Goodness, where to start. I have not been good at blogging for many reasons. I love to write and love to journal (my blog) but as the years go by I struggle with IF people are really interested. I think everyone blogs now – so the “uniqueness” of the blog is gone. And, I struggle with laying out my races and “I kicked ass!” or “I had an off day.”
And, I spend my days & nights talking Triathlon – and keeping athletes focused on what really matters –> Progress, growth, consistency and accountability. So, when it comes to me blogging about ME. I am light on ideas and excitement. Internally I am driven and motivated, that is not what I mean. But, as I get older, I almost become more private and selfish on WHY I race.
Let’s step back…In May I did one of my all time favorite races in Galena, Illinois. My sister’s BF and a sorority sister of mine has a house there and a few of us head up, race and have a nice little overnight trip. I am not sure, but think this is like my 10th year racing Galena. I was SO excited to race. It was cold, water was COLD and after our winter, I could have raced naked and not noticed. Also, it is so good to see so many friends and athletes here – It is what makes me come back every year. I felt AWESOME and had a good race finishing 2nd OA to my friend, Jenny Garrison. And, the comments continue with the Garrison/Harrison connection. We have fun with it. As Jenny and I cooled down we were laughing that a few years ago we finished 1-2 as well. JUST a fun race and I was super happy with my day.
I continued to train and train through the Elgin 10 miler. I did a long brick (swim,bike, run) the day before and wanted to execute a solid run on tired legs. On race day I accomplished what I wanted to do and it was a great confidence boost for my “A” race of the early season: Eagleman 70.3. I ran this course as fast as I ever have – another confidence boost in my race prep for EM.
This year has been odd for me. I realized that in 2015 it will be 20 years of racing for me and only ONE year I did not race & that was in 2001 when I got pregnant and was pregnant w/ the twins. Every year I have to decide IF I am going to race some of the same races I do frequently. And, Eagleman is one of them. Can you imagine doing races for 20 years – and a lot of the same ones – AND trying to maintain that edge? HA. That is my private challenge within myself. I don’t necessarily feel slower and my times are not that much slower and this year I was only 6 minutes off my all time PR at EM…. & I PRd my IM at age 42….so it is NOT time that motivates me nor is it a PR – could care less. What motivates me is competition. I crave head to head racing. I always want to race the best 40-44 girls – ALWAYS. That is what drives me to races like Eagleman, which are fiercely competitive. Or Kona, Or USAT Nationals….if I want to rise to the occasion and challenge myself, I want to race the best.
I was uncharacteristically nervous for Eagleman. Weird because I was prepared 100% perfectly with Elizabeth’s help…and I was injury free, excited, etc. But, I did feel a little pressure coming off 2nd last year & the Kona slot. This year, I have no interest in an IM, but my desire to win is never gone, of course. I knew a few girls competing and frankly, that is all I needed to know. The reigning champ was racing (Kristin) and so was Ange B, a good triathlon friend of mine and an athlete I coached for a couple of years – so I KNEW exactly what she was capable of. If I wanted the competition, I was going to get it.
I had a hard time sleeping into Eagleman. Just this pit in my stomach for most of the week. I think one thing that athletes do is chase times on specific courses. When I put together my race plan, I barely mention times. Instead my focus is –> BE IN THE MIX and race the best I can that given day – so that I can walk away and say, “I DID my best.” Whether that is the pointy-end of the podium or not. In 2013 I had a magical day, everything was easy and I felt AWESOME. This year, I felt tired – not because I was not rested, but because I needed to take a nap! Regardless, I kept to my plan and besides a slower bike for me than usual, I gave it my 100%. It was a real nail biter of a race! I wanted to come out of the water with Ange or keep the gap 30″ and I did that – I was happy with that. I had to swim hard to do that, but that was the plan. I felt a little flat and hot on the bike…but managed it best I could. And, I felt AWESOME on the run. I was hotter than hell, but nutrition was great and I ran as hard as I could – even negative split my 1/2 marathon by 2 minutes – I was definitely chasing these girls.
When I crossed the finish line I was HAPPY. And, it is VERY important that you keep that feeling as you digest the race as the days go by. I worked hard to get on that podium and once I knew 1st and 2nd were out of reach for me – it was a race between 3-6th and I absolutely gave it my all. It was the best I could do on that day and for that, I was satisfied. I was on the podium with some great competition and left Eagleman as, “that was the best I had that day.” I could not have given more.
As the days went by I grew frustrated with my 5th place and had a few blah days. To keep it in perspective, it is NOT that 5th is not good. But, it is funny because even though I like to win – I really hate to “lose” more. And, my goal for EM was top 3 AG. And, I fell short of that goal. I can’t remember the last time that has happened. It has been years and years.
Jerome kept it real and was like, “really Jenny, Please. Get over it. It is ONE race.” And, I did. I rolled right into my favorite race of all time – Lake in the Hills Triathlon. It has 400 athletes and is run on the course I swim on, bike train on, it is awesome. I was super tired coming off Eagleman so I knew this was going to really hurt. But, it is a local race with a LOT of my friends, athletes and even neighbors there. I look forward to it every year. Lululemon even came out and had a full support /cheer section. It was awesome. I felt like ass most of the day but rallied and was the first woman across the finish line. It was like I won Kona. Seriously, everyone was so fired up and the crowds there are awesome. (After the race was over one girl (literally a 14 year old) ended up going faster (20 seconds) than me but she did not race in the Elite wave).
It has been a fun couple of months of racing. My goal is to keep healthy and race super hard and try to always be competitive. I do a lot of things right. In fact, I do most things right. And, let me tell you, it is never easy. It is not easy for anyone. Competition gets tougher and it is all the little things that REALLY matter as we try to compete at a high level.
After this cycle of racing, I had to decide what I wanted to do next. I am signed up for USAT AG Nationals and am excited to race there (talk about competition!) but I really LOVE the 70.3 distance (my fav) so I changed to race to Muncie 70.3 in July. I have always wanted to do Muncie – god knows why it is hotter than hell…but it is a midwest race and I am excited to race next month there.
Here are some pics from the last few races. They make me happy.
The last 2 are from Eagleman – Chris W, Amanda and I at awards and the last pic of the 40-44 AG Podium minus Ange. I like that podium pic because I worked my ass off to get my ass up there. Animals. And, I will always remember the PURE satisfaction of that moment. And, that is why I keep going back. A huge sense of accomplishment, even if you are a little short on your goals.
Like I always say, “Onward and Upward!”