I got everything all set up and walked down to the swim start to meet my parents and Andy. Before I knew it we were in the water and sent on our way. The swim start was a bit chaotic and I was not comfortable at all. I am used to the 1.2 mile swims at the beginning of half ironmans and while they can be aggressive, I think people know it is a longer day so you settle in pretty quickly. Not the case in this triathlon. It was a major fight to the first turnaround buoy. Since I freaked out a bit I let the pack go that I should have been swimming with. Once we got around the first buoy I found my own water and settled into a good pace. I could see a group of women up ahead of me; they were not gaining on me but I could not quite catch them. I was happy to get out of the water and ran (a long way) to transition, hopped on my bike and began the ride.
The headwind was really tough going north. I put my head down and stayed strong. I felt pretty good and just pushed the bike the whole time. It was great, I was actually racing the bike. Usually, people just go by me. Today, I was going back and forth with a few women and even passed a couple! I came off the bike ahead of where I was on the swim, that might be a first! Onto the run and I just ran hard from the beginning. We had a tailwind the first 3.5 miles or so and when we turned around that headwind was brutal. The last mile or so I was just trying to keep my arms moving so my legs would follow them. Finished in 8th place and 7 minutes faster than my best time on the course so I was really happy.
One of the best things about this race was the number of familiar faces I saw before and during the race. It was great to hear people yelling my name---I tried to give everyone a big smile. Friends from VQ were out in force, one of my UIC swimmers and his gf, Mike from Mox, Rob and Gosde (spelling?) and of course, my parents and Andy were there cheering for me.
I was bummed out to see Andy crash during the bike. He is such a great competitor and I was a bit worried when I rode by and saw an ambulance taking him to the hospital. I hear that he is healing and I do not doubt that he will be back out racing soon---he is so tough!
I have one more race on Saturday and then my coach told me to put my bike and running shoes away for five days! I have to take a break, my mind and body need it. But, since I have one last hit out on Saturday I am going to make it count. It might hurt, but I am going to give it my best. Will be a good test to race an Olympic distance on Sunday and then a half iron on Saturday. My friend Shannon is coming into town this weekend so I will get back and have some time with a great friend from my swimming days at Michigan---can't wait! I will be totally relaxed and will not have worry about fitting in any training. We are talking about going for a swim but I bet we will swim a little and do a lot of chatting :)