After traveling all day from Austin, I met ML at the Hartford airport Thursday night. It has been about two weeks since seeing each other and I was really happy and excited to be reunited!

I had just finished my final big block of training in preparation for IM CDA. I was tired and I was a bit sore, getting off of the plane. This was a fully loaded field with some of the best short course, 70.3, and ironman girls on the list. I think just about every single girl on that list has some sort of title. I was careful to not put any expectations on myself. I had a few personal reasons why I wanted to race the REV3. And after discussing everything over with Cliff and with ML, I decided to line up with the best of them on Sunday morning…

After I had made the commitment to race, I did everything that I could possibly do to get ready for this race which had one of the deepest, strongest fields…including taking two ice baths before Sunday…lol!

I tested myself a bit on Friday and Saturday to see how my body was feeling. I wanted to feel like I was race ready. My energy was good…really GOOD! But my muscles were sore. After talking to the boss man, I felt a bit of relief. He was happy and I think a bit surprised to hear that my energy was good. And he assured me that the soreness that I was feeling was probably due to a bit of dehydration from travel and my body was possibly playing catch up from my big week of training the week prior. I hydrated like crazy and took the best care of myself that I could. It paid off…
Quotes that I thought of during the race that some of my friends and training partners shared with me before the REV3:

“Amanda, you are STRONG” (quote from my German yoda, Stefan)
“Amanda, you are running so fucking great right now! (quote from my BFF and running partner, Cassie)
“Amanda, you are just as fast as any of these girls!” (quote from Heather G.)
“Babe, just go out there and kill it!” (quote from my husband, ML)

I lined up on the beach Sunday morning with some of the BEST athletes in our sport.
The gun fired and we were off. My breath felt tight and I felt like I was gasping for air, but I was in the group. As I gasped for air and my arms flailed about, I slowly watched the girls pull away. Sucky Pants! I have come to the conclusion that despite my best efforts in the pool, (I am swimming really well…probably the best ever), I just suck at swimming. It is a never ending quest to get better. In any case, I found myself with Natasha Badman. I wasn’t quite sure how her swimming had been going since her crash two years ago. But at this point, beggars couldn’t be choosers and I sat on her feet for the entire swim. Thank you Natasha!

As we exited the swim and entered transition, spectators were everywhere screaming our names. It was awesome!

Entering t-2, I noticed that we were the last bikes in there…oh great, I thought…
However, that emotion quickly changed. I was happy and surprised to hear that we were only 3:40 down from super-star swimmer, Joanna Z. Hey, that’s pretty good for me!

I hopped on my pretty little Contessa with my pink camo disc wheel. I was excited to test myself on this course. This course was my kinda terrain. It was rolling hills…really TOUGH! It always seemed as though we were going up, down, or turning. I felt ready to fly!

As soon as I got on, I knew that my bike legs were there. I didn’t have any sort of computer or power tap. My computer broke the morning of the race. And I don’t have a race wheel for my Power Tap. I had to do this bike course on effort. I decided that it would be fun to see how long I could keep Natasha in my sights. I was surprised to see that she wasn’t pulling away from me that quickly. I thought to myself…ok, this is good. I’m feeling pretty good…hmmm….just go with it….
Within minutes, I passed Cait and Lisa. Further down the road, I saw my buddy Bree, who cheered for me to catch the pack that was just ahead…I thought pack? Ok, let’s see what’s ahead…

As I got closer, I saw Belinda, Leanda, and Jo Lawn. I rode right up to them, following the USAT stagger rule. As quickly as I rode up to them, I had to back off as I had another episode of rapid heart rate in which my heart rate topped off at 203. I knew right away that I needed to stop pedaling. I promised ML that I would stop racing if it lasted it’s usually 40 minutes minutes. Lucky for me, I got it under control within 5 minutes. (We have since found out that my prescription acid blocker causes this side effect and we are in the process of timing when to take it in relation to race time). As soon as my heart rate dropped to 140, I was able to work again. I quickly caught the group again and rode my ass off.

We all came into transition together. I though to myself, wtf? I am here with BELINDA GRANGER, JO LAWN, and LEANDA CAVE. These girls have won multiple races; ironmans. Shit, Leanda is a former world champion! These girls are bad ass competitors…who the ‘eff am I. I quickly got back to business and I ran my buns off. I passed Belinda, who gave a few encouraging words, I passed Jo, and Leanda pulled away fast that first mile. I slowly got my rhythm. And as soon as the hills came, I started to feel like I was moving. I started to feel like I was running. I loved it. I caught Leanda. I thought to myself, wow, she’s breathing kinda hard. I feel good…ok…keep going. Then I saw Lisa Bentley’s hubby, Dave. He was so encouraging. He kept screaming that I could catch the next girl ahead. At mile 8, I caught Olympian, Lisa M. OMG…really? Who am I??? I ran hard. I was seeing black spots at mile 9. I was bonking. It didn’t matter. I was grabbing gu, oranges, anything that I could get my hands on. I ran as hard as my legs would allow and I finished 5th in a stacked field of girls.

As I stood on stage, extremely proud of myself yesterday, I went over everything that I had been through in the past couple years, few months, few days…Everything is finally coming together for me. I believed in myself and I raced like I trained. I am so proud.

Thank you to REV3 for the most amazing race experience, ever. It is hard to believe that this race is only in it’s first year! Honestly, it was so well run and it was such a fair course (with Charlie Crawford giving out penalties…yikes!) that I believe that this race should be the 70.3 world championships! (I will not do the current 70.3 world championships). In 2010 if you are considering doing a fair, challenging, fun race…or if you are racing IM Lake Placid, this is the perfect warm-up to prepare!

A special thank you to all of my sponsors, including Splish, Blue Seventy, SCOTT, TRAKKERS, First Endurance, Jack and Adams Bike Shop, FSA, Oakley, Boulder Running Company, and Race Day Wheels. I’ve been with most of my sponsors (proudly) for almost all of my professional career. And I am grateful that they have stuck by me through the good and the bad.

Lastly, thanks to the boss man, Cliff. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…the best decision that ML and I made was hiring this guy. He knows his stuff. And he’s helped me pull my act together. Thanks Cliff!

Next Stop: IM CDA!