I headed out to Dallas this weekend for the ITU Dallas American Cup. As I was sitting at the gate waiting to board my plane I found out that the swim would be cancelled, the race made into a 5k/20k/2.5k duathlon, and it would no longer be the U23 National Championships. This definitely put a damper on things for me, but over the next couple days I needed to just get ready to go out and race whatever race it would be and race as hard as I could regardless.
My race lead-up was the opposite of a normal concentrated warm-up. About an hour and a half before the start, I was warming up on my bike. My front tire blew out about two miles away, so I had to run my way back to transition. I guess you could say this would work as my run warm-up? I went to bike support to get them to check out my tire and rim. They fixed it up and gave me the okay that everything was fixed. I breathed a sigh of relief having gotten through that, and proceeded to my normal run drills. About 10 minutes before the start I was feeling ready to go. I went through transition to check everything one last time as I always do 10 too many times on race day. I got another surprise of another flat front tire. At this point, I figured I was out of luck having no spare wheels. I ran around like a nut trying to find a miracle. An ITU official told me I needed to get to the start line for athlete introduction. Then I heard a voice to the side. Canadian athlete Leanna Lee just volunteered to lend me her wheel. This was so generous of her and I couldn’t thank her enough. I ran the wheel over, threw it on, and went straight to the start line. I did my best to keep myself calm. I took a couple deep breaths and told myself to focus and execute my race plan.
The gun went off and I got straight to the front. My plan was simple—make the rest of the race hurt so people wouldn’t have as much left for a strong kick for the 2.5k. I kept the pace fast on the first 5k. We were consistently running 2:58/k, and on the second lap the field started to split. We hit the bike and we had a gap. I kept on the gas as much as I could to try to make sure we got a good gap on the group behind us who I know had some firepower. I tried to accelerate out of turnarounds from the front of the group as much as I could to make everyone have to accelerate very hard to catch back up. 20k is not a lot of time, but it is enough to start to fatigue some guys. I could tell on the last lap that some guys were starting to struggle to hang on. I put myself into good position and got through transition as quick as possible.
I moved right to the front out of transition within 200 meters. I was out in 2:47 for the first K, so the legs were definitely moving. As I approached the turnaround the wall started to come up on me pretty quick. Soon after the turnaround I was passed by both the top 2 and found myself in 3rd. I kept on the gas as much as possible to try to stay on the podium. I came across 3rd and was very happy with my performance. I executed my race plan just how I wanted to, and it paid off. A finishing 2.5k is not my strength, but I played my cards the best I could and have to be happy with the result. I think the biggest takeaway from the race is knowing that I have the ability to take the run out at about 2:45 for the first K, but if I want to be on the top step of the podium, I need to finish in 2:45. With some focused training, I know I can make this happen, and if the other pieces are there, then I know I will be successful. All in all, it was a very successful and fun race weekend.
I was able to race for the first time in my brand new SCODY kit. The suit was awesome. It fit like a glove, and it somehow kept me cool even in the mid-90 degree high humidity Texas weather. I was anticipating a great kit, and SCODY definitely delivered. I can’t wait to suit up in it again for the next one. Anything that gives you that little more confidence is a big deal at this level.
Next up, I’ll be going back home in a couple weeks to race the TriRock Philadelphia triathlon. I have raced this event for several years running, and I can’t wait to go home to race. Until then, it’s back to the training grind, working on my weaknesses, and doing everything I can to get better each and every day.