My second National Championships is under my belt! The race didn’t go as planned. My goal was to make the top twenty and earn a ticket to the World Championships. I came up short of my goal. I completed the course in 2 hours and 24 minutes, about 12 minutes slower than 20th
place. It was discouraging not reaching my goal. At times I feel like I have to “start all over.” My husband provides much needed encouragement and wisdom at the right time. He reminded me that I don’t have to “start all over.” Instead, I am improving on my progress. He is right! I am light years ahead compared to my performance in 2018, and that is something to be proud of. Last year at the National Championship race my performance was mediocre. I could barely finish the swim. Mid-way through the swim I had to resort to the back stroke. It took me about 50 minutes to complete the swim. By the time I reached my bike I was well behind the pack. My bike and run performances were no better. My pace on both events fell below my averages.
This year was completely different! And a fun weekend with my sister and her baby, who came to support me. This year I completed the swim without having to resort to the back stroke. I even maintained a strong pace. By the time I reached my bike, I was only 5-10 minutes behind the lead athletes. My bike performance was equally strong. I averaged a 20-mph pace, which was my fastest time. Despite my solid performance though, I did not improve my placement. I was still 5-10 minutes behind the leaders. By the time I reached the run, my legs were burned out. My extensive running background usually gives me a boost, and I pass a lot of athletes on the run. I only passed five girls on the run, and my pace was almost 30 seconds slower than my average. I was not able to catch up to the top athletes.
Ultimately, my performance at Nationals was not what I replayed in my mind. I didn’t reach my goal, but I did improve my time by almost twenty minutes. The race also revealed that I can compete with the best by making a couple alterations in my training. Only 12 minutes separated me from the best athletes. My sister, who was at the race coaching me along, believes I can make up that time by strengthening my muscles. If my muscles were stronger and endurance trained, she explained, I would have more energy on the run. I also need to get stronger on both the bike and the swim, which will require me to complete longer swims and bike rides to strengthen my endurance. Going forward, I plan to heed my sister’s advice because after all, she is my older sister and my coach. During my off season, I will focus on strengthening my muscles and building a solid base. The only person that can stop me from improving is “me.” I can reach my goals. I just need to keep building and moving forward.
Bryanna’s note: Mariah had a great race, improving her time and she kept a positive attitude along the way. I enjoyed watching her race and compete with some great athletes. Mariah always brings the fun anywhere she goes. Next year, you can expect an even faster time! Any race you finish is an accomplishment…no matter the pace, the distance or the place!
Until Next Time Be Whole and Be Fit