I came down
with a bad cold this week after lack of sleep (thanks, Myles), so I wasn’t sure
how this race was going to go.
weather ended up being perfect, and we got to the race plenty early enough to
set up and get a good warm-up in.
swim was beautiful, as the water was clean and calm.
I felt strong during it, but wasn’t sure what
kind of pace I was pushing.
I came out
of the water with one of my faster splits for a 1,500m swim and almost a minute
faster than last year at this race!
This was my
first race in a very long time that I would be racing by feel on the bike. I wasn’t able to get my power meter working
right before the race, so I had zero feedback via watts to tell me my effort,
and just had basic speedometer feedback.
The bike was also 4 miles longer than a regular Olympic race, and the
same distance as my longest training bike rides this season, so I was a bit
nervous about it. It was 2 laps, and as
each lap progressed, I actually felt stronger.
I ended up only 18 seconds slower on the bike this year than last, but
still had the fastest bike split for females, averaging 22mph.
course is nothing short of a challenge, and as I set out, I knew I didn’t have
the pace I wanted in me.
I’ve been able to run off the bike for 3-4 miles and feel comfortable at a 7:30
pace or faster and feel like I could have kept it up for a full 10K.
I struggled to hit 8 minute pace for my
It is an out and back run, with
the first mile running out being off-road and hilly.
Once you hit a road, you encounter long
climbs with only one short flat section.
Less than 2
miles into the run, I was passed by a woman who was clipping along as I “trudged.”
Nearing the turn-around, she was the only
female ahead of me, but there was another woman who was closing the gap on
First place was out of reach, but
could I hold my position?
As we neared the last big climb
before heading off-road on the return, the woman in third passed me and I
watched her slip away from me.
woods we went, and I thought our places were already determined at that
Then a man came running up behind
me and as he passed, said, “Always finish strong.”
I thought, “I just want to finish.”
But I picked it up and told him I would try
to keep pace with him.
Then we began closing the gap on
the woman who passed me.
He said, “Go
for it,” and I did.
We probably had at
least half a mile left to go and I came up next to her, only to have her bolt
away from me again and I couldn’t match her.
Again, I thought that was it.
had a good lead again.
This is where it
becomes just as much of a mind game as anything else.
This is where you find out what you are made
You have the choice to give up, or
to dig deep and discover what is inside of you.
With less than .2 miles to go, I figured I could run hard for less than
2 minutes and gave it all I got.
caught her with about 150 meters to go, and we raced.
I pulled ahead and beat her by 4 seconds to
be the 2nd
overall female finisher!
My run was
terrible, but having a finish like that reminds me why I’m still doing this.
I ended up 43 seconds faster overall than
last year, even though my run and bike were both a few seconds slower.
The biggest difference in how I felt walking
away from the race between this year and last year?
You’re not always going to have somebody run up alongside you and give
you the encouragement (or the kick in the pants) that you need, but use it to
fuel you when you do.
You’re not always
going to have somebody there to duke it out with all the way to the finish
line, but when you do, embrace the suffering that it takes in order to beat them. Can the Graniteman theme, "Conquer Yourself," be any more appropriate?