"525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year in life. In daylights? In sunsets? In midnights? In cups of coffee? In inches? In miles? In laughter? In strife? " - Rent
A whole year has gone round from first triathlon of the season in 2009 to 2010. The same race, Ironman St Croix is always a marker for me. A staple in my race calendar.
Last year was a trial in so many ways, I was put through the ringer - fighting for my safety, my health, my business, my true friends.
It's amazing what happens in a year's time. I've come back stronger than I ever thought imaginable. Sam and I are quickly approaching our 2 year anniversary later this year. I'm LOVING my bike racing team and teammates and the results are a wonderful bonus. I'm fit, I'm healthy and I'm ready to rock this year.
Our first EndureIT event was a HUGE success, achieving carbon-neutrality, once again! A few days later (oof, that part was hard) I flew down to St Croix with my mom (Happy Early Mother's Day!) to race the hardest 70.3 on the planet.
Despite spf 70, I achieved a total body burn the first day and spent the rest of the time in the shade pre-race. I felt great in all my workouts and just in general. Relaxed and confident beyond measure. I wanted the win and I knew I would get it.
I had a great few days with my mom and she is truly a saint.
I woke up at about 3:30 to eat my patented QT2 SYSTEMS breakfast and it went down easy. At 5:30 the temps were in the 80's and humid, it was going to be HOT!
The race starts on a little island in the harbor - you have to swim there. At 6 AM I hugged my mom and swam to the Cay. Maggie and Duffy and many other friends were there and we all huddled together, trying to think of anything other than the pain to come.
At 6:30, the pro's were off. At 6:50 my wave went off, with no warning. I had a GREAT start and made a nice gap on the field, sadly, I led 3 other girls with me who then overtook me as we hit the traffic of all the men's waves. Ugg. I found the feet of the 4th girl and we swam together. The swim was gorgeous, as usual, but it always seems a bit long. I was aiming for a 25-28 min. swim and came out in about 31/32 min.
I had a quick transition (fastest of the day for both) and settled onto my bike.
Man-o-man are the roads rough in St Croix and exponentially so, since a few years ago. I rode steady, but didn't push too hard. There were many crashes and the heat/wind/humidity combo made for many DNF's. I could have ridden harder and perhaps I should have because I didn't really reel in the girls ahead of me (only a few minutes, since we all came out of the swim together, pretty much).
Coming off the bike, my right foot was killing me, still not sure what happened. That first run lap was pure pain. My chest was tight, my heart rate tacky, chills, nausea and just plain misery. I walked the aid stations and death-shuffled between. I dreamed of hiding in the woods instead of running my 2nd lap. How easy it would be to flag down a volunteer or cry on my mom that I wasn't feeling good. I thought of retiring from Triathlon - just forgetting it all. Somewhere around mile 5 of the run, I got excited. I thought of everyone pulling for me:
Sam watching Luna, My Dad, my friends, my sponsors - everyone sending and giving their all so that I can race triathlons.
As I made the turn to start my second run lap, I saw my mom. I told her I loved her and smiled. The crowds were great. I thought of my mom, waking up at 3 AM, in the sun all day with clipboard and stopwatch. The 2nd lap went MUCH better. I doused myself with water at every chance and walked the aid stations to get in fluids, ice, whatever I could get. I passed many athletes and felt really good about getting to finish (last year I had a mechanical and then a crash that dislocated my knee). Crossing that line was pure joy. So was the ice-cold towel the volunteers put on my back and legs.
I found the girls that beat me and congratulated them all. We had some nice chats and then I found Miss Jodie Ellis who had a FANTASTIC 2nd half-ironman race. Jodie was all smiles (somehow) after the effort and I could not be more proud of her. She will have an AMAZING season!
In the end, I was about 30 min. off my time from 2 years ago, but so were most of the pro women and other competitors. It wasn't my day. Maybe I was too conservative. Maybe I didn't push hard enough. Maybe the other girls were just fitter than me.
Whatever the reason, I'm happy to have the first tri of the season under my belt. A 5th place finish and plenty of beach time with good friends and my Momma.
The season is long and I can't wait to tell you all about it!
In other news, thank you to all of my fantastic sponsors - my personal website will be launching this week at www.BraveMandy.com and will be AWESOME.
I have some new sponsors and they will all be featured there and on my super-sweet kit!
Also, congrats to Alex M and M for his 10th place at Ironman St George and Cait Snow who ran her way into 3rd.
Onward!! I WILL make it to Kona this October. I will.
How do I measure my year? You'll just have to stick around to find out.