A few weeks back, Coach Liz had a heart to heart talk after she could sense my growing frustration with my swim.
Her advice to me was, "Stop killing yourself on the swim. Put your energy into the bike and run".
My initial response was....
The SWIM is my STRENGTH.
You want to take that away from me?
What will I do?
It takes 30 seconds for me to remember that she is the mastermind.
Saturday morning, I wake up to an email from her wishing me luck. I told her that I'm going to take her advice.
I'm not going to worry about the swim. I am going to put my energy into the bike and run.
Sunday morning rolls around. After a week and a half of dealing with personal issues, I didn't really know how the day was going to go. All I knew was that I was going to give it everything I have.
I racked my bike and ran back to my car. When I returned, the racks were full. Several women were talking about how this race was going to be a tune up race for Nationals.
I frantically sent off a text to J.
"OMGOMGOMG. THEY'RE ALL RACING NATIONALS. THEY'RE ALL FAST. OMGOMGOMG"
You know your real friends when they answer your frantic text at 6am on Sunday.
Of course, his response was, "They're all thinking the same things about you".
I decided to leave transition and go find my zen.
I was pretty sure I left it near the porta potty.
About the race itself.
I didn't worry about the swim. I got to transition and saw one bike already gone. At the time, I didn't know how far ahead of me she was. I found out later that she beat me on the swim by seconds. I beat her in transition by seconds.
As soon as I saw that I was in 2nd, possibly 3rd, I had one goal in mind:
AND I WILL PASS YOU.
I DON'T CARE HOW FAST YOU ARE.
I WILL BE FASTER.
Within 2 miles, I passed a woman with 50-54 age group on her calf.
What if she isn't the only one?
I kept going.
I had my BBS segment watts. I knew what I goal wattage I needed to hit.
I kept riding as hard as I could.
I had another goal for this race. For YEARS, I have wanted to break 47 minutes on this ride. I have come painfully close multiple times.
I pulled into transition, not knowing what my time was but knowing that I gave it everything I had.
I start running toward the racks. There are no bikes in yet.
I'm in FIRST.
At this point, I have a 3 minute lead. I just didn't know it at the time.
My plan was to use the HR monitor to keep me honest on the run. For some reason, my HRM didn't work; even though it worked perfectly fine yesterday. Without it, I started strong and faded a bit. That's on me. I know I shouldn't count on technology.
I ran the first mile strong. The last 2.....I just kinda fell into a rhythm.
I was passed on the run. She only beat me by 2 min. I didn't know she was only 2 min ahead. I didn't know I had a 3 min lead when I started running. I am a really competitive person. Had I know all of this, I probably/definitely would have run harder.
I'm learning that as long as I ride hard and give my best run, I can compete with these women. One of my goals is to learn how to use my competitive spirit to push me to be my best....with or without technology.
I finished in 2nd place and 11th overall female.
When I saw my bike time: 46:31 and a speed of 22.3mph. I held 95% FTP. I was nothing short of glowing.
I grabbed my ticket with my finish time. In disbelief, I sent off a text to Liz, Mr. Tea & J.
I remember my first podium. It was a fluke....one of those where I was 3rd out of 3. Then I got my first 1st place, beating second place by over 12 minutes. I thought it was a fluke. Then, I regularly started stepping up on the podium.
To this day, every time it happens, I am in shock.
But today was bigger than any podium. Liz has given me the courage to take risks, to do things I've never done before. Today was a breakthrough like I've never had before.
I sat at the picnic table at the awards ceremony. I thought about where I'd been and what I still want to accomplish. Some days those goals seem SO far away. Then, I have a day like this; where all the work starts to show.
All top 5 women in the 50-54 AG beat the podium finishers of the 45-49 AG by over 10 min. That's how strong this age group is. There were many of us in the 45-49 age group who aged up this year. I know these women. I have been racing with them for years. They are nothing short of amazing.
It means so much to me that I can hang with them. I'm learning something at each race. I'm getting stronger and smarter. That's a good place to be.
4 races. 4 podiums. 4 races left.
Up next Nationals.