It's tough going into a race after being out for 9 months.
You'd think you would be so ecstatic to be racing again - just elated to be at the start. Well, it doesn't quite feel that way.
As I toed the line at Vineman on Sunday I had a weird mix of feelings that wavered from "so awesome to be out here" to "what the heck am I doing here". I was scared. I knew I had worked hard but it had been SO long. What if I just sucked?
As I was warming up I had to keep reminding myself that I love doing this. This is what I work hard for. Now was my chance to get back out there.
The gun went off and I went for it. I was excited to not feel the normal "oh my gosh I'm not even half-way yet" feeling during the swim. Only being able to swim for quite some time paid off :). I also LOVED my new blueseventy helix wetsuit. It is hard to impress me in the wetsuit area and boy oh boy can I tell you it is AWESOME. If you are interested in getting a new wetsuit let me know :)
Getting on the bike I immediately had a couple issues. One, I started going way too hard way too fast. I didn't want to calm down but I knew I had to. Then my GPS decided not to work. So, over 2:30 minutes I went 0 ft. Does this mean I didn't race?!?! :(
The bike was pretty uneventful since I was in a MUCH earlier way than the previous year. Unlike last year I wasn't stuck behind people and actually had times when I felt like there was nobody else in the world. It was a weird feeling! Marina, I thought of you on Chalk Hill and went a little harder for you :). Overall, it was a solid bike but I do feel like I personally underperformed. But, I know that with only a month of training behind me it was a good, solid effort.
When I got to the run I knew that I had to be smart. I REALLY wanted to finish the race but I also knew that if I ran through pain I would set myself back 2 months and be unable to do Worlds - my big "A" race. As I ran I thought about form and holding everything together. I got a lot of "nice pace" from spectators which really helped me out. I felt good.
At about mile 2.5 I started to feel my left leg (where I fractured it). Then began the mental battle of what to do. I knew that Matt (my coach), Mike (my chiropractor), and Sarah P (my good friend/temammate) were out on the course and I was hoping I would see them soon to discuss with them. Sure enough at about mile 4 I saw them come up and we started talking. I was concerned about my leg but confident that whatever decision they made -- to continue running or pull the plug -- would be the right one. 1/2 a mile later we decided to pull it. It wasn't worth risking the rest of the season just to finish the course and see if I could get the overall win.
I'm not going to lie - it was a tough pill to swallow but having people I trust so much be there to make the call made me 100% okay with it. It was the right decision and I am proud of myself for vocalizing that I was feeling some pain. A year ago would have said nothing and said I felt great just to finish the race. A year ago I would have felt like a failure and a wimp for not finishing. Today I am happy that I didn't set myself back further just to save my pride.
All in all I am SO happy that I was able to go out and race. It was great to get the overall fastest female swim split (thanks blueseventy!) and I am more than ready to go out and train hard to get my BEST performance possible at Worlds. Thank you to my mom, dad, and boyfriend for coming out and cheering -- couldn't do this without you three. Big thanks to Matt Dixon and Mike Lord for being out on the race course and helping me make the right decision, Brendon for all the strength help, Sarah P for being my rock and coming back to town with me, Eileen for being an awesome friend/companion, and Flick for saving me with a bento box!