As an invitational only race I knew this would be certainly the toughest race of the year so far. In Triathlon you often race against your ‘age group’ however this was a flat out race against the best amateur triathletes in the USA. Current and former national champions, triathlete of the year, long course national champion…this race had them. It was a small but incredibly stacked field. My biggest fear…making a complete embarrassment of myself, letting down everyone who has supported me in getting here. As a relatively last minute race, my coach Jeremy Wallace wasnt sure it was the best decision to go – I had just come away from racing 4 out of 5 weekends in May including a half ironman (2nd), state TT championship (1st), Devlees Road Race (2nd) and Sand hollow sprint triathlon (1st). Our focus was supposed to be shifting towards prep for Ironman 70.3 Worlds in September. Nevertheless, with support from the awesome people at Bike Shop Henderson I found myself able to travel to Minnesota for this prestigious event. Eyeing up the competition at the ‘Meet n Greet’ on Saturday was pretty nerve racking but by this point I had shifted my focus to concentrating on my performance – the result had to be secondary.
Sunday morning, 9am, GO TIME. With the males and females headed off together I was prepared for a swift wallop over the heed or two but luckily actually managed to sprint out with the pack. For the first time I was able to settle in and draft for the most part. At the turnaround for the second loop I received an elbow to the eye, knocking my goggles off. Quickly repositioning them I continued but the damage was done, goggles filled with water on one side and foggy on the other…now i was drafting out of necessity, i couldnt see a bloody thing. I was relieved to finish the swim 9th with 19:37.
I transitioned somewhat quickly onto the bike and set off at a decent pace. The 3-loop course had a smooth section with a couple hills and then familiar potholes/cracks from weathered tarmac – havent dealt much with that living in Vegas mind you! The bike was strong although my quads were burning. I was spurred on each lap by my fellow Nevada representative Chris Fetter as he passed in the opposite direction, cheering/yelling at me I finished the bike in 1:05:32
Onto the “flat” run course, two laps around lake Phalen. This mostly flat course had a few little kickers in it to make things interesting. My run was fairly solid, my legs felt good, turning over well….and then it began…the stitch. That bloody stitch. I had to stop I think 4 times overall, each time glancing behind knowing I’d passed a couple people but with others hot on my heels. I was able to keep a strong pace, telling myself to relax as much as possible. As I was nearing the final mile, the rain started to spit, and then it increased intensity. It was beautiful. I crossed the line with a 41:28 split and a total time of 2:08:10. The rain was bucketing down, echoed in the distance by the rolling thunder. A perfect finish.
I finished 5th place of the women and was/am delighted with a solid race. This race gave me so much: opportunity, new friends, new opponents, fire, passion and drive to get back to training better than ever. The race organisers Trudy and Jerry were unbelievable – a true credit to our sport.
Thanks to Chris Thornham for wheel support. I rode with the Flo disc and Flo 90 on the front. Now THAT’s a fast set-up!
Thanks to Terry at the Bike shop for all his help and support, couldnt have done it without you dude!
Thank you Chris Fetter for all your help and support – you’re pretty awesome…like a ‘Ken doll’
Congrats to Dani Fischer of Wisconsin who killed the competition. This girl is one to watch
On to the next one…
This race has been my main focus for the last 6 months at least and so I was excited for race day but also keen to enjoy it for every single mile despite how difficult I knew it would get. I travelled up with Leta Rose on the Thursday who was the perfect travel and race partner for this trip – we both had business to take care of! Unfortunately my order of LG gels had not arrived in time and my plan B for nutrition, in hindsight, sucked. Nevertheless I went into the race knowing that training wise I’d done all I could.
The swim was not nearly as cold as I thought it would be and with a calm deep water start we got underway. I couldnt find someone to draft from but was aware of someone drafting my feet almost the entire swim. On the second turn where we head back to the shore I was feeling very dizzy and almost seasick – Im still not sure why. With a couple hundred metres to go this girl who had been drafting swam on my hip, we then get out at the same time where she thanked me for the pull….
On to the bike I felt good, nice and strong. There are many long climbs on this course but plenty room to settle into a rhythm and really work. I felt really good and continued to power through until my energy started fading around mile 30. I had a couple GU gels on the bike and water but my tank was getting low. Snow canyon although beautiful…was brutal! The most inspiring thing however are the signs that the locals of st george put up through snow canyon to motivate you…”Remember that guy that gave up? Yeah nobody else does either”.
I completed the bike and headed out on the run feeling strong tapping into new muscles and into a groove. I stayed pretty strong up the initial ascents and through mile 4, after this it started to go downhill, and not in a good way. My tank was cursing at me by this point, I was starting to get a stitch, my legs were heavy and I pee’d my pants…whilst running..although somewhat intentional…yeah I never said Triathlon was glamourous…
I had maybe thought I was leading my age group until this point but at that moment a girl passed me on her way back, one mile ahead of me and in my age group. I think mentally I started to doubt myself; everything was getting so difficult. Shortly after the turnaround this gazelle-like avatar girl from my age group ran past me…why arent my legs a little longer. I got to about mile 9 and consumed my last gel with a splash of cola and water. At this moment the girl who beat me to second by less than one minute last year, overtook me. I couldnt let this happen again! I stayed tucked in behind her and just built up all my mental motivation – “there are only 4 miles left then it will be over…suck it up princess”. I gradually let mind take over and we both picked up the pace. We passed the gazelle who looked like she was hurting and continued downhill, I slowly overtook her but maintained the downhill pace. I kept running and although I could no longer hear her footsteps I didn’t dare turn around until I had one mile left. I could see her but as long as I kept that pace I was good – but the pace was HARD! I gave it my all and it paid off. I maintained 2nd place in my age group, 8th amateur female overall and qualified for the World Championships for Ironman 70.3 in Canada! Despite a nutrition disaster I PR’d by 5minutes on last years time so I’ll take that.
Time to eat, relax and do a few bike races before settling back in to 70.3 training.
Nutrition 5xGU gels, 2xLG gels, water, cola