Calgary and Lake Stevens was exactly opposite of my "normal". I had the most incredible support teams out there sharing in my experiences and seeing me in my element. And I have to say that there is nothing like it - having your friends and closest loved ones along the course jumping up and down in excitement, cheering you so loud that they loose their voice and being ready to tell you everything that happened between each event swim, bike and run...
Lake Stevens was one again perfect weather. Cool. The swim was smooth as I followed the guide lines around the course. I came in 20 seconds down from rockstar Meredith Kessler which I was super stoked about. The bike course is one of the most challenging ones out there. I tried to stay with Meredith but she slowly pulled away, then as Melanie blew by me I thought, just stay in your rhythm - keep pushing steady. I broke the race into half hour segments and for each was pretty steady in my power deviating only 1 watt. I rode 12 seconds faster than last year. We will take that as an improvement. My run was rough in terms of time (4 minutes slower) and took me out of podium contention. My hip issues, although not painful, are causing all sorts of other concerns and general lack of mobility or what I would consider fluidity. I am running like a board. Despite this I actually had a blast as my sister and mom had enough enthusiasm to get me through any challenges I may have been having. Danielle jumping up and down, mom telling me (as I run uphill), it is all downhill, giving me splits, telling me basically that I am awesome. Who wouldn't love it!
Coming so far behind Meredith in terms of time was hard. I am a professional and want to be in the race with the best in the world. The run has never been my strongest leg of the race but it certainly is not where it has been or should be. Time to take action. I had another race in 1 weeks time.
Clint Lien and I met and I confided to him my struggles. He listened and came with a plan of action. The first step is to get help! I met with chiropractor Robert Hasegawa and he, in a half hour, diagnosed my problems and gave me a bit of relief. Then it was off to Lysanne Lavigne of Equinox Health Clinic. She worked on my hips unlike ever before - 1.5 hours of elbows in my gluts.. neither of these appointments had been planned until that morning. These people gave of their work breaks and evenings to help me. Wow. Walking out of there I knew that things were going to change again for me. Maybe not for this coming race but definitely for Worlds.
Calgary 70.3. I LOVE this town, this place I grew up in. It feels like home. Paul Anderson, race director, asked me to be part of a pro panel with Magali Tisseyre, Chris Legh and Matty Reed. I think it was absolutely awesome for everyone involved. It was humbling to be up there with such experience and I, like everyone, was reminded of the importance of the 'journey' in reaching sport excellence and the persistence of the pursuit.
In two weeks time, Paul and his phenomenal crew changed the whole 70.3 course due to the flood situation. The swim venue changed to be in McKenzie Lake. It was AWESOME! The bike course was SUPER fast and run course stayed the same fortunately.
The swim start was not smooth. There was a whole lake and only 10 women on the start line. Despite this I was absolutely pummeled at the start. I even had a fat lip to show for it. REALLY people? Don't fight me. I am going to beat you out of the water so just let me swim. I came second out of the water but again was happy as Anna Cleaver was a Australian nationally ranked swimmer. I came in only 16 seconds behind her.
I got onto the bike and my mission was to really push the pace for the first 20 miles, try to get ahead and stay there. This strategy was going really well as I led until I dropped my chain at the start of a hill - doh! Passed by 1, 2, 3 girls quickly. Bummer. It was then a mission to stick with those girls. I managed to stick with Lisa Mensink but the rest got ahead. It was a bit of a fight for me on that bike. Every hill I gained ground on girls only to be pulled away from on the flats. NEVER before has this happened. The battle in my head was 'darn I need a disc, they all have a disc', then saying, 'no you need to be faster, the disc is just an excuse'. Either way I did alright but came in off the bike in 5th.
The run was much better in terms of flow for me. I actually did not feel like I had to push my leg through every step. I still though managed to maintain a consistent 1:34 of the bike like the last race. I loved it though as I had the most incredible cheering section. My dad literally lost his voice screaming, running along side me and finding energy to give me for every step. The rest of my Calgary family was there too - so proud and excited. My mental motto for this portion which I repeated was 'right here, right now, no regrets' Then I thought 'freedom and fearless'. I had to give it all out there and I did. For this I am happy. Another fifth place finish. This time I was in the race and not so far behind.
To have done a double like this is not easy. Putting out your very best effort mentally and physically back to back takes a lot of discipline. I could not have done it without Lysanne, my massage therapist, Clint and my family and friends. There has been so many times that I have felt alone. I am anything but that now. Priviledged, grateful and happy.
Now it is hard work to Worlds. Getting prepared to be my best. Thank goodness I have the team I do to get there.....