My off season ended in January and I was severely out of shape. I told myself to just stay patient and the fitness would eventually come around. I won my first five races, but they did not start out pretty. My first 9 mile trail race was slower then my slowest Ironman marathon pace. My next 4 mile race was at half ironman pace, and that included running the final 800 meters with only one shoe! Um, yes, my shoe flew off! The following race (a 10k) was around half marathon speed.
Finally, I found my legs in my fourth race when I ran splits of 5:26, 5:51, and 5:26.
In my 5th race, I raced my first triathlon of the season, a short sprint. The swim went okay, the bike went great, and thankfully I found my run legs again. I had the best support crew, can you find the three little ones below?
Two weeks later, I headed to Chattanooga, excited to race my first half ironman in 18 months. The water temperature was just over 71.5, so no wetsuits. I had my comfortable Blue Seventy swim skin and was ready to swim hard. I swam the entire 2k solo but managed to come out of the water with a bunch of bikes left in transition! Seeing the number of bikes left motivated me to ride hard. I focused the late winter and spring on learning how to ride my bike. I built a strong base through many aerobic rides and mountain climbs. I felt comfortable on the bike thanks to my strong base. I rode smart and ended up with the second fastest bike split.
When I came out of transition, the volunteers told me I was in fourth. I asked again because I did not believe them! When I headed onto the run course, Nina Kraft’s husband told me I was 2:40 down. At the 5k mark, I had my first cyclist leading me (they typically lead the top three racers.) I ended up running my way into third place, my best pro finish to date.
It was a great day and even better when I saw that my twin won her age group!
After the half ironman, my Timex teammate, Jackie (wahoo 2nd place female) stayed with me in Charlotte so we could recover, sharpen, and taper for Raleigh 70.3 in two weeks. We had a blast performing clinics, hanging out, being productive together, and of course training!
The week before Raleigh, I took a fall on my bike. I waited until three days before Raleigh to try to swim, but I couldn’t even complete one stroke. I was forced to withdraw, disappointed, of course. But now it is time to focus on what I can do: running and biking. Since I have been trying to improve my swim and bike, I have not been running much. Less running miles has enabled me to see solid improvements in the water as I have prioritized the quality swim sessions. Now I will be able to increase my bike and run mileage until my injury heals.
Life always seems to throw us unexpected curve balls, but if we find ways to adapt, we can take whatever pitch comes our way. I am staying positive through the minor setback, so that I can be prepared to run the bases.
I am excited for the year ahead and am so thankful for my amazing sponsors and support team. Thank you to my Timex family for believing in me these last few years, Elliot for helping me love what I do, and my incredible friends and family who support me throughout this journey.