Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Luck of the Irish

Turns out if you want to make your own luck, you have to be open to where life might take you, trust your instincts, and go for it. #BeBrave.

After a heartbreaking decision to pull out of Ironman Lake Placid - because of health reasons and fear that I was not ready to race hard AND recover from a full Ironman- I set my heart on Dun Laoghaire, Ireland.

I knew I was in for a grand adventure when I arrived in Dun Laoghaire and the Irish sea was thrashing the coast line, the wind was howling, the rain was blowing sideways and one of the locals cheerfully said: "You're Lucky! This is the best summer we've had since 1954!"

I learned quite quickly that Ireland is stunningly beautiful and green for a reason. It rains. A lot.  But the locals are full of character and cheer - is it the Guinness? Turns out, if you want the Luck of the Irish you have to be open to where life might take you, trust your instincts, and GO FOR IT.

Let's all start a 70 mile race in the red zone!! ;)

The swim was a brisk 57 degrees in the Irish Sea. 

Checked 'swim in the Irish Sea' off the bucket list. 

I also checked 'made the lead pack" off the bucket list! YASSSSS.  I need to give credit to my Concord, NH swim crew for that achievement ( Aryn, Dustin, Jon - LOVE YOU).

The Sea itself was unforgivably choppy and COLD.  I am usually quite confident in the swim but I had to keep reminding myself to breath and keep a rhythm because there were some scary moments in that chop!

I was thrilled to exit the swim with the world champ Em Pallet and with just one female ahead of us.  Time to attack the bike - my favorite.

If you haven't raced in Europe - you should.  It's breathtakingly beautiful, rugged, extreme, hilly -  everything I want in a race.  

Plenty of  steep and prolonged climbing!

Climbing Sally Gap with Tine Deckers in sight!

Moments before descending Sally Gap

Stellar view of Guinness Lake in the Wicklow National Forest

The bike was dreamy! Ferociously hilly and challenging in every way.  As I crested some of the climbs I thought for sure the cross winds would blow me into Guinness Lake. And as I descended into fog, wind and rain I thought for sure I was going to have a race-ending crash into a long-leggy-necky ( Irish Sheep).  
But fear is my opponent, right? No one is faster or better than me - only less afraid? (At least that's what I kept repeating to myself.)  I came off the bike in 3rd with another potential nail-biting scenario with 4th, 5th and 6th all within 20 seconds.    

Missing Ry guy and his cheers but the Irish crowds were fantastic. ( Again, is it the Guinness!?)

Because of the strong winds and rain on the bike I started the run significantly under-hydrated due to missing a few aid stations on the bike.  The goal of the first 3 miles of the run were to get some fluid back in the body - a body that was desperately trying to hold onto 3rd. After 3 miles of chugging Infinit, coke and water I started to feel like I could finally push. 

Competition holds the promise to bring out the very best in us.
At mile 6 I knew I could not let up 1-inch if I wanted a spot on that podium. 4th place was running very strong and  just 50 seconds behind me.

But every turn around I smiled at her and encouraged her, because, I needed her. I needed her to run strong to push me.

In competition we are never alone. We are all struggling for the same things.  We should seek OUR absolute best with the help of each other.

In order to achieve my goals I need you to challenge me.

Lot's of love to the STRONG FEMALES in my life because you inspire me, you drive me, you set my SOUL ON FIRE. Here is a promise to race my heart out and not quit when it gets difficult because that is where the magic happens.

So much pain that last 5K for the PODIUM!

I am more than thrilled to podium in Europe but even more thrilled that my body is almost back to 100%.

I have taken a few days rest and now it's back to the GRIND as the The Rut 50K in Big Sky Montana is just a week away!

HUGE HUGS to my sponsors:
Tom Raffio and Delta Dental
Velocio Apparel
Infinit Nutrition
Juice Performer
Runner's Alley
Rudy Project
MC Cycle and Sport
Massive thanks to the boss/coach Kurt Perham for the coaching guidance over the past 7 years!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading Amber's blog and considering posting a comment. Please know that if you write rude, negative, or just plain crazy comments, I will remove them and Amber will not get a chance to read them. For everyone else, comment away!

-Blog moderator