me. The winds kicked up and I was ready to get off my bike in 2nd and ready to crack out a good run. I ran out of T2 and knew immediately I was in trouble. I have never felt like this. I went between wanting to throw up to pass out. I felt short of breath and had no sweat coming off my body. I focused on getting to each aid station and wanted to stop the entire run. Gwynnie was out on the course on the trailer bike cheering me out and I'd flash a smile to her each time I'd see her. Jess passed me pretty early on. I also knew there was no way I'd be running down anyone. This race became one goal...survival!! At the turn around I saw I had a nice cushion on the rest of the field, so I just tried to put one foot in front of the other. By the final 2.5 miles I thought, "I don't think there is any way I can finish this." I will say the power of the mind is incredible because I made it, and immediately went to get my first ever IV bag in a race. But let me tell you, that IV is worth its weight in gold! I felt like a million bucks shortly after! Gwyn was a little freaked out by the whole thing, but I assured her in didn't hurt. Pretty soon she was all over my while I was getting the fluids in, so she obviously got over it! We collected Duncan, Suzie, and Joanna after a brutal day. We went back to the hotel and had a birthday celebration for Suzie. We loaded up and checked out of the hotel, but had 4 hours to kill before awards. We hit up Target to shop where Gwyn exclaimed, "Where's Duncan? We lost the old man!!" Luckily we found him and headed to Starbucks where we ran into the champ, fellow Oklahoman Amanda Stevens and her awesome hubby Randy. Gwyn got a new tattoo hit and tried her hand. Thank you Amanda for letting my daughter practice on you. This is what you get for beating me!!! hahaha!! We hit up awards and then hit the road for our drive home that night. Gwyn was out within the first half hour. I was jealous!! We finally got home around 3am. A huge "thank you" again to Ray for driving the grumpy triathletes home after a really long day! This trip was one of the best I've ever had. As for the race, I'm taking home some real positives. Things are going in the right direction. I had a great swim and bike, both faster than the year before. I finally took a look at my run time and will admit that I shuddered a bit at first, but I have to be proud that I stuck it out because God knows I didn't want to! Thank you to my incredible sponsors: Rev3, Powerbar, Kestrel, Pear Izumi, Recovery Pump, Rudy Project, BlueSeventy, Challenge Tires, John R. Jones, PC and Team Red White and Blue. To Kathy at Runner's World for being one the most generous, kind hearted people I've ever met! To Coach Kevin for sticking with me, to my amazing friends for taking this trip, and to my Mom for always being such a support! Love you all! Until next time!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Quassy 2012 Race Report

I'm on my trip back home to Tulsa. My adventures began on Thursday afternoon. I was due to arrive in Hartford, CT at 11pm, where I was to meet up with some more Rev3 folks for the drive to Southbury an hour and a half away. However, my connection in Dallas was delayed for 3.5 hrs because the flight had no crew. I let my travels buddies know to go ahead without me since I would be getting in so late. I called a cab service while waiting in Dallas since I figured I didn't want to be sorting that out at 2:30 am. Once I finally got in, my driver met me but he was standing with another guy. This kid was going to visit his girlfriend in Hartford, couldn't get a cab and was hoping to share my vehicle. By this point I was tired and stressed about how late I would be arriving to the hotel--the last thing I wanted to do was extend the trip another half hour. But then I felt bad (darn conscious!) and agreed while gritting my teeth wondering why the kid couldn't a. Have the sense to line up his own travel while we waited over 3 hrs in Dallas or b. Get his girlfriend's butt out of bed to come get him. What can I say, I'm a little less tolerant when tired! I finally arrive to the lovely Heritage Hotel. I get to my room and fall into bed, glancing at the clock and wincing at the sight of 4:02. Ugh. I try to sleep in and make it to around 10. I remind myself that this is more hours of consecutive sleep than I got for the entire first year of my twins' lives. I ended up doing absolutely nothing Friday besides building my bike and dinner with friends. Saturday was the usual pre race swim, bike, run and pro meeting but with the challenge of pouring rain. That evening my best friend from college drove in from NYC to watch the race. Of course we chatted a bit, then lights out at 930 in preparation for an early wake up race morning. Unfortunately the drunken wedding guests below my room decided to replace my alarm and woke me up at midnight. Looking back I should have objected right then, but kept thinking "they will leave soon." Finally a little after 2 I called the front desk, where they profusely apologized and told me that security was on their way. Apparently I wasn't the only one complaining! After getting back to sleep my alarm went off 1 hr later and I woke without my usual excitement. After reflecting on the whole weekend I realized I was just plain tired and grumpy. These feelings were temporarily masked with pre -race excitement. I knew I was coming into this race a lot fitter than a year ago, which made me really excited to see my progression. I had a great swim & bike last year & exited t2 in 5th, where I basically ran gingerly due to my soleus tear 6 weeks early. This year I was ready to run fast, and to mix up with a world championship field. It's funny how things can work out. You can have sub-par preparation (like last year) and really surprise yourself. On the flip side you can have great preparation and really surprise yourself--in not such a good way!! I started the swim and just lacked any opening speed. I felt very strong through the whole swim but missed my pack and swam a pretty lonely race. I started the bike and heard time checks throughout and was not giving any time back and closed to within 30sec of the girls I had hoped to come out of the water with. But somehow from mile 40-56 I gave up 2.5 minutes to everyone. I didn't feel bad. I actually felt quite strong. This particular part of the course is quite technical with a lot of turns making it difficult to see anyone, even if they are only 30 sec in front. I realize now how vital these visual ques are because really I was just in la-la land. Yet again why racing as a pro makes your swim position imperative! I started the run feeling strong and knew I had the run fitness to be competitive. Each mile I got closer and closer but ran out of real estate to change my position, landing in 10th. Of course I'm disappointed--not with my place but that I know I didn't have the race I'm capable of. But what I can take away from this is that I'm very strong, I just lacked that upper intensity needed to be competitive in this field. And also to be smarter with my traveling. Expect delays--don't plan on coming in late because that can quickly become tooooo late! With these women you can't give up 1%!! They truly are something else! Again, a huge thanks to my sponsors and supporters! Rev3, Powerbar, Kestrel, Pearl Izumi, Recovery Pump, Rudy Project, Challenge Tires, BlueSeventy, Team RWB, HammerHead (formerly 918xc) Bike Shop. To my coach Kevin P for helping me see the big picture. And to Jenn Delaney for making the trip and not letting me wallow. We've literally been through the best of times and worst of times--from WestPoint to Officer Basic to Fort Hood to Iraq and back. What a reminder of how lucky I am to have people like her in my life!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Rev3 Knoxville!

Here I sit finally getting around to my race report for Rev3 Knoxville. First off, Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there! May your day be drama free!!
Since I last wrote from Galveston I had a few things going on before Knoxville. I got to catch up with the Rev3 crew in there run across America. They were just north of Tulsa so I rounded up a few locals and we tried to give the runners a day off. A huge thanks to Kathy and Bill--Kathy covered 28 miles and Bill covered 48! Duncan, Lisa and I, all recovering from Galveston and Leadville, covered about 40 between the 3 of us. It was fun and for a great cause! Also, who knew I would see my first space capsule in the middle of Oklahoma? Hopefully next year we can round up a few more runners.
I also headed to Austin to particpate in the first tri camp for Team Red White and Blue. This truly deserves its own post, but simply put the camp was amazing. A huge, huge thanks goes to Derick Williamson for making the camp happen. It's awesome to see Team RWB living up to its mission and touch veteran's life. I left the camp inspired knowing that we are actually doing something here. Thank you for allowing Jess Jacobs and me to be a part of this!
Now, to the good stuff! Rev3 Knoxville! This would be my first Olympic race in nearly 2 years. Needless to say, I felt a little out of element, but was psyched for my race to be done in a little over 2 hours! Of course, Rev3 never disappoints. The race was looking to be quite competitive, but beyond that Rev3 puts thought into every detail of the race. If you haven't participated in one of their races, you are missing out! Race day rolled around nice and early on Sunday. Going into the race I knew my swim was not going to be up to snuff. I was hoping my body might surprise me. But alas, if you don't get the work in, it ain't going to happen! In my defense, I did what I could and hope to rectify this by Quassy! My point? My swim was ugly. As I swam along, knowing I was giving up more and more time while leading a small pack, I started to get pretty irritated with myself. An Olympic distance race is too short to give up this sort of time. Further, it's important to position yourself in the race for the beginning of the bike which ultimately has a large part to do with the outcome of your race! Once on the bike I felt strong and slowly started to pick girls off. About a half mile out from the turn around I saw a pack of about 5 women riding together (legally, but there is no doubt there is a huge benefit of riding with women vs by yourself!) I caught Nicole around mile 18 and Laurel shortly after that. We ended up riding into T2 together. I heard we were 3 minutes down and I was hoping that was to Sara and not the pack of women. Laurel and I ran together awhile, which was good because it forced me out of my half-ironman clip and reminded my legs it was supposed to be running a 10k! Finally around mile 4 I started to pick some of the women off. There were a few more up ahead, but the last mile is on a windy path and I just couldn't get the momentum going to catch them. Looking back I should have gone with Laurel and made the passes before I entered this section. Oh well, you live and learn. In the end I was 6th, with about 35 seconds seperating 3rd through 6th. Once that sunk in I was pretty mad at myself for my crud swim. But now I know what I need to work on in these races and you better believe I won't let that happen again! As always, I have to thank my incredible sponsors! Rev3, Pearl Izumi, Powerbar, Recovery Pump, Kestrel, Rudy Project, Blue Seventy. Also, I have to thank a new sponsor: Challenge Tires! The tires are super smooth, thank you!! Next up is Quassy, getting pumped!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Houston, we have a problem...

Wow, can't believe the day unfolded the way it did. Unfortunately I mean this is in not quite the positive way that I hoped, although I took a lot of positive memories from the race.
The week leading into the race I was putting together some last minute things to include my new Kestrel 4000 and zipp wheels. While I usually would be apprehensive about trying anything "new" for the race, I was lucky enough to have the exact replica of my bike last year, only the 2012 model. Also, being the first race of the year you tend to forget the little things, so I was a tad more stressed than usual getting together my 2012 gear, which includes different sponsors.
I flew with the kids into Houston on Thursday evening. I was born and raised in Houston and we decided to stay at home, which is a 45-60 min drive to Galveston. For me it was worth it to sleep in my "own" beds and feel completely comfortable. Plus the kids had a blast playing with our old toys---and I don't mean grandma and grandpa, although they had a blast with them! Friday was a short run in the neighborhood and a swim at the community pool. Saturday we went to Memorial Park for a short ride and run. Everything was working well and I felt at ease with my equipment. Further, this is the first time in several years I haven't been battling some sort of illness or injury associated with illness (you can read my post last year at this time after taking the antibiotic levaquin and it's lingering effect). I was feeling fit, confident, and mostly at ease because I knew what kind of race I was capable of rather than the big question mark I can go into races with at this time of year. I just wanted to race!

Sunday morning came and before I knew it I was setting up my bike in transition. I walked over to the start with Amy and Brandon Marsh and I've got to say it feels great they are back in Texas. I've known them for years--and dare I say I've known Brandon for nearly decades?!?! Yes, we are getting old! Of course I realize I've forgotten my swim cap in transition. The only thing that made me feel not quite so air headish is that Amy left all her nutrition at home! Ha! Sorry Amy, although we all know it turned out okay for you!

I hopped in the water and it felt a little warm for a full wetsuit. I'm wearing BlueSeventy again and it fit like a glove. The start horn went off and I immediately had clean water. I swam as hard as I could, deferring to no one. I knew I was at the tail end of the lead pack because I was absolutely redlining it to stay there. And then I moved over to get on the inside and I was just off, keeping pace but being in the worse position...alone!! I kept trying and trying to get back on. This went on until about 1200meters when I realized, "wow, I'm really hot." and "wow, I'm going to explode if I keep this up." A quick sighting behind me revealed that a few women were working their way back up to me, so I soft stroked until they caught me, then tried to hop in behind them. Problem was several of the women weren't having it and wouldn't let me in! Alrightly, fine. I can help pull you along but you won't let me in, that's cool. So I let them all go and just cruised it in on the back. The lesson? Get my butt on that front pack next time!!

Out to transition was smooth. I heard 2 minutes down. Perfect. I can deal with 2 minutes. I started the bike and knew my legs were ready to play. I take a turn to head out towards the seawall and immediately hear a POP and all I can thinks is, "oh no, I think that was me!!" I stop and feel my front & it's okay. I feel the rear and sure enough it's completely flat. In a split second I made a decision. I was going to finish this race, no matter what the result. I immediately head back to transition yelling, "Does anyone have a rear wheel?" I get back and a spectator with his bike says I can use his. I'm thinking, "okay, I'll get this on, and maybe I can still run my way back into the top 10." What seems like forever we get the wheel on and sure enough it won't even spin. Crap. At this point I see the next wave of women heading out on the bike and I think, "well, I can still have a good bike and run today." Another spectator, the generous Jill, runs to her car, gets her bike out and we proceed to put her wheel on. She says to me,"it needs to be pumped up, I haven't pumped it in awhile." I said, "does it spin?" Sure enough it does and I tell her, "hey, that's good enough for me." I look up at the clock and it's ticking over to 45 minutes. At this point I thought, "get out there and smile because you get to do this." also with, "and don't you dare start feeling sorry for yourself." From there I biked strong, making sure to smile and encourage others around me. I will say about half way I thought, "what the heck are you doing Jessica?!" But tried and succeeded in pushing away pity party thoughts. The wheel worked great, although I believe in properly inflated disc wheels more than ever!!

I started the run and my parents had a very concerned look. I ran out of t-2 with a smile and said to them, "I'm okay." Later my parents said they were relieved because they thought I had crashed. On the first loop I actually got to appreciate the race going on around me. I quickly realized that running into the top 10 was completely unrealistic. And I will admit that I'm a little mad at myself for not trying a little harder on the run, because my training indicates that I'm ready for some fast running. But then again I realize I'm being a little hard on myself and being in no man's land and not being "in the hunt" is not the most conducive to your best result! I finally finished. The first thing Gwyn says to me is, "did you win?" I told her, "kind of sweetheart." Seemed good enough for her!

After the race upon inspecting the tire it appeared to be sliced clean through. All I could wonder was what on earth did I run over? On our walk back to the car we decided to inspect the turn. I really didn't think I'd find anything, but sure enough after about 10 seconds something shiny catches my eye. A razor blade is just sitting there on the road. I know some people carry them in the event of a flat to help get their tire off. My suspicion is that someone could have dropped it. Needless to say it's just rotten luck. But it did give me some satisfaction that it was not a mechanical error of any sort.

So some of the most exciting parts of the day was seeing the men and women's race unfold. I saw Kelly completely dominating and Amy land on the podium. I'm lucky to know these ladies for a long time. Besides that, to see the hard work they put in year after year is inspiring. Sometimes I think people realize what a long, tough road this can be. They are just great examples of perseverance. And they are just nice people, which makes it even better! And speaking of perseverance I couldn't be prouder of Tim O'donnell. While he's known as T.O. to many, I think of him as Timmy, the midshipman I met 10 (wow, I'm getting old!!) years ago. I don't know many people that work as hard and never give up. As a fellow former officer in our military, I couldn't be more thrilled that he took home top honors at the U.S. Pro Championships while also representing Team Red, White, and Blue! Despite the fact he gave my twins "Navy" onesies when they were born, we still love the guy!

It always feels amazing to win. And it feels amazing to get on the podium. But this day I learned that I can have the courage to put my ego aside and focus on just racing as hard as I can no matter what the result. I guess that's my "victory" for the 2012 Galveston 70.3. But don't think for one second I won't be back next year as fired up as ever!

Thank you to my incredible sponsors who allow me to get to do this: Revolution 3, Kestrel, Powerbar, Pearl Izumi, Recovery Pump, Rudy Project, Blue Seventy, and Louis Garneu. A lot to these guys are like family (and not the embarrassing extended kind!) And thanks to Ryan and Jesse at Sun and Ski Sports for jumping through hoops to get my bike built. Thanks to Ray and Colt for getting my wheels ready, and to Bill Marshal of Challenge Tires for making sure it was operational in Galveston. Coach Kevin, who is so much more than a coach--thank you! Lastly, thank you to my amazing parents! My mom was wonder woman taking over the kids and letting me focus on the race. And my dad for always being there, no matter what--year after year. I hope I tell you enough what your support means to me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Okay, the truth is the more things change, the more they stay the same, right? Once again, I have been absolutely terrible with the whole blog thing. For this, I will just give you one of my 4 responses: No excuse, Sir! But seriously, I have not been totally lacking in social media. You can follow my twitter at jessmeyerstri. I need to figure out how to link the twitter to my blog. (In other words, I need to find someone else to link my twitter to my blog!)

So updates on my front. It's a new year and we have been extremely lucky with the weather. I don't think I've ever gotten out this much in January since living in Oklahoma. We are preparing ourselves for February. Hopefully our luck will continue. Also, last fall I realized I left out quite a bit of information about what's going on in the Meyers household. There have been a couple big changes that as a result change the dynamic of my training. Me being a glass half-full kind of gal mean the changes have been in the positive direction! First off, my husband got into medical school at OSU here in Tulsa. While this definitley brings stress with the uncertainty of our financial situation, I remind myself it's temporary and you can't let that get to you. On a positive note, it is exciting to see my husband love what he is doing. I am fortunate to get live my passion day in and day out, and now he gets to join the fun! And this might be hard to believe, but we actually see him more than when he worked as an enginner. I don't think people know that when we first moved here Lucas was still in the Reserves. Shortly after that when the kids were about 8 months old he started going to classes at night and on the weekend to make this dream happen. I won't get into details just yet--I'll save that for another blog! The other big change is that my kids started Pre-K. They are in school 5 days a week, from 7:45 until 2:45. My babies are growing up!! So how does this change for me? Well, it's the obvious. I have more time to train during the week. But even more is that I have time to rest during the week! (and blog perhaps? ;) This has definitely added much more structure to my training. I do my training while they are at school. I pick them up, and that's it--I'm full Mom. I no longer have that uncertainty of "Oh, I hope Lucas can get home on time so I can get my swim in because I couldn't get it done earlier." And then the guilt of leaving the kids to go get it done. I'm just able to get the work done stress free, and it's making a huge difference--not just in my training but in my emotional well-being. For all of this, I am so thankful!!

In other news, I've got a few new exciting partnerships! However, one that will be staying the same is the Trakkers/Rev 3 Team. But you must know, the "Trakkers" will be dropped and it's just called the Rev3 Team now! Details will come once everything is finalized! Until next time--happy training!! And for you crazies that are already racing--happy racing!! I'll see you out there in a few months!!