I have snuck away from the family to my favorite $2 internet cafe for a bit of blogging and emailing!
This week has been an amazing experience and the race will be forever sketched in my head. In short, I am very pleased with the race. I really had no idea what to expect but had a feeling that it would be the most aggressive competition I have ever been against. And I was up for the challenge. I will post a more complete race report but here's the quick and dirty.
We lined up for the swim on the beach....that's right it was a run/dive start into the water. Gulp!! There was elbowing on the line before the horn even went off. Once it did, I was right in the front pack of girls trying to get to the front and the clear water. If Tuscaloosa was the toughest swim I have ever had, then this one was by far the most aggressive swim. From the get-go I was getting kicked, punched, swam over and even had my goggles almost knocked off. It was unbelievable. I thought that maybe at the first turn buoy it would settle down but it never did. Girls in my face trying to push me off the feet I had in front of me. Tapping the feet I had in front of me and almost getting my teeth knocked out. Wow. I did manage to throw a punch or 2 but believe me it was purely self defense. I was glad to be done with the swim and out of the water. If you look at the results, you can see that I was with about 8-10 women in my age group fighting it out to the end of the swim.
I think I was pretty slow in T1 but really I was just trying to get my crap together after the brutal swim. But I got on my bike and was happy about it. The crowds and cheering were awesome. People just cheering for USA USA and it was me they were cheering for! My legs were tired though and I thought that the bike wasn't going to be good. I was all alone for awhile and then was passed by a group of girls in my age group. One of them being Steph P (amazing and fast athlete). I decided to go with them and see if I could keep up. Unfortunately this pack was all drafting off of Steph. I was watching the action unfold in front of me while trying to stay at the back of the pack and in a safe legal position. Several of my USA teammates and Taggart from Australia were drafting like there was no tomorrow. I couldn't believe it.....CHEATERS!!! I stayed in back for the most part but then at the start of the second loop tried to get around everyone and be in the front. That didn't last long and was at the back again. I was terrified of getting a yellow card (ITU penalty) and eventually the group disappeared. Kudos to Steph for staying in front and out of the draft-fest.
Off the bike and onto the run. The run was tough but amazing. Once again, these random voices yelling go USA and Go Ford!!! I can't even describe the feeling. My legs felt flat and I just had a hard time getting going. But I relaxed my shoulders and just did what I could to get through it. The best part of the day was hearing my family cheering for me, and Helen and Eric, and Steve, Michele and Sarah. Loved it!!
And then it was over. 2 hours and 20 minutes later, I finished 19th in my age group (my goal was top 20!!). I ran my way in on the blue carpet and was finished. It was awesome. I seriously get goose-bumps and tears in my eyes thinking about it.
A huge thank you for all the support from home......it means so much to me to have that kind of support. Hugs and kisses to all!!
So, I must be off.....ROAD TRIP up the coast. I have no idea where we will end up!!!
And, a huge congrats to my Practical Coaching teamies: Bethie was the rock star of the day with an 11th place finish in her age group!! Sonja had a fabulous day with a 31st place finis! Lori D rocked her age group at 9th! Anthony also had a great day!!