Chicago Triathlon TEAM
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LUNA’s shine at Ironman 70.3 Racine
A mere five and a half weeks before Racine Ironman 70.3, I (Michelle) was out on our weekly LUNA Chix ride, and looked back to make sure everyone was with me and next thing I knew, I was looking up at the sky. It was a typical glance back, but the front wheel slipped out from under me and next thing I knew, I was on the ground with my helmet split up the side, road rash covering my left arm, shoulder, and hip, and quite a bit of pain in my shoulder and back. While the ER doctor initially told me nothing was broken, after a week of shoulder pain, I went back and found out my collarbone was fractured, and spent the next 3 weeks in a sling.
While I was in a lot of back pain following the crash, and very bummed about not being able to participate in the SheRox Sprint Triathlon with my LUNA teammates the weekend following the accident, I was reminded that life works in funny ways. By being stripped away from the things I love to do in my free time, swim, bike outdoors, and run, this crash made regain my sense of appreciation for my body when it is healthy, and gain a new sense of appreciation how a body can heal. Over the four weeks of healing time, I took the time to smell the flowers and pick the berries along the path of my normal running route while out on long walks. I also had time to sit, be still, reflect, and think. It gave me time to rediscover my passion for triathlon, and get excited for all the 4:30am wake up calls I have ahead as I prepare to train for the Ironman World Championships.
Don’t get me wrong though. I also grew anxious, I just wanted to enjoy summer swimming, biking, and running with my friends again. So when July 2nd came, and I was cleared by the orthopedic to do those things, I was ecstatic. However, my body wasn’t quite ready to give it it’s all. So I started with 10 minutes of swimming and running. And gradually eased back into the swing of swim and run training, although I was still too hesitant to get on the bike. Finally, Monday, July 9, I got back on my bike. I was nervous of crashing, but successfully rode the bike outside 3 times leading up to Racine. Since I had been feeling stronger each day, I decided I would participate in the race come Sunday. I told myself not to have any expectations, and just treat it as a long training day.
Race morning came, and my head filled with doubt. My long swim had been a mile broken into 50 yard segments, my long bike, 20 miles, and my long run a mere 50 minutes. Needless to say, that was not how I typically like to go into a race. After some reassurance from my dad, who was also racing, and tons of support from my mom, fellow LUNA Chix teammates, and several TriSMART members I was ready to go.
I swam, biked, and ran at a steady pace. I never felt like I was pushing myself too hard. The swim went better than expected. The heat started getting to me at mile 40 on the bike when my left leg started to cramp. However, I looked at is as a time to tune in my nutrition for a hot day, and continued on. I never pushed too hard. The run was hot, and my legs were definitely not used to the endurance, but I continued on with a walk/run, telling myself it was all in preparation for Hawaii. The day passed, and I managed to finish 5th in my age group. While it was my slowest half-iron distance race to date, I felt a sense of accomplishment. In fact, the day went well enough, that I picked up a roll down spot for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September.
But really, what’s more impressive is how my teammates, Bernadette and Nancy, better known as Snips, did. They both had trained hard and completed their first full 70.3’s and did so despite the heat! They were amazing. Last year Bernadette completed Steelhead 70.3, but the swim was cancelled, so this was her first full half Ironman. Snips told us the night before the race she was going to finish in 8 hours and 40 minutes but blew past her expectations coming in at 8 hours and 16 minutes. I couldn’t have been more proud of my two teammates. Seeing them on the course brought a smile to my face. I’d also like to say thanks to everyone who was out there cheering, you make racing so much fun. Dawn and Waddler, thank you for yelling “Go LUNA’s” louder then the rest. The Chicago LUNA Chix Tri Team rocks. I feel honored to be a part of such a great group of ladies, and cannot wait to represent Team LUNA Chix in the 70.3 and Ironman World Championships in September and October.
Until then, Happy Training!
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