Monday, August 8, 2022

USAT Nationals - Milwaukee '22

There have been huge changes in our lives recently that has resulted in a lot of sleepless nights. Events have taken a physical toll on me. I debated pulling out of Nationals altogether as a result. But I also had put a lot of training into it and had already paid for it (and it is an expensive race), so I went with the na├»ve optimism that I would still be able to perform at a high level. My race here last year was so good for me that I didn’t want to think about the potential of not making podium again. Just trying to stay positive, right?

The waters of Lake Michigan measured at a frigid 62 degrees. While cool waters are supposed to help you swim faster, I think there is a point of cold at which that is no longer true. My arms felt rigid, and my hands and feet felt numb. I was over 2.5 minutes slower than last year. I tried not to become disheartened and to just focus on having a great ride.

The first few miles on the bike felt good, but over the course I struggled to put out the watts that I should have been. I was passed by a couple women in my age group and couldn’t keep them in sight. This is not how the bike usually plays out for me! The top of my storage box on the back of my bike popped open within the last few miles and I tried fumbling around and putting it back on while riding but it just slowed me down. It was a relief to finish on the bike. I was about 3 minutes slower than I should have been. 

I have been running incredibly well in training and was hoping to be close to a seven-minute pace originally. By time I got off the bike, I just told myself over and over to just keep going. I didn’t want to fall apart like I did in Omaha. I assumed that to make Top 10 for podium, I would need at least a 2:20 overall time or faster. Heading out on the run, I knew I wouldn’t make that time. I was looking at 2:25 at least. Part of me regretting being there. I wasn’t having fun. I wasn’t performing well. I was really struggling mentally and physically. It was high heat and humidity with sunny skies as well. I think there were a lot of factors that played into it that really got to me.

I finished in 2:26:10. Not my best performance, but not my worst. After looking at results, it seemed that a lot of swims were longer and overall times were slower than I would have expected. I could have been 10th and made podium with 2:24:00! I finished 16th overall, which still qualified me for Team USA for the World Championships in Spain next fall, although I will not be taking the spot. It took me a while to come to the point of feeling okay about how things went. Training had taken a back seat the last three weeks, and the accumulated lack of sleep really wore me down. I am feeling the need for a season off, and I look forward to everything that next summer can hold. At the end of the day, I can say that I did my best on that day, and I can’t feel bad about that! 

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