Unfortunately, on race day, my body had other ideas. You know how some days racing feels effortless and the watts and run paces just show up? Yeah, not so much this past Saturday in Muncie for me. BUT, that doesn't mean you can't still race well, despite the struggle. I had to remind myself of this many times on Saturday!
Do we have to talk about it? Okay, it wasn't that bad. But I will say I was happy to exit the water and move on to another discipline. The thing about swimming in the pro field (and especially the smaller women's field) is that if you squander an opportunity to swim on some good feet, that's pretty much it. You *might* get lucky and get another chance but usually not. And let's just say I squandered some opportunities on Saturday. I then spent the next 30 minutes feeling sorry for myself, feeling tired and feeling like a boiled lobster in my wetsuit (one of those swims where the temp was right at the cutoff). So yeah, not my best effort either physically or mentally, but I've learned you have to let the swim go. It's a long race.
I felt so happy to be out of my hot wetsuit! And on my QR! But it did take a while for my legs (and perhaps my mind) to come around. Like, um, 15 or 20 miles. HA! Once I did finally get moving, it felt very good to push hard and try and track some of the girls ahead of me down. I started the bike in 9th and came into T2 in 4th. (but I would be remiss if I didn't mention that my Coeur teammate Kate was sidelined with not one but TWO flats - was a huge bummer to see her standing on the side of the road but she did still finish!)
I spent the first few miles of the run thinking I was in 6th (Oscar swears he told me I was in 4th but I don't hear or think too well when I'm working hard). When I made a pass to put myself into what I thought was 5th (but was really 3rd), I got a lead biker. I really like lead bikers. They give you something to focus on, especially on a day when you need all the help you can get. Muncie is an out and back course so as I neared the half way point, I anxiously awaited the other women in front of me to come back the other way to see if any were close enough to get after. When I realized there were only 2 women ahead of me I got confused. So I inquired of my lead biker what place I was in. "3rd" he replied. OH MAN! Not that this changed much but it did put a little spring in my step. And so it went, one foot in front of the other, lots of ice/water/Perform/sponges at each aid station, and telling myself that sometimes it's good to have tough days too. Having seen at the turnaround, how far ahead 2nd place was at that point, I had made the assumption that she was out of reach and my goal was to hold onto 3rd.
Well, you know what they say about assuming things! With about 1.5 miles to go, the people running out started to encourage me that "she's right up there, you can catch her!". Really? My lead biker confirmed this but I still couldn't see 2nd place. Until I saw her. And then it was like a switch went off in my head and I wasn't tired any more. But would I have enough space? Of course, the answer is "no", because I ended up in 3rd place. But it was a very important lesson for me to (re)learn - it ain't over until it's over.
All in all a solid day and while I would have loved to swim, bike and run faster, and feel better while doing it, isn't that ALWAYS the case when we race? Most of all, I was truly thankful to be out there racing hard and doing what I love with a hip that allowed it all to happen! My hip and my fitness are coming around, slowly and surely and that's exciting for me! Oscar and I had a super fun trip (including the ride home where he was so loopy from fatigue that he had me in hysterics). And we got to catch up and stay again with our homestay from last year, James. Muncie is a really awesome race and should the timing work out again next year to do it, I'll be there!
I know I say it every time, but without them I wouldn't be able to live this life! So thank you to my sponsors, my family, teammates and friends, the homestays all around the country that have taken Oscar and I in and QT2 and Tim. It takes a villiage...
Some highlights of the trip definitely include:
|Getting to see and race with my Coeur teammate Malaika.|
|Getting to chat with THE Jen Harrison! Jen has been a role model for me since I very first got into the sport.|
|And finally, getting to see Ashley take her first pro win! (not that I saw it because I still had a mile left to go, but you know what I mean...) Very happy and excited for her!!|