St. George was a roller coaster of ups and downs for me. It was my first long distance race that I traveled to on my own and this brought its own challenges. In the days before, I struggled to get enough sleep because I decided to camp out of the back of my truck to save money. This was a terrible idea as it was so hot I ended up storming to a hotel at 1 in the morning. That was a lesson learned.. Many other little things came up that are not worth detailing. I still showed up to race day ready to give it my all. Here is how the day went.
I wake up before my alarm goes off at 4:30 in the morning, stretch, roll my legs out, and eat blueberry muffins and a hardboiled egg for breakfast. I head to the town center to take the bus to the swim start (The race had two transitions) and cruise on the bus for 30 minutes visualizing the race. I get off and the day is still dark. I can feel the anticipation in the air. I go through my transition stuff a few times, in an OCD like way. I check, double check, and triple check that everything is in order. I go to the bathroomJ and then start to head out on my warm up jog. Of course something else bad happens. I am running on a trail around the lake and there is a metal chain hanging across the trail. I run into it right where my knees are and do a front flip over it and land right on my shoulder. It hurts like hell but I tell myself to move on and that there is nothing else I can do about it. FYI, this is my life mentality; control what you can and don’t worry about the things that are out of your control. Looking back on it now my shoulder and knee are bruised, it was a significant fall.
Everything else goes smoothly until the start of the race. There are swim waves and my category is the 8th one too go. An unfortunate starting wave for a fast swim. We start off as a pack but quickly get broken up when we collide with the slower swimmers who started ahead of us. The pack gets broken up and everyone has to swim on their own and weave through swimmers. I still have a great swim and a personal record for me. The swim was a great experience for me. I felt strong, my heart rate was low and controlled and I was able to stay on top of my cadence the whole time.
I exit the water, feeling good and of course the transition is packed with people who started before me. They move like molasses as they walk their bikes while I zig zag between them and get on the bike. I get in the bike and feel great. I hammer from the very start, telling myself to go pretty much as hard-while controlled-as I can for the 56 mile course. I go flying by people for a while until I get more to the front and their start to be other good riders. I pass Jack Toland, a teammate on the CU team. I am surprised he doesn’t ride with me as I know he is strong. I realize maybe I am just feeling that good. A few minutes later I come up on the top 18-24 age grouper, Paul Stevenson, and pass him. He goes with me and rides with me for a while passing me on the uphill’s but I repass him on the downhills (my strategy is to take uphill’s fairly easy and crush the downhills. Eventually he falls off at around 25 miles. I keep pushing and now is when the rain comes in. It starts pouring and it makes it kind of fun. I feel hardcore and legit, besides I am used to it from living in Seattle for a year. Ha! I guess that year there was good for something. I hammer the rest of the bike and just put my head down and go. It hurts the whole time but I keep prodding myself to keep pushing. It is kind of scary in places as my back brake doesn’t work and at times I drift the turns by unclipping one of my feet.
I come flying into the transition and try to quickly go through it. It’s tough because my hands are numb and I can hardly get my shoes on. I struggle through it and start the run feeling pretty good. My low back is tight from the first step, as was the case in New Orleans, making running difficult. I need to hit the gym more.
I try my hardest to hammer through the run, always having to use self-talk and reminding myself to keep the tempo high. I felt good the first 8 miles and was continually passing people. It was a suffer fest and all my focus was on powering through the run. I take the nutrition pretty light on the run and get one cup of water at each aid station and took one Gu for the duration of the run. The course is challenging because of the hills and so I was glad I didn’t have a GPS watch and just raced by feel. The weird thing about the run is feels like both an eternity looking back at it, but also only one brief moment in time. I was so in the present moment and this was why I had a string run. I crossed the finish line and later figured out I was the 19th overall finisher. I am ecstatic with that, considering it is the most competitive 70.3 in the western hemisphere.
Looking back at the race, I realize I had a great race because of solid training week in and week out. I have been doing 30 hour training weeks consistently this year. I also had a great race because I believed in myself the whole time. I believed I could push the bike and still run. I eliminated my fears and self-doubt and this helped me to my finish.
As always my races transcend life and offer me valuable insight into who I am and how I want to live. I want to continue to push my limits. How much more can I push myself? How much faster can I go? Every race gets me closer to the answers but also helps me realize how much more I have to go. Finally I also learned from this race how much I like to have my closest supporters with me. They are part of my team and help me every step of the way. I am planning on getting my pro card now and trying to bring my racing to a whole new level. Additionally, new sponsorship options should be opening up.
Thanks for reading!
My blog is a collection of topics including training, nutrition, sponsorships, and becoming the best man I can be. In addition, I write about my spiritual realizations that are intrinsic to the sport of triathlon.