Friday, September 30, 2011

Come Back Fight

LONG overdo, but it's been a whirwind couple weeks. Nevermind the 3half IM's and most of an IM in 6 weeks. The drive back from Co to CA + working a 3 day expo and trying to sleep/recover/catch up knocked me out! Anyways...with no further ado, Branson70.3! (sorry for the lack of pics)

The evening of Sept 11 was a bit emotional and tough. I was quite discouraged with how my day unfolded in Wisconsin, and really started questioning myself. It was my first ever DNF, how could I not. Thankfully Chris would have none of that. He didn't wait long before asking me: "what's next?" I didn't know how I could get things together, be ok with what went down after giving SO much, and return to battle again. I just didn't know that I even wanted to train and get ready for another ironman. I did EVERYTHING I could for IMWI. I put aside financial stresses, left San Diego and trained my butty off in Boulder. I was fit, I was ready! but...I didn't deliver. My body just said no. To think of gearing up for another ironman seemed emotionally daunting. But what Chris meant was: what is next, as in immediately! Options: Branson or Augusta? I talked to Branson's race director, Ryan Robinson and he put on a solid sell. I had to jump through  few hoops, but 1 week after WI I found myself toeing the line again.

Swim: We were worried we'd have another canceled swim on our hands. The storms leading up to the race where horrendous. Thankfully the thunder subsided around 5am and we were cleared for the swim. Phew! The gun went off and I could see Jaz was off. She even left power house swimmer Nina Craft in her dust. We rounded the far buoy and I joined 2 swimmers I had previously swam away from. I let Morgan do some pulling and Jessica stuck right to my feet. I felt like I was swimming well, but had wished I was further out front. I exited the water and crossed the mat in 3rd. Once in transition I took time to put on arm warmers and a vest- both weren't necessary, but had it started to rain I would of been thankful. A broken zipper cost me 1-2mins, but getting cold would take me out of the race completely.

Bike: I felt strong from the second I started riding. I didn't feel as uncomfortable and "out of it" as I had in Wisconsin. My legs were powering up the hills, and I felt I had an extra gear when I wanted it. The plan was for me to not look at my power readings. I didn't care what they had to say- I just had to GO for it! I rode my way into 3rd but was later passed by Jasmine and Mackenzie. I still knew I was in this, but unlike WI I didn't get obsessed with where I was in comparison to my competition. Yes, that is what I thrive for and the largest reason I took this pro journey, to RACE, but I needed to race myself again. I needed to dig and never give up. I needed to bounce back from the previous weekend and know I was just fine. My legs were burning, but I knew I was laying it out there. Turns out when I looked at the power file after the race I did just that. I took a risk and held my power from beginning to end. 4500ft of climbing and VERY wet roads led to slower bike splits, but finally I was right there with the other girls. I was in the mix on the bike, like I knew I could be. Mission accomplished. Now time to put together a solid run.

Run: I jumped off the bike and my leg turnover was no where to be found. This was how I felt in WI. My legs usually roll over so fast I have to pull in the reigns. Training at altitude sucked my turnover out of my legs. I never felt great running at altitude. I had some awesome workouts and was running plenty fast up there, but my turnover faded. I just never felt good on the run. I stayed with it mentally and got through the day. I didn't realize I was closing in on Jasmine or I might of charged a little earlier. I put the throttle down with 2 miles to go but ended up 30secs behind her to finish in 5th. 

The goals for the day were: erase IMWi from my memory. Mission accomplished! Be happy I decided to race immediately: mission accomplished! Realize my fitness is there and another ironman is definitely in my near future: mission accomplished! So all in all I was very happy with my race. My swim was where it should of been, the bike (on a very tough course) felt powerful and was very solid coming off a tough 112mile ride the weekend before, and my run will be fine. In fact, the advantage of waiting so long to write this- my run is already returning. 2.5 weeks down from altitude and I'm already running faster than I have all year (awesome considering my legs still haven't recovered from the recent spat of racing + travel). My turnover and form is BACK!

Long ago I learned it's not how many times you get knocked down but how many times you get back up that really matters and shows your character as an athletes. I'm back up and ready to keep the fight alive! GAME ON!

BIG Thanks to Ryan Robinson, Tom Ziebart and the entire race support team! The weather conditions required them to work over time and come up with plan a) swim bike run, b) bike run, and c) swim run plans. The bike course in Branson is hands down the best bike course I've ever done. I wish the run course had less paths and winding turns, but the swim and bike course makes up for that. Thank you Chris for believing in me, and for being an amazing coach and friend and not letting me rest when I was down. To the Martin family, thank you for pushing me to another start line. Having your support this summer meant the world to me- one can never have too large a family. MISS you guys! TYR, I am one lucky girl to have your support. If you've read my blog once you know how committed I am to this brand- for one reason is THE BEST! Fuji, I'm loving my new ride and finally we're rocking together. Only up from here! Newton, thank you for helping me work out a few niggles and a special thank you to Danny Abshire for tweaking my run form and refitting my orthodics. Newton shoes + Active Imprints insoles = fast pain free running for me. TriBike Transport allowed me to hunt down their truck to get my bike back in time to leave again for Branson. Talk about customer service!!!!! THANK YOU. Garmin and GU you make this all possible by keeping me fueled and focused on moving forward.

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