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 :)