Monday, 13 October 2014

Silverman 70.3 Race Recap!

The first part of the trip was about driving up through the desert, from San Diego. I loved it! I enjoy long solo drives and even look forward to them. I get time to think and listen to some of my favorite music. All that went well, I got in late on Thursday. I woke up Friday morning almost forgetting that I was in Vegas.
With my stomach as my guide, I made my way to the lobby for breakfast the next morning. On the way back to my room, I saw the cafe employee and suddenly remembered I was a person, not a stomach on two feet. I looked at my gargantuan plate of food and felt quite impolite to be directing myself towards the elevator without asking if it was okay to bring my plate up to the room. To my half-embarrassed request was the following answer: Sure (mighty laugh)….HELL, YOU CAN BRING STRIPPERS UP THERE IF YOU WANT. I GOT NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT. I remembered I was in Vegas... 
I was in a good place. I had been logging in some good training with Paulo Sousa and the Triathlon Squad. (Working with for the last few months) and am really liking Paulo's approach, how it makes me feel and how it has allowed me to come back from injury and start running more consistently for the first time in a LONG time. Tremblant had gone well and I had had a very relaxed approached to the race as my qualification came as a surprise. I thought I wanted to approach this race in a similar way.
So here was my race prep task:
Show up happy and relaxed on race morning.
I know…it sounds easy hey? As you probably know, it’s not always that easy though!
SO…I woke up feeling nervous, like I had a huge mountain to climb and then took a moment to sit on my bed and think differently:
Today, I was actually going to go swim at Lake Mead with some fast girls to push my pace to faster then anything I could do alone, then go climbing (I love climbing) on my bike through the -yet undefeated by me- Epic Desert , I got excited at the idea of redemption. I would ride deep into the desert up to a mile after the earth turned red , then I would be riding back faster descending more back to the second check point before getting to satisfy my curiosity on the run (at last) and hopefully, ending the day feeling like I had FINALLY had some redemption on a course very similar to that Vegas world champs course I had wanted to master. That sounded like fun. And it was time to go out and DO IT.
In the swim, Lauren Goss was the quickest, I was second out of the water. It would have given me a huge smile to be able to swim with her but she was on fire and it took about a minute for my task there to go from -hang on-….to -hang on for dear life-…to –okay…well… just stay positive and execute the solo mission best you can-.
So…that’s what I did. Swam solo. Temporarily checking for a fluo pink cap ahead. A little pink spot that played with my mind more then once.
Out of the water, someone yelled I was 1:45 behind Goss. OUCH!
We had to climb a lot in the first 10miles!! It was good, because that gave me a visual on what was going on ahead. I could see Goss, even though the spot representing her had turned red and black. Now, it was time for a game of PACKMAN! ☺
The little spot would play some more with my mind, it would appear and disappear on the windy desert road. Tough mind game but definitely kept me focused and present every single second. Time flew.
I climbed A LOT until mile 25 and I kept on losing the visual when the road got windy, sometimes letting me wonder if I would ever see that little spot again. At the turnaround I was closer but I believe, still at least a minute behind, I looked at the split and I think I had made up a little bit of time. Not much though. I kept on focusing on staying steady and confident.
The true test of confidence came when, as soon as I turned around, telling myself it was time to get the speed on the long steady descents to come, the wind BLEW against me. GREAT!! (And….yes, one of those moments when I wish the positive self talk came automatically! But I had to work for it…)
After about 2hours of pedaling time, and surviving the mind games the wind was now playing with me, the spot in the distance started becoming bigger. I don’t remember the last time I felt better on the second half of the bike then I felt on the first. But Sunday, it happened. The last 40mins of the ride felt the best and I got away and to the front of the race. Since the run was still not the strongest focus of my training so far, I knew I had to build a gap, so I did.
I got off the bike knowing there was a great athlete chasing me.

In particular, a great runner ( Goss). I had to balance running fast while keeping in mind how hard the course was. It all went well and some sweet emotions starting coming on the last two miles, descending at last towards the finish line.
And then, well….I was just so HAPPY and it was all so good. I took some time to celebrate and savor a great day, that is so important. My godfather, Guynemer, had come to watch my race. Guynemer was also my dad’s best friend and it meant a lot that he drove all the way from LA to come and watch. On Monday, Guynemer and I rented a boat on Lake Mead, went swimming and then I drove back in the direction of San Diego, just feeling very grateful for great things that happened on the week-end, feeling motivated and ready for more great work.
The Hoover Damn
It’s not time to get too excited though, there is still work to do, the level is high! But I am confident I am on the right path and that is a great feeling.
Thanks everyone.

Driving back...a beautiful way for the curtain to go down...

Photo with Terry from –Bike Shop- Las Vegas. I definitely recommend going there if you are in the area. They did a great job getting the E-118 Next ready to go!
Next up is Miami 70.3, it will certainly be a good challenge with a strong field lining up on the start. First though, place to more work.
Monday after the race. Going for a recovery swim with Guynemer at Lake Mead!
Found out on Monday what kind of fish were in that lake. They were smaller and sweeter then the ones from my imagination.

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