I was once told that you're only a given a few matches in a race. Once you burn them they are all gone so use them wisely. I'm beginning to learn that it's the same thing when it comes to racing multiple times a year. Even though I want to kill it at every race I can only push myself to the breaking point a couple of times. And I did that two weeks ago at the Tidewater Triathlon (which I won).
|Boston Tri: Swam in Dorchester Bay, Biked on Day Blvd, |
and here I am running the 10K in Moakley Park.
Here's something I can appreciate about racing... even if it doesn't go how I want it to, I ALWAYS learn something new about myself. It’s funny, I constantly tell people “you should have an A race, B race, and C race.” Unfortunately, I want EVERY race to be an “A” race. I want to feel tapered, be ultra-competitive, and knock it out of the park every time. Alas… that’s impossible. I’m really trying to embrace this whole “it’s all about the journey, not the end result” mantra. But it’s hard!!
A New Experience
This was my first time flying with a bike = scary! It’s like leaving your brand new Benz unlocked in a seedy area. When I took it to bag check I seriously looked at it as if I’d never see it again. The TSA Agent even asked me if I was ok.
My Bike and I made it to Boston safely!
|The Scicon Aerocomfor Triathlon bag gets an A+.|
Took me 10 minutes to pack/unpack my bike.
When my best friend / college roommate picked me up from the airport I immediately felt at ease. When we’re together it’s a nonstop laughing fest. It’s ironic that we’re both endurance athletes now. Even though we were on the track team in college, we thought the mile was a long distance event. I focused on the high jump while she focused on the 800. Now I focus on the Half Ironman distance and she competed in the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. Go figure.
Unpacking my bike with the best pug ever (funky breath and all)
The day before the race….
I went for a spin around the neighborhood to make sure my bike was functioning properly and I didn’t need a mechanic. Then I went for a short run near my alma mater – Tufts University – got nostalgic and felt OLD as dirt. Where does the time go!? Oh and I noticed two things: 1) it was cool outside, low humidity – perfect, and 2) I felt fat, tired, and slow – not good. Sometimes it’s hard being a female athlete :-(
And now for the fun stuff. I’d usually stay off my feet the day before a race, but I got invited to a Pre-Race Brunch Event in the city. No way was I going to pass that up. Thank you Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Lululemon and the Boston Triathlon. I got to meet a few IRaceLikeAGirl teammates, mingle with professional athletes (that I may or may not stalk on social media), and eat good food.
With Ironman Champion Angela Naeth
|I'm so thankful that I was chosen to be part of her team.|
Angela: "Wow you're tall."
Sika: "Yep I am! 5'10". Haha"
Next up was packet pick up and a preview of the race course. I even got to test out NormaTec Recovery Boots. If I ever strike gold I’ll be purchasing these!
Race day…I had to get up at the crack of dawn since the race started at 6:20 am. I'm not going to lie. When my alarm went off my first thought was "why the eff am I doing this?" It was way colder than what I've been used to (58 degrees), I was half asleep, and physically I just didn't feel 100%. I wanted to crawl onto the couch and cuddle with my friend's pug. But when your friend gets up at 4 am to give you a pep talk, drive you to the race, and run around the course to cheer you on ....you get your act together!
One thing I'm grateful for is the fact that I get super excited right before the gun goes off. The nerves go away and a wave of excitement and gratitude always washes over me a few minutes before the start of a race. I get this feeling like "I'm supposed to be here, right now, at this very moment". It's comforting.
|Why do I look pregnant here?? Immaculate Conception LMAO.|
The water was COLD. 64 degrees! Obviously wetsuit legal, but still, that’s the coldest water I’ve ever raced in. I had a great start but then I just faded ....into oblivion. Literally got passed left and right. As it was happening I was just trying to stay positive. I ended up swimming about 5 minutes slower than what I envisioned. One of my friends later told me "it's so hard to be at peak in each of the 3 disciplines". Michelle - you are so right. Moving on ...
|Swim to bike transition|
I can't believe I'm saying this but ... I'm no longer dreading the bike leg! Instead of thinking "just get this part over with", I now think to myself "how fast will I go this time??"
The course was awesome. Completely closed off from traffic. Everything was going great until I hit a bump less than 3 miles into the bike leg and my water bottle (carrying all of my nutrition) went airborne. Of course I shouted a few expletives, thought about stopping .. after all, my Dad gave me that bottle for my birthday, but then I decided to keep trucking along. It wasn't a half ironman and the weather wasn't sweltering. I figured I'd be fine. The funny thing was that when I went around for lap two I saw several bottles in the same spot.
I ended up averaging 20.6 mph. Still not competitive (the pro women average 22+), but I'm slowly but surely creeping up. Some progress is better than no progress!
I started off SLOW. The first 2 miles...they were bad. But then my friend came out on the course and started yelling at me: "Pass those guys, you got this!!" That was enough to make me snap out of it. In fact, I picked up the pace so much that my friend got confused and thought I was on my last lap kicking for home haha. I pretty much started my kick with 4 miles to go. I went through the first 5K ...checked my watch...19:56. I started getting into a rhythm and passing people. I must say...I had the most amazing cheer squad out there....
National Black Marathoners Association
|You guys are the best!!!! Looking forward to seeing you October 2018!|
I crossed the finish line in 2:15:53; 15th place (including pro women). Do I wish I had been more competitive? Yes! Of course! I was super disappointed. I feel like I have a ton of fitness and it just didn't shine through on that particular day. But I'm also seeing some pretty big improvements even on my "bad" day: I'm consistently averaging over 20 mph on the bike and I finally broke 40 minutes on the 10K run. Considering how slow I went through the first 2 miles of the run I actually think I can go a lot faster ;-)
Post Race with my College Roommate and Track Teammate (Katie Sheedy)
Tufts University girls...my other college roommate (to the left of me)
Overall it was a beautiful day, beautiful course, beautiful race. The Boston Triathlon is probably the most unique race I've ever done. It was fun racing in a city, having the course closed off to us athletes. It was well organized AND I'll never complain about free post race drinks ;-)
Next up....Ironman 70.3 World Championships. I decided that I'll just be doing this race for fun and for the experience. My "A" race will be Ironman 70.3 North Carolina in October where I'll try to chase a huge PR.
Oh and I can't announce it yet, but my sponsor Point 2 Running Company, will be adding something special to the store within the next few weeks!!!! I can't wait to share the news.