Quite the way to start things off, near the top.
My training has been intense and sometimes overwhelming this early season. I have my doubts about whether my inspiration will last for the next seven months till the season ends. I wonder if I’ll be able to finish stronger than I began. But right now that is not something to worry about. Right now I will train my hardest, race my hardest and try to end the winning streak of two of my teammates. I have felt what it is like to be the best of the Juniors but I want more. I have the thrill of the podium several times but the glow wears off more rapidly than I desire and the only way I know how to solve that is to fight for more.
The race this weekend started off easy, comfortable in my forty-sixth start time, knowing the man Michael Harlow would gain negligible time on the swim. My training paid off with dropping thirty-six seconds from the previous year’s swim split.
But on the bike my legs were not pumping. My training has lagged on the machine with no excuse other than my own personal lack of desire to train in the bitter cold. My torso stung from the cold and my heart’s inspiration died a little with every blast of cross wind. Seeing my goal time tick by nearly a half mile from transition I recognized my inadequacy on this leg of the race. Michael was sure to have set his lead by the beginning of the run so my only hope was to salvage a second place finish.
Rob Green wanted to tell a different tale however. He pulled together the race he had worked for this off season and with a bike split over a minute healthier than my own pulled out of reach.
Out of T2 after fumbling to stuff my frozen feet into the flimsy racing flats, my legs cruised underneath me. The downhills leading us out of Smithfield’s town center helped me to pick my legs up to the pace I wanted to hold. And so seeing 5:48 next to a slim 186 heart rate I decided, why not pick it up? And so with thanks to Michael getting me out of bed at five a.m. twice a week the past couple months to insane run workouts, I crossed the line, having run my second fastest 5k split ever.
With a third place finish I cannot help but feel the pressure of my teammate who did not show up. I need to pull my cycling together. So in suit of my less than desired performance on the leg I used to crush, I will train hard and I will be ready for the next one. And I will gladly chase the target my teammate donned the day he beat me a year and three days ago.