Since I was the age of 6 I been pretty competitive in sports. I played tennis, volleyball, basketball, soccer, golf, and even got into figure skating before I found my niche in swimming.
I swam 5-6 days a week from the age of 10-18. Through the ages of 18-22, I swam collegiately. We swam doubles most mornings; Saturdays consisted of a minimum of a 4 hours practice and I ran on Sundays to give myself an edge on my competitors. My college friends partied late on the weekends while I went out early to ensure I would still be in bed before 1am so I could train in the morning.
Most people stop after college, not me. Immediately after Nationals my senior year I took up running and within 2 months, I earned a full ride to graduate school in Cross Country and Track. On top of running, I swam and began learning the basics of road biking.
I represented my team at DII NCAA Nationals in XC and Track. Months upon my second graduation I earned my elite license in triathlon and moved to Arkansas to train full time.
I remember sitting in one of my classes’ days before graduation and my professor going around the room asking what each of us were going to do?
“I am going to go “Pro” in triathlon and race on the ITU circuit.” I remember saying back.
Can you imagine the look I got after having just graduated such a tough accelerated masters program?
… And to make the matters worse… I missed my post grad graduation ceremony for a race.
I think it’s safe to say I was not always the favorite student. But why does this all matter now?
Before leaving for Tongyeong, I was fit. My training in the pool, on the bike, and on the track had been on point.
But one thing hadn’t… my coaches, husband, and family had seen my mental game become worn. Could I go out and run a sub 17 minute 5k, yes. What about swim sub 2:00 in the 200 freestyle, yes. But what?
I ended last year racing in Argentina in late November, we started back early Feb in Cape Town, South Africa. Today toeing the line in Tongyeong I knew I was just as fit as any of the other athletes.
Was I capable of a top5? Absolutely. So what happened?
The gun went off, 48 women dove in and I fought hard the first 300 meters to gain good position heading into the first buoy. Unfortunately the side I lined up on just didn’t get out as quick as the other side so I never felt “safe” and the fighting pretty much continued the entire swim. In ITU racing its not just about how fast you can swim, its about how hard you can fight.
I exited around 12th, not where I wanted but still in the game. A poor mount and flat legs left me in “no mans land” on the bike. As 18 girls quickly formed a pack in front of me, I just couldn’t quite latch on. After a few minutes I was picked up by the chase pack. The pack lost ground every lap. We headed into T2 1:50 seconds down from the front pack.
At that point, my day was over… I knew no matter how hard I ran making up that kind of time on a 5k would be nearly impossible.
I finished in a very disappointing 22nd place. When you’re a female on the strongest triathlon team in the world, 22nd just doesn’t cut it.
I love triathlon. I love training. I love traveling and South Korea is one of the most beautiful places I have been. But, this offseason I have a different goal than most. My goal is to find my passion for racing again.
Am I giving up? Absolutely not. I love the sport too much for that. I just need to hit reset on my body and mind for next season. My sponsors, my coaches, and my teammates deserve for me to do better.
Last November, I was stoked to have broken into the top50 on the ITU Points List for the first time in my career. While 22nd wasn’t the way I wanted to finish off my season this year, I have climbed the latter another 10+ places in 2017, currently number 36th in the world (although with a few more late season races that may change a bit) but that is something that I am very proud of and something that wouldn’t be possible without all of you.
Thank you for your continued support this year. Looking forward to some down time and then to find that fire in my eyes again.