I don’t quit races. I finish what I start even if I have to finish an hour behind the winner because I am having an off day. On Sunday I had a DNF. My race day ended at T2. My racing actually ended at about 30 miles into the bike. There is no excuse that ever matters: I couldn’t finish and didn’t get the job done with my first DNF in a very long time. That was not the performance that I know I was capable of coming into the event. The ultimate respect and admiration for Mel Hauschilt for taking the win while all the pressure was on and to Heather Jackson and Annabel Luxford for earning podium spots with superb races on a tough course. Their performances were what we all aspired to.
I really had put everything wholeheartedly into creating an excellent performance for myself and now I will refocus to make it happen in 2 weeks. I was ready, both mentally and physically and everything was indicating I was going to have a great day. Even while the race was unfolding I was adapting to the circumstances to try to maximize whatever performance I had regardless of what outcome resulted.
I actually had a brilliant start to the race and swam with the leaders for a long while (thanks for the tow Leanda!) before I swam off course and ended up in the main bunch (that murky water is pesky if you like swimming crooked). Every race I swim better and I almost had the swim I have been working for. I think my swim training was spot on: I had speed and my stamina continues to improve. Thank you Clint and the Tuesday morning swim club: I saw Tenille swimming UP to me! Execution should have been better. However, enough good energy from that swim experience had me positive for the bike … maybe I could have swam front pack if it were clear water, especially in the no wetsuit conditions? Or maybe if the front pack slowed down a bit ;)? Or if I could fart rocket launching power out my bum to keep me on their feet? Whatever.. I didn’t stay but there is still positive thoughts to work with at my next race.
When we started the bike I didn’t have good legs at all. However, I just continued to reframe the situation and refocused, thinking things might come around as the race went on. Sometimes a hard swim just zaps your legs for the opening miles and they come back. But there was no recovery on Sunday. Even MC said that when he saw me early into the bike portion of the race my body language on the bike was not right – my giddyup was missing. I just did not have any power at all, ever. It seemed that Heather W left some of hers in T1 as well because I was wondering why I couldn’t pedal and she was kind of with me which gave me hope that maybe I was feeling just really bad but riding ok? I was going for my best day even if it wasn’t my best performance….
At about 10 miles I started to feel quite nauseas, had a pounding headache and drinking from my bottle had me revisit my breakfast so no… I wasn’t riding okay or coming around and I wasn’t riding at my own level. Heather and everyone else left me behind. Ryan from Blueseventy’s excellent advice to “Pedal Harder” aside (my request), after a couple hours of trying to push through with no food staying down, barely anything to drink and my lost breakfast, I was empty. In T2 I knew I was not going to be able to run and there was no turning that day around. No miracles on ice for this girl. From that great opportunity was born a missed opportunity, from which I will learn and find some great opportunity in the future. Not really what Herb Brooks meant… but that is what I experienced*.
I am not sure I have ever trained harder or been more committed than I have been to the process of getting back to form from my injury this season and everything prior to this race showed the work was progressing nicely. I missed something last weekend. I have done the work and was pretty scrupulous about staying away from any small children and people visibly harboring disease but that wasn’t enough.
Right now the main goal is to put this particular race in my rear view mirror, not dwell on a missed opportunity and instead refocus the new opportunities I have coming up**. My 70.3 season improved as the season progressed with three top three results and two course records on the bike, so that shows my form is coming back to the top level. I started the season in the deepest hole ever, from which Adam Zucco dragged me to the surface and it just didn’t come together on Sunday.
Thanks so much to my sponsors and supporters for the actual and virtual hugs on race day. It was a tough day and I appreciate the words of support. I am looking forward to using this disappointment to create some fury for my next event in Ogden, Utah in two weeks at the US XTERRA Championship at Snowbasin Resort.
*If you don’t know what I am talking about you must YouTube search “Miracle On Ice speech” and educate yourself on some of the finest hockey inspiration there is.
Sometimes the harder you try to force something to happen, the less it does! Step back, relax, then re-engage with the right intensity