Last Sunday (yes a WHOLE week+ ago), I raced the Austin 70.3 After living in the Lone Star State for 8 years before moving to California, I was looking forward to going back. I always really liked Austin and it’s still on our “acceptable places to live” list. Mark said he wouldn't mind playing Sherpa for the weekend as long as we could get some good TexMex and Chicken Fried Steak after the race! PLUS my sister decided to drive down from Ft. Worth, TX, SO not only would I get to race and eat TexMex, I'd get to see my sis, brother-in-law and my ADORABLE niece and nephew. How can it get any better than that?!?
Uncle Mark hold our nephew so he could see his Aunt Jess run by. What a cutie pie!
Going into the race I was doing lots of pretty tough training (to get ready for IMAZ in November). I wasn’t rested, but after 2 months of FINALLY being healthy, I was ready! Worst case scenario I knew it would be a solid training day for Arizona AND I would get to see some of my favorite female pros (Beth Walsh, Beth Shutt, Jennifer Tetrick).
Post race pic w/ the Queen, Beth Walsh (stolen from Beth's blog - thanks buddy!)
Race morning was COLD! I put on my Xterra Wetsuit extra early – luckily it kept me nice a toasty. With the water temp about 25 degrees warmer than the air, we were all itching for the swim to start. I lined up next to the girls who I knew would be in the lead pack and was ready to race.
Swim: When the gun went off it was the usual story. I was in the lead pack for about the first 2 minutes and then all of a sudden I was on my own, crap. I swam that way for the next 24 minutes. I’m definitely swimming faster in the pool than I was 6 months ago, but I haven’t been able to get that to translate into better open water swimming. My guess at this point is maybe my swimming is not any faster and I’m just nailing those flip turns!
Bike: I didn’t feel terrible on the bike, but I definitely wasn’t on fire either. My legs were a bit heavy and overall the ride seemed a bit flat, but who could worry about that when I was getting chased down by dogs on the loose? Twice I thought I might be tackled by country K-9s! I survived the local wildlife and rough roads, and managed to get myself into T2 in a respectable 5th place.
T2: My 2nd transition was a complete, excuse my language, shit show. I couldn’t find where to rack my bike, struggled with my socks, and then couldn’t get my race belt clipped. I came into T2 right with buddy Beth Shutt, but exited 35 seconds after…what?!? Definitely learned a few valuable lessons and in the grand scheme of things it cost me some time, but not an overall place…whew!
Run: This was definitely the best part of the day. After just an OK swim and bike I was ready to see what my legs had left. The first mile and a half felt TERRIBLE, but I kept saying, “It’ll settle, just keep running”. It did settle and so did I into what I thought was a solid, but comfortable pace. Although the profile of the run looked fairly flat, there actually wasn’t much flat road at all, it was either slightly up or down. I chose not to check my watch and run completely on feel. I was able to build the last half of the run and came away with a new 70.3 run PR of 1:28:50, even with a quick stop in the porta potty around mile 6. Ultimately I know I need to be able to run MUCH faster than this to be able to compete with the top girls. HOWEVER this was more than 3 minutes faster than I have ever run in a 70.3, which means I’m making PROGRESS!
Overall I was happy with the race. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but it felt good to see some progress and know I’m headed in the right direction. It gives me so much hope for the future and I’m SOOO excited to keep plugging away and see where my hard work will take me.
Thanks so much to all my AMAZING sponsors for supporting me and having faith in my ability– Saucony, Reynolds Wheels, Clif Bar, Xterra Wetsuits, Cognition Cyclery, and Oakley. Also, a HUGE thanks to my coach, Matt Dixon, for continuing to support me and help me find the BEST training and racing plan for ME!
VIP#16 Kate Betts
If you have been following my triathlon journey this year, you know it has been a tough one. I have really struggled with illness and fatigue and ultimately I know it’s because I was trying to balance 50hrs a week of work, 10hrs a week of commuting, and 20+hrs/week of training. As much as I wanted to be able to do it all, it just wasn’t working.
Most people would have to go to their companies to ask for a change. My company, specifically my boss, Kate Betts, came to me. That’s why she’s my next VIP.
Kate knew my job was important to me, but she also knew how important triathlon had become and that I was missing my chance to really give it my all. Together we worked out a plan to change positions and reduce my work week to just 32 hours. She also gave me the opportunity to work from home 2 days a week so I would only have to commute to the city 3 days / week. Getting this approved was not an easy task, but Kate worked until it was approved by HR and the other executives at Pottery Barn.
Kate goes above and beyond to take care of all her employees, not just me. She cares more about the people she works with than anything else and it shows in her management style and the morale of the team. I am so incredibly lucky to have someone like Kate in my corner. He support has really helped change my life for the better and has given me an opportunity to pursue my dream in a way I didn’t think was possible. Thank you so much Kate!