After camp, I got right to work with a new coach and a new outlook. Instead of creating pressures and stress on myself for performing, I decided to let fear go and just take some chances. Why not see what happens and let it just happen. I knew, and still know, that I am a developing athlete. I wasn't going to be a superstar overnight, especially with the time I took away from racing. So I've made this summer about doing everything to my best ability. This means taking it day by day, workout by workout, race by race. I had to keep my head out of it and my heart in. And this is just what I've done. Each day I am learning more. I'm not only gaining fitness, but confidence and experience.
|Wasa Lake Triathlon|
|I do have fun!|
After July 4th, I went that weekend to Helena to race again. In the winter I was swimming with the Kalispell KATS 11-14yr old swim team. They helped push me to be a faster swimmer and also enjoy swimming. I made a few young friends on the team, and this weekend on of my pals, Shaye Thompson, asked if I would take her to race. She wanted to race the sprint tri. It is super fun to see a 13yr old with a passion for triathlon and a urge to train and race. She said her friends didn't understand why she was always chose training over goofing off in the neighborhood. This young lady will be one to watch when she comes up into the junior ranks. It is a privilege and joy to mentor her. She placed 1st in the 19 and under category. It was a great weekend for both of us. It also reminds me that there is more to sport than just ourselves. That keeps me grounded.
My race was pretty great. I was second out of the water. I know it is all relative to the field, but I wasn't used to being in a lead pack while racing. Only one other elite male exited the water first. It was cool!!! Swim was good, bike was good and much tougher than I expected. Then came the run. My coach had given me one goal for the race and only one I had to accomplish. I had to run under 40min 10k. Although my little sport background comes from running, I tend to doubt myself on this part. I went out on the run really hard, almost scared it was too hard. It was two loops and when I got to the second loop I felt great. I stopped looking at the Garmin and went hard. I came in 1st overall and succeeded making my sub 40 min with a 38 and change. Goal accomplished!!! Back to work.
Calgary is directly north of where I live in Montana, but I have not been up there yet. I looked forward to experiencing the city. I do love being able to drive to races too. I over pack the car, but am super prepared for anything. I was also fortunate to have a lovely family open their home to me for the race weekend and show me around. Thanks Mills family.
|Calgary swim venue|
The race venue was really nice. It was a man made lake in a suburban town. There was a soft sand beach, and really calm waters. Perfect for me. This race was really just a test for myself to see where I kept me head, to learn to be a racer, and go hard. I had nothing to lose but my fears of not being good enough. Having this mentality worked. I went into the race and went as hard as I could. My swim deficit had a smaller gap than I had imagined. I wasn't even last out of the water. Progress!!
The bike course wasn't very easy. The first half was a lot of long rollers and a good amount of little chain ring climbing. It is only one loop so you never can see where your other competitors are. I did get caught up in a little bit of the male age group drafting and had to hang back a few times. I lost a tad bit of time but I'd rather lose time that way than get a penalty. Off the bike ,I was with two gals. I decided to go with coach's plan and go the first few kilometers hard and then settle in. I passed them right out of transition and never looked back. I was surprised how fast I was running. This hadn't happened before. I was just present and took it one step at a time. I didn't see anyone until about 2km from the turn around. The run was all on bike path which was quite lovely. I made a good bit of ground on the girls, but in the end just caught one with 2k to go. It was an awesome feeling. For the first time I saw myself as a "fighter", a "hunter", a real racer. I was racing other people, not just myself and the clock. It felt different. Of course, I followed my plan and stayed within my abilities, but it was great! I finished 6th place and was just ecstatic. Crossing that finish line again, as a professional, strong and happy, was fantastic.
I had not planned any farther out that Calgary. I needed to finish this race first, see where I was physically, and then I could start planning more. This was a smart choice, but mostly guided by my coach, Dan. He seems to get me. I'll be honest. I love planning ahead and organizing. However, in triathlon and in life, if we plan too much of our future out we can set ourselves up for a bit of disappointment if it doesn't go our way. . Dan is one smart guy. I have put my faith in him to help guide me to a lifestyle where I continue to love and grow in my sport ,but as a person too. Even if he doesn't know it, he challenges my mind everyday, not just my arms and legs.
So, next we decided I would jump into Lake Stevens 70.3. This was another race that was fairly easy for me to get to and a new course to try out. Why not!! Lake Stevens was just beautiful. The scenery is to die for. It's amazing how different climate and vegetation can be just one state over.
I really enjoyed this quick weekend. I flew out early Friday and back out Sunday night. As I was back into a new block of training I did not taper like I would for a key race. I didn't need a ton of time preparing. The swim venue is an awesome lake, and luckily it was calm on race morning. The swim was ok for me. It felt really good and confident but my times didn't show it. As I came out of the water I knew I had a lot of work to do.
|My trusty steed|
I drove the bike course the day before and thought that there were a few rollers and it would be fun with the technical winding roads. It was fun, but boy it was not easy!! Just remember, the course is never as easy as it looks from behind the wheel of a car. HA!! It was a challenge. I came out of the water 9th but was able to bike myself up into 5th place. Another one loop course meant that I never saw the other women racing unless I was coming up behind them. With this type of course I really had to stay in my zone and within my power. So that is what I did. I was pretty tired by T2. I had gone hard and the hills did a number on me. I started to have a few doubts in my mind as I exited the run. Luckily I had a little talk with myself...which I often do....and said just stay present step by step. By mile 2.5 my legs loosened up a bit and I stayed the course. I saw the girls in front of me as they were turning round. I didn't think I could catch them but would keep my pace. By the next two miles I was gaining and didn't realize it. I stopped looking at my watch, again, and just went as hard as my legs would take me. I was able to run myself into 3rd place. My first podium as a professional.
|Got to meet a few of my Betty sisters|
Up next for me will be Muskoka 70.3 for me Sept 7th. Its just another opportunity to do what I love and grow. I'm really looking forward to it. Thank you to my coach Dan, my family, and my sponsors, who have stuck with me even through the rough patch. I am so grateful for all the love and support I am given. We can't do it all alone, we are only human.