The last thing I said to Derick before heading down to the pier was “I’m ready…hope my legs are too”. That is always the lingering fear in the back of my mind. I can take care of the controllables; physical preparation, fueling and resting, being mentally prepared. But when things get tough, and you demand more of the body, there are no guarantees as to what it will give you back.
In short, they didn’t want to cooperate for me in Oceanside. I was anxious to get out on my new setup of the Felt DA and Reynolds 58 AEROs and put into action the past months of work. But when I dug deeper into the tank, there was little response. Not sure if it was the cold air, the rust of having not raced in 7 months or just an off day. But I realized it would be a tough go about 15 miles in. 40 miles is a long and lonely haul when you are frustrated and consumed with your own thoughts. I’ll admit the temptation to pull out was stronger than it has been in awhile, especially when I spotted a good friend out on the course taking pictures. But I knew quitting in Camp Pendleton would have left me a bit stranded, and I played the mental game of asking myself why would I have quit? Because I didn’t feel good? Because I was getting passed more than I would have liked? I don’t know, those reasons just didn’t set well with me. So I pushed on, trying to just enjoy riding my bike in a beautiful place; almost taking myself out of the race mindset on purpose so as to stop beating myself up.
As I rolled into T2, I yet again had a decision. Do I bail now, saving it for another day? I knew full well that even the most heroic run would still leave me far out of any sort of contention. What would I be fighting for the last 13 miles? I racked my bike and tossed on my new yellow Zoot TT’s, grabbed 3 Power Bar gels and headed out to run. I don’t think realistically stopping was ever an option.
I tackled the run with all I had, despite seeing the lead women about 4 miles up on me. Four miles, I thought… that is about 25 minutes. Wow. Demoralizing? Of course. Frustrating? Absolutely. But about 3 miles in when i found myself asking why the hell I was working so hard for no real “result”, I told myself, because it matters.
It mattered that I keep fighting out respect for the support system behind me…sponsors, family, friends, who know that I will always give it my all. It mattered that I respected myself enough not to give up, to know that I could still dig deep when the going was ugly. It mattered because I don’t toe a start line “contingent on a perfect day”, I toe it knowing there are no guarantees and it isn’t supposed to be easy. It mattered that I pushed my damn ego aside and realized that even if I was last today, this result didn’t define me. It mattered that I didn’t bail when things weren’t going my way because there are a lot of people who would give anything to have the ability to do what I was doing…I think of this often, inspired by those with limitations I know nothing of. It mattered that I raced like I was running for a win, on a day it was tough as hell physically, mentally and emotionally, because I know from experience gritting through these days makes the good ones possible. It simply mattered that I finish what I start.
As always, I want to thank my sponsors who support me through the ups and downs. My husband Derick for his guidance and support. While I am of course disappointed with my season opener, I know that one race does not define a season. Lessons are learned, strength is gained, cobwebs are out. Opportunity awaits, and there is no doubt I’ll refocus on what lies ahead.
Thanks for reading,