Going into Sunday, I thought I was "appropriately" nervous, little butterflies and a bit of excitement. On Saturday, I was just nervous. My tummy was not cooperating. But the good news was, I FINALLY got to swim in the morning after StevieP (coach extraordinaire) kept me out of the water for the week. Ahhhh, it felt great. I thought for sure I had forgotten to swim in the time I was out of the water but as luck would have it, everything worked just fine.
The Practical Coaching gang had a great entertaining, and relaxing dinner together on Saturday night and I started to feel a bit better. Back to the hotel, Sonja and I were roomies again and just went about our business, putting numbers on and getting ready for the morning. We room VERY well together, we just seem to click and get each other, Partners In Crime, and total twinkie sisters. Her presence has an awesome calming affect on me. After a decent sleep, it was 4:20 and it was time to get going. My tummy was clearly not going to allow any type of food so the peanut butter and jelly sammy I had just sat there looking at me. Oh well.
I got all set up in transition relatively well without any problems (except for the newbie taking up an entire rack to herself , looking at me like I'm nuts because I asked her to move???) and Beth, Steve, Son ja ja, Andrea, and I went for a warm-up jog. I had a 6:50 wave - #4 which I was happy about......not too much waiting around. After my fifth trip to the port-a-potty, wait maybe only three trips today, I went to the beach to watch the start and get my wetsuit on. But, we were delayed 15 minutes. OK, no biggie I just sat around listening to my ipod.
Swim: Our wave had boys in it.....say it with me: EWWWWWW! Big stinking aggressive boys! That was the toughest swim start I've had all year - arms flying, people grabbing my legs trying to swim over me. So I just got the hell out of there. Probably (well definitely) went out faster than I had anticipated but after a few minutes, I was in a comfortable pace and breathing pattern. I was hoping to find a fast boy to draft of, but I never did.....I think I may have swam faster than all of them. I managed to catch red caps, blue caps, and even the first wave of white caps! And then I was done... running up the beach. I glanced at my watch and saw the surprising time of 21: something. Woo hoo, fastest time all year! Of course, my immediate thought was hmmmm must have been short. Can't give myself credit for too long.....
T1: Kind of dorked out a bit getting out of my wetsuit but not too badly. I remember standing there for a moment and saying Oh wait, I have to go!
Bike: In my mind, the hardest part, OK second hardest part of the race is the approach to Olde Stage. But, I stuck to my strategy - little chain ring, spin it out and be nice and relaxed and in control by the time the hill starts. Within minutes, the eventual winner of my age group passes me.....and then a couple incredibly speedy girls in the wave behind me. But, I am sticking to my strategy. The hill comes, but I was ready and in control. I even passed a couple of girls that had passed me on the approach. To the top and down we go WEEEEEEEEE! I held on for dear life and did a pretty good job on the left corner and then the right corner and then I just tried to take off. I really, really, really wanted to break 1:20 on this course so I was going at it and not wanting to leave anything out there. And then I was back at the rez, took my feet out of my shoes, thought about doing a fancy dismount and chickened out at the last minute. I told myself my feet were in the wrong position and then a guy coming in next to me totally dorked out and wiped out on his way into transition. Maybe next time.....
T2: Run in, bike into the rack, shoes on, grab hat and number and out I go.....
Run: It was hot. But I was determined. I started out at a comfortable pace, I didn't want to blow my wad on the first 3 miles. Got to the first aid station and dumped water on my head. Tried to pick out bogies ahead of me to take my mind off of the hot temps. And then I was at the turnaround and thought maybe I could go a bit faster but no, nothing there. I saw Beth coming for me (AHHHH) and just kept wondering when she was going to pass me. At this point I was struggling but I kept thinking to myself, OK only 2 miles to go, I can do anything for 20 minutes. I wanted to quit, it was hot, and I was done. OK, 1 mile to go, I can do this! But I couldn't pick it up. I felt like I was shuffling along. As soon as I hit the black top of the rez, the heat was just radiating up and, did I mention, it was HOT. But I was almost there. There was no one around me so I hit the downhill and tried with anything I had left to pick it up. I heard Troy cheering and then some other cheers and thank GOD I was finished.
I looked down at my watch and just wanted to cry. 2:34 something. A full 18 minutes faster than last year. OMG. Absolutely unbelievable. I sat down with my cold towel and actually had someone ask me if I was OK. It took me awhile to get my s**t together and I finally found some PC folks to cheer with. Then I saw Beth and we "threw down", that was a blast! She pushes me each and every time we train and race together.....thank you Bethie!
5th out of 68 in my age group. (Yee haw)
So, I met a couple of my goals. I didn't have a specific swim goal only to not want to quit in the middle which I did. My transition times were "in-line" with my wave. I didn't meet my bike time which I am very disappointed in......why am I not faster on the bike??? Something to explore in the next couple of months. And the run. I knew it was going to be hot so I really wanted to be under 50. Accomplished.
Best part: Throwing down with Boulder Peak
Second best part: Throwing down with Beth at the finish
Third best part: Throwing down with Steve, Beth, Noelle, and Tyler in the Rez
Oh and the really best part??? Going home and seeing my family and having them be proud of me. And then packing and going to the mountains for a little family vacation......next post!!!