Another plane, another blog.
As I head home from Monterrey and the race yesterday I couldn't be happier. A 2nd place finish and happy tears as I crossed that finish line yesterday. Happy tears because I had given it my all, happy tears because I was back out on the race course and happy tears because I had raced a good race and was on my way back home to marry Brian and to see Dallas. It was a good day indeed.
The race venue was beautiful. Our hotel was as close to the venue as it could get and it was in this park that was surrounded by mountains, clean and a flat, fast race course that ran through it.
Most of Team USA got there on Wed and I can't go any further before saying how much I love my teammates. Teammates that I've raced with since 2009 and many new, fresh and fast racers that make up our awesome group. It's always a fun time when we are together and this race was no exception. We had 10 Dare2tri elite team members at this race so a great showing of our #oneinspiresmany group!
We got to preview the course on Thursday and we all knew it would be a fast one. The swim was in this lazy river looking thing that had a few curves but was chlorinated and as close to a pool swim as you could get. The bike was 6 laps around the park in a windy 'S' pattern and completely flat and the run a similar path along the swim course. The female PT2's had seven in our class this race, which is a decent amount. There were 4 Americans; one included a newcomer and a teammate of ours that could add a new dynamic to our class as she is competitive and a great athlete. It was her (Alyssa), Hailey, Sarah R and myself. Then there were 2 athletes from South America and Kim from Canada who we have raced with many times. Remember that this race was only for Canada, US and South American athletes. As I went to bed on Thursday night I had 2 main goals. One was to podium and the other was to Run happy, something I don’t often do. And with the quad issues I had been having I knew that could be more of a challenge than usual. I got to room with my good friend Patty and we gave each other some good words of encouragement the night before the race and promised each other that we would just do our best and remember that when things got tough, that we deserved to be there.
The PT2’s went off at 9am. I had a decent swim and I always work to get out of the water as quick as possible to have the greatest possible lead on the field. The swim felt good, I got out, struggled a bit with my wetsuit but made my way to T1 and was out on the bike pretty quickly. Now, in the past I have had a mental block on the bike where I sit there and pedal, just waiting for someone in my class to pass because in my mind, it’s only a matter of time. I tell myself to go, go, go but usually it’s not until someone passes that a fire is lit and I start going as hard as I can. I talked about this to Coach Chris before the race and she said that every minute I needed to check in with myself to make sure I was giving it my all. So that I did. And I had the best bike ever. I felt so strong and refused to let myself worry about any pain in my leg and how it would affect my run. I went hard from the beginning and wouldn’t let myself give in. At the end of the 4th lap Hailey caught up and I told myself to just keep her in my sight and to keep and was thrilled when I got to T2 just behind Hailey and was in second place. Hailey beat me out of transition and was off. I know she is a fast runner and she was out of sight pretty quick. I wasn’t sure who was in 3rd but my new goal was to not let them catch me. I ran my race, my quad felt remarkably well and I even managed to blurt out a ‘Run Happy’ to Patty when I saw her. My pace was the best it’s been all year and as I got to the finish chute I was overwhelmed with happiness. A second place finish, my first race sub 1:30 (although the course was a little short) and I had truly met my goals and given it my all. Not to mention that this was the last triathlon before I would become a Mrs.
There were happy tears as I hugged Coach Stacee and I was thrilled. Alyssa came in not to far after me and to make the day even sweeter, it was a USA sweep. As we stood on that podium hearing the national anthem with 3 American flags raised high, I stood there with this smile, just thinking about how far I had come and was just really proud of myself. A year ago when I found out I was pregnant, my goal was to have Dallas and to be back on the race course. And there I was a new mom, putting in the training hours to be back out there, on the podium, wearing the USA uniform and just so very happy.
My next race is in 2 short weeks in Yokohama as part of our honeymoon. I earned a good amount of points yesterday at the race and if I do well enough in Japan I could be set up pretty well and move my way many places up in the world rankings. The goal for now is to have enough points to qualify for a race in Rio on Aug 1 that is a test event for the Paralympics next year. That will be a key race that could possibly determine if I make it to the Paralympics next year. And then in 6 days, I get to wear my wedding dress and marry my best friend. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my wedding week.
But now, I’m on the plane back to Chicago where my whole family will be meeting me at the airport and I can’t wait to squeeze them all. Being away certainly isn’t easy and I can’t wait to hug Brian and hold Dallas’ little head.
And the next time I write, I will be Mrs. Brian Tolsma and a married woman!