Two days later, talking to good, wise friends I have been able to put the race in perspective. This race was not indicative of where I am at. It was a bad day. They happen. You can't take the highs to high and lows to low. I will not over-think this race and start re-evaluating everything I do. I will move on to the next one in my schedule and prepare like I know how and put myself on the start line with commitment to performance. That is what I do. That is my job.
I did everything right for this race. Was prepared, didn't over-train into it, got a brilliant massage before I left, ate well, didn't work too hard on other “stuff” and stayed relaxed. Race day was perfect. We made it through flash floods and tornado warnings only days earlier to clear blue sky and hot, humid temperatures.
The swim (27:29): Other than absolutely cooking in my wetsuit in the balmy 75F water (just wetsuit legal) I had a pretty straight forward effort. I came out of the water in fourth. I was on my own after I lost the feet ahead of me. Easy sighting, went from buoy to buoy and ran easily into transition.
The bike (2:22:18) : I knew I had the power to manage this course. It is flat and fast and I have the mental tenacity to never let up. That is exactly what I did. I pushed a steady power, managed to keep an easy rhythm of breathing, ate right, drank lots. This race I got rid of the second aero bottle as in the past two races it just annoyed me how it rattled around despite doing some serious securing with velcro and elastic bands. I was not going to loose a place or 20 seconds to stupid things or distractions in this race. Nothing was going to keep me from my game. The fact is you simply can't do better than an internal bladder in the Shiv. That simple. Mentally I broke the race up into chunks – 20 minute efforts or to catch the person ahead. I reeled in first Parker, then Bennett. I focused on a full pedal stroke and cadence. Felt strong and fast!
At 50 miles I was shocked to see Meredith Kessler on the ground. She was unconscious. There were several people around her so I kept going but it was a battle to push on. It is shocking and puts things into perspective in a big way.
I came into transition second with Parker and Bennett on my tail. Solid and with a smile.
Photos of the Very FLAT and FAST course.
I stopped twice in the last few miles. I actually walked backwards off the course but age-groupers kept telling me not to quit. One fellow said – you can do anything for two miles, another said – just finish. This is as they were just starting their run. So I turned around, thought again about Meredith, all the age-group athletes accomplishing their goals, their race and to honor them I finished the race.
This lifestyle is so rewarding and yet so cruel at times. We hope, we dream, we strive for excellence but sometimes we fall short of the goal. I will get back up. I was reminded this morning how rewarding patience is. Everything really does happen in the way and in the time it should. Trust it. That is what I will do. Back to work I go.