Anyone that's trained for any sort of endurance event knows the amount of dedication it takes to get to the start line. On race day it's all you...but getting to that point usually requires the support of small army and they all deserve a huge thank you! Its going to sound like an Oscar acceptance speech I'm sure but I feel like sometimes you can't say Thank You enough. So let's get down to it...
Firstly, I'd like to thank my coach, Ming, for pushing me and making me understand what hard work on the bike actually feels like. I have improved in leaps and bounds, not only on the bike but in my running off the bike. I didn't think that was even possible.
Next up, Mike Mandel and the rest of my Real Deal teammates. Mike has been instrumental in helping me get my head in the game. His support and words of wisdom helped calm me down and put me in the right mindset for my first race of the year. Teammates Barbie-Anne Hope, Graeme Rivers and Leanna Lee have also consistently been a source of virtual support as well. As Mike likes to say "Team work makes the dream work" and I couldn't agree more. We wouldn't be able to be a great team without great sponsors as well so a big thank you to all of them!
I know very few endurance athletes who can get through a training cycle without any sort of aches and pains. Scratch that, I don't know any. A key part of an athletes success also lies in the hands of their therapists. I've had so many little issues that could have turned into major issues if I didn't have a great team of therapists in my corner. My ART guy, Peter Lejkowski from Pivot has helped work on my knee and hip issues. Dr. Sarah Mickeler has helped get the knots out with her Graston work and my friend and RMT David Lamy has kept my legs and shoulders in excellent working order.
I also want to thank my friends who kept me company on my training rides when G got sidelined with this injury. David B, Heather and Jordan and David L, you guys all rock. A big thanks to David L for riding the Tour de Grand with me and suffering through a 13km run in the rain with me afterwards. One of the toughest yet most fun days I had this training cycle.
Of course all the folks I work with deserve a huge shout out as well. They always offer me so much encouragement and support. Most of them think I'm a bit nuts but they understand it makes me happy so I've always got their support.
And then there's G. What can I say....? After his crash, I didn't want to go ahead with the race but G wouldn't let me entertain any thoughts of not doing it. He knew that it was just my fears getting the better of me. I know how hard it's been for him to be the spectator these last three races, when he should have been out there with me. He's been a constant source of support and encouragement and he's talked me off the ledge more times than I care to admit. I'm sad that we didn't get to race together but I know that we'll plan another trip like this at some point down the road. G is hoping to do a 70.3 later on this year so I will happily play Sherpa and race photographer.
I've thought a lot about the race in the last week. While I wouldn't change any part of how it all played out, I know there is room for improvement. Now that I seem to have my swim issues somewhat figured out, I should be able to situate myself near the front and swim at the pace I know I'm capable of. I think if I wasn't such a head case in Luxembourg, I probably could have swam about 32 minutes. But, I wanted to put myself in a comfortable position so I stayed at the back. I think that was totally the right call for me. As for the bike, I really only spent 7 weeks seriously working on my cycling. Yes, I rode during my Boston training but it was just to build up endurance. I didn't do any of the really hard work until after Boston. The next time I decide to do a 70.3, there won't be a spring marathon involved, haha. I think if I spend more time doing hard work on the bike, I can only get better. The women that finished in front of me all rode sub 2:50 on the bike. The woman that won my AG rode a 2:35. That's an average of over 34kph. Insane. The crazy part? I beat her out of the water, haha. My position after the swim was the highest it was all day. I came out of the water 8th in my AG, dropped to 12th on the bike and then gained back two spots on the run. I'm beyond thrilled with my race results and even more excited about the potential for improvement.
I mentioned that one of my other goals at the beginning of the year was to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships. Both G and I would have gotten spots here. There ended up being two spots in my AG and they rolled down to 12th position and then they got put up for grabs to anyone in my AG. I opted not to take one because I am far too beat up to continue training at the level that I was. I need to sort out all my lingering hip and knee issues. The same roll down happened with G's AG. We were sitting with a bunch of guys from Belgium, 2 of which placed in their respective AG's and the one guy I was speaking with said it wasn't worth it to cross the ocean because it's only a 70.3! It's all about Ironman for those guys. So, we know moving forward that when the World Championships are back on Canadian soil, we may have to go back to Europe to get a spot, which, given how awesome this trip has been, wouldn't be a bad thing!
On that note, I'll leave you with some of my favourite snaps from the last couple of weeks.