|View from Cabin 12. Overlooking the "lake" and T1(b).|
With the lake levels "low" (AKA non-existent) the swim was moved 2.2 miles away from the normal Lynch area transition. This definitely created a different dynamic to the race. For me, it met that I stirred up lots of lactic acid in my legs BEFORE jumping on my bike to climb up Beech Hill and then out of the park and this proved to be quite a challenge for me.
|The swim was WAY down there where you can see a little water. We ran through the dry lake bed to get to our bikes.|
|The ramp we had to run up after the swim. Ouch. My heart rate was a bit elevated at the top. (Photo from Laura Siddall)|
|Doing what I could on the bike. (Photo Credit: Eric Larson, Trilounge.com)|
|The legs were average on the day so I got as aero as I could...minus the crooked helmet. (Photo Credit: Eric Larson, Trilounge.com)|
I started the run and truly believed I could salvage something on the day. However, a couple miles into it I began to lose hope. I gave myself nutrition and willed the legs to come around. I was starting to wonder if everyone in the field was going to pass me. I fell to 6th and then to 7th. I hit the huge uphill at mile 4-5 (6-7 when you add the first run) and wanted so badly to stop. The hill was stupid, I hated it and I cursed it for existing and I wondered why I was doing this to myself. There are a couple sections on the hill where it is faster to power hike, at least for me, and when I was hiking I said out loud to myself "get it together." I picked a spot where I was going to start running again and no matter what I was not going to walk again. I took 2 powergels with caffeine in less than a mile because I figured they would help, or, worst case scenario, I would get some stomach distress. At that point either option was preferable to the way I was feeling.
As I started to come back into the park and run through the campgrounds I saw the woman who passed me for 6th just ahead of me. She looked to be struggling slightly on a few uphills. I knew there was a longer uphill on the road through one of the campgrounds and I made it my plan to put in a surge there, make the pass and then create a gap. Much to my surprise, it worked! I was running next to a guy from the EMJ Triathlon Team so I breathlessly told him my name and suggested we help each other get to the finish line. He was game and we ran strong the rest of the way. When I was lagging he would keep the pace honest and provide encouragement and I did the same when he felt a little fatigued. I was still running scared from Sue (super strong runner) so having someone to help me stay focused was huge. I knew if I got to the top of the Lynch downhill with a gap I could probably hold on unless I face planted on the descent to the finish line.
I ended up 6th. At first, I was disappointed with my day but when I look back I made the best of a race when I had limited energy in my legs. I definitely had some low points that might have been more mental vs. physical so I need to work on improving that aspect of my racing. Either way, it was a hard effort and it made me stronger. It was a plus to finish the run strong as well.
|Breakfast Burritos post race prepared by Charisa's father. (Photo from Laura Siddall)|
One of my all time favorites is next: Escape from Alcatraz. I think the water will be a touch warmer than last year!