Since the race took place less than 5 miles from my house I was able to sleep in some, waking up at 6:10 and arriving at transition around 6:40. I'm not entirely sure why but I was so nervous for this race. I can honestly not remember the last time I was this nervous for anything so needless to say my stomach was not too cooperative. I was nervous about how little I was able to get down. About 20 minutes before the race start I headed over to the pool to get in a warm up.
Before I knew it it was time to line up for the race. Since the swim portion was in a pool things were a little unusual. The first swimmer would enter the pool and do a 50 in each lane and then swim under the lane line to the next lane until they reached the other end of the pool, with the next swimmer entering the pool in 20 second intervals and following the same pattern. Although I was slightly annoyed not being the first seeded swimmer it really helped that a former teammate of mine got that honor and I was able to relax a bit.
The Swim (500 yards)
I didn't feel too great during the swim, partly because my SOAS racing kit (which I am obsessed with) was creating a whole lot of drag, particularly when I pushed off the walls. Instead of panicking about feeling slow I told myself to let my body what it knows how to do best. I relaxed into the swim and zoned out and with a couple laps to go I was closing in on the girl in front of me. If I would have pushed it I could have caught her but I didn't want to start the bike with a higher than necessary heart rate.
Swim + run to T1: 7:38 / 1st AG / 1st overall
The Bike (15 miles)
I was pleasantly surprised that on the [long] run to transition that I was able to actually run without feeling dizzy or nauseous. With one biker in front of me I set out in pursuit of taking the lead as quickly as possible. Since the race is so close to home I have trained on this route before so I knew what to expect. I'm not a big fan of this bike course but was prepared to not let that get in my way. Within the first few miles there is a pretty big climb where I was able to pass some of the duathetes, who's race started 15 min before the triathlon.
Given how nervous I was before the race I was shocked with how calm I was during the race. My mind was calm and somehow I just knew what to do without thinking too much about anything. Once I got past the two big climbs on the course I started to pick it up. With around 5 miles left I had passed all of the duathletes and was now leading the bike. Without even realizing it I was in the same situation heading into the run as I was in last weekend.
Bike: 54:10 / 16.7 avg / 1st AG / 9th overall
The Run (3.1 miles)
After last week's run I was determined to not let that happen again. I was excited to be out running but had no idea how close any other participants were. I was hoping the staggered swim start would give me enough time to make it across the finish line first. Again I was much calmer this time and all of the breathing issues I had last weekend were a thing of the past. The run course takes place on one of my favorite running routes that I know inside and out. I didn't wear my watch so I wouldn't get upset with my time, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Although I was certainly tired out there I felt really strong. Not that I know much about running form but I could tell that even that was pretty good (for me at least). The race finished with a lap around the track, which also happens to be the track I train on. I was really hurting by this point and just wanted to be done but as soon as I entered the track it was like I had another gear. Something about the track just makes me run faster.
Run: 24:29 / 7:54 pace / 1st AG / 5th overall
I ended up crossing the finish line first with a time that I had never thought I could do. After getting a drink it was time to play the waiting game and see how I would place. While waiting I was interviewed by the local paper which was pretty cool. I was anxious to find out my run time too. I was thinking I probably ran something around a 26:00-26:30, only to find out I was cruising much faster than that. My run split was probably the biggest shock of the day.
Finish Time: 1:27:57 / 1st AG / 3rd overall
This race confirmed how much I love this sport. I know I'm not the fastest out there but it comes so naturally to me and just feels right. Now I have a few weeks before racing an Olympic distance triathlon down in Virginia on August 3. I'm ready to put in some solid training and see what I can do with a bigger field and more experience under my belt.