5th over all woman for
the parathletes (any disability).
3rd overall for athletes with
14th in my age group
30-34 against able bodied athletes.
Here is an interesting choice; I am a endurance athlete, I decide to throw
my hat into the world championship for a short course with roughly 2 months to
make the transition from a long course to a short course athlete, even more
interesting I actually expected to win. Call this a choice motivated by naivety and humorous.
For non triathletes this would be equivalent to being a competitive
marathon runner then out of the blue trying to win world championship at the
100 m dash. Different muscles systems,
almost completely different sports. Being a good marathon runner doesn’t mean
you can sprint.
My swim has been my white whale (thanks to Aalap for
introducing me to this analogy) in all competitions. The difference is in a short course you don’t
have time on the bike and run to catch up.
So I fly across the world to do my first sprint triathlon ever and I
panic in the start. I lost the race
within the first 8 minutes. I completely
panicked. I used to do this in
college. I would study night and day,
feel confident in my knowledge, then panic and bomb important exams.
Cortney was a
fantastic guide. I kept trying to remind
myself that I completely trust Cortney particularly in the water. Once the panic starts there wasn’t much I
could do to get back to good. I have a
ton of tricks I use to calm myself, or at least distract myself, counting tricks,
songs, all sorts of things just to calm my heart rate and focus on moving in
the water. Nothing worked. I believe this is my worst panic I’ve had
yet, certainly the most high stakes panic.
I had poor Cortney convinced that I may not even finish the
swim. To add some context for my friends
who are not in triathlon I do this distance about 4 times over 3 to 4 times a
week. Not finishing the swim would be
roughly equivalent to flying to Beijing but being unable to walk the distance
from the hotel lobby to the race shuttle.
The rest of the race went really well. Cortney had about 20 min of tandem experience
going into this very hilly and technical course. She handled it like the pro that she is. There were some super tight turns that were
pretty scary. I noticed her get cautious
at a point. I trust her judgment so I
didn’t question it. Apparently one of
the male tandem teams had crashed.
We were the fastest run, and equal on the bike minus one
We did very well on the run.
I believe with some more sprint experience I probably could have pushed
a little harder, but 19:34 overall for a 5k is not bad at all.
My overall feeling about the race is gratitude for Cortney
and her willingness to meet me half way around the world to help me pursue this
race, sadness for how my panic really killed my time, and dedication to improve
my open water swim for next year.
Cortney and I discussed several times that there were many
firsts in this race. First sprint, first
time with Cortney as a guide, first
international race, first time with real competition, and on and on…. This was not a flawless execution, but it was
a good execution. It hurts to fly around
the world with the intent of making my team proud, my family proud, and representing
my country with the best I have to give only to crash and burn on the
swim. That being said I am so proud to
have a bronze metal. Also given a few
days for clarity the real important race will be in Rio 2016 (Paralympics) so I
have 5 years to figure this out. That is
not so intimidating.
I’m licking my wounds.
All the gifts of food that I brought back for others that I’m not allergic
to I’ve now eaten. No one but me will
ever see any chocolate or candy from China.
I am sorry, but all of it did make me feel better. Anything noneatible
is still intact.
Open water swimming practice starts tomorrow with coach
Aaron. I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll be in the open water at least once a
week until I absolutely can’t due to cold for the next year. If there is no ice cover than I’ll be in it.
I enjoyed being on
the podium for bronze, but I’m going to love being on the podium for gold next
year in New Zeeland.