Wow, this was a whirlwind trip, but a really great one, at that!!!
A week before Mooseman 70.3, I decided to take a week training trip out to Santa Monica to train with my coach, Siri, and my other teammates. It had been raining here for a week and expected more rain, so getting away was perfect. I got in one last hard week of training before race week. I really appreciate having the time and ability to be able to do this. It makes a huge difference in my training when I have coach and others to train with.
I flew home to Ohio to regroup myself for a total of 14hrs, and then took off for New Hampshire.
What a spectacular place! I could see myself living summers in New Hampshire....lake living, quiet, peaceful nights, simplicity. I have to say thank you to Jeff Norcia, my homestay, and his family for making me feel so welcome. This was first official race organized homestay and I was a little nervous. He went above and beyond to make me comfortable and rested for the race.
I felt really great race morning despite the little sleep I got the night prior, but that is to be expected. Race morning the temperature was only in the 40's and was quite chilly. The water temp was bordering just bellow 60 degrees, but when its colder outside of the water it really felt quite nice. I've discovered this year that I can swim in much colder water than I thought and I really actually prefer the cold temps. I wear a BlueSeventy Helix wetsuit and I can say no matter how cold the water had ever been, my core temp always stays warm.
The lake was super beautiful and I must say that the swim was one of the easier ones I have done. There were only 8 of us in our wave, and the water was flat and sun blocked by the hills. So with this said, I was disappointed in my swim performance. As many of you know this is my weak point, but also a place where I have been making many improvements in my training. So when my swim did not reflect the work I have done I was not happy. With this said, in every race there are many opportunities to learn and grow and tweak focuses in your training. I'm learning I need to figure out what is blocking me in my swim racing and will move forward with a focus on that.
So now on to the bike. The course is the most scenic and pretty course I have raced so far.
I had the opportunity to drive the course a few days before the race and check out the terror hills that I had heard about. At first I didn't think they were all that bad.....but DUH, Erin, you are in a car, not on a bike. They turned out to be a lot more difficult than I expected. There is one long climb with 16% grades on the course that is done twice on the two loop course. I knew ahead of time I would not use my disc wheel and stuck with the HED Jet 6 and Jet 9 to keep me fast. You hit the climb right about mile 6 and for the first loop I felt barely warmed up before I started climbing. I have to say I was almost in tears getting tot he top because it felt a lot more difficult than I expected. I pushed through and made it, of course. The second time around was much easier than the first. I think my legs had just gotten into the grove after that. This was a pretty difficult bike course, as you can see by the bike times. They are a lot slower than on a faster course. I do like the challenge though. Also ,with the hills, it really spaced out the athletes and kept the course very fair. I saw little drafting.
I came into T2 knowing I was beat tired, but that I needed to get my game face on for the run. I ran out of transition hard but after the first mile I started to feel a little defeated. Unlike some races that have hilly bike course and then flat runs, this one had a few nice rolling hills in it. I had a moment of negative thoughts and wasn't sure how hard I could go. I kept on running but had to get my mind together and pull out only the positives and push away the negative thoughts. This is something I have been working on a bit and have the skills to turn it around. There was a guy running next to me at a pretty good pace and I decided to latch onto his pace. It was perfect. He was actually suffering a little too and we both pushed each other and hung together the rest of the run. In the end, when we finished the run I actually made a half marathon personal best during this race. I have been working hard on my speed and the fact that it was a hilly course and I did my best really gave me some confidence that I am making strides in my training.
During this race I was thinking to myself, I am never doing this race again. These hills are so killer. However, within a few hours after the race I thought, I can't wait to come back next year. Things always seems hard in the moment but the successes that are made out of the difficult times are the biggest reward and keep you want more.
Thank you again to the Norcia family for taking me in, cheering me on, and being super generous. I can't thank you enough. Also have to thank my sponsors, HED and Blue Seventy. This race would not have been the same without the warmth of my wetsuit and super light fast wheels getting up those hills.
Most of all, thank you to my coach, Siri Lindley, for taking this journey with me, believing in me, and showing me I have the strength to do anything I set my intention to do!!!