When I woke up in the morning I thought: How about taking a chance and doing REV3 Anderson!!??? Next week-end!! I had been wanting to add that race to my schedule but was unshure if it was a good idea to race two halfs 8 days apart within a series of 5 races.
I asked Siri what she thought: GO FOR IT! And so…instead of heading back home to my luggage (bike box, Alice’s travel bag, my luggage), I decided to leave it all in St-Sauveur, drive from Pennsylvania to South Carolina with mom and fly out from there. Figure out the rest when I get there. That meant mom would have to drive 20 hours back home ALONE and she said she wanted do it! No problem. (She is quite brave that momallmighty.)
It turns out, Rev3 Anderson was WELL WORTH leaving my luggage back home and letting poor mom drive back on her own with only 4 weiner dogs as body guards!
Here goes the story of week five of all out racing:
I was definitely taking a chance racing Rev3 as the last race of the block. I had no idea how I would feel after 7 days of rest and there were girls in that field that were definitely solid athletes. But I needed to do something that was Epic to myself. I wanted to put myself to the test and do something HARD that would force me to give it all. I also was EXTREEMELY tempted because I really love those Rev3 races. They are the definite party experience. The Rev3 Showdown!
Speaking of showdown. There is another reason I wanted to race Rev3 Anderson. I had raced 2 Rev3 races this year, and the show I put on there was not really what I would have liked.
In Knoxville I was third: The day before the race I crashed in the rain over a railroad track and locked myself out of the car. On race day,me and Wassner went the wrong way out of the water and as if that was not enough, we then both followed Dibbens when she went off course on the bike. OH BOY…
But the most frustrating experience was at Quassy when I DNF’d because of hypothermia about 2 minutes after the start of the bike, shaking out of control. That race was awesome and I didn’t even get to do it! It was immortalized by a post race hypothermic interview in which I embarrassed myself just a little more!! Hihi.
Anderson was an inaugural event, which made it even more exciting!
I had no idea how I would feel after Poconos and respected the tough competition I would have on the day (teammate Kate Major (also series leader), Meredith Kessler, Tenille Hoogland from Canada and the up and coming Malaika Homo, winner of Cedar Point Rev3). During the interviews, some of the Rev3 crew had me pumped up enough (reminding me of the previous embarrassments) to make me say about my competition: -You are all going down!! –
I didn’t cover my mouth fast enough and the sentence came out. It was quickly made into a twitter post and addressed to my competition (by the Rev3 crew of course) along with a picture of me pointing my fingers out like a gun. Thank you guys… PRESSURE WAS ON (me) …PEOPLE!
YESS! I know, the Rev3 crew always likes a good show so they made sure they spiced it all up good the day before the race! Got me in trouble for sure!
The night before the race, I usually sleep pretty well. But the night before Anderson, I had trouble falling asleep because I WAS TOO EXCITED TO HAVE JUST FOLLOWED RINNY AND LEANDA KICK ASS IN HAWAII and place two and three in RECORD TIMES! Historical day for team Sirius!! I was jumping up and down at 10pm. OH BOY!!!
Inspired by that mega performance, I showed up happy at the start the next morning and also ready for a FIGHT no matter WHAT. That was my new plan. STAY in the game no matter what, forget about the result, focus on the process, stay in the moment, go hard and prove to MYSELF how tough I can be and have fun in the process. Pretty much apply what I had learned since Vegas. Surprising how much more relaxed I was on race morning, with that approach.
Charlie Patten gave me the last little bee sting I needed when he told me before the start: Remember Quassy!! (his voiced saying those words echoed in my mind a few times during the race…haha) (Thanks for making me ANGRY Charlie!) loved it and was all set to go!!
The gun went off and I started to swim. After the first minute of racing, I understood I was going to have to race smart in order to survive until the end today. Sometimes racing smart and conservative for the first bit is the best way to get the best performance out of yourself in the end and today, that was the case. My legs were BURNING right away with the all race start and I understood I had to gage my effort better then ever. The last thing that would be good for me today wouldbe sprints and short all out efforts, they just felt terrible. Any effort that got anaerobic just felt wrong so I knew I would have to push the limits without doing anything stupid. I found myself swimming slower then I did in any other race this year. Probably a minute and a half off what I expected but it felt nice and hard so I kept on bringing myself back to my good effort, no beating myself up, just go hard and quiet the mind.
Out of the water, I felt powerful on the bike, although I did feel the effects of the last half the whole way. I saw Malaika up ahead and caught up to her at about mile 15. She and I faught for a while. Up on our pedals passing each other FAST and then settling. I was re-passing, pushing my luck in some painful shorter, high intensity efforts. They hurt. But I was feeling feisty and was wondering how someone that I had caught up rather fast would suddenly be giving me such a hard time. I let that make me ANGRY. It didn’t get any easier and with the way I was feeling, I focused on keeping her in sight (it was a big challenge as she was fast and pushing up my pace) and fueling as well as I could. (I took seven CAFFEINATED (very important!) GU gels on the bike and felt I needed more!!).
There were tough moments during that ride, there were moments where I started thinking how terrible my ranking would be and that would take away all my energy. But for this time, I wasn’t going to give in to that, don’t want a second one of those painful lessons. I was going to give the –race to test your inner strength- a chance, and FORGET about anything else. I wanted to be a fighter and the strongest fighter I had ever been. That was my goal on the day and I had to CONSTANTLY bring myself back to that on the bike as I knew I was not either having the bike of my life today in terms of TIME.
Later in the race, I caught Meredith who had unfortunately lost her saddle but was still smiling and going hard, being relentlessly positive! (That girl is awesome by the way). I think I entered T2 in fourth place and starting to run felt…BAD.
Meredith passed me back at the start of the run and so did another male pro (a bad thought snuck in like…who’s next? I shut that thought out too and replaced it with focusing on my Siri cadence cues and staying present, specially in the hills (love the hills now, trained for them (yes Siri…I LOVED IT!!!).
I also focused on fueling and sipped coke out of my FuelBelt palm holder (think it saved my race this time, seriously). I also focused on having faith in my training and deciding that I was going to run fast no matter what. This time I was going to take control and MAKE IT HAPPEN. I had the coke and felt better and better and better. At about 5k I felt really good and wasn’t thinking about the distance anymore, just the effort: GO FASTER. I started re-passing the people that had passed me out of transition (that had never happened to me before…usualy they were gone for good).
Then I started catching up with the ones that had started running ahead of me focusing on one person after the next. I had no idea where first place was and frankly I was not even thinking about that yet, I was now feeling STRONG and doing my best effort, then I heard the winning spot was 2 minutes ahead. At that point I knew I COULD win and I let myself feed on that thought but it was going to take everything I had. With 5k to go, I think I was about 1:20 down and I could start seeing Tenille ahead of me. At the same time, my legs started feeling like broken elastics and I was making sure to take coke at every single aid station. I kept on thinking about Tempo and form also even got some emotional strength from my fast run at the LA triathlon and also thinking about the combat Rinny had put on in her marathon in Hawaii the day before. I started feeling excited!!! With about 800m to go as I prepared for the pass, my friends were yelling to attack and I was transported by the emotion.
The leader, Tenille, was right there and fading but it sure felt like I was too!! As I got closer and closer I decided it was going to have to be a brutal pass where I would never look back and just hammer all the way to the line. Okay…are you ready to hurt yourself?? NOW JUST GOOOOOOO!!!!
With about 400m to go, I saw (mostly heard) mom jumping up and down yelling -GO PACMAN!!!- Would have cracked me up if I hadn’t been in agony. The pass happened in a small hill where I was extra confident and I just gave absolutely everything I had left in the tank to make it first across that line and finish the day and the series of 5 races with a huge smile. I think I ended up winning by about 17 seconds. Tenille put up such a great fight. What a warrior.
I fell to the ground when I crossed the line. It was the most emotionally intense moment I had all year racing, Tenille was also so happy and we shared a great moment. I had really put out my best fight and there was no better feeling in the world. Personal mission accomplished and huge lessons learned.
What this series of races has shown me:
All I wanted was to be a winner when what I truly needed was to first become a warrior.
The true pleasure comes from knowing how strong you are inside. Being proud inside.
Thank you to all of you who cheer and believe. Again, I will say, I will try to keep you posted more regularly.
P.S: I have been reading all these quotes I could have used before Vegas…
Never, never, never, never give up.
My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.
Michel de Montaigne:
“There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.”
The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration.
There is no excellence uncoupled with difficulties.
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