The week leading into, and following, Wildflower has been an interesting time. The triathlon community in Spokane has been handed some hard times. It's times like these that really make racing feel insignificant. These events have reminded me how valuable time with the people you love truly is. I am so very blessed and lucky to live the life I do. Every day you get in this life is valuable and if you are not doing what you enjoy most in life, and spending time with the people you love, you are wasting time. My thoughts and prayers will daily be with the people affected these last two weeks.
If you want the short version of my race report here are the quick facts.
Place- 12th Overall (6th American)
Overall time-4:13:23 (an 11 minute improvement over last year)
Run-1:14:26 (Fastest Pro run split of the day)
Here is the full account of the day.
The swim is the event that I am usually most unsure about. It always creates a guessing game at the first race of the season, as to what your time may be. I made sure to get a good warm up this year. I have learned that I swim a lot better with a good warm up. I swam out to the first turn buoy and back for my warm up. The race started with a count down. As the numbers decreased my anxiety increased, and after the call of one we were off! The swim start was fast and rough. The fast swimmers went off the front like torpedoes, and a main pack of contenders quickly formed. For a short while I could see this pack, but very quickly they pulled away. For the majority of the swim I stayed in what I call no man’s land. The lake was very smooth; I had open water ahead of me, and a gap to the next group of swimmers behind me. At this point I just stayed relaxed and thought about all the stroke critiques that my swim coach (Kevin Wang) always gives me at practice. Coming out of the water I was very thrilled to see the clock. I swam a new PR by 15 seconds. Any time you set a PR no matter how big or small you always have to be happy.
Bike-2:27:34 (a five minute improvement over last year)
Coming out of the water always feels hectic. I was in such a hurry to get out of transition and start riding hard, that I almost ended my race in the first 700 meters. The beginning of the wildflower bike has some quick twists and turns that quickly unfold. I misjudged a sharp left hand descending turn, and entered it a little too fast. My reaction caused me to lock up my back brake and sent my back wheel sideways. The crowd all gave a gasp waiting for my crash, but luckily I kept the bike upright. If I had one word to describe the rest of my ride, I would use the word controlled. You can go ride till your eye balls bleed, but you will pay heavily later in the race. I wanted to ride as fast as I could, but still in a manner that set me up for a solid run. In the past I have been a very aggressive punchy rider, and at times I have paid for it on my run. The first part of the ride I did not see too many athletes, but in the last third of the bike I really started to pull riders back in. For me this was exciting. It was nice to no longer spend the bike leg riding alone, sometimes even wondering if I am even still on the race course because I have not seen anyone for quite some time. This was my first race riding off of power and I am excited for the next race to try it again. My power meter really helped me stay honest the first section of the bike when I was by myself and set me up for a great run.
Run- 1:14:26 (fastest Pro Run split of the day)
Whenever I race a triathlon my level of anxiety decreases with each event. The swim is the event that always makes me the most nervous, the bike I feel much more comfortable on, and the run simply feels like home. Once I put those shoes on and start running most worries have left my head. Just like my bike at wildflower, my run was very calculated. Living on a state park, and doing almost all of my running on trails, I have plenty of practice keeping a steady effort on very inconsistent terrain. This is something that makes wildflower very hard. Yes, it is easy to keep the same pace on flat ground or a track, but can you keep your effort consistent in extremely varying terrain? I came out of transition quickly and realized that I needed to slow down. I felt good, but I had to be realistic, and know that wasn’t an effort I could sustain for the whole race. I didn’t see anyone up the road, but was hoping the competition wasn’t too far ahead. At the first mile I had the first person in my sights. I really wanted to push hard and catch them quickly, but I knew I needed to stick with my pace and know he will come back in time. The flat sections I based really off of how I felt. You could say it was a perceived effort. For the long uphill’s I would switch my watch over to the screen showing heart rate. I knew the numbers I needed to stay below in order to not damage myself for later in the run. For the majority of the run I felt great. I would sing songs in my head to pass the time, and just focus on staying relaxed. With every person I passed my excitement grew. Quickly I realized that I was getting close to the top 10 of the race. This made me very excited! The whole day I kept thinking about the fact that if I wanted to get paid I needed to be in the top 10. With 3 miles to go I could see 11th and 10th place not that far up the road. I was starting to hurt a little bit at this point, but I wanted a top 10 badly! With every step I took I got closer to overtaking the two pro men ahead of me. I knew it would be close. If I wanted my first top 10 I would need to dig deep. With a mile and a half to go I knew nothing on my watch mattered. I needed to suck it up and go for it. This last section is uphill. I was giving it my all, but the two men ahead of me were staying the same distance away. At the top of lynch hill I knew they were out of reach. At this point I decided to enjoy the finish. This fall, winter, and spring I have put more effort into training than I ever have. Even though I had not made the top 10 this race was a huge breakthrough for me. To go 11 minutes faster than last year's time, made me excited! Later I found out that it was the fastest pro run split of the day, something I want to try to achieve at every race this year.
There are so many people that made this race possible for me.
Fitness Fanatics- You guys are always so willing to help me, keep my bike running smooth, and help me get the right supplies I need for the season. Thank you Robin and your crew for supporting me and always helping me since the day I started triathlon.
Chris Louis-Thank you for getting to California before me and helping me get so many things together. This trip would not have been able to happen without you. Hopefully someday soon I will be old enough to rent a car in California on my own.
My parents- My parents are my biggest supporters. I am very lucky to have the family I do surrounding me. I would not be the person or athlete I am today if it was not for them. Thanks mom and Dad.
Staff at Tri Cal- The Crew at wildflower treats everyone so great! This year I did not have to camp and was put up by the race director in an amazing house on the lake. They fed me for 3 days, and went above and beyond to make us feel welcome. Thank you Dixie, Kendra for all your hard work. To my roommates Tim, Mariane, Christine, Steven, and Own. I had a ton of fun staying in a house with you guys.
Robyn Louis- Thanks for putting up with me all weekend even when I got really nervous before the race. Thanks for helping me get everywhere I needed to be. Thanks for cheering for me, and supporting what I do. I am very lucky to have you :)
My Sponsors-Without my sponsors I would not be able to compete. You can find all my sponsors placed on the side of this blog. They are all companies I believe in and have products that rock. Thank you for supporting me!
Up next for me is Boise 70.3. After that I will be giving a go at my very first Ironman. I am very excited for a hometown Ironman at CDA.
Here are some photos from the day
Building up my bike in the dark!
Start of the Pro Mens Race!