August 15th, 2013
This was by far my favorite sprint of the year for multiple reasons.
- Relaxed mentally pre-race
- New bike course
- Competitive run
- Use of mental tactics at the finish
As we lined up for the start, we all lined up behind Ken, The Shark. Post-race, come to find out The Shark got beat out of the water. I blame the fact that this was race #4 within a week for him. He's crazy. That's why I like him. =D
Honestly, the swim felt lack-luster. I didn't feel as strong or as consistent as I usually do, but I fell in line behind the pack and just held on. Nothing to really highlight. It was my worst leg of the day actually, which is odd. It's usually my strongest.
As we exited the water, I noticed that we had a water exit timing mat. Cool! We had a separate swim and T1 time this week. And of course I liked that because I can kill it in T1!
SWIM - 9:14
18th / 172
I had chose to swim without my wetsuit. After having walked into the water, I somewhat regretted that decision, but it turned out fine. I exited the water, dropped my goggles, put on my glasses and helmet, and was off.
T1 - 0:23
1st / 172
And now the most enjoyable part of the whole race! Thanks to the town of Marlborough, we had to remap the bike course. Instead of the typical two loop course, we've switched to another three loop course on the other side of the lake. In my opinion, there are more hills, but they're much more broken up. I love rolling hills because you can use your momentum to climb the next hill. And with that, there is never a section where you don't feel like you should be pushing. So for the entire three loops, I pushed the bike to the limit. It was tough, but it made for such a fun ride! Go!, Go!, Go!
I would post the elevation chart, but it is totally misleading! Trust me, this was a BLAST of a course.
BIKE - 33:52
15th / 172
Once dismounted, we set our bikes back and with my Pearls, a hat, and my handheld, I was off to the run. And I was ready to really race this course! It might not have been the most enjoyable section of the race, but this run was the most satisfactory part of the race and one of my more proud moments of this year's season.
As I headed out, I had one Yale racer ahead of me, Roberto, and another right behind, Jon. Once out on the main road, I saw three more racers a quarter mile ahead. My mind was made up before I could think about it - "Running is my strength; GET THEM!!!!" This was going to be a very competitive run!
But not yet! There's a good sized hill in the first half a mile. While it does slow me down, I always let my body find a comfortable pace through that first hill. If I push that hill, the rest of the run is torture. So I passed Roberto before the hill and then he passed me back on the hill as I shuffled. Once we crested the hill, I passed him back and started picking people off. =D
One guy down. Two more down. Then I passed Ken, The Shark. His form looked good, but you could tell (as he told me later), he left everything on the bike course. I told you! It was too much fun not to!!
We passed pleasantries and I picked off another guy in front of him. At the end of my favorite section (a false flat), Roberto caught back up. He passed me and I never caught him again but I kept him in view. We both picked off one more racer who I hadn't remembered seeing before; he must have been ahead of me the whole time. And then I hit a mental block. My body wanted to slow, but Jon was keeping pace behind me; if I slowed, he would definitely catch up. Scott taught me that lesson already!
I kept a comfortable push and pulled in two women, Julia & Shaina. It helped to have them to pull in; it kept up my motivation. I also had guessed that I may even be currently in 3rd place. I've never stepped on the podium at this race and that was a big mental push. But it didn't keep Jon at bay. With half a mile left, I began hearing his feet behind me. Being so close to the finish and having pulled me in, he had enough motivation to keep a faster pace than I was. I wasn't going to beat him physically, so I needed to break him mentally. I needed a plan. As he pulled up to my side on the final small hill, I made my decision.
Let him pass me. He'll mentally feel he won the battle.
I'll keep pace just behind him as quietly as I can.
With 0.1 miles to go, I have to put everything I have into a sprint finish he doesn't see coming.
My only hope is to make him THINK he can't beat me.
I was impressed with his pace up the final hill and then down the back side. I seriously doubted if I had anything else to put into a sprint, but I had no other choice; he was going to beat me if I just clicked it up a notch or two; I HAD to break away quickly to beat him. We hit the grass, I put my head down, and red lined for the finish. I went maybe 10 steps and tilted my head to look back. He was 5 steps back. He could still make that up, so I pushed harder. Another 10 steps and I looked back again. He was 10 steps back. I closed my eyes for a second and took in the victory. I couldn't help but smile as I crossed the finish line.
RUN - 19:42
7th / 172
FINISH - 1:03:11
4th / 172
My best at this race has been 5th. I was happy to have topped that, but I admit that there are a handful of other athletes I can name that would have beat me if they raced. But despite that, the race was very memorable for both the enjoyment and the finish!!
Post-race was a 3 minute grass collapse and then I went for a swim. The water felt great and despite my tired muscles protesting, I felt much better afterwards. I chatted with the other racers, helped pack up the race director's gear, and headed home.
What a way to finish the series!!
1. Have you ever had your regular race courses changed? If so, was it an improvement or no?
We've had three different bike courses this year and while #2 was worse, this course was by far better!
2. Have you ever mentally broken another competitor?, or been broken by another?
3. What has been your favorite race of this season so far?
This was my favorite.
4. What race are you looking forward to most in the remainder of the season?
I'm really looking forward to the Newport marathon (the second part of the back-to-back marys) and the JFK 50. Both are just adventure, just-want-to-finish type races.
DREAM. BELIEVE. ACHIEVE.