Monday, April 21, 2014

Oceanside to Galveston...What a Difference a Week Makes!

I'm sitting on a plane again so I figured it would be a good time to write my race report from Galveston or Ironman Texas 70.3. I wrote a report for Oceanside 70.3 but in typical Jessica fashion I never seemed to get around to publishing it! Rather than bore you I'll give you a brief synopsis: I sucked. Well, in my defense I did have mechanical. My wheel rubbed my brake the entire time. I got off the bike twice to fix it, the wheel would spin no problem, only to get back on and hear that dreaded sound of carbon rubbing (and you know exactly that cringe worthy sound). But beyond that, I was completely flat for the race. The swim was off, the bike my legs just felt like bricks, and the first loop of the run I was clipping off a great pace, but once the gravity of how far I was behind I just shut it down. My mind got the best of me, I felt sorry for myself, my ego was definitely was not my finest nor proudest moment.

photo courtesy
Coach Kevin and I immediately went into "what went wrong" mode. We looked at the race itself, but the bigger picture. What was going on physically, mentally, and emotionally? We definitely took away some key points. But the problem was this was just yet another bad race after an entire year of either bad or lack luster results. I headed back to Tulsa and the seed of doubt was planted. I texted Kevin things like, "Maybe I'm just too old." "I guess I'm not as fit as I thought." "Maybe my life just really isn't conducive to putting up good results." "I think I have too much on my plate." I told Kevin I didn't want to race Galveston. I told him I was tired, emotionally drained, and just plain old sick of it. But the truth is I was just scared--scared of yet another crappy result. Kevin reminded me that 2 weeks before I ran a 17:24 5k, my fastest since college, which hardly supports the hypothesis that I'm unfit or too old. He reminded me that bad races just happen. He encouraged me to go race without any expectation--I still wasn't sold on it. I was disheartened and frustrated and basically throwing a pity party. Then the shootings at Fort Hood happen. This was my home for 5 years. Life is short. And I'm lucky to even be doing this. And if I come in dead last, who cares??? The people that matter still love me. And I still love me if I come in last, so why not get over my own ego and just get out there and try. I once read somewhere that you have to fail in order to practice being brave. It was time to put my money where my mouth is.

                                                       photo courtesy

The kids and I flew to Houston on Friday evening. I got to sleep in my own bed that I slept in for 18 years. My kids played with Grandma and Grandpa and their new dog. I still had some issues with my wheel and luckily my Team RWB friend Jeremy Brown was at the race supporting. He came to the house and he ended up shaving down the brake and I had no issues. Confidence in equipment is huge! Thank you Jeremy!

Finally race morning came. The wind was the strongest I've ever encountered in a race. By the time we got in the water I couldn't believe how rough the chop was. When the cannon went off I just felt like I was flailing and going absolutely no where. I would try to sight to the first turn buoy and the waves were so high I couldn't see a thing. Finally there were a few girls around me and I caught up and just sat on their feet. I pulled for a bit once we turned, and then settled back on their feet because my swim just wasn't there (which is pretty normal for me when I race back to back weekends). When I got to the bikes I thought "Oh no, there are a lot of bikes gone!" My crew yelled I was 4.5 minutes behind the leader. Yikes, my swim was waaayyyy off. Oh well, go enjoy the day. The bike was simply out and back. Immediately I knew my legs were ready to play. We had a straight tailwind going out. I was putting up good power numbers, yet I didn't pass a single person. Again, oh well, enjoy the day. Once turned around we had a straight headwind. Perfect, just any other day in Oklahoma. I upped the wattage and thought "Shoot, just go for it." Slowly one by one I started to pick girls off. And this fueled me further to keep pushing.

I got to transition and was a little worried since I rode closer to threshold for 28 miles. My garmin literally broke the day before, so I was running with just my trusty timed watch. Immediately I knew my run legs were ready to play as well. I held around 6:15s the entire race and while I hurt, I was never in death mode like my last few races. I was fired up the whole run thanks to a million cheers for Team RWB, my kids, my parents, and friends. Hometown support is amazing!! I ran myself into 4th (in the money, yeah!!) The winner crushed us all, and second and third had some cushion over me, but I didn't care. For all purposes I won that race. And what I mean is that I won the battle within myself. I was quite emotional. To think that a few days before I just wanted to quit, give up, roll over and play dead. Nonsense. Life is meant for living, not sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. Winston Churchill said it perfectly, "Never ever ever ever give up."
So let me thank some very important people and sponsors. First off, to my mom. I COULD NOT do this without her. Bottomline! She is my rock. And for my other rock, my dad. I am beyond lucky to have these amazing people as my parents. Next off to my coach, Kevin Purcell, for never giving up on me even when I've wanted to give up on myself. To Ryan Gabriel for helping me endlessly with my bike. I know I'm a huge pain in the ass Ryan, thank you for your patience with me! To my sponsors--PowerPlay, Powerbar, RaceQuest, BlueSeventy, Runners World, Elite Cycling, Rudy Project, John Cobb, John R. Jones PC. Thank you for all your help! To those who I carry with me always--my kiddos, family, friends, and Team RWB. Your support does not go unnoticed nor unappreciated. Thank you thank you thank you!! Next up, Ironman Texas!