IM 70.3 World Championship Race Recap

Beyond blessed is how I would describe the opportunity to race the IM 70.3 World Championship with Michael this year! I am thankful for family and friends because without them, my race would never have been possible. It takes a village anytime Michael and I race together and we are fully aware of all the work our support team does for us to be able to toe the line at the same race. Taking a road trip to St. George required even more from our family and friends! I am forever grateful for Michael and my boys, Dad & Mom, Ashton & Travis, Kay & Davy, Libby & Andy and my Paragon family!

My journey to St. George really began back in November of 2021, when Michael qualified for Worlds at IM 70.3 Waco. I remember him asking me, “Should I accept the spot if I get it?” My response was, “OF COURSE! We will figure out the details later, but YES absolutely!” We both realized that this was an amazing opportunity he may never have again. As the months went on, I started battling the thoughts of being in St. George and not racing. My body was still recovering from having Liam, but my mind was ecstatic about racing and digging deep again. It had been about 4 years since I really went into the hurt box and suffered because when I was pregnant and breastfeeding, being active was all about being a healthy mom and having healthy babies. Four years later, I was ready to re-open the box and jump in. This June, I brought up the idea of trying to qualify for IM 70.3 Worlds at IM 70.3 Lubbock. I had two weeks until the race and thought I was nowhere near the fitness level needed to qualify, but I would regret not trying. Michael and I decided to go for it in Lubbock rather than live with regret. My race in Lubbock was not ideal, but I was able to qualify and claim my spot to race IM 70.3 Worlds.  

Fast forward from June to October 2022, lots of planning and preparation went into the trip. We decided to drive all the way to St. George and turn it into an anniversary trip celebrating our 14th year of marriage!  We made the drive in two days and enjoyed spending lots of quality time in the car together. Once we got to St. George the race mentality was turned on. We spent time riding the bike course, swimming in the lake and mentally preparing for the cold. Friday, was my race day and the weather forecast was cold but sunny. Saturday, Michael was going to race with warmer weather but partially cloudy skies. We both were nervous about the weather but had to embrace the day.

RACE MORNING

SWIM: It was in the 30’s race morning and I was FROZEN at the start! My struggle with cold weather is that I normally get hot very fast when training and racing so I tend to take layers off quickly.  As I was waiting to get into the water, my feet started to go numb. I tried to move and keep blood circulating as best as possible. I started the swim and was able to immediately be in control, stay calm and drafted for the second half. I ended up swimming a PR! I decided to go with gloves and toe warmers only. Lesson #1 – Looking back, I would have put arm warmers on because it took me about 40 miles to warm up.

BIKE: This is the first 70.3 bike that has flown by. There were spectators everywhere and it was awesome! My bike performance was strong and within my power target. I was thankful for the race recon in the days leading up to the race because I was much more confident ascending and descending on race day. I quickly settled into a groove on the bike, took in nutrition and started passing other women. Even though I was passing other athletes, I have never raced with so many FAST women! Y’all, it was crazy! I was not expecting to be the fastest women but the level of the women I was racing with was impressive. Lesson #2 – I went into the race feeling like a strong cyclist, but this race showed me how much room I have to grow. For about 40 miles on the bike, I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes. Normally, I am spot on with my nutrition intake, but I struggled taking in fluid because I couldn’t feel my fingers and therefore couldn’t feel the bottle in my hands. Being behind in my nutrition was a bit scary, but I tried as best I could to adjust my intake and hydration plan in the moment. I reserved some energy on the bike anticipating the hilly run to come.

RUN: I PR’ed my half marathon time! The weather was in the 60’s and felt amazing. I am used to running in Texas heat, so the cool dry weather felt great. Off the bike I felt strong and averaged in the 7’s. The first two miles were uphill and defiantly took mental focus to keep pushing. It was a two loop course so I knew what was coming and the mental focus it would take the second time around. The spectators were amazing on the run course as well. I had dropped into the 8’s around half way. I tried to pick up the pace and with 5K to go, I jumped into the hurt box and embraced the pain. I tried to remind myself that I don’t have to feel good to run fast. I am excited to see how I continue to grow as an athlete and continue pushing my abilities.  Lesson #3 – I am capable of suffering more therefore I am capable of growing and getting faster.

Overall, this was a remarkable day, but to me, my race results were bitter sweet. I am proud that I qualified for Worlds. I am proud of staying committed, freezing in the morning, drafting in the swim, biking strong, and finishing the day with a run PR. The bitterness is due to having a goal of being top 50% in my age group but finishing top 57%. Realizing that I raced with some of the fastest people in the world is an accomplishment that I am proud of. This race has sparked more interest and dedication to seeing how much faster I can become while balancing being a wife, Mom, friend, business owner and athlete. Only time will tell how fast I can become, and I am excited to be living this journey. Thanks for taking time to read my recap. Hopefully this has motivated you to get out of your comfort zone and take on a new challenge.

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