Saturday, December 22, 2018

Indian Wells 70.3: NOT FOURTH

"I will not get 4th today."

I was either going to turn myself inside-out to finish on the podium, or I was going to turn myself inside-out and crawl across the finish line.  If you have been following along - this is the story of my professional Ironman career.

Also, if you follow along on social media you probably know how it ended at Indian Wells 70.3: 6th place. A race I am extremely proud of for many reasons.

2017 was a tough year for me. I battled through ( un-diagnosed ) stage 4 adrenal fatigue all the while trying to balance work as a Physical Therapist, coaching, and personal training.  I feel so lucky to have found Dr. Laura Jones who, without question, helped me dig my way out of this massive hole.  With a few necessary dietary tweaks and then 4 MONTHS of complete rest I started 2018 healthy but unsure if Amber-the-athlete would every return in full force.

At the beginning of the season I wrote down a few athletic goals: 1.) Podium in a 70.3; 2.) Qualify for the Snowshoe National Team; 3) consistently run sub 1:27 off the bike

These goals are important because I knew in my heart of hearts if I could podium and run fast I WAS BACK.

photo cred: @higgybabyphotography

As the season unfolded some awesome events took place. I came 6th in Barcelona70.3, I qualified for the 2018 National Snowhoe Team and I battled to a 5th (and SPRINT FINISH) at Mont Tremblant 70.3 with a sub 1:28 run split.

I told Ry Guy after Tremblant 70.3 that I KNEW I was healthy. I survived a sprint finish after 70 miles of racing - and I WON.


This motivated the hell out of me and kept me on track to achieve goal number 1: Podium at a 70.3  Which I did at Dun Laoghaire 70.3 over a brutal, cold, hilly, windy course.

Dun Laoghaire: 50 degrees water :)


But the thing is you can't pick the month that opportunity knocks.  In November, I picked up a few new athletes, started a new business project, and frankly, felt overwhelmed.  I went into Indian Wells 70.3 super fit but I also was bringing 6 athletes and I was also 100% committed to ensuring they all had a good race.

With the extra stress ( good stress, but still stress!) would my goal be attainable?  The few days leading up to the race predicted 55 degrees water - YES!!  I needed something to shake up the flat 70.3 course.  I thrive on hilly bike courses and ice-cream headache cold swims.

Side note: the venue at Indian Wells is STUNNING. Race it in 2019.

50m pool and 75 degree weather 
 Indian Wells 70.3

THE START: It was cold.  I got off the line fast and thought: Its effin FREEZING.  And then I smiled.  Just what I wanted. I landed in the chase back, stayed there the entire swim and sprinted out of transition ( after nearly toppling over due to a bout of cold-induced vertigo) in 8th.  Perfect, I thought.


Flat courses aren't where I thrive because I am small and need some hills to shake the quadzillas but I was hell-bent on hammering the 56 miles for no other reason than it was the last 56 mile bike race of 2018!

And remember, I was either going to turn myself inside-out to finish on the podium, or I was going to turn myself inside-out and crawl across the finish line.

2nd best 56 mile NP Average 

The pro ladies at the front where hammering and I was trying my best to chase hard.

Thank you, PRO LADIES, for literally making me swear out loud. 

And for those of you reading that think a 70.3 race is an aerobic, boring ride - YOU WRONG!!  I set a 20 min threshold record and recorded some of my highest 1 min threshold numbers.   

And like always, I was thankful to GET OFF THE BIKE. I was in 7th. One spot OUT OF THE MONEY.

Let's do this, Amber.

Chasing hard for the last money spot

The run course at Indian Wells is INSANE. It's on a golf course with short, spikey hills and sharp twisty turns. SO AWESOME.  I kept my eye on 6th position until I finally passed with 3 miles to go and never looked back.


Somehow I found more energy to sprint into the finish and thought: I am coming after you 2019.  Starting first with Snowshoe Nationals on Januar 6th, 2019!

A HUGE thanks to my sponsors and team:
Kurt Perham
Delta Dental
Velocio Apparel
Infinit Nutrition
Runner's Alley
Juice Performer
Rudy Project
Trigger Pin

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