It’s hard to believe it’s only been 19 days since IM Canada. In that time I’ll have been to 3 different countries, 4 different states, and 7 different airports. I’m writing this from Copenhagen as my next ironman is only 2 days away, but I’ll get to that later….First to recap Canada!
I went into that race feeling fit but also feeling a bit terrified. It’s always hard I think to mentally prepare to race after a couple tough ones. While in Taiwan I had a great day with the cards I was dealt, it still didn’t really allow me to throw down the day I felt capable for. And unfortunately Raleigh wasn’t that confidence boost I was looking for after that! So here we were, and every time doubt crept in, Hillary reminded me of the countless sessions I’d been nailing. My body was ready, I just needed to let it do what it was prepared to do.
My whole 10 hour day can be summed up in the phrase “leading the chase.” For the first time I was leading my pack in the swim. I was leading a pack on the bike. I would have loved to share some more of the work but there wasn’t a whole lot of working together out there. And, perhaps rightly so. Those women are racing their race (everything was legal), I just hadn’t ever been in the position where I was the one people were holding on to….usually I’m trying to find the ones to set my pace off of!
This is one aspect where pro racing is drastically different than the age group ranks. There are tactics that come into play quite often — who is up front, will you take a turn, do you want the help or do you need to drop them all? These are all things that are running through my head which I actually really enjoy about racing now. It makes it much more engaging, one. But it also adds an element of skill and critical thinking to the race. You have to play the cards right, and try to read what the other have in their hand.
Heading out to the run, I was happy with how my legs felt for the first half, and, well, survived the second half. It didn’t take more than a few glances to see I was by no means the only one suffering out there. The run is all on dirt paths and bike path, so there’s not really open road to open up and let the pace settle in. That bike and run combo is certainly one of the most challenging I’ve done on the ironman circuit. Its also one of the most beautiful though, and the crowds and atmosphere are tons of fun.
I ended up hanging on for 8th place pro after a bit of a battle on the run, a paycheck, and overall a successful day. It was also really fun to get to race with my parents spectating – their first time seeing me in an Ironman in awhile! One of the biggest things I’ve been thinking about after that is about how I’ve now developed to the front of the chase pack. And to be honest, that’s not a place I hope to stay for a long time. I’m more of a “hold on for dear life” type of racer…..I played it safe a lot in amateur racing to ensure I had a good day and could get the time and place needed to get a Kona spot. I don’t have to do that anymore, though. So I’m hoping that in my next couple races this season, I’ll be stepping up the gutsy-factor a bit — feeling confident enough to make those decisions that put me up there more with the front pack, rather than leaving the charge to pick up the pieces and slide into what spots remain. I think Copenhagen is going to be a great course to do just that. After racing here in 2015 I loved the city so much I promised I would be back, and here I am!
After racing, I had no time to think about how I felt because I was on my way to San Diego! That was a quick stop though….it was only a few hours (and a swim!) before Hillary and I continued on to Tucson where we were hosting Women’s Camp in the desert. I had been so looking forward to these 4 days and it did not disappoint! We had changed up the itinerary from our spring camps which was really fun for us. This week included a TT during the McCain Loop ride, a trip up to Parker Canyon Lake, and a track session (along with the standard 100×100, Mt Lemmon ride, and some others!). We had an absolute blast with a lot of hard work, breaththroughs, smiles, laughs, and of course tears 😉 Hillary and I were so proud of all the women who came out and gave us 110% during those days. It was also very fun for me to have more auntie time with Madison Frankie!! (sidenote: you can’t leave a crawling baby alone for a *second*!)
I will hopefully have a Copenhagen update next week during my travels home!