Sometimes dealing with the stress of starting a major athletic event can have adverse effects on an athlete’s performance.
Strong athletes tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves to do well in races, only to have that pressure render them exhausted during the event. Having only recently come back from an IT band injury that slowed her training over the winter, TCB athlete Kelly Couch rolled into last week’s Wildflower Triathlon with no expectations and reaped the benefits of competing in a relaxed-but-focused manner.
Since she was unable to run with much intensity during the off season, Kelly focused her efforts on improving her strength on the bike, and was essentially using Wildflower to see if all the riding had made a difference. “My goal was simple,” Kelly said, “bike as well as I possibly could and see what happens on the run”. The training obviously paid off.
After a “predictable” swim, Kelly launched up the first climb and kept the leaders of the race in sight until the top of Nasty Grade. It wasn’t until she got gapped on the descent that she finally lost contact with some of the fastest triathletes in the world. After completing a blistering bike split, Kelly tried to settle into a comfortable running pace, but knew she was in for a struggle. “I had to fight for every step. I just gritted my teeth, put my head down, and thought to myself “this pain will be over soon.” Despite worrying about the potential damage she might be doing to her injured IT band, Kelly kept a solid pace throughout the run and managed to finish as the first-placed American and an impressive 4th place overall.
Congratulations, Kelly, on a great finish on a really tough course.
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