Monday, August 16, 2010
Lake Stevens 70.3 2010
We all have goals in life. Setting them is easy, but actually achieving life's goals can sometimes feel impossible. Before I started the 2010 triathlon season I set a goal that I wanted to be the top amateur across the line at either Boise 70.3 or Lake stevens 70.3. Once this goal started ringing in my head, I knew I had to accept a simple life lesson. You can not hope for the perfect day to come together if you truly want to achieve your goals. You have to prepare physically and mentally for things to go wrong. I spent many long hours training this winter knowing injury could occur at any time. Just when I was feeling in the best shape I have ever felt, injury knocked on my door and payed a visit. It really happened at the worst possible time. I was 2 months out from Boise and was told that I could not run a step the 8 weeks leading to the race. I had worked my butt off for pretty much a year, and as I stood at the finish line of the Boise 70.3 I realized I was no where even close to grasping my goal. I now had some massive work to do.
Fast forward two and a half months (from Boise)and I now found myself treading water at 6:30am on the start line in the waters of lake Stevens. The sun was slowly cresting the skyline and my second chance at my goal was now present. Nerves are always a factor before you start any race, but despite these nerves I knew I had no excuses. The horn went off and we were quickly under way. My race plan was simple. Focus 100% on what you are doing at the moment, and don't think about what is coming later in the day. The only time that matters is now. With this strategy set I focused on keeping strong technique in my swim stroke. A lead pack broke away from the main group and I pushed hard to stay with them, but they were gone. I found myself leading the second pack for the first half of the swim. At about half way another swimmer pulled up next to me, and I decided since we were swimming side by side I might as well grab some feet. The rest of the swim was pretty uneventful. My main thoughts were to keep the swimmer in front of me in sight, while also trying to relax my body as much as possible. As I exited the water and looked at my watch a smile spread across my face. I now had a new half iron swim PR :).
T1 was fast and furious as usual. My Helix came off super quick, and I hurried to get my helmet and sunglasses on. Leaving transition was a whirlwind. Due to the colder temperatures and moisture lake Stevens has in the mornings, my glasses were fogged up. My legs were screaming and my heart rate was skyrocketing. Simply put the first couple miles on the bike felt like chaos. All I thought about at that point was pushing my pedals over. The first lap was hard. It always seems like the terrain is changing on the lake Stevens bike course. One minute you are going up a hill, the next you are screaming down another. Some hills can be a little longer others are just a short tease. I just always felt that my rythm was constantly changing. Luckily I had done this race in 2009 and the feeling was almost the same. The first lap felt hard and chaotic, but the second felt great. As I rode the first loop I pushed knowing (maybe hoping) that this would be the case for 2010. It may have not been a good Idea, but I pushed hard banking on the thought that my legs would feel better on the second lap. Luckily for me experience( the little I do have :) ) came through, and as I started my second loop of the bike I began to feel strong and relaxed. Feeling good I rode the second loop with a bit of aggression. With only a short ways to go in the second lap I had passed the last athlete in my wave and was headed for transition. Once I entered T2 I did not know what my time was, but after looking at the results later I had ridden the fastest amateur time on the day (by one second), and flown on my airfoil a new half Iron Bike PR.
Leaving T2 I knew I was leading my wave, but I did not know what was going on in the other waves behind me. If I wanted to reach my goal, there was no time to relax. My legs felt fine, but my body felt a little strange. After the race my family told me that I looked a bit pale on the first lap of the run. I put a lot of energy out on the bike, and was beginning to wonder if I had spent too much of my energy too early. Regardless of whether I burnt myself up on the bike or not, the only thing that really mattered was focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. I had 13.1 miles to cover and lots of thinking about my ride was not going to give me any locomotion. After the first lap I began to push hard. Being that this course has some hills on the run, I approached all the up hills very slowly. When a descent came I really opened up the gas and at some points it probably looked like I was sprinting. The last 3 miles were spent in the hurt box (maybe the really hurt box). 3 miles is a short distance, but at the end of races it can sometimes feel like an eternity. As I turned to run the last 400 yards to the finish, I was more than happy to see the line. It only took one look at my watch, to bring a smile to my face. I was tired, but I knew this was a huge PR.
Overall time- 4:15:42
I am super happy with my race at lake Stevens. After most of the waves had finished I knew I had reached my goal of being the top amateur at the race. All I can say is reaching my goal felt great. It took a ton of hard work, and despite some setbacks at the beginning of the season my goal still became a reality. A huge thanks to everyone that has encouraged me along the way. I have met some awesome people through this sport, and I appreciate their friendship. Spokane really is a great place to live and train. For now I have some summer to enjoy, and some more months left in the racing season. After that school begins again.