Buffalo Springs 70.3

Michael, Trakkers Teammate and friend Jess Meyers and I didn’t take any chances race morning arriving at the race sight at 5:15am. We marched down the hill from parking to transition, got all of our race belongings together, pumped tires; before I knew it, it was race time!

Michael and I gave each other kisses and said our goodbyes and good lucks. Jess and I stayed together, inseparable like two teenage girls. Since bonding last year over mechanicals at Bransonthat forced us both to DNF, Jessica and I have become very close friends. We really get each other and have a really fun time together. I love racing with Jess. I know that I always have her support and she knows that I want her to succeed and to be her best!

I lined up right next to Jess for the swim. I knew that I had been swimming quite well for the past several weeks since being back into my routine in Boulder. Jessica is usually quite a bit faster than me. I was well tapered for this race and I hoped (and prayed) that if I swam aggressively for the first several hundred meters that I could tuck into a nice little pack with her. The prayers (and hard work) paid off. After the first yellow buoy, I was swimming effortlessly. Not only did I feel completely at ease physically, but I was stroke for stroke right next to Jess who was smiling at me. I knew I was in a good spot…

About three quarters through the swim, however, there was a split in our group. I was worried because I felt like Jessica and Angela (Naeth) were going too far outside the red buoys. And because I had followed the wrong group earlier this year in Costa Rica, going off course, I made the tactical decision to go with the group that decided to stay closer to the red buoys. It turned out to be the wrong decision because the girl who was leading blew up. I ended up having to go around her, pulling her and a few pro men into transition 1. Jess and Angela came out of T1 about 30 seconds up on me. The lesson learned: NEVER leave the feet of a swimmer who I know is faster than me. I was still extremely pleased with my swim, however. It wasn’t that long ago that I used to come out of the water 5-8 minutes back from the leaders in a 2k swim. Sunday I was only down by 2:30 to Margie and Kelly! The swim was a small victory in itself!

I stumbled through transition to my bike. It wasn’t my finest transition, but it was enough to get me to my bike and on it! Again, I had been working really hard the past 4 weeks. I knew I wasn’t in the best biking shape of my life, but I knew that I was stronger than I had been this Spring. I took out the first 10-15 miles conservatively. The hills coming out of the park felt effortless. In fact, despite the blowing winds and rising temperatures, I felt great for the first 32 miles. At that point, I had a lull but I seemed to come around for a few more miles. By mile 45/46, I really felt my lack of back-end fitness on the bike. My quads started to ache and I started to get a little stiff.  While I worked really hard the past 4 weeks in Boulder to up my fitness, (and I did) the reality is that I need a bit more time in the saddle.

Because we were expecting tempertures in the 100′s, I was extremely careful with my eating and drinking, especially on the bike. My nutrition on the bike for 2:35: 90 oz of fluid consisting of EFS and water (400 calories of EFS) and 400 calories of liquid shot. This is a lot more than I usually take in, but my body did not seem to have any problem absorbing the nutrients. Despite my best efforts to take in tons of fluid, I did not have to go to the bathroom on the bike…I may have needed more!

After riding by myself for 55.5 miles, I was caught by 4 other pro women on the final hill arriving into transition. We arrived into transition 2 together. I thought to myself…CRAP!

I left Transition 2 running easily and effortlessly. Despite coming in with 4 others, I was first out on the run. The plan to start conservatively on the bike was a good one. My run fitness is very good right now. I put in good miles this past Spring and the past 4 weeks in Boulder went extremely well. But I am only as strong on the run as I am on the bike. The bike did take a bit out of me. And I was pleased with my run despite the high temperatures and head winds that I faced for the first 6 miles. Nutrition on the Run: Lots of water (at every aid station) and a gel at mile 2.

To say that I am pleased with my race in Lubbock is an understatement. I really haven’t had a good race since September of 2010. In fact, I have had 4 bad races in a row. It started to really grind on my emotions. Sunday I was able to compete, and I was in the mix at all times during the race. And even though I placed fifth, I view this race as a victory.

I learned a lot this past eight months. Some of these lessons are: Never start a race sick. Never start a race feeling under trained, under prepared, over trained, or even emotionally afraid to race. Lastly, my most important lesson learned is that my  gut feeling is always right. I should never believe that it’s not. I will never start a race again without listening to my gut feeling again! I went into this race with a lot of confidence in the work that I had done. I tied up any loose ends that I needed to with my health. I was physically and emotionally ready for it, despite any and all obstacles on race day!

…and trust me…I had some obstacles on race day…

I would like to thank Derick from Durata training for being my “go to guy” this year. While I have been building my own program for the past 4 weeks, Derick has been in my corner with his positive reinforcement!

I really believe that I have the best sponsors ever. Thank you Splish for surprising me with a blinged out race suit at my hotel on Friday. My suit was gorgeous! I could not live without my Ultragen Smoothies from First Endurance! Thanks to First Endurance for making clean and absorbable products like EFS (mild grape!!) and vanilla liquid shot. My Kestrel 4000 and my fast ZIPP wheels are awesome. I am working hard to get my bike legs back so that I can do them justice! Thanks ISM for keeping my lady bits healthy. Thanks to Avia for speedy Bolts. Thanks TYR for helping me rock the swim like a “hurricane”. Recovery Pump helped my legs stay healthy before the race and after! In fact, I just finished a 45′ run thanks to the “boots”. Thanks to Charlie and TRAKKERS for the best support a girl could ever want. Thanks Vision, Jack and Adams, BRC, Zinka (I didn’t get a sunburn!), Cycleops (I love my Joule!!!), Louie Garneau (best helmets and shoes evah!) Without my awesome sponsors, I would be able to do what I love!