Friday, July 26, 2013

Over the Hump- Lake Stevens 70.3

This aptly-titled post is sort of a follow-up to last week's diatribe of the Burnout Monster. I had many concerned friends approach me after posting last week, especially so close to a big race. To be frank, I was a bit concerned about "outing" myself in such a blatant manner. Am I making myself vulnerable to my competitors on Sunday? Is this unprofessional of me? Could this be a self-fulfilling prophecy? My friend and Lake Stevens competitor (who took 3rd in a stellar performance!) Kate Bevilaqua  found me at the pre-race briefing, gave me a hug and said, "I read your blog, are you OK??" And so it starts...addressing the storm of concern and buzz I created by admitting that The Blerch had followed me all the way up to Washington state.

Matthew Inman is the genius behind creating the Blerch- check out his work at www.theoatmeal.com 
The funny thing is, self-disclosure can be a cathartic thing. I told Kate that as soon as I had admitted and embraced the fact that burnout had found me, I felt a good deal of pressure lifted from my shoulders. Optimistic by nature, I feel that many of life's trials and speed bumps are manageable; one just needs to figure out a way over, around or through them. I decided to get over the hump of Lake Stevens, leave the Blerch in our sketchy neighborhood in Everett, WA where we stayed and get on with finding my race mojo again.

Tribute to MFMG since he couldn't be there with me. #sailboat
Lake Stevens was a late-add. Flanny and I sort of thought, "why not?" when I had expressed interest in racing. Travel isn't too taxing and I had always wanted to race the hilly course. Many of my local TriTown friends were racing, including my buddy Andrew Li. We were riding the coattails of all of the other athletes who had solidified plans, so we had to scramble to find a hotel room and travel arrangements. Turns out Andrew and I make excellent travel companions. With his mellow personality, generous nature, impeccable Ah-Nold impersonations and affinity for food, he made for perfect company for a road trip and a great race buddy.


Representing Blueseventy!
This boy loves his hotel waffles!
  Race preparations went smoothly and before I knew it I was bobbing in the warm water waiting for that gun to go off. With Meredith Kessler and Tennile Hoogland in the mix, I knew it would be blistering pace for the swim...and the Blerch got the best of me. I relaxed into my own pace, made friends with the wonderful bouy line along the course and cruised. It was less stressful than my last two race starts, at a cost of over a minute off the main pack. Damn Blerch.

Lake Stevens provides a picturesque but brutal bike course, with a mix of rolling hills, pitchy climbs and sharp turns. Friends who had done the race before told me the course would really suit me, as I usually thrive riding hills. Not so on Sunday. Flat legs. Flat affect. I almost wished for a flat tire. Stupid Blerch had followed me all around that topsy-turvy bike course, nagging the entire time about how much better I'd feel if I just threw in the towel.

One thing about the Blerch...doesn't seem like he can run. :-) Within a couple miles of the run my leg turnover picked up, as well as my spirits. Some encouraging words from Matt Lieto (who rocked it, placing 5th) and fellow Wattie Inker Guy Crawford (finishing a solid 7th place) helped my feet find their wings. Now, running a 1:29:46 may not seem like a big deal when compared with speedsters like Meredith or Kate, but cutting below that 1:30 mark is a major milestone for me and well worth celebrating!

Andrew getting re-bandaged by friends
Kirk and Rachel. Sad Panda
Handlebar hanging on by a few carbon threads.
The Boise TriTown crew also had an impressive showing, with 4 members winning their respective Age Groups and several others finishing strong as well. However, I was told at the finish that one of our TriTown guys was spotted being carted off the bike course in an ambulance...and it turned out to be my co-pilot, Andrew. Misty morning conditions made for poor visibility and he hit a rock about 5 miles into the bike...going approximately 30mph. By someone's grace he walked away with some significant patches of road rash, but all of his bones intact. 

While not pleased with my placing at Lake Stevens, I am happy with a swim PR and THRILLED with my run. Funny thing about starting at the bottom... you have nowhere to go but up! As always, I am incredibly grateful for all those who support my endeavors: Wattie Ink, Blueseventy, KSwiss, Speedfil, Powerbar, ISM and of course my friends, family and #1 Superfan Matt. I couldn't venture into this realm without you.

And with that, my first season racing with the pros is winding down...I think. On a whim, and at the behest of several friends I've signed up for my first off-road triathlon, XTERRA Les Bois. Gun goes off at 9:00am tomorrow morning. Ready for some DIRT!

Should make for an entertaining race report, too. ;-)

2 comments:

  1. Oh Erin... That damn Blerch. He comes a-calling on us all!! You did awesome and we are all super proud of you! Lucky you to get to travel with one of my favorite friends in the whole world!! Although The Blerch may have followed you he can't really get your spirits down too much. Your amazing personality will ALWAYS shine through the dark cloud of... The Blerch. :)

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  2. Sounds like the Blerch doesn't like knobby tires. Can't wait to hear the xterra details!

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