The last race of the season is a tricky one… you want to leave it all out on course but you need to remain calm and stay in the moment in order to be successful. So I tried not to get myself too worked up before the cannon fired and focused on executing my perfect race.
The field was as competitive as I have seen all season and I knew that I had to play my cards right in order to come out on top.
I had a less than stellar swim as the choppy water threw me off a bit, and I was dropped by the lead group. But I still managed to take charge at the front of my pack and exited the water in 5th place 2:00 down from the leader. As I exited the water, I knew I had to ride strong but remain within myself. And be patient.
There were no big moves until the 45 mile mark of the ride when Lauren Barnett (multiple 70.3 winner) bridged the gap to my group with the intention of taking control of the race. Lauren and I managed to close the gap between ourselves and early swim leader Heather Lendway and the three of us came into T2 together. We rushed into transition in a tight bunch and after a speedy changeover I was out of there in first place. And this is where the race truly began.
Photo: Mario Cantu
I felt really great right from the first step and settled in comfortably for the first few miles. My adrenaline was sky high and I was really hungry for this win. My strides were strong and I was having the run of my life, extending my lead on each of the three laps. With less than two miles to go, I said to myself “I am going to win this!”
Photo: Jay Prasuhn
The last mile in was very emotional for me… Being able to cross the red carpet finish line first and rip that tape was the most incredible feeling. It made the past 4 years of hard work, sacrifice and incredible support from my family all worth it.
Photo: Mario Cantu
Being my first ever 70.3 win, naturally it was a very memorable moment for me. It was extra special having my coach, Michael Lovato, announcing as I crossed the line. We have been through some highs and lows and we have both heavily invested in my career. For him to be there at the end and share this experience with me, it was incredible!
Not a lot of people get to see what goes on behind the scenes and it takes a lot of hard work, grit and fair share of disappointments to get to where I am today. That being said, it made it even sweeter to get that first win under my belt. The emotion I felt in the late stages of that run was amazing and it will be a memory that I will treasure forever.