I think for once, I’m not sitting on a plane as I write this blog….instead I’m sitting at my desk procrastinating finishing unpacking one bag only to pack it right back up again. Time flies when you’re flying, right??? But first, let me rewind.
Push Across Cayman: At the end of February I had to opportunity to head back down to the Cayman Islands with Stay Focused. Stay Focused is the organization I had been down to Cayman the last few years with to scuba dive and this past summer, I was able to go down for their mentor training trip. However, this time- we were heading down to Cayman for one of their big events of the year, Push Across Cayman. Push Across Cayman is a 55 mile run (in our racing chairs) across the BEAUTIFUL Cayman Islands. We headed down to Cayman a week before the event to spend the week talking to the schools around the Cayman area about adaptive athletics. It was pretty neat to see so much enthusiasm came from the kids when we talked about our sports and the event. The actual day of the event couldn’t have gone better, and again Coach Mark prepared me so well for this event. My body felt great the entire time. We spent the month leading up to the Push Across Cayman logging many miles on the racing chair, avg. 50-65 per week. It was so much having both Arielle and Ryan out there pushing as well! I never thought I would say that my legs have been sore in a race, but I proved myself wrong. After sitting on my legs for almost 5 hours, I was a happy camper to jump out of the racing chair at the finish line. When we came across the finish line, along with the cyclist who rode the entire 55 miles with us, we were greeted by so many people from all around Cayman. This was a true testament to why the Cayman area is so special, they continue to welcome us back with open arms year after year.
I’ll be honest, when I got back to Arizona following my trip back to Cayman, I had a hard time getting back to the reality of school. I had two weeks that stood between me and spring break…those would soon become the longest two weeks of my life (maybe I’m exaggerating a little??). I knew I didn’t have much time to get my act together though because I would be leaving for Continental Championships in Florida before I knew it.
Continental Championships: After surviving those two weeks with school and some more training, I packed my bags ( & bikes, & wheels, & racing chair) and headed down to the sunshine state to meet some teammates before Continental Championships. This race was BIG for a lot of my teammates, this would be the last race they could try to get their provisional spots for the Rio Games. I was super excited to not only race but to be there and watch some of them chase down a dream thats been 4+ years in the making.
My classification, PT-1 women, had two new girls from different countries that neither Kendall (USA) nor I had ever raced. It’s always exciting to see our numbers grow, especially for a classification thats not even Rio bound. The numbers are growing and so is the competition…our classification might be one of the smaller ones for now but our finishes are getting more and more exciting as the numbers grow.
THE RACE: The venue was Nathan Benderson Park (Sarasota, FL) – let me tell you, this was an amazing triathlon venue. It is known for its rowing facilities but it was also an ideal match to host this triathlon event. My pre-race routine went pretty normal: make sure we were there before equipment check in even opened, set up transition, triple check equipment, swim warm up, and then wait….. the PT-1 classification is the last wave to go off during ITU races so we usually have a solid hour between when warm up closes and the start of our race.
Swim: I had a great swim, this swim was one of the first swims I was able to find a group to draft with and woahh does it make a little bit of a difference. A good difference. I was out of the water 2nd, I knew I would be chasing Kendall and that the other girls from Brazil and Columbia would be right behind me. Bike: This course was flat, fast, but windy. I knew I had no time to redline when I had a tailwind. I kept a higher cadence during the headwind to ensure I gave everything in the tank approaching the tailwinds. I knew my bike skills would come to an advantage on a course and on a day like this. I rode hard and came into T2 still holding that 2nd place. Run: I felt good and fast, I knew it would be a head down and GO run as we ran into the headwind and that is exactly what I did. I ran across that finish line as number 2 and I could not be happier with how the day went.
I think I now appreciate short course a little more after racing long course for most of last season. A 9+ hour race compared to 1.5 hours, I knew my body had absolutely no excuse to not be pushing as hard as it possibly could for that short amount of time. I think the hardest part about coming off a long course season last year is finding that run speed right away. In this short of a race, you have no time to mess around with pacing because by the time you realize it- the run is already over. We have been working hard on run speed off the bike and it was definitely nice to see it start to come together again during this race. I love racing this early in the season because after months of off season work, I finally have to opportunity to execute it and see what needs a little more focus leading into the next race.
Speaking of next??? After spending a few extra days in Sarasota I headed back to Chicago for the rest of my spring break + St. Patricks Day.
I had the opportunity to speak to my cousin Molly’s classroom, saw some family and friends, and just enjoyed being home. Next thing I knew, I was on a plane back to Tucson…but not for long.
I spent a majority of this weekend getting WAY ahead in school because I’m flying back to Chicago towards the end of this week for the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k. I love this race, mostly because it combines my three favorite things: Chicago, running, and my love for St. Patricks Day.
It’s almost April, which means I have just a little over a month left of school. YIKES! As always, my schedule picks up right around this time because of school ending an my race season being in full swing. After I finish my finals, I fly back to Chicago for a few days before then flying to Japan to race in ITU Yokohama. I’m super excited to be heading back to Japan again, this was one of my first international races back in 2014. I’ll be flying right from Japan to another super exciting opportunity…. more on that in the next few weeks.
So for now, I’m trying to wrap up school, get some solid training in, and enjoying the last few weeks in the Arizona with my friends before I head back to Chicago for another fun summer.
Until next time,
“the starting point of all achievement is desire”