After a long base season, 2017 race season is officially underway. Typically, I like racing an early season event sometime between the end of January and early March just to get things rolling and see where I am at fitness wise. However, this year, my coaches basically told me I had to have 16 weeks of consistent training without illness or injury before I could race. I was pretty bummed because I wanted to race IRONMAN 70.3 Buenos Aires. If you follow me, you know my love for South America and wine so how could I pass up an event in Argentina!? Oh well, it was not meant to be and it was a long winter of training banking so many sessions.
I did the Cooper River Bridge Run 10km in Charleston, SC (my hometown) on April 1st and I was pleased with my race. I knew my swim and run fitness were optimal but unsure on my bike fitness since I had been riding indoors a lot. My plan was to race IRONMAN 70.3 Lima as my 2017 opener but I got sick leading up the race and I had to withdraw. I hope to be there next year though as it looked like a fun one. Fortunately, St. Anthony’s Triathlon was the week after and an event I was extremely familiar with as I had done it 4 times already and a few of my best friends live there. For some reason I hadn’t raced well at St. Anthony’s, so I was a little nervous, but decided it was best to start the season off with a fast Olympic distance race.
The wind was up and unfortunately the swim was shortened from 1500m to 900m. Typically, I would be pretty upset with this as swimming is my strongest of the three disciplines. However, once I was fully emerged into the bay I knew this was the right call. The water conditions were rough and there was no way I wanted to continue on as I approached the swim finish of the shortened course.
I exited the water in 1st position and ran very hard to T1 so that I could try and get a little gap and get away on the bike. Cycling has not been my strongest event so I committed to stepping it up this year. My goal was to ride off the front and never look back. If I ran poorly but rode well then it would be a success in my mind. My new Trek Speed Concept with the new Shimano Dura-Ace is fast, comfortable, and looks great. I felt pretty special to have the high vis edition with matching Ballista helmet.
I tried a few new mental tricks on the bike and ended up putting time onto everyone and having the fastest bike split. At this point I had already achieved the goal I set for myself and the run would be a bonus. Fortunately, I felt fresh coming off the bike and ran comfortably off the bike.
Although I wanted to run hard, I did not want to blow at the end of the race, so I just ran conservatively focusing on my form and working to get to the line first. I love this run course because it is an out and back and I get to see many friends on the course who were also racing. Last year I was running scared with Mirinda Carfrae literally breathing down my neck, so it was nice to actually enjoy the run and cheer others on as well. I ended the day with the fastest run split and won my 5th attempt at St. Anthony’s triathlon. This event is a special one to win as it has been around 34 years and has a history of world class athletes as past champions.
After the race I got to catch up with my friends down in Florida and just relax a bit. I am fully focused for this year and doing everything I can do be the best athlete and also ambassador for the sport. I am so grateful for the support team I have surrounding me providing every resource available to me that I need to be my best. I will mix it up this year with some different races and hopefully have my best season yet. Thank you all for the continued support!
My next race will be the Pan American 70.3 Championships in Monterrey, Mexico on May 14th. After that I will return to San Francisco for another shot at Escape from Alcatraz followed by the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Costa Rica.