Pre-Wild Flower

As I sit at my computer trying to pin down everything going through my mind as I prepare for Wild Flower - I realized that I was trying to figure out a way to write about my joy and excitement in a way that wouldn't come across as boastful or arrogant...or...the list goes on.
That, AND, how I can't breathe!!!  Ugh!  Between allergies, the wind and changing air pressure, I feel like I'm suffocating half the time.
WAIT a sec, WHY am I trying to come across as anything other than what I am?  Why am I AFRAID for people to know how truly excited I am?  What good can possibly come of holding my emotions hostage?!?!

So, if you don't mind, I'm going to share exactly what is going through my mind and heart.
Without so much as a blink of an eye, I have been living back in Wenatchee for 5 months.  On top of moving, let's just say I have been through a lot - both good and bad.  (translation =  emotional roller coaster)
It absolutely helps that I'm still reeling from a few successes in racing this past month!  It's still fun to think back on the Duathlon and beating all the guys...by 2 minutes :)
Doing all this work, I was starting to think that maybe I just couldn't change my mental game, but like with any training, all that hard work is starting to pay off!!!  ***dancing in my chair***

Physically I feel pretty great too!!  I know where I'm at with my training, which is to say I have a ways to go, but am so happy to be where I am right now and to know how much improvement I've made from a year ago.
I know Wild Flower is a tough course with some pretty fierce competition, but I'm bringin' my A game, and can hardly wait to meet up with some of my new teammates!!
For once I have confidence to embrace my fears, instead of trying to pretend I don't have them.



Monday was a weird day for most of us.

Much of my morning was spent reeling from the highs of watching the Elite Women racing in the Boston Marathon.
Once I heard about what happened in Boston, the rest of the day was spent more-or-less in a daze, trying to sort through news articles, horrific pictures and my own myriad of emotion.

There is not one single day I can think of that I don't recognize how extrememly fortunate I am for all that I've been given and have in this life.
Though my heart is absolutely broken for those dealing with injuries or worse from the bombs in Boston, it is at the same time absolutely full with joy for all that I am grateful for and honored to have.

Fast forward to today and I am even more grateful and filled with joy!  Yesterday I raced in the Wenatchee Half Marathon, and beat my time from last year by over 3 minutes!  That, in itself, is a huge accomplishment.  But, it wasn't my biggest accomplishment of the day.  Last year, I was filled with anxiety, knowing my potential, but doubtful I would ever get there.  I was exhausted before the race even started and ended the race as an emotional roller coaster.
This year, I was focused, but also calm and confident.  I have been working tirelessly on my mental game.  Rehearsing over and over what to say in every situation.  I was in perfect position at the turn around, and for the next couple of miles had a stream of cheerleaders as the rest of the runners were approaching the turnaround.  But, that didn't last forever.  When I got to the inevitable wall, and saw my pace had slowed significantly, I didn't give up.  BREATHE.  I remembered Boston, and all those runners that had just cheered me on, and I repeated "I believe I can" over and over and slowly, but surely, my pace picked back up and spirit soared!!  Yes, I missed my goal, but I was elated. I finished the race PROUD for not giving up.
Those who say "never, never, never give up" are on to something - if you do, you will never know what's possible.

I am so fortunate to have such an amazing support team in my family, friends, community and Watties.
Thank you so much for standing by me :)

Love and Gratitude!!



Well, that's never happened before!

Most people living in the NW consider any race in April exceptionally early.
Though I knew there weren't going to be thousands, or even hundreds of participants, I treated the Apple Capital Spring Duathlon just like I plan to approach all my races this year, a little different and a lot better.
It's been inspiring to hear all the stories and success from fellow Wattie Ink teammates so far this year.  Of course, it also brought pressure.  Knowing that I couldn't very well just decide not to ever race this year, I had to just rip off the band-aid and lay it on the line.  It's been so long since I've raced, I didn't really know how my body was going to respond.  Unlike in the past, I did not let myself worry about it, but instead got excited.  Excited to see what would unfold.  For the past year, I have been diligently practicing my self talk, and finally in the last few months I've had faith enough in myself to apply it.   Yes it's taken a while...what can I say, I have thrived on being hard on myself my whole life, it's been a tough to break.  
Anyway, it's certainly not been easy, but it IS going well!  
Considering my legs were sore and tight from my workouts during the week, I knew this was going to take some real work and preparation.
I re-listened to a podcast by Trish Blackwell, Nobody Cares, and pulled out my Magical Running book by Bobby McGee the night before to further establish my mental racing strategy.  No problem, I got this. 
Of course, come race morning and the closer it got to race start, the harder it was to stick with my plan, but I did pretty well!  I tried not to let the fancy bikes and flashy race kits get the best of me and stick with my simple strategy of - race to win.  
As we toed the line, I made my usual one-liners at the start to try and cut some of the tension in the air... and before I knew it the gun had fired and we were off and running!
I tucked in behind the lead guy since it was windy, I figured I shouldn't do all the work.  After about 1k, the pace slowed, I knew I was strong enough to push it into the wind, so I took the lead and pushed the pace.  I tried to be a little safe with the wind, but if I wanted to win, I figured I needed to make these guys work on the run or I wouldn't be able to hold my own on the bike.  It seemed to be working as I lead the whole first run, into and out of transition. 
The first part of the bike was into the wind as well, with some good rollers so I knew if I could put some distance between us at the start, I would be able to get out of sight and keep a little pressure off.
It worked!  But after being in the lead for almost 15 min, I started to worry and second guess what I was doing.  Am I going to hard?  Is there something I don't know?  Ugh - STOP it and RIDE!!  And that was the last I even gave it a thought.  Just then Rocky passed me, he was a team rider, and I knew for sure he has a stronger bike than me.  Perfect, I'll use him as a carrot - just keep him in sight!  That kept my motivation up for the rest of the ride and I was able to stay focused and keep pushing.  
As I headed into T-2, I still had the lead.  Huh, weird...and AWESOME! 
Don't think, just GO!!  And GO I did!! 
After the turn around I finally saw 2nd place, about 1k behind me.  Ok, I thought, at least 3 minutes.  If they are going to catch me, they are going to have to suffer!!  There was 1k left into the head wind on a slight up-hill, so I pushed as hard as I could there, then once we turned out of the wind, I picked up my pace to about 5:30 and was able to hold HIM off for the W!!!  Not to mention by 2:23, and over a 2 min PR!

I'm so grateful for all the support I have from family, friends, Gale Fruit Company my uber inspiring Wattie Ink teammates and all of our amazing sponsors!  It was my first race using both K-Swiss shoes and PowerBar nutrition - both of which I loved - THANK YOU!  ISM saddle = happy buns!  Looking forward to a fun season and trying more great stuff from: Kask, Reynolds, Blue Seventy, Speedfil, Fuel Belt and Scott :)