This race was everything (and more) than I had hoped for. I really am a big fan of smaller local races. Less stress, less pressure, less tapering. More family, more friends, more fun!
I am going to skip right to race morning although everything before and after my actual race was way more fun and (a little too) exciting. In case you missed it and want to read about it, you can go to my last blog post.
Race morning was a breeze. This race, unlike many others, was not a logistical nightmare and I enjoyed every minute of it. Alarm went off at 5am, same as every day. It was already starting to get light outside as I carefully snuck out of the tent. A Lara bar for breakfast was going to have to cut it since I didn't want to wake up our sleeping campers. I love camping! Nothing like getting up and being surrounded by beauty, breathing fresh, clean, chilly mountain air! Although, like I've mentioned before, it's quite stressful to combine racing and family camping and I am really only up for it once a year...
I did something I have never done before on race morning: I took a shower! I was cold and had the time, so I figured I might as well take advantage of a free hot shower! It was so nice it took a while to convince myself to get out and put on my racing kit. Then I rolled over to Karen's campsite and together we pedaled a little more than a mile to the start. Easy peasy.
The swim was great! I have no splits whatsoever from this race, so all I can tell is how I felt. I love open water swimming. Water temperature was perfect! Probably around 64 degrees... The start was typical: Everyone (but me) starts out sprinting. After a few hundred meters I find myself, as usual, in about 23rd place. Oh. Ok. Must be lots of fast swimmers here. Or maybe it's just not my day. But let's not get nervous. Just do your thing. Swim a straight line and don't worry about what everybody else is doing. We swam two loops and, if you know me, you know I like loops. So I was a happy little swimmer.
On my way in, I got mentally ready for the wetsuit stripping. I had a plan and I was going to execute it perfectly. As it sometimes happens, the wetsuit strippers were situated far too close to the swim exit. Unless you are already half-way out of your wetsuit when you get to them, it doesn't really save you any time because you are going to just be standing there while getting your arms out of that thing. But I was determined to impress John (who ruled the East Coast triathlon scene back in the day when they didn't have such as a thing as wetsuit strippers and he wasn't sure what to think of it) and show him how this is done properly. And I did. Except that he wasn't looking. He either missed me because a) He didn't recognize me despite my weirdo signature stroke or b) He didn't think I would come out of the water in (what later turned out to be) 2nd place!
The bike was interesting. I managed to pass the girl ahead of me right out of transition. We both struggled a bit since the mounting line was on a rather steep uphill. Well, looks like somebody needs to practice how to get on their bike. Let me show you how this is done. Ok, see you later! I'll wait for you at the finish line! A few miles later I was merrily pedaling down a nice little descend when - woosh - that same girl came flying by me. And I mean flying! Alright. Thank you for the lesson in 'Pride comes before the Fall'. Glad you are feeling so good. I do hope to see you on the run though!
I had no clue where I was in relation to the other girls until the turn-around of a little out-and-back section around mile 7. I didn't see any other girls, and so I figured that my new friend was in the lead and I was in second. But, boy, did I ever see a lot of girls right after we turned around! The race was on! Over the next few miles I got passed two more times and eventually found myself in 4th place. Yikes. What is the deal with my biking? Maybe it's time to get some race wheels. Or an aero helmet. Or replace this cracked frame I am riding on. How can these legs look so powerful and yet be so weak? But I wasn't about to give up. My mantra was: (I want) Everything you got! (There is) No holding back! Slowly but steadily I reeled in two of the three girls ahead of me and got into T2 right behind the leader.
Time for the run! Let's see what you got! I had never met the girl and had no idea what kind of a runner she was. But I knew that I was going to give it everything I had to run her down and not get passed by any more girls. So I went to work.
I wasn't making up much ground at all in the first mile and started to get a little worried. But then I remembered that
1. I didn't need to win the race. I just needed to give it my best shot.
2. There are 5 more miles to run and a lot can happen in 5 miles.
So I stayed patient. And suddenly at mile 1.5 the girl started to slow down quite a bit and I made the pass without too much trouble. Decisive pass. Decisive pass. Decisive pass. Because the last thing you want is the girl you pass to come with you. It worked.
(I never really had a chance to talk to her but I heard that she really banged up her toe jumping into the water at the swim start. So that might explain why she was struggling on the run.)
The rest of the run it was just me against myself. I knew at the turn-around that, unless I was totally going to blow up (which was unlikely), I was going to win this thing! I considered slowing down. Why hurt when you don't have to? But then I remembered my goal for this race and how I felt after finishing in St. George, and I knew that slowing down wasn't option. Plus, I was having way too much fun going (relatively) fast! So I went with this instead:
I had also taken a quick look at the course record a few days before the race. Mostly just because the link was right there, so why not click on it and see who set the record and when? Turns out it was Angi Axmann in 2010. I happen to know how ridiculously fast that girl is, so I knew there was no way I could even get close. Her record was 2:15:57 and my estimated finish time was 2:25.
But, heck, why not go for it?
It's not like anyone would ever find out that I was presumptuous enough to even think about the record. I needed something to motivate me and to help me to keep up the pace. I was racing with no watch, so I really had no idea where I was at. But in my head I kept repeating: Suicide pace. Suicide pace. Course record. Course record.
It was great to have John, Nancy, Karl, and the boys on the course cheering for me and taking pictures! Noah had gotten a syringe at the hospital the night before and he was using it as a water pistol to get me wet! It was awesome! I took a second to high-five the kids and when I crossed the finish line the clock said 2:22.
chilling in the ice bath with the Trisports crew
A while later I figured out that my time was 2:15:56 but I couldn't remember what the course record was exactly. But later that night I found out that I broke Angi's record by one second. Pretty crazy! I was thrilled but I would've been excited about my race and the whole weekend either way!
Next up: Another camping trip. But this time to the beach. And there won't be any racing and very little training. Time for a family vacation! My goal is to just chill out and go with the flow. Wish me luck!
A huge Thank You to
- My friends and family! You guys are the best!
- Coach M and HT for all your help!
- Trisports.com for your awesome support!