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The Making of an “A” Race

Wow!  Where has the summer gone.  As much as I love to know that the cooler temperatures are right around the corner, it’s a bummer that summer triathlon season is swiftly coming to a close.  Since Scofield, Coach M has been busy tearing my legs off and handing them to me to beat myself with……..of course, I’ve loved every minute of the beating.  Coming off such a mentally difficult race as Scofield was for me has been challenging.  With Utah Half (my “A” race of the season) about six weeks away, there was no time to sit and sulk.  There were tempo runs, track work, open water swimming, and killer bike rides to be completed.

Early in the season I had toyed with the idea of competing in another race in early August, but with my training at high intensity, I felt that my efforts were better spent on my day-to-day workouts.

I finally screamed for mercy the second weekend of August.  My body was still performing, but I was really starting to feel it.  It wasn’t feeling easy……EVER.  I was pushing every mile I was putting in.  Coach M assured me that taper was right around the corner and that after two more key workouts things would get better.

I finished my last long tempo run the following Tuesday.  It was almost so complicated that I considered writing it on my hand before I left the house :)  I was going to start out fast right off the bat at a 7:15 pace (this is very hard at 5:00 in the morning when you have just crawled out of bed).  After 3 miles I would recover at 8:00 for 1 mile before hitting another 3 miles hard.  Add one more “recovery” mile and then it was on to 1/2 mile intervals at 6:40.  12 miles total.  The pain and elation I felt after that last 1/2 mile interval is almost indescribable.  Not only was I done with my last hard long tempo run before my “A” race, but I had hit the paces……..fast paces………at least for me.  I felt like I had conquered the world.  My tired body had pulled through and I was in awe.

A day later I had to complete my last “Killer” Bike.  Killer on the bike seems so much better than killer on the run because biking is my better sport.  It was going to be hard, but I knew it was doable.  Up and down the Southern Parkway I went burning my legs out until I could hardly feel them anymore.  So grateful to have the 40ish miles behind me, I went home knowing that the hard work was done.  A few more bricks and then a bit of taper and I was ready to race.

At the Utah Half Ironman in 2010, I had a good race.  I had never done the distance before and really didn’t know what to expect.  I shocked myself with a 5:01 finish time and third place overall.  Even though my run felt terrible almost the entire 13.1 miles, I had caught the bug and new I would be back in 2011.  In January, I committed to myself to make Utah Half my goal.  I wanted to be fast.  REALLY fast.  I had no idea if it was in me, but I was sure going to try.  Between then and now, the best thing I have done is to hire a coach.  Coach M and T of HT Training have been amazing.  Sometimes I feel like I’m cheating because of the help and support I get from them.  I loved not thinking about my training schedule.  It was just there and I would go and do it.  There were times when I would look at a workout and think, “There is NO WAY!”, but in the end…….I would do it…….I would do it well.  Coach M seemed to know what she could get out of me.  There was potential there that I had not yet tapped in to, nor even discovered.  There were numbers appearing on my Garmin that I never thought possible.  Honestly, I was amazed!

Hiring a coach may not be for everyone, but it has definitely been for me as I have prepared for my races this season.  With Utah Half on the horizon, I could only imagine what that race day would hold.  There have been many workouts with my friends or Club that I have “sacrificed” over the summer, but I knew it was all about to pay off.  I got a lot of flack for having too strict of a plan and “not having any fun”, but little did everyone know that I was having more fun with this sport than I had ever had in years passed. There was no anxiety left.  I trusted my training.  I knew that what I set out to do, I WOULD accomplish.  The “sacrifices” didn’t seem too much.  I was focused.  I was going to be prepared.  All I had to do now was race…………..and race I did……………


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