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Updated: Jun 3, 2018

I am elated to have won my first full Ironman race at Ironman Brazil.

2018 started off a bit rocky for me with a DQ and a DNF in my first two races. Hence, I am very proud of myself for turning it around, not letting the past negatively impact me, and staying focused in the moment at IM Brazil.

I went into Brazil with the attitude that I would race as hard as I could, and finish knowing I gave it my all. If I did that, I knew I would be happy with myself regardless of what place I came. This took away a lot of anxiety, and allowed to me perform to my best without worrying about the outcome. 

"I went into Brazil with the attitude that I would race as hard as I could, and finish knowing I gave it my all. If I did that, I knew I would be happy with myself regardless of what place I came. This took away a lot of anxiety, and allowed to me perform to my best without worrying about the outcome."

I definitely credit my new coach, Brett Sutton, for refocusing me mentally after being in a bit of a rut after my first two races of the year. I had been training phenomenally, I just needed to get out of my own way and execute on race day. I had to be prepared to go to war and give it my all, no matter what. Below is my race report:

The swim started off great, I was in a pack with 3 other females until about 2.5 km. At this point, I thought my pack was swimming off course and was going to miss the turn buoy. As a result, I left them and swam towards actually the wrong buoy. The sun was in my eyes, and I made a mistake. It ended up costing me about 50 seconds, which was unfortunate. However, I didn't let it get me down, and just kept swimming. I told myself it is a long day and to stay present in the moment. 

Once I got onto my bike, I felt more confident and in the zone. Overall, I biked very strongly and evenly paced. I really wanted to make sure I didn't over cook the bike so I would be able to run well. I was really focusing on keeping my cadence under 80 rpm. Lowering my cadence has been a big switch for me. I use to race at 90 rpm, but since switching to Brett we have been working on lowering my cadence, which seems to be definitely paying off. 

At half way on the bike leg, we had to ride over some cobble stones and through this patch my rear draft box popped open. I tried to close while riding, but couldn't get it to close. I thus stopped to try to close it, but wasn't having any luck. Mechanical came over to assist me, and they couldn't even close it. Hence, I decided to take the whole draft box off and handed to mechanical. I am not sure how much time this cost me, but at least a minute I would have to think. I tried to spin this incident as a positive and told myself that I would be lighter on the hilly section of the course without my flat kit and draft box, and just kept powering away. 

When I came into T2, I was shocked to learn I had a 10 min lead. I definitely had never been in this situation before. Additionally, as I started the run I felt like I was starting a 70.3 run, not an Ironman. I would have to say I actually felt the best I have ever felt starting an Ironman run. As a result, I probably went out a bit too fast (6:23/mile pace). However, I kept a decent pace through the hilly section of the run course, and was able to get back down to 6:40 pace once I was back on the flats. I unfortunately had to stop at 12 miles to use the porto potty. I seem to not be able to pee while cycling or running, and was sick of holding it in! I think my pit stop was only about 30 seconds long. I felt much better after stopping to use the restroom, so it was definitely worth it. However, I started to get really bad blisters and as a result I had a rough patch through 15-18 miles. I could feel blisters swelling on my toes and feet, making every step very painful. One of the blisters eventually popped, which relieved some pain. I was able to keep running around 7 min mile pace for the remainder of the run, and hold on for victory with nearly a 9 min margin finishing in 8:54:58.

It is hard for me to describe with words how much this victory means to me. I knew I was in great shape, I just had to go out there and race to my abilities. It is my first full Ironman win, so that in itself is very special. However, what is more important about this win is the victory within myself and my mind. I feel I have overcome a lot of self doubt; I can now move forward with trust and confidence in myself .

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I can't believe I have won first Ironman 70.3 race!

It is definitely an understatement to call my 2016 season a rough one. After getting hit by a truck while cycling in May, the prospect of even being able to race again was hard to fathom. I ended up suffering 3 pelvic fractures from the accident, was on crutches for 3 months, and didn't run for almost 4 months. With the help of a patient coach, and an excellent massage therapist/acupuncturist I was able to get back to racing sooner than I anticipated. While, I am still having some ongoing issues in the region as a result from the accident, I feel I have come a long way in a short period of time. 

The weather conditions for the race in Punta Del Este turned out to be very favorable. Forecasts were for 20+mph winds and possible thunderstorms. Fortunately, the wind and the rain died down right before the race began. 

I felt like I finally had a solid swim! I swam fairly straight, and posted a time that reflects my pool fitness. The past two years I had really struggled to master the open water, and feel now I am at a level to swim with what be the "second pack". I swam 27:30 by myself only a minute slower than the Wassner's which typically are front of the pack swimmers.

I started the bike off in third place feeling horrible, and it stayed that way the whole ride. I kept hoping I'd "warm up" and start to feel strong. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and I really just had to grind my way through it. I rode a 2:20 and lost a little bit of time to the Wassner's and remained in third.

Typically, when I start the run in a half iron I come out flying under 6 min pace and have to tell myself to slow down and ease into it. This was not the case in Uruguay. My first mile was 6:28 (slowest mile of the race and slowest I have ever gone out)! My left hip, glute and hamstring felt locked up, making painful and difficult to run fast. My pace for the first 4-5 miles didn't really get much faster, (stayed around 6:20 pace). But at about mile 5, something inside me changed mentally. I went from focusing on how much my back and hip hurt to thinking, heck I can win this race. I realized I was gaining on the Wassner's and knew I could pass them shortly. It was in that minute I picked up my pace and really began to "race". 

I went from focusing on how much my back and hip hurt to thinking, heck I can win this race.

I ended up hugely negative splitting the run, and passed Laurel and then Bec with about 3.5 miles to go. I kept running strong to the finish and won the race by almost 2 minutes with a run split of 1:23:10, and overall time of 4:14:14. The smile on my face at the end says it all!  #dream #nevergiveup #championmindset #focus

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Pan American 70.3 Pro Championships, 4th place

Overall, this was a very  solid race for me. While I was only 17 seconds from second place, I can walk away knowing all the hard work I put in over the winter has paid off and that I am set to have a great year in 2016. 

The swim has always been my weakness. So I was quite happy when I came out of the water with Linsey Corbin, as the last time I raced her over a year ago at Timberman she out swam me by over 2 minutes! (29 vs 27min). 

I actually passed Linsey in T1, but then she re-passed me right away on the bike. In retrospect, I think I should've tried to have gone with her when she passed me, but I was putting out 230 watts and she was not coming back to me. At that point I made the decision to just  focus on my own metrics and race smart.

I ended up only averaging 202 watts, which was a bit lower than the plan of 210 watts. My HR was just so high from the heat and humidity, that I wasn't able to sustain the power my workouts had indicated were achievable. In spite of the lower watts, I held my own on the bike and only lost about a minute to the tops girls. I came off the bike in 8th place and knew I had work to do on the run. 

On the run I started off feeling pretty good, running my first two miles in under 6:10 pace. I quickly passed Dede, and then Linsey and could see more girls not that far ahead. However, around mile 3 my HR really spiked from the heat and humidity. As a result, I slowed my pace slightly and really began focusing on removing heat from my body at aid stations.

I eventually was able to real in 5th, 4th, and moved into third place....However, Lisa Roberts came flying passed me and 15km. I tried to go with her for about a mile, but that was all I could handle. Lisa would go on to finish second 17 seconds ahead of me, and remained in 4th just 10 seconds down from third. On to the next! 

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