Thursday, June 7, 2012

Quassy...A Roller Coaster ride of emotions...Ups and downs!

This would be my third year racing at the fun Middlebury CT venue. I arrived at my home stay, the wonderful Carbone family on Friday afternoon!
  The thing about Rev 3 races, they have such a relaxed atmosphere. Being an East Coast race and living in NJ and being on the Rev 3 team,  all plays a part in me feeling like I have arrived for a big  reunion, a weekend of hanging with great friends.
Saturday was the most relaxing pre race day ever. With some lousy rain that kept on all day, I was glad to just hang back at the Carbone house. They took me to the best diner for a QT2 traditional prerace Carbo load breakfast. I was glad David participated in my eating frenzy and his wife Jill modestly ate her short stack of pancakes.  After came the post carbo load nap.  Later I headed down to the Expo and pro meeting. The Rev 3 Expo's always makes me smile. Unlike the feeling you get at other races when everyone is too stressed and focused to look at you. The muddy expo was full of music, laughs, catching up with friends, chatting to sponsors/vendors. The kids race was about to begin and their was excitement in the air all beating to the pulse of roller coasters rumbling by.

As you can tell by this photo I was way to relaxed.

Race morning arrived. I was not nervous at all. The field was top notch! With the $125 000 dollar prize purse the best of the best had arrived and I felt like I might as well have been at the World Champs in Vegas.  The only problem I was showing up not in world champ racing shape. I was excited to race as I love the bike course but my prerace anxiety level was low and there were no nerves.  I think my only concern was that I might freeze on the bike.  (I really think I need to toughen up!)
All cameras were focused on a handful of girls so I just stayed calm and enjoyed the whole racing process. I was feeling pretty good and I headed down to the water bracing myself for a cool non wetsuit swim.  The warmup swim was freezing as the sun was not strong and I was happy to have brought down a jacket to wait in post swim.
Standing on the start line I was very relaxed. Too relaxed! I looked at the great field of pro girls around me and was happy to be there but in my heart I knew I was not ready to compete. With the 3 week taper that came with IMSA and the 10days I took off after the race and pretty much only 2 1/2 weeks of solid training under my belt I was feeling hopeful but not confident. It's impossible to come into a race like this with a stellar field with the kind of low key zone 1 training I did, and have any expectations other than to race,  try execute a plan based on my current fitness and try not beat myself up too much mentally after it.
Well I did just that.
When the gun went off I swam hard! My sprint speed is definitely improving and I hung witht he group for maybe 300 yards. But as I had started on the very right of the group I was being pushed out of staying on any ones feet. The feet I did land up on unfortunately lost the feet that were in front of hers so we spent the next 25 minutes trying to catch up to the group that I should have been swimming with.
The swim seemed long, but I felt good the whole way through. Once on land I ran up to T1 where I made the wimpy decision that I did not want to freeze. So I took the extra time...a whole minute of it and put on socks, arm warmers and gloves. Yes it was over kill and yes after about 10 miles I was comfortably warm! But it was so nice not to freeze uncontrollably for those first 10 miles!

I went out hard and tried to stay with the two girls that passed me.  I was working hard on the hills. But my heart rate/watts were on the high side so I pulled back knowing there were lots of hills up ahead. There is 4000 feet of climbing on this course so I paced myself and rode steady hard. But once again I found I was riding solo so it was just me and my garmin. When you ride solo like that it becomes almost like a training ride. It becomes a mental game of staying focused and in the race. I kept pushing, passing 2 girls near the end. I finished feeling strong and even though I was far back from the lead girls I was still having fun. I saw Heather W outfront and Angela Naeth and Rinnie , then Heather Jackson  and Kelly Williamson charging!
I saw my team mates Malaika and Jess Meyers. Then it was my turn to get running.

I loved the crowd going in and out of T2. I pushed hard and then suddenly I found myself in unfamiliar territory. I could not catch my breath. I was running down hill and I was  having to slow my pace down.  This shortness of breath which hopefully was related to all the pollen in the air lasted for almost half the run. I managed to pick things up after about six miles and I pushed  all the way to the end.  I could see the girls up ahead but just ran out of real estate to catch anyone.

Once I finished I then realized how closed my chest still was and ended up going to medical
I don't like to show up to races unprepared, but unfortunately that is just the way it landed up!

After a disappointing IMSA I think I have been in a post IM depression!  It's tough mentally when you train hard and things don't go your way...This whole season has been a roller coaster. With mechanicals in Panama, followed by an awful Rev 3 Costa Rica. I saw some light with a solid performance in Texas 70.3 but followed that up with a heart breaking South Africa and then an average Quassy! But I am determined that I  can come back strong and race to my potential and I will refocus and get stronger again!
I'm a fighter and these let downs only make me want it more! So until the next race I will be training hard!

Am I glad I raced given the result I had! Definitely! These races that I race where I know I am at an end of a build or I am not fit  for are just stepping stones to make me stronger.

At the end of the day I'm racing healthy and I get to go  home to a great family who loves me no matter what! And friends that are always by my side supporting me and believing in me and that's all that matters!

Thank you so much to the Carbone family for hosting me. Also to Rev 3 for a successful and fun race. Thanks to QT2 Systems and Coach Jesse who had to deal with me post race and to PowerBar for fueling me, Pearl Izumi for their awesome gear and Blue Seventy for the most comfortable wetsuit ever! Not forgetting TorHans Aero Systems, Recovery Pump and Brielle Cyclery!