2018 has been one of those seasons where you have to take a step back in order to take two steps forward. It has not gone off exactly as planned, but sometimes if you go with the flow, things still work out.
Originally, my plan was to go to Kona for the third time. I was signed up for Ironman Texas, where I qualified the last two years, but the third time was not the charm. I had an awesome swim, and finally smashed the hour barrier (57:22!) However, my excitement was short-lived, because I then proceeded to smash my toe (crashed into the guy in front of me in transition when he stopped to get his bag). My toe was sticking out sideways, and I was pretty sure it was broken, but sometimes it takes a while to wrap your head around these things. I think the back of my mind knew my race was over, but the front of my mind was not ready to accept that. I decided the thing to do was to get on my bike, and I would have 112 miles to think about whether I could run or not. I ended up dropping out at the medical tent at mile 40, and went to the hospital to get X-rays, instead of the finish line.
Not to sound cliche, but sometimes when one door closes, another one opens. My initial urge was to sign up for another Ironman right away, but I realized that cranking my mileage back up too soon after an injury was a bad idea, and I decided to focus on shorter races for the season. For several years, I had dreamed about the idea of trying to earn my pro card someday, and at 33, "someday" had better mean "now". I signed up for the Philadelphia Escape Triathlon, since a top-3 finish (overall, among amateurs) would qualify me to get my elite license.
Philly was eight weeks after I had broken my toe, and my plan, essentially, was to hammer the swim, hammer the bike, and survive the run. I was thrilled to finish first in my age group, and 2nd amateur overall! The other milestone was that this was the first race where I flew with my bike and reassembled it all by myself. No matter how many triathlons I do, there are some things that still scare me, and disassembling my bike before a race is one of them! Fortunately, my sponsor and bike coach at n+1 cyclery, Cisco, was very patient, and spent several hours helping me practice taking my bike apart and putting it back together, so that I would be able to do it on my own in Philadelphia.
Still, it is nice to do local races once in a while, where you don't need to deal with plane tickets and bike disassembly. Both the Boston Tri and the Whaling City Tri fit into this category.
For the Boston Triathlon, it turned out that we did not need a wetsuit, cap, or goggles either, because the swim was cancelled due to rain and possible lightning. It became the Boston Duathlon, starting with a beach run. Made sense, since we were all gathered on the beach, but running through deep sand is hard! The bike was four loops, so a little crowded towards the end, but lots of chances for friends and family to see the race! I felt good on the bike and run. It's a pancake flat course, and can produce some really fast times. I was focused on the people in front of me, rather than on the clock, so I didn't realize until I saw the results that my run split was... 40:01. Really?! I did have a crazy sprint finish, though, duking it out with one of the guys!
I ended up being the 4th place female. One spot off the podium, but it was a competitive field, and overall I was really pleased with it. Anyway, last year I was 8th, so 4th is twice as good, right?
Once I was finished, I got to see my mom do her first triathlon. They didn't start the sprint until after the Olympic race was done, which was cool, because it meant we both got to watch each other's races! She won her age group, in her very first tri! She's also better at smiling for the camera than I am:
The following weekend I did the Whaling City Tri in New Bedford. It was a just for fun race - one of the things I've been working on since my DNF in Texas is putting less pressure on myself before races. No matter how prepared you are, you can't count on having a result to celebrate afterwards, so it's important to enjoy the time leading up to it. Anyway, as it turned out, I had a few things to celebrate at Whaling City:
1) Sunny day, starting with a swim
2) 1st female overall
3) Broke an hour: 59:57 (and yes I was paying attention to my watch, after my 40:01 run split last weekend)
4) Made a new friend: Emily Tato, 2nd place finisher - we realized we live close to each other, and are going to do some bike rides together:
Hanging out with Emily after the race. Notice the family of raccoons in the background - I'm glad they waited until *after* the race to wonder out onto the road!
I don't have any races lined up for August, but September & October are going to be busy, so I need to get a solid training block in. Augusta 70.3, Waco 70.3, and Beantown Marathon. Not sure if it's the greatest idea to run a marathon two weeks before a 70.3, but I guess I'll find out. I haven't run the Boston Marathon in several years, but my mom qualified a few months ago - go Mom! I've always said that if she ever qualified, I would run it with her - so now I need to run a qualifying race, too. In the meantime, time to log some miles!