I raced very smart and didnt think that I took very many risks but obviously the judges thought otherwise. My goal was to stay with the lead pack for as long as I could and try and go for the win. The girls in this race were all at my level so it was a perfect chance to race hard and go for a win at a big competition. I started off with the lead pack for the first km and then they pulled away for the next 2km's and after that I tried to work my way back up to them. By 4km's I got my first red card for lifting (you must get 3 to be disqualified). I had caught up to the group again at that point and the pace was feeling easy and comfortable. I then stayed with the group, leading at times and was feeling good. I got my 2nd red card at around 7km's but this time for bent knee (give me a break!) and at that point I felt like I was most likely going to get disqualified. I was leading the group with a girls from the Czech Republic, Italy and Spain and it seemed like the judges didnt like that. The other girls were starting to fade and so I started to pull away from them at around 10km's and just before I went through 11km's the head judge stopped me. I couldnt believe this was happening to me. It was my first time being disqualified. It is not like I even ever get close to being disqualified at any other race, I usually get no paddles ever so to get disqualified was a complete shock.
Immediately after I was pulled off the course, Andreas Gustafsson's father, Bo Gustafsson (Olympic Medallist in the 50km RW) came up to me and said that I looked the best that he has ever seen me and he travels to San Diego very often so he see's me quite a bit. He was telling me that he definitely thought that I would have won the race and to not let this get me disappointed. He said that I was "in the wrong country", meaning that they didnt like that I was beating their country women. This may not have been the case, maybe they didnt like my technique, I will never know. It was very nice to see a friendly face because I had traveled alone to the race. I do think that I would have won the race if this had not have happened. I felt really good and fresh after the half way point. I went through 10k in 46:55 and I know that I was ready for a sub 1:34 time. I was #96 on the DQ board in this picture.
SO, my immediate thought was, I want to go to a race next week. I knew that there were some National Championships happening in Hungary, France and Poland the next weekend and so I decided that I didnt want to only have 1 more chance to race in Europe. Here comes the crazy part. I met some nice people from Hungary at the race and I asked them if I could travel back with them on their bus and stay with them for the week and compete in their Nationals. They said that I could and so yesterday we made the 500km drive to Budapest, Hungary and now, here I am! It was a very quick decision, I had about 20 minutes to decide haha but I thought, why not be adventurous, I am in Europe! So far I feel like I made a very good decision. These people are so nice, I feel so glad to have met them. Training is feeling good and the race on the weekend ended up just being a good tempo walk :) So I didnt have to recover from much for this week. The race is on Sunday at 9am in Bekescsaba which is 2.5 hours away from Budapest. Several years ago many Americans came here to compete in this race and have walked fast times. When Tim raced here he broke his PB by 5 minutes so I hope I have the same luck. Maybe not 5 minutes but any PB will do! I am looking forward to it.
We will travel to the race on Friday and then I will leave Hungary to go back to Germany on Monday. It has been a whirlwind last few days but I am having a great time and am very happy to be here.
Keep on walking,