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So before I get to the full blown race report, which is all written by the way, I thought a catch up might be in order. It’s pretty obvious by the date of my last post and the scarcity of blog reports this year that I’ve been quiet. I always intended to write copious amounts through this process, to share what I was going though, etc etc, but as I got more committed and as the blog got more popular, and people had more opinions about what I was writing, and selfies suddenly became a no-no, I stopped wanting to share. It’s a vulnerable thing and the more I committed, the more my process/thoughts/feelings became personal. I found myself saying “I would like to write this or that, and I would like to be honest, but people are going to have a problem with it, and then it became “why bother.” There was a “just turn off the comments and take the contact me” off phase, but that felt strange, and I was busy, and so I just kinda let it be. This blogging stuff is strange business and I really am a fairly open book. But sometimes the hiccups along the way concern other people and I’m not really comfortable blasting other peoples business to the world. So there you have it.

It's my blog and I'll selfie if I want to...sing to "it's my party and I'll cry if I want to"

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In retrospect, I can look back and tell you all what I was up to. It’s never the whole story but I will try to be as open as possible with my race report, because that’s all me, and I don’t mind sharing the good, bad and awesome!

The 12 weeks before Kona I had some setbacks. Okay, let me back up a little. When I won the amateur race at IM Arizona last November Muddy and I both knew the single goal of 2014 was to win my age group at Ironman Hawaii. It was one of those goals that I could say out loud “I want to win Kona” but I really wasn’t sure it was even possible. People tell me those are the best goals, the ones you think might be a little crazy. But I figured that I had to commit as much as I could in order to even have a fighting chance. So we committed. Muddy committed, Troy committed, and I committed. I had always been committed, but we took it to another level this year.

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We structured the entire year around winning Kona. Every training decision was made around Kona, and every race we worked on a different skill or technique that we thought would help me in Kona. Most races this year weren’t about winning, but instead were about pacing, or fighting, or working on my mental cues. Tribella, QR, and Punk Rock Racing knew the big goal and they bent over backwards to get me everything I needed. I was on a QR PR6 for heavens sake, one of the first of QRs sponsored athletes to get one. They committed 100% to my goal along with me.

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I did well in my races this year and I gained momentum, learning lessons that I could fix for Kona. We were doing “it” one step at a time. Then the final 12 weeks came and I struggled. It was getting close and I was supposed to really be buckling down but I could tell my brain and body were wanting to self sabotage. I was afraid of failure and really had to reach deep into myself to remain confident and focused. There were more than a few sessions with a sports psychologist. Thank you Dr.Steve!

I had two set backs in the last 12 weeks that caused a lot of stress. Both resulted in 6 days straight of no training and many tears. There were times I looked at Troy and was like “There is no way I can do this, I don’t think I’m even going to make it to the start line.” It was a lonely time for me as I reached out to very few and I did a lot of soul searching. There was a lot of meditation and a lot of repeating motivational quotes. The second set back, a saddle sore that got infected and had to be lanced and drained was 5 weeks before race day and took about 3000 repetitions of “it will be okay” to get through. Especially when I walked into the doctor and she looked at it and said “Do you think you will be able to still race?”….I looked at her like “you’re supposed to tell ME that!!”

I rode this ride with two pairs of shorts and my saddle sore raging, the fever started that evening.

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After the saddle sore debacle Troy, Muddy and I had a sit down and decided to pack me up and send me off to Muddy for the final month before Kona. That really was the ultimate opportunity & sacrifice all in one. A month away from Annie and Troy, training really hard with Muddy. That was a big decision for us. It turned out to be a phenomenal experience for me. I got to put training 100% #1 “A” priority and I got to be Muddy’s sidekick for a month, getting mentored from one of the best in the world. I was nervous going but it ended up being totally awesome. Coach Barbara was my mom away from home and thank goodness someone was willing to watch Project Runway with me on Thursdays!

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Going into Kona race week I knew I had put everything on the line for the big dance. Every resource I had, I used. Every set back I used to buckle down harder and recommit. I had amazing support. From my coach and family, but also from some great training partners in Denver and San Jose. Everyone knew the bowl was the goal and so many people sent me off to Kona with well wishes, telling me “go get your bowl.”

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