Confidence is such an elusive thing. As soon as you grab onto and try to hold on, it wriggles away. And there is no race like Vegas to chase it away from me. I’d been feeling good about my efforts this year in training, racing, nutrition, beer discovering, etc. and felt ready and excited to leave my heart out on the course at IM 70.3 Worlds.
Knowing what Vegas is like in September, I’d been training in the heat whenever I could, even taking a trip to Vegas in August to assimilate myself to conditions. Race morning I had to throw out all that preparation because it was raining. I was actually pretty excited. I don’t mind riding in the rain, and I love running in it. The only downside is that I have to give my bike a bath afterwards.
The Wet From Above and Below Swim – 32:44
After focusing on swim form the past couple weeks I have been feeling stronger in the pool. I was looking forward to testing it out in a good non-wetsuit swim. I got off the line without being dunked or punched, which was nice, especially after my last swim at Nationals. I felt comfortable and right on line with sighting the whole time. It was a little slower than last year, but I wasn’t too worried about the placing.
The Duct Tape Doesn’t Stick in the Rain Bike – 2:41
I had a lot of fun during the bike ride, zooming around in the rain, listening to the tape on my disc wheel flapping in the breeze. I found that I was holding myself back a lot, trying to stay in the wattage that I had planned on. I’ve had too many races where I over-biked and stumbled. Determined to save plenty of energy for the run, I kept an eye on the watts, and the slick paint on the side of the road. Crashing wouldn’t help. I was more conservative than I’ve been all year, and was really happy. There was a surprising amount of drafting in the last 15 miles back to town. I spotted some ladies in my age group happily tucked in with some men in a pack of 15. That was frustrating because I’d been working hard to not draft, but realized it was silly to waste energy worrying about other people. I wanted to stay in my race, and let the chips fall where they may. Both of the draft-happy gals ended up beating me too. Oh well.
The Confusing Run – 1:45
Dismounting I was really excited to run in my flashy GoRUN Speeds, even though the sun was now out. The first loop went well, and I was running in 7th place in the age group. I was aiming for top 10, so I figured that I had a little cushion to still reach the goal. I was counting down the hills from 6. With 2 uphills left, I was still feeling confident. Then I ran through transition headed for the final loop and went up the short steeper climb that took us out of the transition and finish area to start the next loop. And there, it all went weird. All of my muscles felt like they were giving up, my breath was catching in my throat, and I started seeing colors oddly. Whites were too bright, and everything else was too dark. I figured I’d get it together on the next descent and took in more coke and honey, what I’d been fueling with. Then I tried to go uphill again and just couldn’t get the legs to lift. I spent the last two uphills shuffling, watching people speed past, and not being able to respond. I stopped thinking about my placement and started thinking about one foot in front of the other. I got to the finish, and promptly had an asthma attack. Thankfully, I was near some friends who got me to an inhaler quickly. I ended up running myself down to 16th age group and finishing in 5:04 and something like 30th amateur overall.
When you have high expectations, it’s easy to never be satisfied with your results. There’s always something to improve, something to do differently, and something to learn. But it’s also important to celebrate victories. It’s a victory that I could race, and celebrate being happy and healthy. I’m glad that I got to spend time with Triple C. One race doesn’t erase the work that went into the whole season, and that effort alone is a victory. I’m ready to evaluate the mistakes I made that led to a tough final 3 miles, work to fix them, and come back strong. The elusive confidence is out there somewhere, waiting for me.
Thanks for having my back Skechers, Fortius Coaching, Cynergy Cycles, Specialized, Bonk Breaker, Pur Pak, Balanced Strength, and, as always, Artie and Triple C!