Howdy (as they say in Texas),
I wanted to check-in after completing my first race of the year: St. George 70.3, where I finished 10th place.
The reasons I was drawn to this race are like many others: beautiful & scenic course, one of the most challenging terrains on the circuit (both the bike and run feature lots of climbing = my favorite!), it served as the US Championship event - meaning a competitive field and lastly the welcoming community of St. George that pretty much wraps there arms around the event (and the professionals) like one big giant hug.
I finished 10th. I was far from my best, but keeping things in perspective, I hit my main pre-race objectives: a solid swim, did my best on the bike and was steady on the run.
But I also don't need to sugar coat it and sound overly polly-positive. The truth is, while many would kill for 10th place in a championship event, I was disappointed with the outcome. A pity party (or two) has been thrown. I worked my butt off for the 3-4 weeks prior to regain my losses from South Africa. I took a big hit after South Africa - physically and also mentally. Things had finally turned the corner for me and I strung together 3 of the best weeks of training in a long time (ok, maybe ever!) leading in St. George. I was looking forward to seeing where things were at and to be in the mix with some of the best 70.3 athletes in the sport.
The highlight of the day was seeing that my winter of swimming 25k week-after-week & being pushed by my swim training partners (thanks, guys!) has paid off. I never thought I would say I like swimming - but it's actually been pretty fun and I enjoy it now! It only took 10 years :)
Back to the race: I came out with the chase pack and we were only 2 minutes down on the leaders! After that, the best way to describe my day was blah. I was flat across the board and lacking any high end punchy power to be part of the race. That made the rest of the day, not my favorite.
What do you do in this situation? I continually asked myself - are you giving your best? Can you go any harder? The answer every 5 minutes was - yes, I am doing the best I can with what I have been given. Sometimes you have to race with the hand you've been dealt, even if you don't like it.
I have to say, continuing to compete and to fight when you aren't where you want to be is tough. Really tough. In fact, if I had to pick between being in pain & hurting at the front of a race or being lackluster and having to continually talk yourself up on a mediocre day - give me pain & hurting at the front.
It's been a challenging start to 2015 for me - last year went close to flawless for me. We had a plan, with steady progression and goal races along the way. I missed only a handful of workouts. Sport is beautiful as it presents us with extreme highs, extreme lows and everything in between. I have had to fasten my seat belt multiple times over the past 2 months as I am gently undulating over the ups and downs. I can't say it's my favorite. I am working on relishing my time in the valleys so I can appreciate my mountain-tops when I get there. I keep reminding myself, that when things are not going your way is the time to build character, resiliency and tenacity - all qualities I pride myself on having.
Thanks for the support: on & off the course! I am looking forward to another chance to test myself in just over a week. I am now in The Woodlands, Texas where I will be racing the other US Championship: Ironman Texas. To sum it up so far: hot, humid, nice Southern folks, country music sounds better here and lots of trees! Hope to see many of you - giving it your all - next weekend!