After a chat with Coach Jen in November (yes, November) last year, I had 3 very clear goals in mind...
1. Focus on 70.3 and get a big PR.
2. Podium at a tri. Not just in my age group, but overall.
3. Qualify for IM 70.3 World Championships.
I felt good about my first goal. I had PR'd last year at Muncie with a 5:18, and knew with all the work I put into my bike this year I could make up a significant amount of time. I gave myself several chances this summer, I wound up racing FOUR 70.3s! That wasn't necessarily the plan, but just sort of how my season evolved (more on that later). After racing the tough IM Syracuse course, I was back at Muncie. Even though I was just "off" all day, I managed to pull out a 10 minute PR...5:08!!
SO happy, despite feeling flat for most of the day.
Goal #1 - check!
Ok, goal #2 - I've come VERY close to making the Overall podium at races. I've been in 4th place TOO many times...I wanted on the podium. I knew this would take incredibly hard efforts, suffering, and going to some ugly places...but I'm learning to LOVE and crave this feeling. Was I able to make it happen??
After my niece made my bike bottle the night before the Sisters Lakes Olympic Tri...
It happened! Ahhh! Overall Female Winner. I need her to come to every race with me :)
Then, it happened again. Not technically an Overall podium finish, but it was my first podium at an Ironman event. 4th place 30-34 at Steelhead. #stupidhappy #imadethesamebottleasmyniece
And then it happened AGAIN, at a race I didn't even know existed until 2 weeks before. Overall Female Winner at the Great Illini Challenge Half Iron Distance + my first payday (and a couple trophies)! I couldn't have asked for (or dreamt of) a better way to end my season. AND, to answer your question...same bike bottle that little Miss Cara helped me make. That girl is my lucky charm :)
Could she be any cuter?!
Goal #3, this one scared me...but I wanted it SOOOO bad. So, so bad. Crazy bad. I knew this was going to be a tough one, I knew it was going to take a big effort, and I knew the stars would have to align for me to have the opportunity to make it happen. I chose to race Syracuse in June to get in an early season 70.3 AND it offered I think 75 slots (more than the local HIMs). I had a solid race at Syracuse and stayed for the rolldown ceremony...missed it by 4 places. No big deal. I was super happy with my race and had a great vacation with my mom :) I knew I had Muncie in a few short weeks to try again, and Steelhead was a last resort. As I mentioned above, I didn't feel good at Muncie. I still had a good race, PR'd, and of course stayed for the rolldown ceremony. No joke, I missed it by 1 place. Just over a minute. I dusted myself off, didn't get upset at all, but kept it for fuel. I took this as another good sign of progress and was proud of myself for getting THAT CLOSE to qualifying for Worlds.
When Coach Jen and I were discussing this last year, Steelhead was the last resort to qualify for Mont Tremblant. Trouble with that plan is Steelhead qualifies you for Worlds the following year, not this year. I knew this shortly before I went into racing Muncie, it was my last shot to make it to MT. Did I cry? Nope. Did I feel sorry for myself? Not a chance. What did I decide to do? Be a big girl and race Steelhead, OH, and PR :)
I did just that. I felt stupid good, it was the race I wanted to have all summer. I was dialed in, focused, and knew when I crossed the finish line I did myself real good. I really didn't know what that meant, but I found out real quick. My girl Kim sent me a text congratulating me on taking 4th in my age group. AHHH!!!! Insanely happy, there is no way I can describe how good it felt to finally have all the hard work come together for that result. My first Ironman event podium, PR, and believe it or not, my 70.3 Worlds slot!
This one meant a lot to me.
This season has been exactly what I wanted it to be, it took me out of my comfort zone. I'm learning how to get comfortable being uncomfortable, and really enjoying it. I had so much fun traveling with some of the most important people in my life. Especially my mom, she's up to go anywhere with me...I'm so lucky we have this time with each other. To top it all off, I was able to accomplish the 3 big goals I had in mind all year...even my BIG, scary one. It's been an amazing year, and one that I'm so happy I was able to share with my support crew and THE best coach, Jen Harrison :)
For now, time to rest up and get ready for a busy 2015...IM Texas, IM 70.3 Muncie, and IM Wisconsin - CAN'T WAIT!!