You can't help who shows up on race day. A podium spot should never be the goal. It's something you can't control. You may have the race of your life and if Mirinda Carfrae shows up - you will still be second. It can be icing on the cake - but it should not be the goal. You can control what goes into the cake. So, the goal is to whip up the best ingredients in your race and see how it tastes at the finish line.
I was reminded of this when M.T. showed up. I don't know M.T., but I know she's fast. I haven't seen her in a race in a while, but she looked as strong as always. I decided I was going to let go of my podium goal. I reminded myself to race for more points in the state series and to race HARD.
And I did. I swam hard. I sped through T1, grabbed my shoes, dunked my feet in the baby pool and headed out on the run seconds before Misty. We ran together - though I trailed her by a couple of yards and love her even more for encouraging me the whole way: come on, Beth, she'd call. I'm right behind you! I'd assure her. [Which I'm pretty sure she knew because my wet shoes quacked like a duck with every footfall.]
About midway around the lake I felt someone on my heels. I felt her come up beside me and could see the 43 on her leg as she passed. Misty and I hung with M.T. for about three blocks and she jetted off into T2. My thought, if I can just stay with Misty, I'll have a chance for third. I beat Misty out of the second transition and had my aforementioned wardrobe malfunction. C'mon, Beth! she yelled. I was close for a while, but man, that girl can go.
I pushed hard and smiled the entire bike ride. I love chasing and knew that Tardy Spice was on close on my heels. I smiled a lot on the run, too, because I was meeting my goals - making it a progressive run. I hit the last swim and stopped. Fear of some big crashing big waves stopped my forward progress, but then I charged in - ready to finish. No one in my age group had passed me and I wasn't going to let it happen in the water.
The thrilling conclusion tomorrow: MAY THE FOURCE BE WITH YOU.