Monday, September 9, 2013

World Champs...

70.3 World Champs in Vegas was by far one of the most thrilling races of my entire career.  Part of me felt so overwhelmed being on the start line, looking to the left and right were women from the Olympics & the best distance women in our sport, that must be what makes it a Championship race, no slow pokes arrived in Vegas.  AS you know I was ranked pretty much last, but thrilled to know a couple hundred women in the world would have loved to be in my position, last is better than not being in the race, right?! Anyways, I was still a little overwhelmed, even filled my goggles with tears at the swim start.  It was an honor, humbling, and very exciting to hear the cannon go off...

The swim was really good for me.  Second pack, not too far from the front.  I can honestly say if you have yet to race a championship race (as it was my first 70.3 Champs), it is very different.  Its as if the women just want to get from point A to point B as quick as possible and not mess around with the goggle snatching, feet grabbing, position defending that happens in many other pro races.  It was almost classy if that's possible.  That said, I was happy with my swim and thankful to have a giant pack to swim with, not fight with...

Of course, I battled with the speed suit running into T1 and tore it right off my back, unable to get if off any other way than ripping it off.  A note to self:  Bikinis should be used more for surfing and less for "training days at the office", as this season has taught me I need more practice with the wetsuit & speed suits & less with Hawaii beach attire.

Onto the bike.  At first I felt like a rock star, in fact I started to make bets on myself that I would surprise myself this race, it was Vegas after all.  Halfway through I lost all the girls I had in view and landed lonely in the desert of Vegas.  I'll be honest, it was far from being one of the beautiful race courses I've been fortunate to see this season, it was boring, lonely, and not that gorgeous.  That is perhaps what makes it a very challenging course, you have to keep your head in the game and focused 100% of the time, or you look up and everyone is gone.  Everyone was gone.  Toward the end I caught up to one of the first pack swimmer girls and thankfully had someone to pass and get passed by then repass, repeat till T2. Not one to make excuses for myself, but truly I could tell I did not have the homework done for this bike race, no speed work, just plenty of Iron distance miles.  Of course I knew this coming into the race and knew it would mean I'd just have to be really tuff out there and find a way to push through the lackluster pace that my legs would most likely rely on.  Kind of bummed but what can a girl expect when she signs up to a Championship race just 2 weeks before?  What you train for you get out on race day...honestly.

Off the bike and onto the run, instantly awesome crowd support! It was a massively lined street of people all jumping into the road to move us along as we run up and down these Vegas hills. My legs, heart, and every part of me from head to toe felt amazing out there.  It was perhaps a very welcome feeling to know that all season long I've been trying to improve that run of mine and possibly found ways to gut out faster miles than "just finishing".  That said, it was a similar story to the bike, I lacked any speed work in my run, but I had plenty of miles from the 3 Ironman Marathons I've done in the past 5 or 6 months.  Top secretly, a sub 1:30 was my goal on that course, my legs landed a 1:33.00 and I was proud of them for even managing that off that poor bike ride.  However the best part was using lessons that I learned the hard way during my previous 7 races of the season.  One of them was not giving up, ever.  The woman that finished just in front of me was 1:45 ahead, then 1:30 ahead, then 1 minute ahead, at the last mile she was 38 seconds ahead, slowly reeling her in. I seriously ran as hard as I could the last mile hoping to catch her, she made it to the finish 12 seconds in front of me.  I think that was my most proud moment of the day, never giving up even when it looks over.  Yeah, I didn't catch her, but I learned to work really hard even when it might not make a difference in the outcome...

This was a very good day in my life, one I will never forget.  It won't be remembered for a big paycheck or a top 10, but more as the day I crossed a finish line of a "big deal" race and felt like I belonged.   I am home and really happy about the experience, it feels so good to come home happy from a race and not in tears (like after Ironman Mont Tremblant 3 weeks ago).  But of course those hard days of racing are never too far behind.

As with all big races, one of the best parts is catching up with friends from all over the world  And while I already know this dream job won't last forever, it really is a special thing to share such a cool opportunity with people that have inspired me to always live life bravely on the edge of my seat.  With that, ZOOT SPORTS, Splish, Bike Works, Breakthrough Nutrition, Swift Carbon Bikes, Odin Wilmont "Chiro", Junko Sheilds massage, Kona Aquatics, and Rolf Prima Wheels, you made this entire season possible for me and I am SO THANKFUL for you each day that I get to wake up and swim, bike, and run towards my dreams.

I also have another "mahalo" to James Cotter.  He was the first person I ever met that did triathlon, watched him win the local Lavaman back in 2003 and have looked up to him as the first pro from Big Island ever since. Anyways, after Ironman Mont Tremblant I was smashed and done for the season. But of course I got into Vegas & changed my mind. I didn't know who to ask for help, how to take my body that wanted only to hibernate and could barely walk to my mailbox and make it get up and go in just 2 weeks, much less for a championship race. He helped me first believe it was even possible to have a decent race after being tapped out, then got me to the start in one piece, for that I am so very thankful, thankful he helped me land amongst the top 20 in the world yesterday and actually enjoy 70.3 miles at the end of a very long season...

Now I am home and the run shoes will be exchanged for work shoes to wear into the classroom tomorrow where I will get to sub 1st grade, you know, make money to pay some bills. This season has taught me just how rewarding it can be to run after all you want in life, but it also means you might be seriously broke, and so I also thank my family and friends that run with me and keep me humble & grounded while the pro-triathlete life can sometimes carry me all over the world with my head in the clouds.

To the McCary Family, thank you so much for letting my stinky shoes stay at your Vegas home too!  It was the perfect spot to rest away from the casinos and desert.  Wendy, thank you too, for driving Miss Lazy (that would be me resting my legs) and making me endure that Michigan game.  You guys were perfect company...

As for the "Vegas Experience", it was my very first trip to Vegas and all I can say is that it totally overwhelmed & entertained me!  I was so lost, so out of place, and felt like a naughty kid seeing and hearing things that my parents would wash my mouth out with soap if they knew!  The night should have been caught on tape as it would have made a great comedy!  I wanted to be one of the dancing girls in crazy outfits and will keep some secrets, but I did indeed try on something a little outrageous and top secretly wish I owned it! As for gambling, I found absolutely no enjoyment what so ever putting money in a machine and getting nothing from it. In fact, I played only $7 bucks and was so angry that not even a sand which came out of it like a vending machine would have done. To top the night off, we rode the big roller coaster at New York, New York and I nearly puked up all my gels from the race, it was so much fun you must try it if you have yet to ride it!

I have one more thing to say, being a professional athlete is indeed incredible, but for me, family will always be the most incredible part of my life.  It has been such a great season, one that would never have been possible without Mike.  At the start of the year when I told him my dream to qualify for Ironman Hawaii, even with my broken foot, he stood next to me, helped pave the way many times when I had no way, picked me up every fall, and even believed when I let go of hope.  Now my season of chasing points around the world for 2013 has come to an end and every single finish line, all year long, all added up, could never make me as happy as it feels to have somebody believe in me like he has.  Thank you so much to my best friend, and I know you don't read these reports so I'll call you after work and tell you in person.

As for 2014, well, you know me, I'm not one for giving up.  Yesterday was the start of collecting points for Ironman Hawaii 2014, so I'll do that.  The details, like race plan of action, sponsorship, coaching, funding, and side jobs have yet to be figured out. As for this week, I just want to be home and enjoy this moment...

Thanks for reading :)


Blogger Harry said...

Keep Going with your shine smile face!!

September 9, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Blogger Jennifer Harrison said...

Great post, Bree.
Way to be.
Enjoy some R&R! AND your family!

September 9, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Blogger teamjon said...

Probably the best blog/ report I have ever read. So diverse and from a big heart

September 9, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Blogger teamjon said...

Probably the best blog/ report I have ever read. So diverse and from a big heart

September 9, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Blogger ltlindian said...

Great job and way to put it all out there! I look forward to watching you again next year. :)

September 9, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Blogger Jocelyn Wong said...

yay Bree! never give up! XOXO

September 9, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Blogger JC said...

Great post. You truly are a beautiful person inside and out :)

September 9, 2013 at 7:03 PM

Blogger Ordinarylife said...

Bree, as always I love reading your blog. The kids in your classroom must be very fortunate. I am sure you as inspiring a teacher as you are athlete.

September 9, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Blogger Lucy Francis said...

Bree this race put confidence points in your 2014 plan. Honestly lots of race venues aren't pretty, they're there to test us mentally. I'm not a gambler either so I wouldn't put any $ in those machines either but Vegas sounds amazing with all the lights, showgirls, etc. I must go one day

September 9, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Blogger Kailin Acheson said...

Way to go! I love what you said about the pro ladies during the swim. I raced a few championship races this year, and what makes y'all (pros) stand out is that you are focused on getting the job done. We (age groupers) notice, and we're in awe of your dedication!

September 10, 2013 at 4:11 AM

Blogger Patricia said...

Me encanta tu blog. Sigue creyendo y siguiendo tus sueños. El 2014 está a la vuelta de la esquina. Gracias por compartir tus experiencias y metas.

September 11, 2013 at 2:54 AM

Blogger Kathy said...

estoy de acuerdo con patricia. my kids call vegas "crazy town" and the only time we've been there we got out as soon as we got in. :) glad you had a great race and looking forward to watching you next season. maybe to see you in November? :)

ENJOY y felicidades!

September 11, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Blogger run4daysbill said...

Please keep writing. The world needs your thoughts. :-)

September 11, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Blogger Katy Rounsaville said...

Bree, you are such an inspiration!! I love reading about your adventures, thank you for sharing all you do. Cheering for you always!

September 11, 2013 at 7:26 PM

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