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Jun 23

VITA AdVentures: The Race of A Lifetime

Race day!  I couldn’t hardly believe it was time to actually do this.  It’s like having a baby (or two) because you’re pregnant and preparing for so long and then, it seems all of a sudden, it’s time.  When the time came (for having the boys too) I was READY!

WorldChampDU2014

There was no anxiety about getting to the race, thanks to my coach, so I packed up my gear in the morning after having big and good breakfast.  Not only did I eat cheese and bread (Spanish breakfast of champions!) but a banana, muesli and yogurt.  I also had to pack my Gu Chomps, a HoneyStinger Waffle and two bottles of water/NUUN for extra hydration.  The temp called for 75 degrees and my start time wasn’t until 12:30pm.  It was going to be hot.  Deal with it.

This is what I like to call my “first day of school” picture, taken the morning of the race at CRS’ rented house:

IMG_3763

I feel like I should be holding one of those little chalkboards that reads “My First World Championship!”  Nerd alert.  And no, that’s not a house arrest bracelet around my ankle but the timing device for the race.  It’s huge!

We made it to the arena without issue but my nerves were in full effect.  Athletes from all over the world were warming up and there was definitely a buzz of unrelenting energy.  I was trying to take it all in and be present but all I could think about was just getting to the start line.

AT THE START

After a short time, they started to corral us into “pens,” lined up with our age groupers, ready to be herded to the start line.  It actually provided a good opportunity to size up the competition and make some friends.  I always like to chat before a race to release some energy.

I have to say, the women from Great Britain were probably the nicest of the bunch.  I really enjoyed talking to them in general and one girl in particular, was so sweet and super helpful when we were all trying to figure out the routing for the RUN IN, BIKE OUT.  It can be complicated, especially with staggered starts, and you do not want to wait until you’re actually racing to figure it out.

The sun was beating down on my back and I was trying to distract my thoughts, focus on the race and trust in my training.

THE FIRST RUN – 6 Miles (10K) – 4 Loops

My time had come.  I saw off the first five or so waves of men and women and then, there I was, at the start line.  Holy shit.  I had a moment to think about my family somewhere out there…and then the horn sounded!

Everyone took off like crazy, as they usually do at the start.  I’ve gotten a lot better over the years at reigning myself in for those first few miles, especially when you’re going to be racing for 2+ hours.

At the first turn of the first loop, I saw my family!  I had the biggest smile ever!

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The whole race was run in loops.  When I first heard about this, I was bummed.  We had all of Spain to run and ride though!  Why are we looping?  Turns out, the race officials that be, know more then I do when it comes to international racing.  Because the first run was four loops (which I was terrified of miscounting!) I was able to see my family four times.  Not only that, but we went racing down these small backstreets of Spain that had so many corners and turns that I truly was able to channel my inner bull!  I became the bull.

And the crowd?  Besides my own family going insane every time they saw me, I had the power of the crowd that was lining the entire race course yelling “GO USA!” and looking at me. What the?  Let me tell you, when someone you don’t know is waving an American flag and yelling “Go USA! Go Burdick!” it’s a feeling I cannot even begin to describe.  I know this race is a far cry from the Olympics but, I’ll never be in the Olympics, so this was it.  And it felt better then almost anything I’ve ever experienced.

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The rest of the crowd was shouting in all different languages – some recognizable and some not.  One woman, every time I passed her was yelling “Animal” with an accent, so it sounded like “an-e-mal” which was awesome.  Most of the shouts were in Spanish and I heard quite a bit of “Vamos chicas!” Si Si! Vamos!

My coach, Hans and Claudia were also cheering and taking pictures and, most of all, CRS was reminding me to relax.

I started my assault on those who went out a little too fast.  There was one significant hill at the beginning of each loop, and by the last climb I was worried about handling it when we met again after the bike.

I whipped into transition in 41:29, threw my shoes off, started to put my bike shoes on when a pain shot up my foot!  WTF?  There were burrs in the field where we were transitioning!  You know those little suckers that stick to your socks and have 1,000 needle-like things on them? Yeah, those.  So I had to stop (death!) and pick a few of them out, and then put my shoes back on.  I was pissed.  Transition time: 2:16!  Horrible.

THE BIKE AKA DEATH BY CLIMBING – 23 Miles (40K)

It was a good thing I was pissed when I got on my bike because what was ahead of me would take every ounce of passion and fury I could manage, to conquer it.  The bike was also two loops.  These loops were far less motivating and magical and much more hell like and full of pain.  It was basically a 6 mile climb straight up, and then a 6 mile descent straight down.  Twice.

Here’s what it looks like on paper:

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 6.23.57 AM

 

The first 12 miles were actually not that bad.  Yes, you’re working and climbing but you also have a chance to fuel and hydrate and, you’re not running.  At least for a little while.  Plus, there was plenty of action with riders climbing up and speeding down.  Cyclists never cease to amaze me with their speed on downhills.  I’m usually pretty conservative but, in this race and after that climb?  I flew down that hill as fast as I could.  I clocked 47 mph at my fastest point and I loved every second that I was not pedaling against the mountain but having fun and flying down it!

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Then I had to go back up.  If there was any low point in the race, this was definitely it.  It was on that second loop when I started to get passed by a lot of women.  No matter how hard you train or who you are, when you’re getting passed, it’s very tough on your mental game.  I tried my best to just keep fighting and to “set my pace and run (bike) my race,” but it was getting harder with each turn of the pedals.

And then my chain fell off.

I put it back on in no time but, just getting off the bike for those seconds, and then getting back on with grease smeared hands, was almost enough to put me over the edge.  I somehow held it together (this is where all that mental training comes in handy) and pushed my way toward that second transition.

Bike time: 1:25:40 Transition time: 1:25

I was ready for those stupid burrs that time!

FINAL RUN – 3 Miles (5K)

I’m at my best on the run.  No doubt about it.  My legs are screaming, my hamstring was daring me to go just a little bit faster and it was going to shoot out of my leg and fly across the road – but I was on it!  In the run, it’s my turn to pass some of those women back and I was determined to do just that.  In my mind I think “You’re a runner!  This is what you do – now do it!”

I noticed a woman just ahead of me too, an American teammate named Carter.  I realized quickly that we were matching paces and I thought – if I can just stay with her, she can carry me to the finish.  And what a show she put on!

At this point in the run, most of the men should be finished because of the lead time they had on us, so whenever we would pass a Team USA guy, Carter would smack ’em in the ass and yell some encouraging words.  It was awesome.  She is my hero.

I also saw my fans again screaming “Come on Burdick – looking strong!” and waving those flags.

I let it all sink in.  I looked around and noticed.  I made a memory.

As Carter and I made that final lap into the stadium, I saw my family, cheering like crazy with cameras poised:

Finish line!

Finish line!

 

A journey that began in May of 2012 at a local duathlon in Connecticut, was about to come to an amazing finish in Pontevedra, Spain.  There are no words.  I felt complete and total happiness, fulfillment and relief.  I fucking did it.

Final run: 21:04

Overall Stats:

1st run/6 miles: 41:29 – 5th in age group

bike/23 miles: 1:25:40 – 11th in age group

2nd run/3 miles: 21:04 – 5th in age group

total miles: 32

9th female in the 35-39 age group, out of 16 and 3rd American woman

Results in numbers have never mattered less.  In fact, I had no idea how I even did until the next day when I called CRS to tell her my hamstring was ok (since I was limping after the race) and she gave me the news.  I was content with the numbers but elated with the experience itself.

Now it was time to rest and eat my face off in Portugal…

Cheers!  My celebration dinner post-race. Best feeling ever!

Cheers! My celebration dinner post-race. Best feeling ever!

Have you ever had a feeling of total fulfillment and happiness?

Ever run a race when you didn’t check your results?

55 comments

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  1. Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness

    Yeah Allie!! That was amazing! I am so happy you did so well! You deserve to enjoy yourself now! Congrats on a job really well done!
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…The Facts About Cancer – Ride For Roswell EditionMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Kris! Relaxing is definitely feeling GOOD!

  2. Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    OMG, you had me on the edge of my seat!! That is amazing!! 3rd American woman? You are a rockstar!! So happy for you and I hope you are still grinning from ear to ear even today, you deserve to be!! Congrats my friend!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Summer essentials!My Profile

    1. vita88

      I absolutely AM! I haven’t stopped smiling yet! Thanks Sue.

  3. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    You just had me tearing up! So happy and proud of you. I hope you have a whole photo album of mental (and real) memories to look back on. And Carter slapping ass? LOVE IT!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…RRCA Coaching CertificationMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Awww – thanks Angela! Carter was so, so cool. I have to look her up and get in touch. She’s from Texas but somehow, I need to meet her again 🙂

  4. Janine Huldie

    You did awesome Allie and have every right to be proud. Glad you got to celebrate afterwards and loved getting the recap finally here today!! 🙂
    Janine Huldie recently posted…SITS Community Lead (An Announcement) – Summer of Social Love LinkupMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Janine! It’s definitely an experience I will never forget!

  5. Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama

    Yes, you fucking did it, and you are a total rockstar! Congrats on an incredible race! And, whoa mama, those run times are incredible!

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Nicole!! You know what this means, right? Next up – IM!…maybe in 5 years 🙂

  6. Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life

    Congratulations to you – this is awesome! I loved reading about your triumphs! You did a great job of building the suspense to today’s post! The pictures are fabulous too!
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…Smoked Ribs: Backyard Barbeque FavoriteMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Michelle! I really appreciate that. I hope we can talk in person over the summer at some point!

  7. Eve

    Wow What a great story! Keep writing so I can keep reading!! We are all so proud of you!

    1. vita88

      Thanks Eve!!!

  8. Britt@MyOwnBalance

    Oh my gosh! I can’t even imagine hearing people, total strangers, cheering for you as the representative of USA. How cool is that!?!? What an amazing experience!

    I love the photo of you right before the race. It brings back memories of my first day of school growing up. I could never eat breakfast! I would have been a nervous wreck and you look so calm!

    What an amazing result! You did so great and I’m so happy for you and everything you accomplished! Awesome job Allie! 🙂
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Celebrating the Summer SolsticeMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Britt! That picture is just too funny. Especially since I know how I was feeling when it was taken – it was just like those first day of school jitters but much, much worse!

  9. Carly @ Fine Fit Day

    Allie!!!! I am SO proud of you!! My heart jumped out of my chest when I read “Then my chain fell off.” Holy crap, I think I am even prouder of you for finishing so strong after a huge mental setback like that. Those photos of you racing are so badass, too. Congratulations, what an incredible experience!! Xo
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted…Bondi Band Review and Giveaway!My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thank you so much Carly! The chain falling off was A LOT better then a flat…so I just kept telling myself that!

  10. Stephanie

    YOU ARE AMAZING! That’s all I kept thinking the whole time I read this. And I teared up about 6 times. What a story of accomplishment Allie – so glad I’ve been able to live vicariously through your posts (because let’s face it, that’s the only way I’m doing any of these races) and it’s been a thrill ride. So excited for you.
    Stephanie recently posted…Grilling with Michelle from A Dish of Daily LifeMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thank you so, so much Stephanie!! I love your comments – they absolutely make my day!!

  11. Alison

    Oh my God, you kicked ass.
    Also, I want your arms and legs.
    Congratulations! (On the race. And your amazing arms and legs)
    Alison recently posted…Said No One EverMy Profile

    1. vita88

      HA HA HA – thanks Alison!!!

  12. Kim

    Awesome! Congratulations and a GREAT race report!!!
    Kim recently posted…Summer is HERE!!My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much!

  13. Kimberly (Manifest Yourself)

    AMAZING! I literally felt like I was with you when I read this recap. So excited/proud of you.

    And I have to say… your arms are incredible. I had to refocus after your first day at school shot. lol #armenvy
    Kimberly (Manifest Yourself) recently posted…Journey to WellnessMy Profile

    1. vita88

      HA HA – you are cracking me up with the hashtag! Thanks Kim. Maybe we can get in a workout together at FitBloggin’? 🙂

      1. Kimberly (Manifest Yourself)

        oooo goodness! I’ll have to see if I can keep up with you. But I am definitely up for the challenge. I’ll email you my cell phone so we can coordinate in case I don’t run into you.
        Kimberly (Manifest Yourself) recently posted…Journey to WellnessMy Profile

  14. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    Ok Allie, I’m sitting here in Whole Foods attempting to write a report and instead I’m reading your post and literally tearing up (and my husband is looking at me like I’m nuts). I’m so freaking happy for you!! What an amazing journey and race. You freaking kicked ass.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Scenes from my weekend: Summer SolsticeMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You are so awesome!!! Thank you so, so much Christine! It means so much to me for you to say that and feel that. xoxo

  15. Marisa

    Your accomplishment and story are a part of History! Congrats to one of the strongest woman I know! You did it Miyagi….you became the BULL! xo

    1. vita88

      YAY baby!!! Thanks Marisa! Love you girl!

  16. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

    This was so exhilarating to read! I feel like I was there! I bet hearing strangers cheering for you was just unbelievable!! Great job!!!

    1. vita88

      It really was! It’s something I will never forget! Thank you.

  17. Jaclyn @ BumpSweat

    Amazing!! I love how involved the crowd got; I’m sure that helped everyone a ton! Way to go!!
    Jaclyn @ BumpSweat recently posted…{Babymoon-in-Review} Niagara FallsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It absolutely did! The only crowd to rival it was at the Boston marathon.

  18. Kim

    Whoop!! Whoop!! You are such a total BadAss!!! You did it!! I have tears reading this because I felt like I was right there with you (watching not competing!!). Way to go!!! I love all the pictures – you look strong and happy – the best way to be!!!
    Kim recently posted…What Right Does Anyone Have to Judge Us?My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Kim and YOU WERE there with me – in spirit – ringing in my ears to GO GET IT!

  19. Janie

    Oh my. The chain off and the burrs……and you still did so well….so proud!!!

    1. vita88

      Thanks Janie!!! There’s always going to be something!

  20. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama

    First of all these pictures are so amazing! Allie I am SO SO SO proud of you! I was proud before you left and even more proud of you now!! You look SO great and natural out there, you are my SHERO!!! I waited with baited breath for this recap and it was everything I wanted and more. I can only imagine how awesome it was to hear cheers for America while you were racing!! I don’t know what burrs are but screw em! Thank you so much for sharing this entire story with us. You are completely and utterly motivational and I can’t wait to pick your brain at fitbloggin…I think I have the running bug. LOL
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…What Would You Do? The Case Of The See Through ShortsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      OMG that is beyond exciting!!! Once you catch that running bug – there’s no stopping you!!!
      Thank you for everything you said. I so appreciate it and I can’t wait to see you in TWO DAYS! 🙂

  21. Tamara

    I had to Google honeystinger waffle. Can you bring those on our next playdate? I think I need the energy now that Des is most fearless than he used to be.
    I got chills about people cheering you on.
    This really is an experience of a lifetime but I have no doubt that you have many more in your future. Experiences of a lifetime, that is. I’m not telling you to do this again, unless you want to!
    I’ve felt total fulfillment and happiness, yes.
    Tamara recently posted…The Passing of a Centenarian.My Profile

    1. vita88

      Ha ha ha – I’ll definitely bring the waffles! And, no I’m done with the big racing…for now. I’d love to have a playdate though. That’s definitely going to be more my speed for this summer!

  22. Melissa

    I’ve been a bit out of touch lately but I’m so glad to have read this race recap, Allie! I’m trying to hold back tears!!!

    You are one amazing woman – not just because of your physical prowess (which is mighty) but because you do everything with heart (and snark – which I adore)!

    You are an inspiration! I can’t wait to see you in just a few days!!
    Melissa recently posted…Tunes For Tuesday – Adam AntMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You know me so well Melissa! Thank you. Can’t wait to see you AGAIN in a few days!!

  23. Donna Capello

    Allie, you are frickin awesome! You had me tearing up, laughing out loud reading this and just so damn proud. You really make me feel that I can do anyting as long as I try. You are a true inspiration! I

    1. vita88

      YES YOU CAN!!! Thank you so much Donna – I so appreciate this!!

  24. Lauren

    So fun to read about this moment by moment! What an amazing accomplishment, and I’m sure you’ll remember those “Go USA!” cheers forever. (I know that’s a corny thing for me to write, but I think it’s true.)
    Lauren recently posted…Vacation pre-game.My Profile

    1. vita88

      It’s not corny AT ALL because I absolutely will. It was an unforgettable experience. Thanks Lauren!

  25. Jen@milesandblessings

    Ahhh!!!! I feel like Eye of the Tiger or something should be playing in the background of this post!!!! Amazing recap! Such an awesome opportunity, such amazing times…you deserve it!!!! Great job! I am just going to let you know that 47 mph on a bike sounds TERRIFYING to me!!!!!…oh yeah and the chain falling off probably would have sent me over the edge, way to stay mentally tough!
    I felt totally fulfilled after PR in a marathon that I ran 2 weeks after I bonked in a marathon that I had trained hard for. For about 5 minutes I was really disappointed…then I just wanted another try but the only race that worked for me without spending a ton of travel money was in 2 weeks…I did it and did it 15 minutes faster :)!
    I must say that I have never not checked my results 🙂
    Jen@milesandblessings recently posted…Running non-necessities that are necessities and money saving tips!!!My Profile

    1. vita88

      Ha ha ha – I feel like that song should have been playing too 🙂 Thanks Jen.
      That is downright amazing about your marathon!!! SO AMAZING!

  26. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    OUCH!!!!! 12:30pm start time. That’s too too too rough! But you kicked some serious ass, which I am NOT surprised of! And you truly look THRILLED to have your post race dinner – MMMMM What did you have!?!?! I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Portugal!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…Have Some Balls on Your Birthday!My Profile

    1. vita88

      You NEED to go to Portugal! It’s one of the most fabulous, delicious and beautiful places I’ve ever seen. And I love that you want to know what I had for dinner – table side paella. BEST EVER!!!! I went back and had it again the next night. Yep, I did.

  27. Dana

    I actually cried a little reading this, Allie. What an emotional, amazing, and physically challenging experience – I feel so privileged to be able to share it with you through your posts! Well done, my friend. Oh – and in my family we call those burrs “monkey balls.” I have no idea why, but it makes me giggle.
    Dana recently posted…Hey, Miss Know-it-All – you don’t.My Profile

    1. vita88

      You are so awesome Dana!!! I know I’ve said that before but, really – thank you so much!!!
      Monkey balls??? Ha ha ha – that is too much. Now I can say “I hate those damn monkey balls!” 🙂

  1. Fitbloggin 14 Savannah Part 2: Run Disney, Ignite & Clubbing In Savannah - Brooklyn Active Mama

    […] amazing rap about Fitbloggin (he actually shouted me out in the lyrics!) and Allie talked about her amazing journey and race in Spain and since I have been reading her entire story to see her share it in such a dynamic way had me […]

  2. My Year of Running 2014 - Fine Fit Day

    […] blog, she was beginning training for the World Duathlon Championships in Spain. Incredible, right? The woman represented her country!! But it’s Allie’s total lack of pretense, her humor, her humility, the fact that she […]

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