Washington DC Race Report- 2nd Place

22 Jun


Maybe it is all about the bike?

So this weekend I came 2nd behind a formidable Alicia Kaye by 30 seconds even. I was really pleased with this result and even more pleased that I learned a ton about myself and about strategy. Greg has been telling me to hammer the bike but I am not quite sure I understood what that meant before this weekend. I’ve been swimming and biking a lot more in the past two weeks and it really paid off during the race. Unfortunately I still ended up swimming alone for most of the 1500m but I emerged only about 1 minute down from the leaders. Getting on the bike I was quite far back in about 15th place – this field seemed to be very heavy with super-swimmers and I passed only a few people in the first lap of the bike. Then I had this moment of revelation- about ¾ of the way into the first bike lap I thought to myself, “What if I tried to pretend this was a 40k TT all out with no run afterwards?? Maybe I should just see what happens?”

I have never really bonked on a run in triathlon before- I actually think this is my greatest strength. When it is hot or freezing or I drop my water bottle and have no water or lose my nutrition or it is terrible conditions- I can always hang on in the run while most of the field falls apart around me. This strength has caused me to probably over-perform in several races already (like 3rd at USAT elite nationals last year behind Laura Bennett and Sarah Groff in my first ever ITU race- of course I wasn’t at that level yet but it happened to be 95 degrees when we started the run….so the entire field came back to me) How can I leverage that strength in races when it is not 100 degrees out? I think drilling the bike may be the answer for me and a unique asset of my physiology? Or maybe this is what everyone does in Olympic distance racing and I just caught on for the first time last week..? Either way- it worked.

Anyways, so I took the risk and went really hard on the bike. Wes was there giving me split times away from the leaders every time I saw him and that was super helpful- he knew exactly what I needed and just kept telling me to keep hammering. Thanks Wes!!! Barry, Cathy and the young family were also there cheering me on which was incredible. I posted the fastest bike split by 30 seconds and put myself right behind the leaders going into the run. My run was probably 30-45 seconds slower than it has been but I still had the second fastest run split and I am waiting to train up my run until we get closer to big races later in the season. I still ended up way ahead of the game at the end of the day with an awesome result for me at this point- I didn’t bonk on the run and I finally learned how to utilize what I have known for a while is a strength in a race. I just can’t wait to put all the pieces together when the time comes…how exciting!! Having a great race and learning something that you can use in future races is the best feeling ever!!!

I think the take away point that everyone can use is: Try to identify your strengths. Maybe they are a little unconventional and a little more specific than, “I am a good swimmer.” Maybe they seem situational and difficult to leverage but then keep thinking about it and brainstorming creative ideas to use your strengths. It wasn’t obvious to me at first, but now I see it clearly. Just keep meditating on it and it will come to you eventually. Then you will know the most successful strategy for you…

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