Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Whew!

Ok, so let's get down to business...I made Team USA, but it wasn't pretty. As far as racing goes, I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. So, I will be going to vegas for 2011 LC World Championships, but I don't entirely feel I deserved it. And now, for the details...

I felt good going into the race, but i have to tell you, I NEVER feel good going into a race, so I was a tad concerned. And there was also all this pressure I was putting on myself. I was so anxious about this race. But race morning was running smoothly until...(dun dun dun!) they announced that the 22 inches of rain that had dumped itself on the area over the previous four days had increased the levels of E Coli in teh water such that it was unsafe in which to swim, so we would NOT be swimming.

Instead, we would be lining up on the dock, as if we were exiting the water, one by one, going off every three seconds, in no particular order. Um...hello, mind f*ck. When one is prepared for a TRIathlon, it is difficult to adjust to a brick workout. Some (those not so skilled in the water) were relieved while others were disappointed. I was in the latter pack of folks. I am not super speedy in the water, but I can hold my own. And it always serves as a good warm-up, so panic struck a little. And then we got no warm-up. Just standing in the cold on the dock in a huge pack of people, all waiting...while our bladders were beginning to scream and there was no place to relieve the pressure.

I was lined up with, Carrie, a friend that was at Worlds in Australia and we made a little strategy to push one another through the bike and run. I got to the point where it was my turn, and the guy told me to go, so I ran, sock-footed to T1, put on the helmet, shoes and grabbed my bike to head for the course.

I felt pretty good on the bike. It was super windy. Against the wind, hammering, I probably averaged 18 or 19 with speeds dipping into the 16s and with the wind, just cruising, speeds were in the 23-25 range, sometimes reaching into the 29s. It was a two loop course and I decided to just take it easy, but strong on the first and try to put some force into the second, once I knew what I was up against. I came in the first loop around 1:19 and into T2 at 2:36, so I negative splitted by a couple minutes and avaeraged 21.5mph for the 56 miles. Carrie and I entered T2 together. I quickly racked my bike, ditched my arm warmers, grabbed my race belt and ran out of T2.

Right away, I knew I wasn't going to keep up with Carrie. I told her to go and I'd get my legs under me.I felt ok for the first couple miles. I kept expecting my legs to come around. And then I got worried that they may not. I just took it easy and felt controlled. By mile 4, when I still felt like I was just trudging along, i began to panic. And it was hot by then. The sun was beating down and there wasn't much shade on the totally flat course. And I began to allow myself to stop at the aid stations. I took a couple shots blocks and then ended up losing them. And that's when shit really hit the fan. I stopped and stretched. I tried to cheer for people I knew. I cheered for some leading women. I had no idea where I stood among the competition since there was NO method to the madness of the start. I could only tell those who looked strong. And my head really started to get the best of me.

At some point, after the first loop of the two loop course, I literally stopped, stretched a little and....bring on meltdown numero uno. I thought for sure Team USA was out of my grasp. I knew my pace was down to a crawl. And the negative thoughts would not go away! I walked a little. And then I'd make myslef a deal, "just get to the next aid station and then you can stop for a gel" but then I started to get a little dizzy and hot and tired. I took off my compression socks because my feet were killing me and i couldn't seem to cool down.

With about four miles to go, I came across one of my 2009 team USA teammates and we traded encouraging words...she'd gotten sick on the bike, i'd just started falling apart on the run. And then with less than a 5k to go, I stopped again, paralyzed by doubt, pain, fear...and she said "come on, girl. i'm sure there's some water up ahead." and so i stood up and I started running again. And I didn't stop until that finish line. My run was a 1:49, 8:20 pace, my slowest ever. And it was demoralizing.

I found out later I placed 15th in my age group and top 20 qualify for Worlds.

I can't tell you the amount of relief I now feel that the season is over and there's no more pressure to perform. It's been a long season and a tough year. And I have lots of new adventures to look forward. I have other friends that also qualified. And I have a whole fall and winter to go run some trails and go for casual rides. And I'm quite looking forward to it.

9 comments:

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats

Kim said...

im sorry you didnt have the race you wanted - but CONGRATS! so exciting and im so happy for you!

Colleen said...

Sounds like a tough day, but you qualified and DEFINITELY deserve it! Congrats!

Christi said...

Congratulations for toughing it out on a hard race! Go Team USA!

Sean in NY said...

NICE BIKE! I just realized that I knew nothing of the equipment you're rocking and was immediately intrigued to squint at the photo and try to figure out what you're riding.

Can you do a follow-up on what it means to be part of Team USA? I have no idea if that means you have a big race coming up this Fall or if you get to compete in a series of races for all of next year. Either way, I'd love to learn more about this.

Great season, btw. As far as looking back, it seems like there were a hell of a lot of ups and downs. I don't even know where I'd start when it comes to taking what your learned and forming next season's goals, but goodluck and I can't wait to read about it.

Amanda said...

hey Sean- Team USA just means that we get to go to Vegas for the ITU Long Course World Championships next year and represent the US against other countries, namely Australia, NZ, Canada...i forget who else seemed to have a large presence in 2009.

For now, my season is finito! well, except a trail marathon in december. ha ha

I don't usually ride the P2 for training. and the wheels are courtesy of the shop (ie - i get to use them for races).

Chloe said...

wow! congrats! As my coach says "sometimes the triathlon puzzle just does not come together" but I would be pretty pissed if there was no swim as well. Glad you where able to pull through!

zencycle said...

So, they ran it as sort of a time trial? Did they score you on order of finish or by finishing time?

Ray said...

Amanda, CONGRATULATIONS!!
I'm thrilled to see that all your hard work and natural talent pulled it off. I know how the mind can get the better of a person and can really fcuk with ya :(, but you DID IT! Nice socks by the way ;)
Ray