My apologizes for a tardy race report. I had heard that the soreness after your first 140.6 can be pretty rough so I assumed it was just something I had to suffer through. It wasn’t until I sat at the Dr.’s office with Gwyn on Wednesday that I realized I was feeling especially bad, which I explained felt like getting hit by a truck. It finally dawned on me that maybe this wasn’t post-race soreness, but something else. Sure enough, I picked up a nasty case of strep throat on the journey back to Tulsa!! Well, at least I have good timing? In any event, I wouldn’t have done my race report justice as I was barely forming complete sentences. So here I sit before the kids wake to bring you up to date. Apologizes again as this could be a long one!

Thank you Eric Wynn for the beautiful photo! Two weeks before Cedar Point, I raced the Rev3 Maine Olympic. No, you didn’t see a race report. I wrote one, but made the decision not to post it. And no, the report wasn’t ranting about my penalty–incidentally, the head referee Charlie sought me out at Cedar Point and personally apologized. Wow! Seriously, I was so touched! Just a brief explanation; at Maine we started behind age groupers. As we were biking away, I was just behind Nicole and we were passing age groupers. I staggered off of Nicole, which forced me to ride to the left of the lane. I got pulled over by the official, my penalty being “riding in the middle of the road.” I tried to explain to him that I’m a pro; if I wasn’t riding there I would be in violation of Pro rules. No dice. The guy just didn’t get it. And to make matters worse I didn’t realize you have to have both feet on the ground. I stood there well beyond the actual time to serve, and my mental state was completely deflated. I was able to run back to 5th, but in the end I needed those valuable points for the series and I have a suspicion this penalty has the potential to bite me in the ass all the way to the very end. So I decided not to post my report not because of the penalty. Maine seemed to be the culmination of the highs and lows, leaving me completely emotionally spent. We’ve all heard, “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle.” Which my response is, “I wish He didn’t trust me so much.” In all seriousness, I will give you an excerpt from my Maine report:

My best friend Jenn keeping my spirits up all weekend. Those closest to me know I’ve been having a tough year. There are days when Coach Kevin and I have completely hit the reset button. We even discussed that the entire year might be a reset button. Something deep inside me keeps me going. Call it hard headiness, stupidity…or maybe gumption or resilience. I don’t know. I’ve made it no secret that triathlon saved me from going down a very dark road. After returning from Iraq I struggled. But each morning I had something waiting for me, something to think about, something to give me hope. Perhaps this year I continue with triathlon because I have to prove to myself that I’m still strong, I’m still here, I’m still fighting.

Getting ready for lobster post Maine with Jenn and Courtenay. So once the Maine dust settled, I spoke with Kevin on Friday. We were talking about the points, the season, my fitness. My original race schedule had Cedar Point as my first full distance. But we got to July, life was crazy, and realized it was too much to ask out of my life. I said to Kevin something along the lines that I wish I had a little more faith in myself back in July because I was so close to being able to do a race this long. My swims and bikes were training as if I was doing a full. What wasn’t prepared was my run–my longest being 90 minutes. So the more we talked about it, checked out the start list, went over the points for the series and what doing this race would mean strategically, the more excited we both got. Finally, 8 days out before Cedar Point, I called Charlie to tell him I was in! The following days were spent getting ready. It was actually pretty easy as I had barely unpacked from Maine. I made the decision to fly in on Friday, which Kevin was a little nervous about since it was pretty late for a race this distance. But the reality is I wanted to be home with the kiddos and cause as little disruption to their life as possible. I did my interviews right when I got there, looking nice and greasy for the cameras! They asked me several times about winning. I told them my goal was to move up in the series. And really I was more interested in making that marathon, a distance I’ve never covered either!

Pro Panel with Erin Spitler, a real sweetheart! Saturday the weather was crazy and it threw a little wrench in my usual pre-race swim, bike, run. But I was amazingly calm, trying not to expend any more energy worrying. I hit up the pre-race meeting and pro panel. I was back to my room and resting by 1:30. I went to bed at 9, only to wake up at 10 in a complete panic! Was I really about to do this tomorrow? What did I get myself into? What was I thinking? Why did I think this was a good idea? I’m not prepared for this!! People train the whole year!!! Ahh man, this is not good. I got up, banished the thoughts, got some Melatonin and went back to bed. I slept like a baby until 3:45 when it was time to get up and eat. I remained calm, watching Friends and drinking coffee, until it was time to get down to transition. Right before I left I said, “Do I really have to do this?” I also knew the answer to it. Just go get it done. Smile while you’re doing it. Think of Trevor, my little brother, in route to Afghanistan. This is nothing. This is fun…you get to do this!

Nice and early sporting some bed head. I set up my transition and before I knew it I was headed down to the swim start with the most beautiful sunrise. Before I knew it the horn was sending us off and I immediately fell in behind Carrie Lester. We were making good time, but things got confusing and with about 1000m to go somehow we got gapped. I just kept a hard tempo going not sure where she went, continuing to pass pro men until the end. Once out on the course I was waiting for Carrie to come by me, which would definitely help with visual on the bike. However, I got word about 30 miles in she was ahead of me. I’m still not quite sure what happen and looking at the results she ended up beating me out of the water by 2 minutes! What was I doing? I was swimming hard, I didn’t die out there, was my sighting that terrible? Needless to say, I was a little aggravated, especially since now she was biking with Malaika and my steady gap now was opening up! Darn it!! The upswing, is it forced me to ride my race, my watts–which probably were much more conservative compared to the more seasoned Malaika and Carrie. And by looking at the time I knew I was close to Malaika’s winning split a year ago, so while my legs didn’t feel especially spunky I knew I was still in this race. And thank goodness for my Quarq as I would have been in no-man’s land that entire bike!

Photos thanks to Nils Nilsen. Finally made one of his shots! I arrived at T2 and took the time to lace up my shoes, the PI Streak 2, and took off. I heard that I was 8.5 minutes behind, which I thought wasn’t too bad. We made the decision to wear a Garmin. Yep, I’m a believer now. I was given strict instruction to run at 7:45-7:50 pace the first 30 minutes. Our whole strategy was to get to the last 13.1 miles as fresh as possible. I followed the instructions and it felt like I was walking. I made sure my stomach was settled, which it was, and thought of it as a “warm up.” At 4 miles in, I had word I was 12.5 minutes behind. I wasn’t discouraged at all! Truth is, I felt great! And I knew to lose 4 minutes in 4 miles means they were taking it out hot and hopefully that would be to my benefit later on. The next miles I steadily increased the tempo. Half way through I got would I was roughly 8 minutes behind. I felt great and told myself, “this is where your race starts.” From there I was making big gains and I just let my body do what it’s been taught to do my entire life: run! There were several out and backs and I just smiled the whole time at my friends, at how lucky I was to be doing this, and that I can’t believe I feel this good! Kevin, he really is a genius! I passed Malaika around mile 22 and started to wonder if I could get Carrie. At mile 23 I got word she was 3 minutes up, and I knew that would be a tall order. I think mentally at this point I put it in cruise control, soaked up the crowds, and really enjoyed the moment. Wow, did I really just do this? 2nd place, fastest run of the day, but more importantly I executed a smart race where I was in control the whole day, finishing in a time of 9:19:39! And most importantly, I got to share the moment with some very special people, near and far! Truly, there is no way I could do it without them!

Thank you Daniel Smith for snapping a pic! So here I sit, barely doing anything the entire week! Ha! We are trying to figure out the rest of the season. The sickness definitely is a hurdle, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The whole experience was amazing, and I can’t thank Rev3 enough for being my biggest supporter of this journey! I’m lucky enough to call their crew friends. And of course to my sponsors: Rev3, Recovery Pump, Powerbar, Pearl Izumi, John R. Jones, PC, Kestrel, Challenge Tires, Rudy Project, Blue Seventy, and to Team Red White and Blue…each make this dream possible, thank you! To Coach Kevin Purcell for believing in me, being patient and understanding, and always knowing what’s best for me. My awesome family for always being on “Team Jessica” and never being embarrassed that their daughter, sister, mom is still an athlete 🙂 To my amazing friends here in Tulsa that train with me through thick and thin. I couldn’t do it without you–not just being the best training partners, but the best friends! Suzie, Kim, Ray and Duncan, thanks for sticking with me!! Your support means more than you know! Lastly, to Rowan and Gwyneth. You two always keep my grounded, keep me smiling, and force me to find my strong! I’m one lucky lady!!

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1 Comment

Kim · September 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

Awesome race reporr! Really inspiring!! A pleasure to share the course with you!! Keep up the great work!

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