Couer d'Alene 70.3 Race Report
Whew!!! What a season! Four races starting around 8-9 weeks pregnant and ending almost ten weeks later at 19+ weeks it was not how I envisioned my season to go when I planned it out in January of 2019. In January of 2019 we had given up on trying to get pregnant for this year, I was so sick of the drugs I was taking (Progesterone and letrozole – for those wondering yes I did get the Therapeutic Exemption needed to take these legally with the USADA) to help us get pregnant. They were making me miserable and I hated every single second of the process. I had just finished the biggest build of my career, was swimming, biking, and running faster than I had ever had, and was getting ready to launch into the final 10-12 weeks when it was totally derailed by finding out that randomly we had naturally gotten pregnant.
To this day I still don’t really know how my body got pregnant… warning TMI coming and if you don’t want to hear it skip ahead. I have never been someone who had a regular period, from the day I started getting it its never been regular most likely due to the fact that my body has never held much body fat for a woman and then combine that with the type of training that I undergo even when I was on birth control it wasn’t very regular. Hence why we were using Progesterone and letrozole to help get pregnant, again with a TUE in place with the USADA. After my last round of progesterone proved to not work, levels where still basically non-existent at less than 0.1 we decided to not go through the misery I was in taking it. I didn’t have my period for sixty days and in reality, we did not try very hard during this time frame as both my husband and myself were traveling a lot during this time frame, then came a huge baseball bat to the face surprise that somehow we had gotten pregnant. They do always say that the minute you stop trying is when it happens…. well apparently that is very true.
So that sent my season into a tailspin and as many of you who follow me and already know I decided there was no way in hell I was going to let being pregnant, and subsequently nine months from that moment when I became a mom, stop me from not only doing what I loved but chasing my dreams. This decision came with much criticism from people whom I very strongly believe had no right to criticize and no right to tell me how I should live my life. But if you don’t know me very well the one thing you should know is that I don’t usually listen to people like that, in fact you tell me I shouldn’t do something because I “can’t” I am going to do whatever it takes to prove you utterly and completely wrong. I am going to do whatever it takes to prove to you that I CAN do it and that I WILL do it. So that’s what I did!
Four races later all within a span of around 10 weeks I feel like I not only helped to show the world that just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean that you can give up on your dreams but I also stood up for myself and the goals that I have and that is the most important piece to me. Yes, I left these last four races racking up three top 5 places with a second at Texas 70.3, fourth at St. George 70.3, first at Chattanooga 70.3, leading me to ranked number one in not only the US for my age group but the world in Ironman branded 70.3 races for a while (this may have slipped a little now but I’m not worried about it). But the most important piece that I left these last four races with is a commitment to myself, to my dreams, and an inner strength and courage to never give up on them no matter what negativity, criticism and displacement the outside world seems to place on it. It wasn’t an easy journey but one I was determined to complete, and I am so proud and glad that I went out there and never gave up on myself, because you are the only one that can stand up for your dreams. There are always going to be naysayers and people that don’t agree with you but if you believe 100% in your goals and dreams then what they say doesn’t matter. It probably helps that being pregnant seems to have made me even more stubborn, bullheaded, and dedicated to proving the world wrong at all costs than I was before.
My season ended with a bang at one of my favorite 70.3’s on the circuit, Ironman Couer d’Alene 70.3. This is my favorite for many reasons; its challenging, its basically a hometown race for me, the run is fast, and the spectators and volunteers are AMAZING making the atmosphere of this race unbelievable for a small town.
Secretly I went into this race with a hope and prayer that I could sneak out a top 5 finish, I was under no illusions that I would be competing for top three but I though maybe, just maybe, if I had a good day I could fight for fourth or fifth. This didn’t totally happened as I came in 7th in my age group missing the podium for the first time, besides at World Championship races, since I started my triathlon journey in 2013. Truthfully, this was really disappointing for me. I crossed the finish line totally and completely trashed, to the point in which I couldn’t even eek out a smile or something fun for the finish line photos, and a heart full of disappointment. I knew there was so much good out of this race but that didn’t mean that the competitor in me wasn’t disappointed. Once again, people seemed to think that this disappointment wasn’t warranted cause for being 19+ weeks pregnant I put together one hell of a race, but I can be disappointed. I am a competitor, I don’t race to just race, I race to win always, and I race to bring my best and to have not been able to do that was very hard for me to digest immediately after the race. That is ok! You can be disappointed but also proud at the same time, there is nothing wrong with that in fact it is healthy. The disappointment keeps you coming back from more, it keeps you striving to be better and to work harder.
Despite the disappointment I am very proud of this race and the effort that I put out. And now that a few days have passed the disappointment has faded followed by the strength that I gained that day. When I found I was pregnant back at the end of March we didn’t even know if I would be able to race at CdA 70.3 and here am I post-race writing to you about it. To have been able to get myself here is a feat in itself and I am very proud of that, not necessarily because of the physical accomplishment it was but because I never gave up on myself throughout it all even when sometimes it would have been a lot easier to just succumb.
This did not go well. It wasn’t as bad at the last race but during this one all that I could think about was what if I get kicked in the stomach? I had this overwhelmingly irrational fear of getting just pummeled in the belly. It was irrational because 1) the chance that I would get kicked in the belly was pretty slim and 2) the chance that I would get kicked so hard in the stomach that it was cause any problems was also slim. Combine that irrational fear with just the fact that I’ve gotten a lot slower over the last couple of weeks this swim was a mess. It came out as my slowest swim to date in fact I think it may be my slowest swim ever? Not totally sure on that but it wouldn’t be far off.
I will admit that it was very frustrating and slightly embarrassing to be one of the only bikes left on the all world athlete gold bike rack. However, I reminded myself that I knew this race could be a little bit messy going into it and that it was ok to be a little messy. So instead of stressing about my horrifying swim I put my head down and went to work on the bike.
I have yet to really nail this bike course, but I sure do like it. It’s really challenging, I think more challenging than people think it is. Going into the bike I was a little worried not only about how much power and speed I would be able to produce but if I would be able to stay in aero for most of the race. While I have not gotten all that “massive” from a belly standpoint I have grown and being in an aggressive position on the bike has become more uncomfortable.
Surprisingly I was able to put out a decent amount of power which resulted in a decent amount of speed, and even more surprisingly I was able to stay in aero for a decent amount of it. Thankfully, the climbing in this race gave me the reprieves I needed to get out of aero and not be stuck in it the entire time.
I was able to pass a lot of women during this ride, and I knew that I was making my way up throughout the ranks however I also knew I was really far back due to my swim. While I continued to focus on moving on up I didn’t make it my main focus rather just staying as strong as I could and keeping my cadence up.
Thank you KT tape and a whole lot of grit for getting me through this run. I love the CdA run course, it’s fast and full of amazing energy. The spectators and town come out in full force for this race and it brings such an amazing energy.
Coming off the bike I surprised myself with the speed I had in my legs. Not knowing if the speed would last, I just decided to run my own race and see what happened. I was able to hold steady for the majority of the race and never really fell off pace too much but the biggest difference between normality and being 19+ weeks pregnant was my inability to find the next gear, to take it to the next level. The mind wanted to go but the body would not. Honestly, I am not sure that I have ever been that trashed during a race. To anyone who is reading this who was out on the racecourse and maybe cheered I apologize for my inability to respond, I was barely able to keep my head on straight and responding to all your amazing cheers was beyond my abilities.
I just kept thinking stay in the moment, focus on the journey and each step will eventually take me to the finish line. Turning onto Sherman Ave wasn’t the same kind of joy as previous races more of a mixture of thank the lord the finish line is there, pride, and disappointment. Despite the mix of feelings, the real feels of running down Sherman Ave wasn’t lost on me. While it is no Kona finish line there really is something very special about running down Sherman Ave in CdA with all the people lining the streets it really is amazing.
I ended up crossing the finish line completely and utterly spent, so much so that I didn’t even have the energy to smile for the camera, in a very strong time of 5:02 and 7th place.
All in all I am extremely happy with the race and the day in general. I am proud that I had the grit and gumption to get myself to the start line in general and most importantly that I never gave up on myself during this race. Lastly, I am proud of being able to listen to my body and know that it is time to be done. My body is tired, and it has told me by coming down with a horrendous cold that won’t seem to go away. So what does that mean is next? Well for the rest of the season we will be focusing on strength, technique, and staying strong across all disciplines so that come December after Baby Raspberry is born we will be ready to come back strong. It has been a bit of an adjustment slowing down and being ok with the fact that there is nothing on my schedule for the rest of the year but I am ok with it, I’ve adjusted and now looking forward to whatever comes next.