Whew, what a race! I’ll get there shortly but backing up just a bit…I dusted off my racing shoes in early May at a local sprint race, CB&I. Because it’s local to the Woodlands, it’s actually quite competitive and brings out some speedy guys and gals. I wanted to test out my foot and see how it reacted to the speed. I don’t have a big base on me right now – my longest run has been 7 miles – so any confidence booster helps. Well that race went pretty well and my foot carried me to a 1st place finish. It was a hard battle but I was stoked. The foot didn’t seem any worse off than before the race so I quickly made other race plans and opted to drive up to Austin for CapTex later in the month. That brings us to now.
CapTex is part of the Lifetime Tri Series and is always super competitive. I realize I wasn’t doing myself any favors by entering into such a stacked field but I thought, “what the heck, it’s close by and I have to hop back on the horse sometime.” So I did. My main goal was to just get out there, do my best to have fun, and hopefully build a little more confidence on the way.
The week leading into the race offered up a few snags – the weather forecast was daunting and it looked like it would be wet for sure. It’s always challenging to not get caught up in stuff you can’t control but I tried my best to just not think about it – weather can change and weather forecasts are notoriously inaccurate. Also, sometime during the week, I must have rolled my ankle on a run because as the week drew to a close, every little taper/warm up run hurt on the part of my foot below the knobby ankle bone. So that would prove to be a minor hurdle to get through on race day.
Fast forward to the weekend and my super Sherpa husband went along for the ride; we got to have some fun time away and also caught up with family as well so that was a bonus. My nieces even came (with their grandparents, Izzy and Poppy, of course) to join in on the cheering fun so that was extra special.
I tend to have trouble sleeping the night before races but as of late, that seemed to have gone away. Well this time I wasn’t so lucky. I haven’t a clue how much sleep I actually got but I can tell you that I read way more of my book than originally intended. Needless to say, the alarm came rather early and we awoke to rainy conditions. I wasn’t looking forward to getting out there and being wet/cold but Clint reminded me that there’s no difference – you still go out there and do what you do. That helped ease my nerves a bit and actually by the time we drove downtown, the rain had stopped. Race prep went smoothly and we headed to the start line!
SWIM: This was the part I was most nervous about. I’ve been having shoulder issues since mid December and although we had some brief relief back in April, the pain has returned. So my swim fitness is nowhere near where it should be for OLY races. Those gals are FAST! But I was actually pleasantly surprised. I pushed comfortably hard and didn’t notice much pain. I wasn’t last out of the water and ended up with a 22ish minute swim which was speedier than I thought I’d go.
BIKE: Out of all 3, the bike is my strongest at the moment since I’ve been slightly limited with the other 2. I was a little nervous with the wet roads but by loop 2, felt a bit more confident with the turns/climbs/slick spots. Just after I rounded the corner by the capital, whoooooosh, I heard my tire go – darn it, a flat! Seriously?! Ugh. So I pulled over and looked around for some sort of technical support but didn’t see anyone. I don’t carry flat repair with me for OLY races – I probably should seeing as though this is the second time this has happened. So I felt like I didn’t have many options and started to head back to the race site to throw in the towel. But then, to my surprise, Sierra Snyder tossed me her flat kit and then a race crew guy rode up to help me change it. Talk about good sportsmanship! After about a 14 minute delay, I was back in business. From there, I just tried to get back into a groove and not think about the time cost – I was happy to be able to finish. When it was about time to take my second bike Gu, I looked down and realized it was gone. It must have come loose during the flat debacle! I always have an extra one in transition so I just planned to take it ASAP.
RUN: I couldn’t wait to put that bike up and be on my own 2 feet! I threw down the Gu and headed out. I knew this would be a bit painful – Michelle had warned me I’d have to push through fatigue during the second half more so than normal. I was mentally prepared for that. What I didn’t expect was how painful that darn ankle would be! I didn’t even think about my heel so I guess that was a silver lining. After I finished the first loop, my confidence boosted a bit and I was able to relax a little more to push a tiny bit harder. I knew at this point that I could finish the race and that was what drove me on. That last mile – I tried to kick it in a bit more and I was so excited to enter that finish chute…can’t you tell?! Side note: I have no idea what I’m doing with my hands. I think I had spotted my niece and was prepping for a high five.
So although this was nowhere close to my top OLY distance times, I did take away some valuable experiences/reminders/lessons:
- I still love to race!
- I still hate taking gels.
- My supportive family/friends/teammates/fellow competitors are the best.
- Carry some sort of something to fix a flat, always. Although your placement and time will be affected, at least you’d get the workout in and finish what you started.
- I “can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) - even when it hurts.
- Kids look up to you – when they’re watching, they provide extra motivation to get the task done and never give up.
- Take care of your body and thank it for what you put it through; it’s amazing what it can push through in tough times.
- Getting back on the horse takes patience and guts; power through.
I’m not sure what’s next on the racing front but I’m excited to build my fitness to get ready!