On a recovery ride with my mom in Bend, OR. We rented a Burley and hooked it up to the TT bike. Yes, I still had my number on my helmet. Yes, people did take my picture. Yes, people laughed at me. No, I didn't care.

Before the Ironman I wrote to you all that there is a difference between expectations, and hopes. My heart rate zones and my ability to execute a race were examples of my expectations. One of my strengths as a triathlete is my ability to execute, to race with a strong mind and to stay smart. I tend to not get wound up with those around me until it matters (at the end) and I seem to keep most mistakes to a minimum (famous last words).

I'll admit, Kona was a "hope". I thought it would take some magic because you just don't know who will show up. You don't know who will have an outstanding performance. I know what I can do, but I don't know what others can do (despite my attempts at cyber stalking). So, getting a Kona slot either requires that you are just eons ahead of everyone, or that you have a little luck.

I tried to work hard during IMCDA at what I had control over. I tried to race with strength, determination, brains on the bike, and heart on the run. I wanted to race to my potential very badly. I wanted to see what I was made of, to learn more about my limits. I wanted to learn what Chuckie's training had made me into. I was successful in those attempts.

I learned that I can take more than I think I can. You would think after running a 100 mile race that there would be no more surprises, but there were. I learned that I can run over the edge and not falter. Feelings of pain and panic can be talked away, settled down. I learned how to race certain parts without emotion, to just focus on the numbers and the effort and how I was feeling, to watch myself from a birds eye view, trying to stay outside of my emotions. I learned how to use my emotions and my desire to attain my goals to fuel myself onwards when my body was tired.

We are made of so much more than we think. When we want something really bad and we understand that it's going to take everything we've got, and then some luck, it's an opportunity. This race was an opportunity to race for my dreams and that I did. I consider it a "gift", a "fortuity" to race for a Kona slot. Of all the participants, I would say 10% have a chance on a good day at competing well enough to race for a slot. Half of that 10% take themselves out of the running due to their own mistakes. Of the half that are left... well, those are the ones that should feel blessed at the opportunity to even give it a go. 2200 athletes were racing, 72 of us walked away with slots, 3.2%.

Riding with mom and Annie in Bend, OR.

It's now 14 weeks until Kona. I will step on that line at Kona, and I will race my heart out. My mom asked a few nights back if I was going to "race" Kona, or just have fun. Last year before Canada I told her that if I made it to Kona I just wanted to enjoy it, have fun, soak up the experience.

This year I have a completely different outlook. I feel BLESSED to even have the OPPORTUNITY to start at Kona. There is no way I would squander that opportunity. Every time I race it could be my last, and I don't take that thought lightly. So in 14 weeks, I will swim, bike, and run with everything I possess. Plus, Chuckie has made it abundantly clear that he will not coach someone to Kona as an afterthought. It's go big or go home. No need to tell me twice!

Luckily, I have a few more weeks to get my head around ""Here we go again, round 2, ding ding". Chuckie said I'm allowed to get fat, and be lazy for a little while longer. Although I'm itching to get started, I know that come 8-10 weeks from now I'll be begging for mercy, so it's important to step back, chillax, enjoy not training seriously for awhile. So, what's a girl to do while she relaxes, why THE DEATH RIDE, of course!

In a couple days my dad and I head out for the infamous event called The Death Ride. I wanted to do this ride last year and didn't get a chance, so I'm excited to be back this year. It's 129 miles, with 15,000 feet of climbing. You make your way over 5 passes, and if you make all of them, you are provided the opportunity to purchase a cycling kit commemorating your cycling stardom. We'll see about that!

Either way, I'm excited to get out for a long day in the saddle on my ornery little white road bike. She's a spicy little specimen who has gotten herself into a fair amount of trouble. I've already had a few talks with her about behaving. It's going to be just a mellow, soak up the rays, take my time, catered training event kind of day for me. Dad and I are camping a few days prior so we will get some time to sit by the campfire and chat. Good times!

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