I love this race, atleast that’s what I kept telling myself the week preceding it. I normally do, but I’d been in a funk. I’d not been getting the results I wanted in workouts, was still frustrated w/the results from St. Anthony’s, and was doing everything in my power to do some positive thinking. A couple of days before the race I actually got the answer to why I’d had less than stellar results in combo w/a grumpiness that I couldn’t shake. My thyroid was off. This isn’t an excuse for anything, but it is a factor that helps me understand why the results have been the way they have. Athletes have a hard enough time doing what they do, but when things get out of whack it affects everything. Now all I have to do is wait a month and hope they are back in check by Macon’s Half Iron.
The day before the race is busy at work, my day gets away from me, and I don’t get home until almost 8:30. I get everything packed and ready so the next morning can go smoothly. I manage to get Addison out of the house on time and to the race site early. Some Team in Training athletes Sarah and I are coaching decided to do this race as their first tri so we both wanted to get there early to get our stuff done. The morning completely gets away from me. Literally minutes before my wave goes off I’m just getting my wetsuit on, oh well.
I’d taken a look at some past times, but this is a sprint so it is an all out suffer fest for me and the results will be what they will be. The swim at Clemson always seems to be tougher than most as far as getting beat up. I never get into a good groove, but try to keep a steady tempo w/moderate effort. I finally see the swim exit, and am happy to be there. I run out of the water and attempt to take my wetsuit off b/c the run to transition is up a hill and long. I manage to take way too much time and get covered in sand in the process, but atleast the wetsuits off! I don’t have my watch on so I have no idea how well I did, but I’m happy b/c Sarah the swimmer is right there with me and she typically beats me out of the water. I had a tough time in T1 due to some wise triathlete putting their helmet right under my back wheel, so I couldn’t get the darn bike off my rack.
I exit T1 ready to hurt and embrace the hurt. The Clemson course is anything but flat, the hills can be short and steep or long and steady but hills they are. I’m working and working hard well aware that this is my strength and I will have to use it. Every hill hurts, every downhill feels good, and every short flat stretch is a welcome break. I hit the halfway point right on target w/my time from 09. All I can hope is to maintain that speed. I yo yo back and forth w/some guys and one UF girl. My main thoughts going into this race were to not focus on the times I’m putting out, but just don’t give up. I knew/thought my time would be off, but if I could conquer the mental battles I’d been having then I’d be happy. I roll into transition ready for the real hard effort, the run.
T2 goes a little better, and I exit reminding myself it’s a sprint and its supposed to hurt. The first mile is a downhill, so I try to take advantage of that by falling forward and conserving my energy for the ugliness to come. I hit mile one and grab some water to rinse off that sand from my wetsuit debacle, and instantly feel refreshed. The “hill of hell” or the “wall” is what’s up next, and I keep repeating just don’t give up. I fought that hill, it wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty but I didn’t give up. I hit the turnaround and really just try to increase my speed since its flat then downhill for the next .5 mile. I see friendly faces everywhere. Susan spouts mean things at me, as usualJ, and I just grin to myself. I see Sarah about to suffer the hill and looking like she’s really going to have to dig deep. The last aide station comes and goes and the mile to the finish is all uphill. I’ve walked part of this hill before, and I want no part of the walking. Never give up, shorten your stride, lean forward, I’m telling myself all these things and I’m almost there. 2 more turns, that’s it. I hear a cough behind me, and it’s a girl. I instantly increase my speed hoping she can’t hang on. I’d say about 20 feet from the finish line, not one, but 2 girls are right there with me. They are on both sides of me, and they’re struggling but aren’t going to give up anything. I’m still sprinting, giving it my all, and trying to outsprint these 2 college girls. I’m literally ready to barf, but I’d rather die than roll over and give someone a second. I finish w/everything I have. The results showed it as a tie, and either way, I’d been okay b/c I haven’t worked that hard for a finish in a really long time. My finish time was 1:13:56, 2nd place age group and 10th overall female. The time was over a minute slower than 2009, but I was satisfied.
Major kudos for Team in Training athletes Sommer, Suzy, Erin, Bruce, and Kimberly! You guys did awesome, and what you do for LLS is truly amazing. Sarah, Susan, and Forrest had some stellar age group placings. Lynne helped Addison ring cowbell for mommy. This race was a ton of fun, seeing all the Greenville peeps and spending time w/friends makes it much more than racing. I heart all of you!
Thanks to all my sponsors, family, and friends who help me out all the time!!!