Well I have broken the seal! I successfully finished my first professional triathlon. This Oceanside 70.3 triathlon was one that I had always wanted to avoid at all cost. The competition field is pretty much the toughest of the year, next to World Championships, rumored freezing temps, and a darn difficult bike course. So why did I make this my season starter, you ask? WHY THE HELL NOT!!
This year is a year about facing my FEARS and diving head first into living my DREAM to the fullest. I have been in California for the past two months training with the Team Sirius squad and felt it just made sense to go race since it was so close and I wanted to get the season started early. I am so new at everything and my coach and I figured what better way to start measuring my progress and fitness, than to saddle up next to the best in the world. So that's what I did
I spent a few days prior to the race in Oceanside with my good friend and teammate, Magali Tisseyre. We checked everything out as much as possible, got our bikes in order, took a dip in the fresh ocean. It was a perfect time to just focus on the big day. I have to say many thanks to Mags for really being there for me and showing me the ropes of being a pro. She is first class all the way!
Race morning came and I was feeling great. I usually get the nerves the evening before and after they settle, I wake race morning just energized and ready to roll. It seems at that point there isn't much else you can do except BELIEVE in your training and in yourself.
I have been working on my swim quite a bit and was really hoping to impress myself and show the progress I've made. To my dismay, I just didn't perform the way I wanted to in the water. I hung on to the pro women for about 200 meters and then I was all alone. I knew that was how it would be, but thought I could hang on to the back a little longer. I have really just begun swimming and do realize it takes patience and lots of hard work. So there I was swimming alone, got into a rhythm, but it wasn't as fast as I thought. When you have others around to draft off of or to push you it seems easier to know you are going strong. So I am disappointed that I didn't give it that extra kick that I should have, but I am taking a lot away from how I raced this course and will focus on what I need to change.
Transitions are something that I am pretty good at, so I went flying through T1 knowing I had a lot of time to make up. I went all out for the first 20 miles. The course is most flat there and with the wind at my back I was able to catch one of the other pros. From there the course got hilly and then the winds turned with the course and I was against the wind. It wasn't the worst wind, but when I was trying to make up time, it didn't help much. There was one big climb and one medium climb and then a bunch of rollers. I kept pushing as hard as I could without dying. To my delight, all of the women experienced the course in the same way. In addition, Camp Pendelton is closed to spectators, so I must say it was a little lonely out there trying to keep up and not a lot of crowd energy to motivate.
Back at T2, I flew. I got into my pace as fast as I could, keeping my cadence up. There was a lot of energy running out of transition along the harbor. Spectators on both sides of the road cheering on the athletes. Just a few miles in, I saw Magali leading the run race. It was so amazing! It really inspired me to just go out there and give it what I had. I picked up the pace and just focused. Simple as that. I knew I had it in my to run strong. I just had to focus.
I came into the finish strong and had an overwhelming joy come over me. I had finished my first professional triathlon race. I had passed a few women pros on the run and had taken myself from dead last after the swim to 16th. In a field that was stacked with the world's strongest and toughest Ironman competitors, I was pretty satisfied. I know I have many many more races to come, and lots and lots of hard working days ahead of me. I can't say I didn't want more because we always want more. I have analyzed the things I was successful at and the stuff that needs work. I am happy to say that I had a wonderful experience and can't wait to go back and race this course again.
I have to say thank you to my coach, Siri Lindley, for her amazing support in training and in racing. Her love and energy is something that drives me everyday. Thank you to the other pro women for being so welcoming and supportive of me in my first experience, especially you gals that are my friends and are seeing this crazy journey unfold. Thank you to Kiki Tisseyre for being my mom for the weekend and giving me so much love and care. And lastly, thank you to my friends that came from afar to spectate and support me in my first big race of my career. It means the world!!!