Have you ever had race travel plans and been so excited yet stressed about all the details? That was me two weeks leading up to IM 70.3 Lubbock. A week ago today, my family of four was in Lubbock, Texas where I raced to qualify for IM 70.3 Worlds. I was very excited but my nerves were a hot mess! I have never raced with my sights set on such a big goal. We also have not been on a family vacation since September 2021, because our previous vacation was for Mike to race in Kerrville and our youngest basically cried all night long two nights in a row. That about rough!
So why now and why Lubbock of all places? In October of 2021, Mike qualified for the 2022 IM 70.3 Worlds in St. George. I had no intentions at that time or even hopes of being fast enough to qualify with him. I was happy for Mike and was excited to go to Utah as his support crew. Fast forward to June of 2022, I told Mike I was interested in trying to qualify with him. He and I talked a lot about it and decided my fitness was not where it probably needed to be. Two weeks later, Mark Saroni (from Paragon Training) and Mike were talking about my crazy idea of attempting to qualify and the conversation boiled down to…what do I have to lose? Right around that time, I also was feeling that I would regret not trying to qualify. Two weeks before IM 70.3 Lubbock, I committed to racing with the biggest goal I have ever had — qualifying for IM 70.3 Worlds. I have never had such a high level of nerves leading up to a race for two weeks! Once I purchased my race entry it was like my anticipation of race day took over. My mindset shifted from moderate training to now going as deep as possible with a mission to qualify.
Not only did I have this lofty performance goal, traveling with two young kids felt daunting and stressful. The last time we went on a family trip to race, our youngest was nine months old and it did not go well. That was an experience I didn’t want to have again in Lubbock. I tried to do everything possible to make the trip as easy as it could be. I bought new books and toys for the car ride, let my youngest play in the pack n play (his bed for the trip) for a week to get used to a new bed and talked about the trip with my oldest to prepare him for our grand adventure. All week leading up to the race, I was packing the kids and my necessities, doing car maintenance, training, working and the night before we left I loaded up the car as much as I could.
Friday morning we loaded up my car to it’s max capacity and headed out for our grand adventure.
We arrived in Lubbock Friday evening and were preparing the kids for bed when we realized the house we rented had dirty sheets on both beds. After an 8 hour day of traveling, no one was thrilled but we washed the bedding and finally got the kids to bed around 11pm. Saturday, the kids did their first Ironman Kids race and seemed to enjoy themselves. Both boys loved exploring the track and new surroundings. Later that day, I checked in for my race, checked in my bike, hung out with our team mates (Paragon Team) and settled in for the night. Thankfully the kids had been doing much better than I anticipated when it came to sleeping in a new place.
At 4:00am, dark and early Sunday morning we roll out of bed. By 4:30am the kids were up and we were loaded in the car headed to the race start. Race morning my nerves were so high that I didn’t eat much. (Not a good start to the day). By 6:00am transition was set up and I was headed to the swim start. I started the swim excited and positive because I had some good swims at the lake but my swim was terrible race day. I don’t think I have ever swam that slow in a race. In the water, I couldn’t bring my heartrate down. I kept trying to calm down and mentally make each part better. Staying positive and continual progress was my new goal. Knowing friends and family were tracking me and that I had a lofty goal encouraged me to remain focused. Anticipated swim time was 40-45 minutes, but it ended up taking me 60 minutes. The swim has never been my strength and I am used to chasing people down, but I was disappointed in my swim. Once I was out of the water and on the bike, the chase was on. (Lesson learned – I need to do more high heart rate training in the water and work on lowering my heart rate while swimming. Positive thoughts – I have room for improvement and to get faster!)
Starting the bike, I was excited but knew I had quite a lot of work to do. The bike is usually my jam. I pass people and just keep chasing the next one while staying in my power range. Being super competitive, I thrive on passing people in a race. I love my bike and feel very comfortable on it so, I just got into aero and hung out there as much as possible. The wind was demoralizing on the way out, but I just kept thinking…hang on, stay in your power zone and stay fueled. The way back will be amazing; it was and I was flying over 20mph. My legs, arms and back were tired from fighting the wind so I wanted to ride fast but smart since I planned on emptying the tank on the run. I have learned over the years, ride smart and run hard. Transition off the bike was a bit slow, but again, room for improvement. On the run, I had planned on starting at an 8:30 for the first half and then doing negative splits to end up in the 7’s. About halfway into the run, I saw Mike and the kids! That made me so happy my pace dropped to a 7:50. Oops…Right about then, I ran past a newbie to the sport of triathlon. He started running my pace and introduced himself. We chatted a little but mostly kept each other going for the remainder of the race. While I didn’t end up doing negative splits like I hoped, I was able to stay pretty consistent and have the fastest 70.3 run in my career.
Overall, I am overjoyed I qualified to race with Mike in St. George! I set a PR in Lubbock completing the race in 6:04. My new goal is to complete the 70.3’s in under 6 hours in Kerrville and St. George. With lots of areas to improve and speed up, I am excited to see what the upcoming races hold and put in the hard work to achieve my next lofty goal.
A special THANK YOU to my husband Mike, kids, Paragon Training and all my friends and family who encouraged me to go for this dream!