When you get to the professional level of any sport, especially triathlon, everyone trains hard, everyone eats right, and everyone wants to win. The defining characteristic that separates a champion and a middle of the pack pro is their ability to embrace pain.
When I first started racing triathlon in 2010 I was very soft. I cringed at the thought of a cold and rainy race and I cringed even more at the thought of a hot and humid race. If the conditions were perfect then I was a happy girl and I had a good result. Likewise, if I felt “good” during the race then it ended well and if I felt “bad” then mentally I checked out right then and there.
As I have matured in sport, I have grown to thrive in less than ideal conditions. I have become mentally tough as an athlete and I know how to suffer. I look at low temps and heavy rain as another opportunity to gain an advantage over the other competitors and to use it to my benefit. The same goes when pain starts creeping in during a race. We all know that if we are racing hard then it WILL hurt. Going into races I know it is going to hurt very bad and there will be moments of weakness when I want to drop the pace, settle for 2nd place, or even quit. If you have mentally accepted that these thoughts will cross your mind before the race starts then you are not surprised when the demons arrive. I have key phrases that I repeat to myself so that I can get through and continue racing hard. Just welcome the pain with a nice smile and continue pushing though to victory!
With this, the Kansas 5150 was another race with less than ideal racing conditions. I should have expected that there would be a chance of tornados when booking my trip to Kansas; however, I did not think the weather would be cold and stormy race morning
The race director decided to cancel the swim because of lightening 30min before the start. The winds were high and the temperature was very low with rain. The triathlon turned into a 40km bike/10km run with a time trial start with each athlete leaving 10 seconds apart. Typically, swimming is a strength so I was at a disadvantage with it being canceled. The only other time I had done a duathlon was at the Rev3 finale last year where I raced poorly and lost my shot at the series win. Since then I have toughened up a bit mentally so I welcomed the change and told myself winning the race would be more of a challenge and a more appreciated victory if I succeeded.
Unfortunately I started in 3rd position out of 16 women at the start. I quickly moved to the front of the race by mile 2 and never looked back. I really had no idea of where I was because I did not know the order the others started in. The course was very hilly, windy, and wet. I did not taper for this race so my legs really were hurting bad and by the time the last 5km came on the run I was really suffering! Somehow it went from 55 degrees to 80 degrees in only an hour’s time. I managed to focus on technique and my breathing taking each mile at a time. I crossed the finish line first but I was not sure that I had won until every female had finished the race. Fortunately, I did win the race and was happy that I was able to overcome the cancellation of the swim, bad conditions, and my fatigued body.
Once again, thank you to my sponsors TYR, First Endurance, 110%, Garmin, Cervelo, ISM, CeramicSpeed, Newton Running and Davis Wheelworks for providing me with the things I need to be successful. Thank you to Cliff English for getting me through the past few weeks and keeping me focused. Thank you to my family for all of the emotional support they provide. Finally, BIG thank you to Jon King who provided me with accomodation over the weekend! My final race of the first half of the season will be the CapTex triathlon on Memorial Day in Austin, TX. I am looking forward to finishing this block of racing off strong and then heading out west for a new chapter of my life! Thanks for all of the support !!