What is it like to rest with the best in the nation? It's AWESOME! It's exciting, and it kindles your passion for growing as an athlete.
My day started with me crawling out of bed as it always does on these 4am race mornings. Packing went quickly, as I didn't have to bring a wetsuit, I didn't wear a watch, and I didn't bring a change of clothes because the weather was so nice. I just wore my kit to the race. I had everything else ready from the night before.
The race site was a PERFECT venue. really, when I say perfect I mean it. With the slight drawback that there is only one way into the park and it's SLOW race morning. I left with lots of time and it wasn't a problem, for me. But it ultimately led to a 30 minute race delay, which didn't bother me at all. Just another piece that made this an AWESOME event! (That's going to be a continuing theme).
I checked my bike over one more time, organized my stuff and told the guy next to me he had his left shoe clipped to the right pedal... :-)
I'll preface with the fact that I had zero tension, apprehension, nervousness, or anxiety at any point, and I loved that. I was just excited to be there. Excited to participate.
Eventually they channeled us down to the water onto a massive pier. The walk was a little funny, it was like walking in a fun house. The dock swayed left to right with each step so we must have looked like a bunch of drunks. We were able to get into the water and warm up a bit, then we got back onto the dock and switched to the other side. We lined up in the water with one hand on the dock.
The airhorn went off and like torpedos the wave took off. I mean it. It was a hot start, I remember smiling in the water thinking to myself that we were flying. Well that pace didn't last very long for me. Without the comfort and speed advantage of a wetsuit, I couldn't hack it. I knew at that moment I wouldn't be qualifying for the World Championship. These athletes were crazy fast. I dropped back to a pace I could maintain, but I was a little late. I was gassed and struggling to breathe. I'm either going to have to get better at swimming or I'm going to have to continue being comfortable being in the middle or in this case the back of the pack. Other than that setback, which was quickly remedied, the swim was a decent one. Apparently, not very quick. 2:03/100yd pace. I'm faster than that. And it certainly felt faster. Several people said the swim was long. Which may explain the time. Maybe. Either way, we all did the same distance. The water temperature was a beautiful 80.6 degrees, so it felt much like a pool. My focus here was not speed, it was form. And I think my body form in the water was pretty darn good. My pull phase falls apart when I am not staying focused on it. I know I pull down and let off before my hips. I need to focus on a pull that gives me more forward momentum. And follow through. Those two things will shave a ton of time and save a ton of energy.
My transition was a little slow but not too terrible I feel. I didn't use socks, which has become the norm, even in training. Apparently I left my goggles around my neck. That will look great in my race photos :)
Next came the bike. I was excited most for the bike. It looked easy, it looked fast. And both were true. But there's a decent hill midway through that really slowed me down. Working on developing strength on the hills continues to be an area of improvement. They don't wear me out, I just don't get up them very fast.
So anyways, I held a nice 200-220 watts on the way out, which translated to about 21-22mph until the hill which saw about 250-300 watts all the way up. After that hill I maintained about 19-20 for the remainder of the course, except for the return up the backside of the hill, which was easier.
My average speed ended at 19.8 and 196 watts. Which was not only my goal wattage but also felt just right. I was really hoping my average would be higher in MPH but I guess my wattage would have needed to be higher to achieve that.
I was smiling the whole ride, taking in nutrition as planned and using my water for hydration. I was happy on the bike that my right hip wasn't giving me pain. The week of the race I started to have slight hip pain and I was nervous that it may present itself in the event. It didn't on the bike and I felt good. It was beautiful out during the whole race with very minimal wind. A slight headwind on the return, but nothing major. I came back into transition feeling good and transitioned to the run.
My typical run pace is in the 8's-9's and I believe I was in the lower 8's for the first mile. Unfortunately my hip kicked in and was forced to run through the pain. There was a groan every time I stepped on the right side for several hundred yards but it went away. Then mother nature started calling and i was forced to use the bathroom! I exited the bathroom and immediately some guy said shouted "Make Cindi and Steve proud!". He was already at a speed that was far greater than mine so I could not catch his name.
I finished out my remaining 2-2.5 miles at a decent pace. Probably about 8' flat until the last 500 yards for a sprint between myself and another guy in a different wave. He got me. But by a foot or two. Good fun!
The race was great and I was so happy to be there. I'll forever remember this race. It's the first time I've recorded the contents of the day. I had no idea what to expect with my work schedule consuming so much of my life.
Considering how crazy work has been, I finished how i expected i would. Though I did expect that with my output I'd have placed higher. In the end, I have control of myself and not what others in my age group do. I participate in triathlon because it is something I really enjoy. I like to push myself through those moments when pain arrives. Placing well in my age group feels good, but it's not my main priority. Everyone had a great race, it was a great place to have a race and it was an absolutely gorgeous day
I couldn't be happier with what transpired today!