Ouch – That One Hurt! My St. George 70.3 Race Report

Hello Hello!

It is a beautiful Saturday here in Southern California!  This weekend is supposed to be incredibly warm and is finally starting to feel like summer!  I have to say I can’t wait!  While the LA winters in no way compare to the cold and snow that the mid-west and east experienced this year, there is something wonderful – no matter where you are – to get that feeling that “summer is in the air”.  It brings an added spring in your step and a desire to get outside and be active (yeh yeh…I know…it is cheesy, but it’s true!!).

….that is, unless, you raced at St. George last weekend.  And then there is absolutely no spring in your step…or at least none in mine!

For those of you who follow the sport of triathlon, you’ll know that St. George was the US Pro Championships on an exceptionally challenging course with the most stacked race outside of the World Championships.  For those of you who don’t follow the sport…well…let’s just say this race was NOT EASY!  For me it was (and I think many others) the hardest 70.3 race I have ever competed in.  the swim, while calm, was in cold water.  The air was super dry and at 3500 feet, I certainly felt the effects of the elevation.  The bike was extremely challenging with many long climbs (over 4,000 feet of climbing in total).  And then run….welp – it pretty much either went up, or down.  This race was a show down and one where the slightest let up of focus or resolve meant changes in position and getting dropped.  You could never give up.  And the difficulty and the competitiveness of the race made it a beautiful and amazing thing to be part of.  I absolutely LOVED it.

And…it completely smashed me.  I feel more like I raced an Ironman than I do a 70.3!  I actually felt great in the days after the race because I think the adrenaline from being part of such a competitive event had me feeling good.  But then I came down from it all and have been dragging ever since.  The last few days I’ve sort of slogged my way through sessions and then spent the rest of the day in a daze.  This race definitely got the best of me!  Luckily this weekend my scheduled is about getting “cleaned out” (as my coach likes to say…which is really a fancy triathlon term of trying to get recovered).  I don’t have much on the schedule and the focus is on rest!  So….here I am…on a beautiful day where I want to be outside running around and doing what I love – training – and instead I am sitting on the couch, curled up in a blanket, alternating between catching up on work, napping and watching golf and the Giro!  Lucky for me, this is SoCal and there are many more warm and sunny days in my future :)

As a quick recap, my race was really solid and I was definitely happy with the result.  Just like Ironman Melbourne, there were plenty of areas where I made mistakes and could have raced better, but I also learned a lot and took a great amount away from the race all while putting up a performance I was happy with.  It was a success.

This was a big race for me.  It wasn’t necessarily one that I highlighted on my schedule as a focus race or one I was peaking for from a performance perspective, but it was significant to me (whether I wanted it to be or not) from a mental standpoint.  This race was THE race that would give me a fairly good benchmark of where I stand from a competitive standpoint.  I was actually REALLY excited to race and believed I was ready to step up and put myself in contention to be amongst the top girls, but I just didn’t know.  The days before the race I was nervous.  What if I was dillusional thinking I stood a chance at competing and I just got completely smoked?  How would I feel?  Would my confidence be shattered?  I felt like a lot was on the line for me from a mental perspective.  I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen and how I would react.

But…it turned out ok (thankfully!!).  I went to St. George and completed what I set out to do:  Show to myself that I am ready to compete.

The breakdown – My swim was good.  It was my best 70.3 swim I have ever done (from a time perspective), but I walked away feeling a bit frustrated that I hadn’t made the next pack of girls.  But…after talking with my swim coach, my perspective changed and I actually feel ok about how I swam.  I was happy with my bike (second fastest – wahoo!!).  I made a few tactical errors, but on the whole, I really feel pleased with how I rode….and for me, every race where I can come out of the swim, hop on my bike and not spend the entire 56 miles managing nausea is a success.  It has been exciting for me to have that issue dealt with and get on the bike and ride in a way that reflects were I am at in my training.  And then run…oh man!  My run was not so hot, and that was frustrating to some extent, but I also understand why, so it is something that will evolve.  I said to Matt after the race that while I do a great job of putting myself into the hurt box in hard run sessions on a stand alone basis, I don’t yet have the skills to do that off the bike.  It is a very very different feeling and a different type of hurt to make yourself run your race pace off the bike and get to a point where you can settle in.  It’s another step in the process for me.  But it also didn’t take away from what I felt was an overall very solid performance and leaves me feeling excited and looking forward to the rest of the season!

So…a few days of relaxation and some lower intensity training, a few days of work and then believe it or not, I am back on a plane on Thursday on my way to Florida 70.3.  The name of the game is hot and humid!

My friend and teammate, Meredith Kessler, put on TRULY INSPIRING performance last weekend in her win and claim to the US Pro Championship title.  She has always had an amazing swim and ride and she has been working so hard on her run, so it brought me a tremendous amount of pleasure and pride to see her win her race on the run.  She was incredibly gutsy and I couldn’t be more excited for her and her accomplishment.

In her winner’s speech at the awards she commented that her win was a team effort – that she would not and could not do what she did without the support of so many.  And her words could not ring more true.  while outsiders view us as competing as individuals, every time we tow the line, we are out racing for our teams – for our sponsors, our coaches, our families, our friends, our homestays, for race organizers…for everyone that have extended themselves in any way to help us in chasing our dreams and for wanting to be part of our journey.  I could not be more proud when I put up a strong race because I feel like any success is one celebrated by everyone who has supported me along the way.

To my sponsors – to Saucony, Cervelo, Shimano and Aqua Sphere for being there before, during, and post race day – It is always such a pleasure to have you at the races!  Your support is second to none and I am not kidding when I say that EVERY DAY I think about how lucky I am to be part of your teams.  THANK YOU

To Helen’s Cycles, CycleOps, Clif Bar, Kask, ISM, Game Ready and Timex – Each of you contributed to my performance last weekend, whether it be in pre-race prep (Helen’s and CycleOps), race nutrition (Clif Bar), equipment (ISM, Kask, Timex) or post race recovery (Game Ready) – WHAT A TEAM!  I am so lucky to have such a phenomenal support crew and couldn’t be more proud to represent all of your brands.

To my St. George homestay family (The Dansie’s) – WOWZA!  You guys ROCKED!  I think Jess Smith and I seriously had the most rock star fam out there!  Your family is incredible – so kind, welcoming and engaging!  We were so lucky to be able to meet you and spend time with you!

To my family, friends and boyf – the emotional support that you have all given to me over the last however many year is unprecedented.  You all are my rocks.  And I truly could not do this without you.  Thank you

To Emma-Kate Lidbury – My other ROCK!  Having you in Santa Monica this year has been the highlight of my year.  Your companionship as a teammate has been absolutely AMAZING – the support and the way we push each other in training is the most positive training experience I have ever had.  I feel so lucky to have you here.  But more than that, as a friend, your support, love, laughs, jokes and all around amazingness as a person has been an incredible addition to the SM crew.  I LOVE having you here and feel lucky to have you in my life.

To My chiro and nutritionist – Bay Chiropractic (Dr. Eric Nepomnaschy) and Performance Fitness Nutrition (Dr. Phil Goglia) – Your combo over the last year has been pretty critical to getting me healthy and strong.  Thank you so much for all of you help and continued support.

And last, but not least…

My Coaches – Matt Dixon, Gerry Rodrigues and Paul Buick – It is a process that is still going, but this has been a tremendous experience and I thank my luck stars every day that I have the team of coaches that I do.  The amount I have learned and how I have grown as an athlete and person over the last 1.5 years has been a special experience and I owe a lot to you all.  THANK YOU

ok….off to nap!  Yeh Recovery!

Until next time…

Don’t Dream It.  Be It!

Sarah-

 

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