New Heights

When I went to Greg for coaching 2 years ago, I told him I wanted to do two things: 1st, race the best in the sport, and 2nd, be the best.

We’ve been working towards that goal since then, and it has been baby steps. Incremental gains that are barely visible on a day-to-day basis but seem to somehow keep adding up to leaps and bounds when I least expect it!

The first big leap in our journey came when I stepped up to the elite ranks. Since then, my first 10 months as a pro have been a constant test of my ability to find consistency in the midst of constant change, to be comfortable with discomfort, and of staring walls in the face and breaking through them.

While I have been making steady progress this year, up until even a month ago, if someone told me I would be racing a WTS and that I would actually be IN the swim, I would have probably laughed in your face! But in late August, the opportunity arose for me to throw my hat in the ring at Edmonton WTS, and, as I said, my time as a professional triathlete thus far has been defined by aiming big and embracing discomfort. So, why not?!

Legit!

Legit!

Beautiful greenery of Edmonton!

Beautiful greenery of Edmonton!

Prepped and ready to race!

Prepped and ready to race!

There was so much learning in Edmonton. On the one hand, the weekend was a celebration of my hard work and of reaching my first goal: racing the best in the sport. But on the other, I was there to do a job, and it honestly felt like any other race (well, except for looking to my right at the pre-race briefing and seeing Jonny Brownlee a few seats over... I admittedly did a double take!).

My biggest takeaway from the race?

At this level, you can’t lose focus for a second.

And by a second, I mean not even ONE second. I was thrilled with my swim in Edmonton – coming out on Non Stanford’s feet?! Hell yeah! Still not satisfied, but it was lightyears from getting dropped in a continental cup less than 10 months prior. That being said, I got out of the water and was perhaps so shocked to be “in it” that my focus lapsed. I fumbled T1 and proceeded to watch the main pack pull away as I pedaled in vain to catch up. Womp, womp. From there, my mindset went to simply biking as hard as I could and working with the handful of girls around me to minimize the damage. Off the bike, I focused only on running as fast as my legs would go and having no regrets once I crossed the finish line. My legs didn’t have it and my result was admittedly underwhelming.

On the other hand, I’m so proud of my effort and there are so many “results” that don’t show in my official race finish of 40th place. The race was just positive enough that I could walk away happy and proud; and it was just frustrating enough that I returned back to The States more motivated than ever to continue the exponential progress I’ve experienced in 2016.

All smiles + fire in the eyes -- there is WORK to be done this fall!

All smiles + fire in the eyes -- there is WORK to be done this fall!

The following weekend, I got to have some fun with Major League Triathlon in Portland, ME. Finally, a race on the east coast! My mom, aunt, and puppy got to watch my team as we raced to our best finish of the season (4th!), and I got some quality time with them before and after the race…. Happy days all around!

Bird's eye view: Portland, ME

Bird's eye view: Portland, ME

Tessa really liked her first hotel experience.....

Tessa really liked her first hotel experience.....

Now it’s back to the grind! I’m back to 40k weeks of swimming plus biking, running, and swim cords galore from now until my final race of the season: the Elite National Championships in New Orleans, LA. From there, I get a week off (woohoooo!) and then we really get to work! Stay tuned for training updates, NOLA stories/race report, baking adventures on my week off, and the wedding planning fun in store for me this fall! Lots of excitement ahead :D