Thursday, July 5, 2018

Mont Tremblant 70.3 - Fries covered in gravy covered in cheese

I have raced all over the world and Mont Tremblant is one of my favorite race venues on the planet.  And it's not just because I get fries covered in gravy covered in cheese at the finish.

It's because the race magic at Mont Tremblant is real. The race organization knows how to put on a show and make you feel special. Everything from fighter jets soaring overhead to signal the start of the race to the red carpet you sprint over through transitions. The race venue is beautiful the people are beautiful and the experience is magical. And you get fries covered in gravy covered in cheese at the finish.

Special thanks to Delta Dental for supporting my crazy dreams. I love to work hard and dream big and its so special to have support of a company that believes in me and dreams bigger than me!


THE SWIM - 27:30 ( 1:15/yard)

The fighter jets soared, the gun went off and I got off the line fast! I actually said in my head, "Damn that went well." For 3 blissful minutes I was on the feet of super swimmer Rachel McBride who was on the feet of Meredith Kessler who was on the feet of Jen Spieldenner (3 of the best swimmers in the world/sport).  Shortly after this I deviated left (or they deviated right) either way I was now in the chase pack.  The question is this: with lats like these why can I never hold the front pack?  All feedback is welcome.

THE BIKE -2:30 (21.9 mph)

One benefit of completing 60 Ironman events is I have  experienced ALL. OF. THE. THINGS: intense fatigue, superhuman powers which is then usually followed up by cramping quads, severe nausea, bliss, delusions of grandeur, heartbreak, ecstasy, lothing, ravenousness which is then usually followed up by, once again, severe nausea.

Not every one of those races went well and I've learned a lot from my previous bonks/blowups/sufferfests.  I make a point to make a bad race a learning lesson and I have latched onto some physical and mental tricks when the legs/body refuses to cooperate.  For instance, during the initial 60 minutes of the race my legs would not come around.  First on my list of tricks is reverting to the tried and true bullying technique.  This simple trick involves me verbally harassing my quads.  If the bullying technique falls through I ditch my power meter data and make a point to thank all of the family/friends/sponsors that support me every 5 or so miles. And if that doesn't work I pull out the dependable Donkey card which will be detailed in a moment.

Mont Tremblant does a fabulous job in regards to televising the race.  The TV crew on motorcycles zipped by me at around 25 miles ( just as I was contemplating the donkey move) and stopped for a moment to film. I know the entire race staff at Mont Tremblant so I smiled and waved and they smiled and waved back.  I'm not sure if this was the race magic or my legs just decided to play along but this smiley interaction gave me some gumption. It also coincided with me spotting a few ladies up the road.  I knew this was the moment to pull the move and I decided to do a strong 15 minute surge to try and catch them. Fifteen minutes of above threshold power had me catching and passing the females and moving myself into 5th position and making a big gap on 6-10th. Donkey move #1 of the day pays off!

The RUN - 1:25 ( 6:29/mile)

Right out of the gate my legs were on board. Turnover felt fast, breathing felt in control and I was on the hunt.  The run legs don't always come around so fast so I tried to enjoy the feeling! I looked down and I was holding 6:20's which I thought was perfect for the first 3 miles.  Ry guy was awesome out on course and I couldn't have asked for a better sherpa/support team.

Ry guy brought his road bike so he could navigate the run course better and it seemed as though he was cheering and giving me splits all over the course.  Two mile into the run he screamed that there were 5 girls chasing hard and all were with in 90 seconds. GULP. Talk about a nail bitter.

I was constantly having to think positive and believe I was running faster if not just as fast as the ladies behind me.  When your breathing is labored and your quads are screaming, positive thoughts can be few and far between.  One of my mantras I always recite is: full effort is full victory. This is straight out of my homeboy Ghandi's mouth.  This mantra will come back to help me in a big way at mile 10.

At 10 miles I REALLY started to suffer complete with nausea and the beginnings of quad cramps.  But that is why I train so hard and remember to push even when I am having "off days" in training. In endurance sports it is crucial to teach yourself to suffer. And no one can help you with that. The art of suffering/appreciation for suffering/love of suffering ( whatever you want to call it ) comes from the HEART. 

At mile 10, I was having a hard time keeping any nutrition down and my turnover was slowing. This is when the 6th placed female ran up beside me.  We were now running stride for stride, both breathing hard, focused, hurting.   Ryan was on the sidelines cheering and telling me to be strong and keep charging.

And here is where I made the risky move to run the 10th mile like it was my last mile. I told myself I would run as fast as I could until mile 11 and if it broke me, oh well, at least I gave it my all.  I gritted my teeth, closed my eyes for a second and just went for it. Valerie held my pace change for 5 minutes. Stride for stride, breathing, focused, hurting.  With a little less than 3K to go Valerie surged again.  I pleaded with myself, "Hang on! Dig deep! One step at a time. Keep pushing!"

Suddenly I realized I had a half a step on her and then 2 strides an then I was back in the lead! But I immediately started worrying. Is this fast enough to hold her off? Was my surge going to come back to bite me. Stop thinking! Just run!

I pushed up the hills and threw myself down the hills. Ry was cheering like crazy and with 1 mile to go I see 4th position 15 seconds up the road!  Everything was a blur as I flew up the last hill spurred by the awesome crowd cheering like crazy.   I had 4th place running 10 seconds ahead and 6th place 5 seconds behind me. A 3-way SPRINT to the finish.

And as painful as it was - this kind of racing is what I live for!  And with that finish I successfully qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  I am honored and excited and I will make the decision to head to South Africa for World's after IRONMAN LAKE PLACID :)


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