Leading up the race I was calm, nervous, confident, and ready. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be, and this was only possible because of the loved ones I had surrounding me. My mom, dad, sister, boyfriend Patrick Lemieux, and coach Cindi Bannink were there before the race. Pat and Cindi were there for the week leading up to the race. It was a huge blessing to have them in London before my race. They kept me calm throughout the excitement of the Olympics. During the race I had tons of friends who joined: Maggie Lach, Kate Fahje, Hannah McDougal, Sara McKinley, Sarah Hurely, Sarah Burd, Kelly Fillnow, Dave Anderson, and more!
USAT also made sure we had everything we needed: Dr. Alex Keith chiro, Kim Kirkland massage therapist, Joe Santos bike mechanic, Jono Hall team leader, and Andy Schmitz high performance director. These are the people who make it possible for us to succeed. They keep our bodies ready and minds at ease. Andy Schmitz organized the trip; he had everything we could ever need in his back pocket – I’m still trying to figure out how he does it! I’d request an open water swim, and the next day we drove to a lake in Guildford that had buoys and multiple people swimming on the man-made open water course; I’d request almond or peanut butter which I couldn’t find in the stores, and it’d magically appear the next day; I’d ask for directions and would instantly be given turn by turn instructions with landmarks I’d know…Andy knows all!
Race morning was like any other race day. I woke up and went through my routine of eating, putting on my numbers, and warming up. We were called out to the pontoon and everything was like a normal WTS event (except for the crowd which was something I’ve never experienced before! It was amazing!)
The gun went off and I swam as fast as I could. I wasn’t happy with my position and got caught around the buoys, but was able to move up on the straights. Coming out of the water, I was in shock when I saw who I was coming out of the water with. I knew I was going to have to go for it on my bike.
I got on my bike and started hammering. Less than two laps later, I knew something was wrong and had to stop at the pit to fix a mechanical issue. At the time, I was in a strong chase group and we were closing the gap.
I had never had a mechanical problem before and was shaky and nervous. I got to the pit and was a bit frantic. The volunteers just kind of looked at me and I had to think quickly. I grabbed what I needed, made sure my bike was working and after what seemed like minutes, I was on my way, back on the course.
I saw a small group in front of me and hammered to latch on. A half of a lap later, I had bridged up and started trying to close the gap on the leaders. The rest of the bike I tried my best, and did what I could given the situation. I started the run and was determined to run hard. Although I didn’t have my best run, I am satisfied with my effort.
I’ve received emails, tweets, posts, calls…and everyone was either congratulating me or motivating me to continue by saying I had a tough break.
To be honest, I didn’t have my best day, and the flat was unfortunate. But it’s part of racing. I was determined to race hard to the end. Being in the Olympics is an honor and something I will never forget.
London 2012 was about “inspiring a generation.” I finished my race and realized I inspired myself. I inspired myself to come up with a four-year plan for Rio. A lot can happen in four years, and I know my plan will change, but for the next four years, I’ll have one main, long-term goal: qualify for Rio.
I’m fortunate to have sponsors, friends, family, and fans supporting my journey. It’s often hard in non-Olympic years, but I’m lucky because I have support. There is no way I can achieve my goals without the support of others. I am thankful for not only the support, but also the experience of representing the USA as an Olympian. And I am looking forward to the next four years.