It was bitter sweet leaving for Yokohama after spending a precious ten days at home. I wasn’t looking forward to the long flight, nor leaving home and Pat, but I knew work needed to be done.
There was a small field at Yokohama, which may cause some to say it was an easier race; but, I think there was a reason it was a small field. What we do is hard, and it takes a lot out of your body to travel for 12 plus hours, leave family and homes and adjust to a new time zone in a foreign country. This is not to say we don’t enjoy it – I LOVE traveling the world, seeing new places, trying new foods, and learning about other cultures. Travel is one of my favorite opportunities we benefit from as ITU athletes.
Despite not wanting to leave home, I was excited for round three of the WTS. I was especially looking forward to seeing some of my training partners –Natalie Van Coevorden, Charolette McShane, and Ryan Bailie are some really amazing people.
This is a difficult race report to write. After watching the replay of the race, I realized what I thought happened in the race, is not actually what occurred.
If you asked me if I thought I would win the morning of Yokohama, I would shake my head. However, when I made my way down to the race venue at 6:15am I knew what I had to do. Bobby McGee once told me, “Do you know what the likelihood of you feeling great at the Olympics is?” I shrugged as I had never thought about it. “Zero percent,” he said. And he is right. The chance of feeling great on the one day you work towards for four years is pretty slim. I knew Yokohama was great practice for me to show up on a day I didn’t feel 100%.
Swim Thoughts: I dove in, put my head down and swam as fast as I could to the first buoy. I wasn’t getting beat up too much, and I tried to remain focused on the race; however, my mind wandered. I was thinking about the water temperature and how it was colder than the day before. I was thinking about my wetsuit, and about my swim stroke. Exiting on the first lap, I had to be extra careful, as the day before I clumsily hit my mouth on the pontoon which caused me to bleed. I got on the pontoon and remember feeling out of it and tipping over before composing myself and diving back into the water. On the second lap, I was a bit discouraged, as I was sure I missed the break. I thought I was in the last half of the field. But I focused on my race and the basics. I exited the water and ran towards transition, getting ready for the bike leg.
Swim Reality: I had a pretty good swim. I was in the front pack, and excited the water in about 5th place.
Bike Thoughts: I got on my bike and was a bit unmotivated. I remember thinking Pat wouldn’t be happy with my position on the bike.
Bike Reality: I never got shot off the back of the pack, I seemed pretty relaxed, and I was moving around in the pack; I even took a few pulls.
Run Thoughts: I exited T2 and the girls were off! I had no idea how they were running so fast. I was thinking, how did they get so far in front of me in so little time? I was freaking out.
Run Reality: I looked pretty relaxed and calm.
Overall: Winning the race was a huge surprise. It was a tough day for me, both physically and mentally. I finished the race and did not feel well. I wish I would have felt great, so I could celebrate the win a bit more – it’s not often that these opportunities come! It is so important to celebrate, and live in the moment.
I know this is getting long, but I have to tell you just three (of many) reasons I love competing against the women I race. They are not only amazing athletes, but also superb human beings:
1) Emma Moffat: Thank you for looking after me post-race. I wasn’t feeling well, and Emma helped me with media, nutrition, and comfort. I don’t know if she knows how much that meant to me.
2) Jodie Stimpson: An interviewer asked me, “How does it feel to be the series leader?” I was shocked. I had no idea I was now the series leader. I glanced at Jodie, and her smile and thumbs up melted my heart. (Special shout-out to Jodie as well on her first WTS podium! Many more to come, I’m sure.)
3) Charlotte McShane: In the middle of the run, I was parched and in need of water, but I wasn’t on the inside at the aid station. I saw Char grab water, and asked if I could have some. She quickly passed me her bottle. Girls do this every race, and I love how others help even when they are competing against another.
FINAL THANKS: (This is not even close to being comprehensive – It doesn’t even mention my parents, sister, agent Heather, etc.)
Jamie Turner: Thank you for taking me under your wing. Your dedication to this sport and your athletes is incredibly rare.
Andy Schmitz, Rob Urbach, and USAT: Thank you for all of your support. You make it possible for USA triathletes to perform at races. From giving time splits at races, to taking our towels at race start, to making sure we have clean clothes…you do it all!
Patrick Lemieux: Thanks for comforting me and letting me know when it’s okay to be selfish, and when it’s not. Thank you for also making sure I always have everything I need. (Oh, and just because I won one of these without you physically at the race doesn’t mean you can skip the next five races in the series)