by Pro Triathlete Tanelle
Let's just call this one a trying race. I am neither extremely disappointed nor extremely proud of my performance. I came into 5150 Kansas pretty fatigued. My training leading up to the event was very solid in an effort to shock my system after taking a 10-day easy period to get through dead week and finals. Given the circumstances, I classified this race as a "C" race. I was doing it to possibly get a few points to qualify for Hy-Vee and to shock my body into fitness. I was, however, not prepared mentally for the race that came to be.
Race morning came with a few extra surprises. The swim was canceled due to lightning, so instead the race was turned into a bike-run. In addition to the race change, we had a significant delay. The cold and rainy morning did not spark my race-day fierceness that I usually have. Given my under-enthusiasm for a duathlon, I neglected to do a second run warm-up which left me chilled and tight for the time trial bike start. All-in-all, I was plain and simple being a mentally weak WIMP.
Right before the race began, I realized I was the highest number (meaning I got to start first) with riders being let off every 10 seconds behind me. I was not too thrilled about this because I knew the lower numbers had a way easier time seeing their placement in the field. Trying to block all this negativity out of my head was difficult, but I was still ready to race. I am never going to get to a start line and give up before I even start.
As I was let out of the starting chute, I starting clicking away on the bike. I kept talking positively to myself and tried to get into a solid rhythm. Not even 2 miles in, I got passed by Lauren Goss (the eventual winner of 5150 Kansas). Knowing that she started at least 30 seconds behind me really sucked because I knew that on any other day, I should be able to stay ahead and keep up with her. I tried to ignore it, but eventually more people started to pass me. I just felt weak going up and down the hills. I stayed at a hard pace, but it didn't seem to be hard enough to keep up with the riders I usually keep up with. Coming back from the bike, I knew I had catching up to do, both with time and hydration. My water bottle filled with UR unfortunately slipped off my bike at mile 2 due to the wet conditions, so I didn't get any water on the bike (just one more thing that wasn't going my way).
Coming out onto the run, I already passed two people in transition (thank you ITU!). The rest of the run I focused on staying calm, collected, and strong. This seemed to work because I was passing people throughout the race. I never ran extremely outside of myself, but I was happy with the solid effort that I put in. I knew I could have run harder, but I sadly allowed myself to settle. I crossed the finish line 5th but ended up in 9th place due to the time trial start (not a great result, but I can deal with it).
After 5150 Kansas
Next race, I am going to let it hurt, be strong, and show that I can contend for the podium spots. I need to be able to be consistent and strong whether I am rested or broken down, in rain or shine. This all comes from experience. I did learn a lot during the race, and I am excited to keep growing in the sport.