|Kel coming in for a high five from me after his swim!|
|My sister, the boys, and me!|
Well, I definitely pushed my limits. In my heart I know that my performance for this race was awesome, but the numbers on the results page definitely do not reflect that. It was just a crazy day. The weather was beautifully brutal - not a cloud in the sky, hardly a breeze and almost 90 degrees. Going in I knew this was going to be a challenge, so I was mentally prepared to suffer and to make sure I was hydrating well. I also knew from experience that this course is hard. Quassy is NO JOKE! Most of the races I do have a tendency to be on the harder side because of location, but there is NOTHING around Syracuse that even comes close to the level of difficulty Quassy serves up.
Once onto the bike, I diligently started fueling and hydrating. The hills on this course are absolutly relentless. Before you are all the way down one, there is another looming up ahead. I felt strong for the first half despite a moment when I thought I might actually have to get off my bike and walk up a particularly steep hill, and then around mile 28 or so my stomach started to feel like there was a heavy rock in it. Looking back, I think I actually over-hydrated around 90 minutes or so and my stomach just shut down a bit until it could process everything. That took about 20 miles in which the best I could do was just ride up and down the hills like I was out for a Sunday joy ride. I was unable to get my intensity up where I wanted it, so I just did the best I could. With about 8 miles left in the ride, my stomach started to come around and I pushed into transition (up more hills!). I ended up with my slowest bike split ever, but still had my head in the game and was ready to run.
Onto the run, my stomach issues totally disappeared and I felt strong...really strong. I totally nailed my run plan which is something I am very proud of. The day was hot and I could literally feel my skin burning despite 3 coats of sunscreen including one in T2. Even though I felt strong, the pace was still slow which was probably just the result of the heat. I was putting ice in my bra and down my shorts at every aid station! I made some friends on the course, which is always a treat, but had miles 10-12 all to myself where I was really able to push and dig deep and learn to love to suffer just a bit more than I have in the past - goal accomplished! I finished the last mile with my new pal, Grant, who had played a little leap frog with me the whole race. He finished just ahead of me and waited with his wife to give me a hug! This is one of the top reasons I love this sport. Where else would I get a hug from a sweaty, near-stranger and have it be the highlight of my day?
The boys ran me into the finish line and I headed right over to the ice baths and had a nice cold coke, which I had been thinking of at every single aid station but had only gotten one sip during the race. It was glorious!
A couple of things stuck out to me about this race. As a mid-packer age-grouper my goal is often more about competing with myself than it is about competing with others. I think this is very typical, so when the numbers just don't add up to what you expect that can be a very hard thing. HOWEVER, what I realized about this race is that the numbers don't always tell the whole story. They don't show how hard I worked, they don't show how hot it was, they don't show how positive I stayed. It is so important to have goals that extend beyond numbers because on a day like Sunday I hit all of my goals even if I didn't see the numbers. That is a great race!
The other thing that stuck out was that each of us has the ability to create a race experience not only for ourselves but for the people we are on the course with. We can choose to be encouraging and positive or to be rude and negative. It is up to each of us to pay tribute to each other while we are out there! I was so blessed to have shouts and smiles and high fives and good jobs and sometimes just a nod spoke a thousand words of empathy and understanding. There were also a few times when I came across racers who maybe didn't do the best job at that for whatever reason. I would really encourage all of you to think about the kind of race experience you want and then to try to give that to others as well.
This was a special race for me because my sister and my men were all with me! A big thanks to Emmy and Kel who wrangled the boys for my (extra) long race, which is not easy. As we left the park I saw many a spectating spouse with kids who were on the verge of melt-downs. I thank all of you for your amazing support! It is not an easy job, but it really means so much!
Also thank you to all my sponsors, Rev3Tri, PowerBar, Compex, Normatec, Pearl Izumi, Blue Seventy, Biotta Juices, and SBRSports and to my coach, Kim! I could not do this without you! And lastly, thank you to all of you! All of your texts and tweets and facebook messages really do mean a lot to me! I feel you out there with me, pulling me into the finish.
Onward to the next race!!