Vineman 70.3 2013
It’s 8:10 am and everyone else has already started. I’m standing by myself at the river’s edge and you know what, I actually feel calm and collected and ready to see what the day brings. You see, I haven’t run one step since June 11th, and the anxiety has been there all week, but not today. I think perhaps I’ve come to terms with whatever happens will and once I make the commitment to run and complete this race then it’s on. I have to believe that. Yes, crazy to try this, but we’re 3000 miles from home and so much money has been spent. Above all, do no harm and that is motto, I go with today. No the motto is swim hard, bike harder, and never hit that dark place. Be OK with what happens. So, here we go!
I enter the river and head up to the second row middle. Why not? The gun goes off and all arms and legs are everywhere. People like to sprint the beginning, why, for me…I’ve gotta ways to go and I pick them off at the end J I get into a groove and find the buoys hard to follow, but I do. There is chaos at the turnaround….people walking in all directions because the water is so shallow and it’s difficult to even swim. Get to the very end, check my watch and notice that I wasn’t as fast as I thought. But I know you get a current push back…let’s go. I exit the water at 37:00 ish minutes and strip my wetsuit immediately. Throw it to Erin and Lindsey and hobble/run to my bike. Because you could give people your bags etc…I have nothing in T1. Really nothing…all the ladies around me thought I was crazy. Shoes, glasses, helmet and we’re gone. I say Hey to Charlie and off we go.
I love the Vineman bike course. It is so much fun and it didn’t disappoint. I started waaaay at the back so I just kept passing people. It was awesome, I felt like I was flying. 1 hour took 4 wafers and at hour 2, my E-Gel. Love those. Got my Infint down and kept rolling. I was a bit slow on one of the climbs, but I didn’t let that get to me. I was smiling, speaking to everyone and just loving it! Baby Blue was riding well and before I knew it, I was 5 miles from home. I caught Lori, love her by the way, and she tried to tell me how bad she felt. None of it, Lori, get on my wheel and let’s go. We rolled into T2 and walked together for a second. Told Lori I’d see her on the run and got to my spot. On a side note, as we rolled into T2, I saw Brian finishing and I knew he had had a great race!! I smiled again inside for him! 2:47 ish on the bike.
As I rolled into T2 I noticed that there weren’t many bikes in my AG there. I’ve never had that happen before. Wow, I thought, I better give this a go. Had no pain on the bike, so threw on my Hokas (brand new), grabbed my new brace and took off. Yelled to Charlie and Erin and looked for Lori and then thought let’s do it. The first step or two was weird and then I saw Mark and it took my mind of me for a moment. He was finishing too. I made a call to walk all of the uphills and try and run the rest. Walk is walking and running is running. That’s exactly what I did…I saw everyone out there, made so many friends and just kept on with the plan. This may have been one of the first times I have ever stuck to my plan. Honestly! I always tell my athletes a run/walk works and it does!!! I ultimately passed so many people because I was fresher when I was running. I must admit at Mile 11/12 I thought I had clearly out run my fitness, but I was there. A girl in my AG passed me at Mile 11.5 and I had no answer, but I knew I was on the homestretch.
I rolled into the finish with the best cheering section ever!! The Hokas came through; I did it!! I got Erin Jackson a medal! Then I got some chocolate milk J) I knew I had a great bike and I just felt awesome, but had no idea in regards to anything else. Ended up 20/110 on the swim (solid swim for me for sure); 7/110 on the bike and held on to finish Top 10. 9th place! Holy cow. You know what….I was so relaxed going into the race and had absolutely no expectations. It was sooo much fun to see my athletes succeed and to be there with them. Loved every minute of it!!!!
As a side-note, we know how much I love the mental strategies of this sport. So, how to conquer an injury. The truth is we will all get injured at some point. It stinks for sure and all expectations for the year are then thrown out the window, but guess what…new ones suddenly emerge. So, what to do if you’re injured for whatever reason…Get mad, get sad, and allow yourself 24 hours to just let it all sink in. I say 24 hours because then we have to move on and start fixing the problem. Beat yourself up for a second, but then release the fact on what you should have done. Yes, 200 miles on the bike is a long way and yes, my calves got tight, but I kept riding. Did that do it?? Maybe, so I learn from that and promise myself no more 200 mile mountain climbs on my road bike J Hey, I did it, it’s done. Do what you can do…If you can’t run, then you can become a great biker and swimmer. If you can’t swim, then bike and run. You can always do strength work or try something that you’ve been dying to try…pilates, pure barre, yoga. Yes, yoga is always good for the mind. Let your body heal. That is perhaps the most difficult part, because we all like time frames. It will get there. Let the stress go, be patient. Most of all an injured athlete is still an athlete. Believe in yourself and what your body can do and it will heal. Now running 13 miles after not running one step.,hmmm…so I compromised, a run/walk. I was mentally prepared to pull out if anything hurt. I knew deep down that as much as I enjoyed racing I couldn’t risk it. Played the odds and I think I got lucky. I did what I could to prepare my body. I biked a lot!! I mean a lot!!! I stretched, I massaged, I PT’ed! I listened to my coaches and my body and when it was ready, it was ready. Will I be injured again, perhaps? I love this sport and love my athletes and I tend to get carried away. Hopefully, I can learn from my own mistakes and try to listen to myself. That is the most difficult thing. I will be back in full force and there may be bumps in the road, but I believe I will!