One great advantage to traveling to a race is that you get to be on holiday for a bit and sometimes even have time to write a race report!
Thailand has been wonderful so far. I’ve been here nearly 4 days now and am fully enjoying the experience. I was able to stay with a group of people from Hong Kong (friends of a friend) and that was a lifesaver. I instantly had ‘groupies’ to share meals, organize for the race, socialize and support eachother. What a gift, cause without them, I’m pretty sure I would have been a hermit these past 4 days. They have now all left and my friend Martha will be arriving tonight.
The race on Sunday went great! I survived the ocean swim without getting stung by a jellyfish (which was my biggest fear going into the race) and came across the line as the first age group female. Traveling to a foreign place and not knowing a single soul before my arrival, I didn’t really know what to expect. I never check participant lists, and even if I had, it would not have alerted me to my potential competition. So to come out on top is a shock as my only goal was/is to have fun and enjoy a new adventure.
The swim was a 2 part swim, the first 1200m in the ocean, then a little run up and over a spit of sand, then across a lagoon for the final 600m. The ocean swim was warm, pretty clear (I did see one jellyfish- ahh!) and fairly calm. I stayed relaxed on the 100m sand run and then flopped into the even warmer, murky, dirty (yet ‘fresh’) water of the lagoon (which felt much more like ‘home’ for me).
The bike course was amazing. We had a couple pretty significant climbs in the first 1/3 of the race with a lot of twisty roads through jungle type scenery. The locals were out cheering and my favorite was a whole crowd of school children in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere on the course. We rode through a rubber plantation, along the Andaman coast, down a stretch of highway which was flat and fast, and continued to twist and turn through rural Thailand. It was absolutely beautiful, I cannot even count how many times I smiled at the local children cheering us on.
The run was kinda crazy as well with bits on road, sand, grass and gravel, your legs never really knew what to expect next, which for me was great since I prefer trails and challenging terrain. The coolest 2 parts were running through where they keep and train a couple elephants (as a tourist attraction) and running on the golf course which brought me back to my college cross country running days. I felt pretty good on the run but it was sure heating up by then. Ice cold sponges at every aid station were a lifesaver for sure.
Coming into the final bit of the run I actually had no clue where I was positioned in the field so when I heard them announcing my name and shouting that I was the first ag female I was surprised. What a perfect ending to an incredible and tough race.
Race results can be found here: Laguna Phuket Triathlon Race Results
The 70.3 next Sunday will be twice as tough with the sustained potential for jellyfish on the swim, a lot-lot-lot more climbing on the bike and nearly twice as far to go on the run… in the heat n humidity. Sounds like fun, right!? I can’t wait for the challenge. I’ll keep you posted.