I love the Olympics, and it was quite convenient that the games started when they did. Watching some of the world's best athletes compete had me eager to get off the couch and get behind the start line of my own race. One quote from US triathlete Katie Zaferes really resonated with me as I prepared to race. She said, “I was focused on my limitations. I forgot my strengths. Now when I race, I think: ‘Let’s see what I can do,’ rather than ‘this is what I need to do.’” In the past, I have been very good at focusing on my limitations and forgetting or disregarding my strengths. More recently I have been trying to move away from that destructive mindset, and one of the biggest contributing factors has been the support I have received being a part of Sammy’s Triathlon Club. Not only do I get to race beside friends, but I also know there is a whole community behind me cheering me on. Having that foundation of support, of people who believe in me and celebrate my victories both large and small, makes all the difference. Following my last race in early June, I decided that I wanted to start working with a coach. I felt like I needed more structure and wanted my training to be personalized for my individual needs and goals. In the weeks leading up to the Naperville Sprint, after about six weeks of working with Tyler, I had noticed improvements in my training, but was really curious to see if there would be a difference “when it mattered.” I tend to get all up in my head when racing, so I convinced myself that the results of the race didn’t solely define my progress. Afterall, I had set new bike and run distance records at Madison camp, and had been seeing improvements in other areas of my training as well. Everything was in place, now was my chance to just let it happen, to see what I could do. That being said, I had what I would probably consider to be my best race so far. Everything just felt like it flowed. I was able to start the race with Maggie, which was a huge plus. Having her alongside me in the swim helped me keep a strong pace and a clear head. My bike split was pretty average compared to other races I’ve done, but I was excited to see I maintained an average power output of about 20 watts above my FTP (I guess it might be time to retest that).
The part that really surprised me though was my run. Running has always been my weakest link, and I had sort of convinced myself that it would never improve. I dropped six minutes off my run time from June and maintained a pace that I never thought I’d reach so early into my new training program. I crossed the finish line with a sense of contentment and accomplishment that I don’t often feel when racing, and a third place age group finish was just the icing on the cake. It was super fun to race with so many club members and have a huge cheering squad on the sidelines as well.
I’m even more excited to race in Chicago now and look forward to seeing what else I can accomplish!