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Can't wait to start 2014 racing!

I'll be kicking off my first year of professional racing March 30th, in Los Cabos!

#SMASHCabo Report

Where does the time go?!?! I’m FINALLY clearing out of the post-IM haze and realized I never wrote a proper post-race report! At this point, I know others have written the nitty gritty about the course details, so I won’t get into that. But I still want to remember some of my favorite moments from this trip, so I’ll recap a few of those for you!

Before I begin, who would have known that AMY POEHLER was in Cabo during the IM. Since my dad strictly forbade the sending of texts while international she probably couldn’t get a hold of me. Sigh.

Moving on…..

There were a lot of special moments leading up to the race. My whole family was there for this one, which was very special since my sister had not seen me race before! I’m pretty sure that if I continue racing in destinations like Cabo, I’ll be able to twist their arm to come to a few more :) They were an awesome, awesome support crew and it felt so cool to have a group out there cheering for me!

Some of my other favorites times included those with the SMASH girls, Haley and Anabel. From the pre-race dinner at Cynthia’s (because yes, I went there again this year many times!)…..

To the moments leading up to the race with smiles and laughs (Huge thanks to Wade for snapping some of these pics!)…..

 

These girls were awesome! One moment in particular stands out with Haley: as I was standing in the corral adjusting my goggles in the minutes before the race started, the clasp that holds the goggles strap on broke and was lost forever in the sand. Haley and Katy both helped me look but to no avail. In fact, Katy even offered to go to try to find her mom in the sea of spectators who had her extra goggles. The last thing I wanted to do was hold up anyone else’s race, so I just opted for the quick fix – a knot.

I tied the knot, and looked at Haley. “Think this will hold?” The next words from Haley’s mouth were so, so important for the day: “YES! We did that all the time in swimming.”

Whether or not that was true, her confidence made me confident and I decided to go with it. Sure enough, they held :)

The short story on the swim is that…..it happened :) True to what everyone says, these starts are FAST. Between that, an unfavorable sun position, and I think my own nerves, I lost the pack very, very quickly. However, the incessant ‘tap tap tap’ on my own feet let me know that at least I wasn’t all alone, and last. So, I just kept swimming and managed to get to the beach in a respectable 1:01(ish).

Photo Courtesy of TriJuice!
Photo Courtesy of TriJuice!

Onto the bike! The “new, faster” course was still quite hard, and quite hot. I got onto the bike alone and realized pretty quickly that despite riding very hard, I wasn’t making up too much time on people. About halfway I pulled things back to the race plan for the ride and decided I just had to run the race my way and see what happened during the marathon. I will say, it was SO NICE to be out on the bike and not worrying about the “Kona slot” pressure. I had this moment of “that doesn’t matter anymore! I just get to RACE!” and it was really, really fun for me.

Heading onto the run, I certainly felt my legs had worked a little harder in that first half of the bike. But, I was still running, and I was still running a respectable pace. And with that in my head, I just held on. Marathons are hard. Marathons in the heat of Cabo are really, really hard. Add to it the extra challenge of drinking water from full solo-cups, and I wasn’t able to put together my best run. But, it certainly wasn’t my worst, and I never gave up trying to run some girls down. It was also super helpful to have fellow TeamHPBer, Leslie, out there at the front of the amateur race. The ~10 minutes between us provided a perfect buffer with our nearly identical splits to allow us to see each other and offer motivation throughout the entire run.

 

All in all, the trip was so fun, and it really was an amazing experience for my debut as a professional! I truly felt the support from EVERYWHERE leading up to the race, and I am so grateful for that. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that one of my favorite parts of the whole experience was interacting with some of the other pro women. From Sara hanging out with me as we waited for the pre-race meeting, to an early race-morning hug and good luck from Beth, to Linsey Corbin herself cheering me on WHILE EN ROUTE TO HER WIN. Seriously guys, these women are awesome. And, as always a huge thanks to my main sponsors this year: SMASH and PowerBar! Without either of these I’ d be competing naked and hungry, which would be a terrible thing ;)

After the race, I flew home to Charlottesville to begin the craziness of marathon week! No, I wasn’t running one :) But, the Charlottesville Marathon which I help put on was April 5th, so that meant no rest for the weary as I powered through the weekend. Once the event was complete (and, wildly successful if I do say so myself!) I think I slept 12 hours a night for a few nights, which never happens!

I’m starting to come around again and ready to get myself in the game again for Wildflower. Given that it looks like a swim-run-bike-run format I’m even more excited to race — should be fun!!