Dextro Energy WCS – First Olympic Trials Race – London
- Aug, 06 2011
- London, England
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This past weekend was the London WCS race, but it was also the first US Olympic Trials race. This race was my focus for the year and I had a goal of making the Olympic Team. I did not reach my goal and was far off the pace I needed to qualify. It is tough as an athlete to mentally and physically prepare for a race throughout the year and not come close to your goals. Although it is a heartbreaking experience, my heart is not broken. Post race I was more mentally drained than physically drained. After contemplation and shedding some tears, I reminded myself that what I do is a sport and part of sport is overcoming the ups and downs. I am blessed to have the life I lead and remind myself of all the people in the world who suffer from lives unfortunate circumstances and need our prayers.
The race started at 8:36AM and with the early start time, I spend the previous ten days in Guildford adjusting to the time zone. I really enjoyed my time there, training at the Surrey Sports Complex and staying at the Holliday INN Guildford. I felt well adjusted to the time in a few days and was ready to start my taper!
Thursday before the race our team bused up into downtown London. While in London, I stayed at the Hilton Paddington Hotel (very nice!) and was just about a mile and a half from the transition. The course was a one loop swim, seven lap bike and four loop run. The water was 21.7 (non wetsuit swim) and air temp around 19 C. I started the swim feeling great and reached the first buoy even with Laura Bennett. Laura settled back and I began leading the swim for the duration of the 1500meters. I kept the pace not too high, as I did not want to exit the water spent. In my mind, I had a feeling I would need to save energy for a fast run.
I exited the water first and headed onto the bike. I had a descent transition and put all my equipment properly in my box (no penalties). I got into my shoes and once I did I pushed the bike pace the first half lap of the bike. I noticed the pack was very large, so I went to game plan B, sit in. I wanted to push the bike at the start and see if a pack of 10 or so could break, but the pack was large at 25. The remainder of the bike, I tried to stay up front, but avoided attacks and tried to conserve energy. At the end of the bike, the second pack of another 30 women caught us, but I think with most of the players in the front pack at the start, most of the women decided it would be a run race. With this race being a trials race, I expected this to happen. Lots of women are racing their own country members and are not willing to push the bike at the expense of exiting the bike at the risk of being more tired in comparison to the other competitors.
Towards the last lap of the bike, I got to the front and pushed into transition so that I would have a chance to exit off the bike in front. I ended up exiting around a second or so behind the leaders. Once my feet hit the ground, it was chaos. Sixty women running into transition together is crazy and I was trying to balance my feet and bike with other athletes running into me. I got my shoes on calmly and quickly and exited transition about five seconds behind the lead athlete. Unfortunately, I wanted to be closer to the front. Once exiting, it was a blistering pace. I tried to work my way to the front, but after 500meters realized the pace was so fast, I just focused on holding position. Over the course of the race, I saw the leaders pulling farther and farther ahead. I reminded myself to stay in the race, stay focused. My legs simply would only turn over so fast and only push me so far. I was hoping to feel a little more pep on the run, but my body did not have it on the day. It is amazing with the easier bike, cooler conditions, and huge pack how fast the women are running!
Thoughts flood through my mind: Did I travel at the wrong time? Did I taper too long? Did I push too hard before I left for London? Should I have raced my normal race and pushed the bike regardless? Do I run equally as fast off a more challenging bike? Am I training properly for the run? These questions are all valid to analyze, but at the end of the day I have take the race for what it was and move forward. Sometimes our body just does not respond to how we wish. I know that I at the current moment I do not have a 33:45 minute 10k run in my legs, but I do have other strengths viable in a triathlon. Did I use my other strengths in this particular triathlon? No, I did not; however, I chose to play the game that I did. In the future maybe I need to think about utilizing my strengths in all my triathlon races (pushing the swim/pushing the bike).
I am happy that a couple of the US women had amazing 10k runs! Sarah Groff and Gwen Jorgensen had brilliant performances with a 7th and 2nd place finishes. With one Olympic spot left, I would love to earn a spot on the team. I have an opportunity next May and I will give it all I have.
The rest of the season, I am going to focus on a number of non drafting races. I am looking forward to getting back into the grove of training, enjoying the last couple months of summer (missed it while in Europe!), and have fun racing.
Thank you for all the support, during the ups, but especially during the downs.