Going into this race, my head really wasn’t in it. In part because I had just raced 2 weeks ago and in part it just didn’t seem like I was going to race since our girls were in tow. (This is very rare for road trips and this was a 5.5 hour drive). Sarah, Court, and I attended the Iron Kids race the day before to cheer on the adorable Morgan girls and their Transition teammates so that took the edge off as well. And, as a side note, the kids race was a blast to watch! Sweet bikes and race-kits galore with their names on their derrieres as well! Court and Sarah even said they may be racing there next year! Mark and Anne, you may have new team members next year!
Finally, a few hours before I hit the hay Saturday did I even start to get nervous. That actually made me feel back to pre-race normal, whew! I even woke up 15 minutes before my alarm clock was due to go off, normal too.
Transition set up went as smoothly as ever; I got my wheels pumped up within minutes, got my shoes on my pedals, filled my water bottle, went for a jog, hung out with my family, and still had plenty of time to spare. I LOVE it when things work out this way, unfortunately, they normally don’t due to random, unforseen circumstances. The only negative today was a legal wetsuit swim. Grrrr! The day prior would have been different.
Lauren J.( a former pro from Wisconsin) and awesome girl Seeley G. were standing with me prior to the beach swim start, little chatting though as we were all ready to go. Nerves were flying at this point, which is a very good thing for me. A big shout out to a camera man who told us that the depth dropped off quickly, which meant no running in the water as previously thought, just a shallow dive then swim. Sweet! The mens elite wave started 5 minutes before us so no chance catching/following them. So off we went! I sprinted the first 100 yards which I normally don’t do, but I really wanted to win the swim. Whew, I was in the lead…until the 1st buoy. Then I realized there were 2 woman who started several yards to the right of me and we all turned the buoy at the same time. My lead soon ended, but I held on to their feet for dear life. I’ve never worked that hard on an open water swim! Out of the hot water in 3rd, I hustled to my bike. While doing so, I heard the announcer say the top 3 women came out of the water in 20 min and some change, yes!
I was hopeful on the bike even though all my rides have been slow this season, all of them. We tweaked a few things on my bike in hopes it would help. It did a little, but I was still slow. Oddly, I was pretty much solo most of the ride, but every time someone passed me, I gave it my all to stay close, to no avail. I can’t say that about the young mens wave behind me though. On an out and back section, I saw at least 30 athletes all within 10 seconds of each other and one official was trying to tackle the plethora of possible penalties. Not an easy task! By the time I entered T2, I was probably in 12th or so.
Within 2 minutes on the run, I recall thinking, ‘wow, I feel really good!’ This, my friends, is quite rare! Even more so because I was thinking that for 5.9 out of the 6.2 miles on the run! Although I felt this way, I had no idea what my pace was as I typically don’t done a watch. It just creates too many head games for me. If I’m slower than I’d like, then I get mad and try to push it and if I’m faster, I get worried I can’t hold the pace. So, I’ve found I just prefer going by feel. I know when my exertion is too low or too high. I trust my body there. On the flip side, I’ve had races where I’ve felt really good and have run slow and vice versa so you can never be 100% certain. Fortunately for me, today was a good day on the run. I felt great and I ran well, better than I have all year. The same for the swim. Woohoo!
Some may think a 25th place finish is not so stellar, but the competition was fierce. I raced against some of the fastest 20, 30, & 40 year olds in the country. In the end, I was thrilled with my swim and run!
1) Sarah, Court, and Scott were amazing sherpas and cheerleaders! Love it, love them!
2) I really dislike swims like this one; wetsuit legal and no chop. It even got so shallow at one point, my hands were hitting the bottom. What a snore! That’d be akin to all bike and run courses being flat. Fast yes, but not at all challenging.
3) I typically have a similar race plan for most competitions, not this one. It was my last triathlon prior to the World Championships next month so I had nothing to lose. I simply tried to push everything hard and if I bonked, so what.
4) We were grateful to be invited to the Transitions team dinner Friday night. It was fun to hang out with all the Morgans and their athletes. I even got to spend some time with their Coach Anne (a good friend of mine) the next day too. Thanks guys!
5) On the way home Sunday, we stopped by Luth’s house in Moline to see my dear friends Anne & John Stichnoth and their 6 month old twins. (Anne and I swam together starting when I was about 10 and we’ve been great friends ever since). Anne’s parents, the Luth’s, were having a meet and great at their home for Anne’s twins as Stichnoths reside in Kansas City. So I was thrilled when I arrived and saw an old teammate Jenny Marhoeforer, my 7th grade English teacher Mr. Nordstrom, a friends mom Mrs. Knedler, good friends of my parents the Fox’s, and one of my favorite blasts from the pasts, my former neighbor Mrs. Widener! I couldn’t believe it! My eyes swelled with tears when I saw her as she was pretty much my 2nd mom growing up. Anyway, I loved seeing everyone!!!
Below are a few pics too: