Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Way overdue Updates - Part 1

The Update…
Well, this so well overdue, so to catch you up on all that I have been up to I thought I would divide it into 3 Parts ( so that I don’t write one novel ) and then hopefully get you all up to date and keep the blog updated from here on out. These next 3 posts will be factual and then lessons learnt, additional thoughts will follow on posts after that (there were many, as you can imagine)

Part 1 – The end of my 2011 Season
Part 2 – My first trip home to South Africa as a triathlete
Part 3 – My first race of 2012 – South Africa 70.3 Race Report

Part 1 – The end of my 2011 Season ( Post Vineman 70.3 In July )

Boulder 70.3

After Vineman 70.3, I had Boulder 70.3 just 3 weeks later. This was the first time I ever raced at altitude as well as the first time I had ever raced two 70.3’s in a 3 week time frame. Needless to say, it was far from my best effort. Actually, it was the worst I had ever felt in a race and specifically on the bike. Boulder has a lot of downhill and is known for fast bike times, so I had my hopes high for a great bike and was of course disappointed when the first 10 min my legs were feeling like bricks and I was struggling to turn the pedals over. The run was unfortunately no better, and since I had over fueled on Gels on the bike ( hoping to get the extra energy I was lacking ) I came off the bike with stomach cramps ( which is a first ). I struggled the first of a 2 loop course and the 2nd loop decided to take in some coke. Why didn’t I do this sooner? Immediately the cramps started to subside and I was feeling better. Because I had run so slowly the first loop with the cramps, I was able to negative split the run and finish the strongest I had yet to do in a race. One positive I will take away.

To sum up , I think I came 9th but came away pretty disappointed with how bad I had felt, especially after a great race in Vineman just 3 weeks earlier, and knew I had to make some changes when I got home. But not until after I had indulged in an undeserved Truffle burger with truffle fries which was probably the best burger I had ever had. The Last awesome thing about my Boulder race which has me looking forward to returning is that I had the best homestay in Lauren Greenfield. We got along like old friends, cycled the course for my pre race day warm up and even made plans for her to come and visit Steve and I in Austin. Doesn’t happen often so got to mention it when it does. Onward….

Austin Tri – Olympic Distance

The Austin Tri put on by Jack and Adams and High Five events was next on the calendar just 3 weeks after Boulder. As I said, after Boulder I decided to make a few changes (eating and recovering better, and being consistent with my day to day training is the just of it) and that definitely paid off in those short 3 weeks. Despite hearing the day before the race that I had gotten a roll down spot and qualified for the Vegas 70.3 World Champs in a week’s time, I decided to still go ahead and race the Austin Tri just a short 6 days prior to Vegas. And glad I did - I had a great race, placing 4th overall in a pretty competitive Elite field. Besides coming out of the water quite a ways back from the leaders and in about 10th place, I was able to have the fastest bike of the day and cycle myself into 5th place, which I was stoked about since I have really been focusing on holding back during the 40k bike as to leave something for the run. Thankfully, holding back did pay off and I ran myself into 4th place with a 39min 10k and a PR for the Olympic Distance. Next…

Vegas 70.3 World Champs

So I had raced the Austin Tri on Monday and Vegas 70.3 was on Sunday. That whole week was filled with easy workouts since and I felt great, especially coming off a confidence boosting Austin race. I honestly didn’t think too much about racing and was just so grateful that I was getting the opportunity to be on the start line. I was going into this race to just enjoy myself to the max , and learn as much as I could about the course for next year, cause facing reality, I was not at the same level as those top gals I was racing against. Not yet . I was after all the last of the 30 to qualify and be on the start line. So with that being said my first goal was to have fun and give it my all, my 2nd small goal was to not finish no 30.

In Short – I had so much joy that whole day while racing that I ended up having a great race. The big victory of the day was that for the first time in racing a 70.3, I was actually able to swim on some feet and came out with a group of girls in the swim. This was huge for me because I then got to get a feel for what it was like to cycle with girls around me instead of completely alone. This proved to be a great motivation and advantage since it keeps you honest with your effort on the bike as well as bring out my competitive nature. I was able to move up a couple spots coming off the bike and found myself starting the run with Lesley Patterson in 19th spot.

The run course is basically 2 loops of 3 miles down hill, then 3 miles up. I was able to hold my position for the first loop of the run but then started fading on the uphill on the 2nd loop. I got passed by a few gals but was able to keep them in my sight hoping that I could use the last bit of downhill to the finish line to kick it in and maybe claim a spot back. Unfortunately, cramping in the legs stopped that plan and so the last mile downhill turned into a “shuffle and keep moving forwards” which I kept on telling myself. Of course there were many scripture versus and comments thrown my way from the spectators since I was sporting my Tri4Him kit, and the last part of the race I found myself feeding off that more than anything. All in all – I finished 23rd and was super happy with my effort.

Little did I know at the time, but that was going to be the last race of the season for me. My first full year as a pro finished on a high note. More to come…..

Pics Below - No Race would be complete without some post race treats ! ( yes, that was a trip to my first Vegas Buffet )

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