Saturday, May 4, 2013

St. George 70.3 : Keep on Chipping Away

St. George 70.3 is absolutely gorgeous! (Just as a disclaimer the pictures I have do not even come close to doing it justice.)  A championship field on the most ferociously fierce course I have every raced: A perfect Championship venue!

We started the day in the 59 degree water of Sand Hollow State Park in Hurricane Utah.  I got a good warm up in ( I was secretly doing a little jig in my neoprene because I love cold water!)  The normal jostling at the line went down and when all was said and done I found myself perfectly positioned next to Kelly Williamson. The gun went off and I went to work keeping Williamson's feet in sight. Everything was falling into place until someone took a 90 degree angle and swam right over me. What!? Ha! I had to laugh to myself. Now this is more like the water brawl I remember. Ironman never disappoints.  I managed to recover from this and grab hold of the chase pack. It was a perfect position to be in but the work in the water today felt hard. Every stroke felt like effort. And I'm learning, that at times that's just how it goes.  Racing makes you tougher. Especially if you're constantly having to dig!

Swim Venue - Gorgeous!

I exited the water in 26:55. Not bad, but the effort it took to get me there felt too high. I tried to think positively and get myself out of transition to chase down some girls I had in sight.

I actually felt great during the start of the bike. I eventually caught the speedy Jess Smith and we rode back and forth for the majority of the course.  The bike course is absolutely perfect.  It's super hill and has enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. It's a fair course that you can actually gain major momentum on if you're having a strong day. At around mile 35 Lesley Patterson caught us and the Scottish rocket brought the riding up a level. She is such a beast on the hills and it was fun to chase her up through the winding Snow Canyon.  I stole the below pics right from google image. But this was the one race where I was wishing I had brought a camera ;)

I can't really explain what happened on the bike but I was lacking a little zip in my legs. I felt flat. My mind kept saying "push!" but my quads were not having it.  Overall my bike
was decent but I wish I could have been a bit more aggressive out there.  I have to admit, my bike has come a long way. All in all, with the beautiful scenery and wonderfully fierce competition - how could I complain?

And while I was out on my bike Dan had turned all Mountain Goat on me. I would hear my name and look up only to see Dan on the side of a cliff! What the?! How in the heck did he get there?

The way I felt towards the end of the bike I was thinking: this run is going to be an adventure for sure. However, as soon as I put on my  lime green Zoot Kiawes on I felt like I was flying! Maybe it was all in my head but those shoes make me feels light and fast!  And if you're wondering if the run course had hills the answer would be NO: It had MOUNTAINS. It was just silly.
Umm, yeah.
I was able to pull off some 6:20s on the flattish sections but those were few and far between.  This was hands down the hardest run course I have every done.  But once again, very pretty.  So we forgive you race director.  You're not that evil. ;)

To sum it up, I had to fight tooth and nail for just an OK result.  I was slightly disappointed when I crossed the line because I KNEW that if I had biked a few minutes faster and ran just a couple minutes faster I would have been nipping on the heals of top 10.  But that is what you get in a field which is absolutely chock full of World Champions and Olympians.  The positives: I closed very strong today and I need to LEARN to accept those races and those training days when the work doesn't come easy.  Learn from them, recover up and then move on.  And the St. George crowd support was AWESOME. It's days like these where I reminded most that what I do is not a pursuit of a selfish goal, but an exciting journey that allows me to motivate, inspire and encourage others.  

Homestay and Me and Svenla Bazlen (2nd Female Pro!)

Next up is Eagleman with my whole family!  I will have a solid month to put in a good training block. And I need it because as like to put it, when God was handing out biking skills I was over in the corner picking my nose. However, when he was handing out work ethic I was front of the line. So after I rest up from St. George it's back to the old training game because I'm just getting started!