Lifetime Chicago turned out to be an amazing race for me. I knew I was going to be able to race really well by the way my training was going the last couple weeks. Lots of intensity had me feeling stronger than I have ever felt before. The fitness was there. I just had to perform on race morning.
Pre-race went smooth the way it always does with some time to relax and get focused but not too much time standing around getting anxious. I was feeling the excitement of racing an incredible field with guys like Dye, Kemper, Bennet, Collin, Odonnel, and the list went on. Racing fields like that are so hard, but it lets you know where you stack up against the best, so I like to put myself in those situations. Swim and run warm-up felt great and I was ready to go.
The swim start was a little hectic because there wasn't a lot of space with a pretty big men's field. I tried to fight my way through the field and get over when I saw Kemper getting away on the side. I was holding with a strong pack and having a decent swim. At about half way through the swim the swells started getting pretty big, so I was just trying to get through it the best I could and hold on to some quick feet. I exited the water only about a minute or so down which is pretty good for where my swim has been.
Getting on the bike, I have learned this season that my biking is all mental. I am starting to realize just how hard I can bike and still run well. I rode incredibly hard for the whole bike and was still feeling really good. I starting catching guys that I normally don't see until towards the end of the run, so I knew I was having a good race. At some turn arounds I saw I was only a few minutes behind the leaders and a couple down on a pack led by Kemper. I knew I was in striking distance the way that I have been able to run.
I got off and my legs felt great at the start of the run. Chris Foster ran with me for the first couple miles and we pushed each other really hard. I started catching guys from the front on the bike and was just concentrating on chipping them off one at a time. Before I knew it I was closing in on the top 5. The humidity was starting to hit me pretty hard, but with only a couple miles left I wasn't going to slow down. I saw Tim O'donnell ahead running pretty well, but was determined to catch him. I got a bit of a second win with a little more than a mile to go and really surged all the way to the line for a second fastest run split only 4 seconds off of Kemper. When they said I was 4th I couldn't believe it. What a performance for me against a world class field. It was such a huge day for me, putting me up with some of the best.
I feel like a lot of this race was just a big mental improvement for me. Making sure I am thinking about technique in the water and the run, especially towards the end when I am starting to fatigue really helps me stay fast all the way through. I think I am starting to figure out how to really race and get the most out of myself. I still feel like I have a ton of weaknesses in my race that I need to work on that can help me get a lot more time. I just have to continue putting in all the hard work and make sure my mind is ready every time I hit the start line.
I had a lot of friends, loved ones, and supporters send lots of congratulations and excitement for me which really meant a lot to me. My support group is really important to me. Knowing I have so many people there for me makes all the hard work and sacrifice so much easier and really makes me want to be the best I can be and race at my best for them. After the race my parents sent me a text message. They have no clue how to send texts, so it must have taken them forever to figure that out, so I know they must have been really excited when they saw the results. I got a lot of support from my sponsors Kiwami, SCOTT, The Sport Factory, and Zone3. They were all so excited to see me breaking out and were really happy for me.
Chicago was also a pretty cool city. Definitely one of my favorites that I have been to. Anyway, senior year is kicking off, so life is about to get pretty crazy, but I get to do exactly what I love to do, and that's as good as it gets.