I had a rough week leading up to Tempe International. Another family member was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer and I honestly just couldn't bring myself to feel anything. With Mother's day coming up, I had no idea how much my emotions would come into play with the race. I had no idea what to expect. I was so not myself all week. I was cranky, and on edge (being a girl really sucks sometimes…) and honestly scared of how I would deal with my first mothers day, without a mom to call.
We typically do a bigger celebration of her birthday and mothers day, our last big one was a couple of years ago when my sister, niece mom & I all went for Sunday brunch at the Camelback Inn. My family is no fuss type when it comes to fancy dinners and high end details, in fact our vacations growing up were weeks spent camping at Priest Lake. Sunday Brunch at the fancy resort was right up my alley so I was loving it (pretty sure mom did as well)!
I woke up race moment and logged on to Facebook. Mother's day post after Mother's day post… At first I was mad. I was angry about what happened. I was sad. I got teary eyed and my HR started soaring. Then, I wrote a post about my mom, and uploaded one of my favorite pictures from a few years back and somehow felt better. I thought about my sister and how much she had done to help with my dad and my family over the past 2 months, and how she must be feeling today. I thought about how my niece must be crazy missing her Grammy and how sad I was, but at the same time how fortunate I am to be healthy, to be happy. I reminded myself how blessed I am and that I was going to go do what I know how to do best, and work my hardest. Do what makes me happy and give it my all.
My legs were rested and recovered from the Answer and I began to feel pretty excited about the race, emotional stress aside. My mom in my thoughts helped me push my limits for my last couple of races, so I figured she would be right there doing the same thing this weekend.
I don't do a lot of return races (IMCDA is an exception), so I figured it would be kinda cool to compare my fitness improvements over last year. My main goals were to have a solid run, not be a grumpy pants about the heat, and *hopefully* PR.
The swim was great. I had on my new TYR Hurricane sleeveless (first time wearing). It was comfortable and fit like a glove! I feel like I worked HARD. I fought for position and while I couldn't keep up with the first couple of girls in the pack I was ok with my spot. Found some feet and just stayed there, still working. At one point I felt like I was too close to the wall of the lake, so I did a bunch of sighting and saw what I thought was the first turn buoy so I headed to the right a bit. When I was about 10 yards from it I realized how close the people going the opposite direction were and that's when I realized I made a mistake. I looked to my left and sure enough there was the buoy and I had completely missed it. I aimed right for it and SPRINTED to get back to it. I guess I backtracked about 75-100 yards. I did my best to not get pissed, or frustrated and honestly I think it helped me have an even better swim. I rounded the two main turn buoys and began passing a ton of people. I would see a pink (my wave) cap. Aim for it and pass it until I caught my last one on the last turn and then dialed it back just a hair to not over do it and save some for the long steps up to transition. I was out of the water at just over 24mins, only about :10 slower than last year. I'll take THAT will the extra distance.
The climb up took me about a minute. I was a little disoriented and the steps were crowded, I actually had to zig zag around people walking up. I didn't have the speediest transition, but it wasn't too slow either.
I made the decision to not wear a garmin, just a watch. Once again, so glad I did. I just raced. Unsure of how far back I put myself being the girls I was hoping to push me on the bike, I just started picking people off. My legs really hurt on the first loop. I had to dig deep to make them go hard. I finally felt alive on the second loop and felt like I could pick it up a bit and passed a couple of more people. I was a little bummed when I came into transition with a bike split just a little bit slower than last year. I seems most of the times were a bit slower (minute or so), so I'm ok with that! I'm really getting comfortable on my new bike, and she is going to match our new club kits as well! win win
Quick T2 and I was off. I was passed within the the first mile by the same speedy pants as last year and just did my best to keep her in sight for as long as possible (not long). I just did my thing. I grabbed water at every aid station (multiple cups) and kept myself wet and cool. I never felt like I was overheated or wanted to stop, in fact I felt stronger on the second half. While my run wasn't what I think I can do - it was definitely faster than last year, I may have even negative split it AND, it helped me get a very very small PR for the Olympic Distance.
I finished 6th OA female and 1st in AG. It was a strong, hard, solid effort and I have no regrets. If I couldn't spend the day with my mom, there is no other place I'd rather be, or thing I'd rather be doing than pushing myself and reaching new goals.
Our team won the state Club Championships, and "best looking award" I'm pretty sure we won the biggest bar tab at the award ceremonies as well ;)