Well, this picture brought me to tears. Ask Jen. I called her on the way home and cried. I cant blog about why i cried but i can tell you the overwelming emotion of being done with likely my most challenging yet rewarding season was too much for me. I think i made Jen cry too:)
But lets back up...Its not like i am going to the Olympics, but standing on this podium with Heather ( who just WON, THE ENTIRE RACE at AG nationals) and Cathy ( who needs no introduction) was just the biggest honor i could have ever asked for.
Backing up a bit....This was a maybe for me. I did it in 2010 and had a great race. I didnt remember alot of the course but i did recal it was a challenging course, pretty rough swim and then a rolling bike with alot of open spaces, and a run that was deceptively hot and wide open with more than a few short punchy hills in 2 loops. So why not. I was fit from Nationals and wanted to race one more time. Its weird not doing an IM this year I didnt want to feel like i had to be trashed at the end of the season so i was thinking "one and done."
Swim: We had a small elite wave and all loved that we knew we would be top 10 elite since i think there were 8 women. Beach start and i let the swimmers line up in front. Christina, Heather and CY took it out and were in view for about the first 500 yards then we got mixed into the collegiate waves ahead of us. The swim was long, some say as long as 1.3 miles. All i know is that i swam hard and sighted well bc the sun was an issue, and came out about 2min down on Christina and in 4th. I heard that Sarah was also behind me but T1 was LONG, alot of running in a wetsuit when the water was really warm. They say 77.8, but whatever we all got hot.
T1: other than the usual long leg issues with the timing chip getting in the way of wetsuit removal all was fine. Kerry Y and Yndecam caught me ready to mount up a nice hill!
We had some wind for sure and it was hard to tell for sure when and where bc the course had these loops where we were doing squares. It was a great course, a bit rough on one road but fair and wide open. The Moto came thru a few times which i love bc little packs just sort of form even in little races. Well this was 1300 people not that little but it keeps it fair. With wind and inclines and a joule that read 27 miles i was still really happy with my ride. I felt really good. Takes me about 5 miles to settle in and then its " OLY MODE" takes over and its like a sorta easier Time Trial. I passed #3 Christina in there before mile 10 and looked back and she was gone. So i was just riding riding riding. knowing that Sarah is a super biker i just kept the pedal down. Nothing eventful other than a longer than 40k bike.
T2: Quick quick i was in and out. When i dismounted i felt the UGH of sore glutes. My first few steps told me my hammies and glutes were going to be a bit more sore than at Nationals, but whatever. Go run. Funny thing is i grabbed my gel and also grabbed the prayer card i keep in T with me. I bring one to the race so i remember what Rich would tell me at a race. " Any day you can ride your bike is a good day!" So i am running out of T2 and i have the gel ( which i need) and the card ( Which i dont need and i have no pockets) so what did i do? Put it down my top and forgot about it.
Here is the nice hill we got to do twice out of Transition. Its ok i like hills but the 2nd time up i was about to explode at the top and it was littered with Sprint runners heading out so there was some " Excuse me, Excuse me" going on. all ok but ouch.
My tennis pal and fan extraordinaire lives on the run course in mile 1. This is how i looked mile 1. Ok that doesnt look so good. The guy next to me was hilarious. I caught up to him and he was just running so fast i tried to stay with him and he lost me in mile 3 in the rollers. I just thought " oh boy i am not running to well today i hope Christina cant catch me, she is fast." and i soldiered on.
The 2nd lap was quite amazing. Cindy Blackstock caught me and ran past me expressing lots of quick encouragement ( we both were breathing HARD) it was getting hot. Now Cindy has had quite a year,
Kona qualifier at Madison and about 2 weeks later diagnosed with breast cancer and has a double masectomy, chemo, radiation, the works. NOW if that doesnt inspire me to try to stay with her? I mean what a thrill to be at her side, or next to her, or in front of her or behind her, whatever it was through miles 3-4-5 i was just trying my best to be with her. I mustered the " is this your first or 2nd lap" not thinking really that she was not in the elite wave today, but AG so it must be her 1st. And she said 1st so then i tried to be the run tour guide telling her how many more little hills were coming up. Ya always playing hostess. Anyways around mile 5.5 she fell back a bit and i finished and she went thru another loop but i have to tell you i think it was Cindy that got me a 6:54 average on that course it wasnt me. Not at all what i had thought i was running, and i do think that the 10k was accurate despite the rest of the course being long!
And Yes, the look of " OMG am i done and did i really just get 3rd?" I look a bit like i saw a ghost.
And that prayer card? It was safely tucked in my top, lots of little pieces there but I bet Rich was happy to be drinking gatorade down my front as about 2 oz goes into my mouth the rest of it onto my body. I think Rich had a good ride:)
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Olympic distance. It seems to fit my strengths well and i will always remember that.
As for the season and life in general? Im happy. I havent really been this happy in a long time. I remember telling Jerry M ( the voice of TRI) that I wasnt smiling much other than at races when i saw my friends and listened to him be goofy and talk about tri. He said " I hope you are talking to someone"
I thought about that and realized that I wasnt really happy i was sorta depressed actually. It was a good wake up call as I never think i want my life to only be happy when i am doing well in triathlon ( or any sport or pasttime ) for that matter. Its been a huge process of figuring out my life this summer without Rich. I have grown alot and i am thankful for all the experiences and people in my life, some come and some go. Its all about figuring it out and not settling for anything less than what makes you happy and makes you smile. For now and for today i am in a good place. Of course I am smiling bc I think I kicked master butt this year and Jen is to thank for that. Not only as a coach but as a friend. Sarah and Pam too, you know what you have done, and it cant thank you enough.
I have so much more to say but i wont right now. For now, lets do this....
Tommorrow is Rich's 59th Birthday. August 29th.
What he really would want is for you to get outside and do what you love to do, be thankful for it and to eat some German Chocolate Cake!