…or more eloquently stated by Theodore Roosevelt:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
One of the great things about the sport of triathlon is that we all have a strength and a weakness; and given that we train for three disciplines, there is always something to improve upon. No matter what level you get to, or how many races you have done, this continues to ring true. Yet I’ve also learned along the way that you have to play to your strengths. More than anything, accepting a weakness can be a mental battle; but as we all know, a large portion of what we do in life is driven by attitude and our mentality; which is dictated by our choosing.
I went into Texas 70.3 ready for a good hard effort. I heard rumors floating around that ‘many pros came into this race not rested, amidst their large training block for Ironman Texas’. I was not one of them. Sure, I had done some big training in April, but I came into this race rested. I’ve learned that each time I step on a start line, I want to be prepared to compete; to race, to go hard, push my body to its limits on the day. I’ll rarely (if ever) ‘train through’ a major event. The body felt good and I was excited to compete in my home state. I know this course having raced it a few times, so I knew what to expect. All the small things seemed to fall into place, minus one annoyance that has occurred in each of my last 3 outings racing Galveston; one guess what it was. I won’t say it directly to prevent all you men from squirming. I was very determined not to let this be a factor. I did all the things to help negate any potential side effects (Vitamin B6, Fish Oil, Calcium/Magnesium, and Advil) along with a ton of lemon water. It was smooth sailing until Sunday morning, when I woke up with cramps. Go figure. Still, I forced myself not to think about it; and the only time it really bothered me was late in the bike and onto the run, when I felt like I’d swallowed a small bowling ball. Mildly irritating, but what can you do.
We took off into the waters of the Offatts Bayou in perfect 76-degree water (non-wetsuit swim). I felt strong and relaxed but lacked the top end speed to latch onto the top couple of women. I worked my way up closer towards the front through the 1.2 miles (typical for me) and exiting in about 4th or 5th position. Onto the bike, and I did my thing just trying to ride strong and steady, keeping any women ahead of me in sight. The legs felt decent; not too springy, but fairly responsive; but also as if I could have ridden much longer at this effort. While a bit mind-numbing, this course is pretty mystical in that near the turnaround, you go over a bridge onto San Luis Pass where it is almost always gray, hazy, misty and foggy. It’s feels as if you are riding right off the coast of Texas! Coming back towards Moody Gardens, I was passed by a few women, but tried to keep my head down, focused on staying strong, and trying to ignore the sensation that my stomach felt like there was a brick in it.
I exited the bike from what I was told in 14th position. ‘Work with What You Got, Kelly.‘
I love to start the run, but being told ’10 minutes down’ isn’t the most inviting news. However, I took it in stride and decided “OK, let’s go to work. Time to pick people off.” My stomach felt FULL, but as is racing, I tried to just roll with it and ignore it; acting as if I felt light on my feet and fast. I never looked at my pace. I just focused on running strong, aiming to catch women, and taking in water and nutrition. The crowd support here is amazing, and to every one of you who yelled my name… THANK YOU! I hear it all but my energy is usually pretty tapped out to respond.
I managed to run my way up to 4th place, only about 40 seconds out of Top 3. I later found out as well that I mustered the best run split in a 1:19.08, which is always nice to hear. Overall, I was pleased with the day.
I did the best, with what I’ve got, on the day.
I’m a strong swimmer; some days, that puts me at the front; other days, I am close to the pointy end but not where I would like to be. I make the best of it. My cycling; well, I do what I can with what I’ve got. I don’t like losing time, but I accept that this often happens. I stayed mentally positive out there because I know if I don’t, the negative energy will only work against me. Will I ever win a major race wire to wire? It’s unlikely; but that’s alright. I’ve been told by people that they ‘love watching me run through the field’. I appreciate the nice words, but if it were up to me, I’d prefer not to have so much time to have to make up! But we can’t dictate everything in life, and I do the best with what I’ve been given. And at the end of the day, I absolutely freaking love to run. And if my strengths and weaknesses mean that I can make races exciting? Well great, I’m glad I can help put on a good show. And I sure as hell don’t mind at times feeling like the underdog; I find I get motivated by the fight, and when the chips stack up, I revel in the challenge of trying to knock them down.
A massive thank you to my sponsors who make this journey possible:
Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute, Zoot, Hops & Grain, Felt, Road ID, Profile Design, ISM, Rudy Project, Recovery Pump, Jack & Adams, Nulo, Zipp, SRAM, Quarq, Endurance Shield, & Durata Training. I’ve got an amazing support team behind me; most of all my husband Derick and my parents who are always supporting from afar.
Onto the next one my friends! Time to rest up, sharpen up, and refocus.
And remember, when things get tough and you want to go down the path of self-doubt; try to rise to the struggle, embrace the challenge, and remember to appreciate the gifts you’ve got.
Comparing muscles; I definitely lose this contest…