Going into this race I had no idea what to expect. Based on last year's results I thought I could podium but then I went on vacation for two weeks and did absolutely no biking or swimming while away. I changed my goals and decided to just do this race for fun since it's one of my favorites.
I got home Saturday night around midnight, was in bed by 12:30 and before I knew it I was waking up Sunday morning, not at all motivated to race. I went through the motions and by the time we made it to the park I was starting to get excited. There was also an Olympic distance race, which made logistics a little more confusing but overall I thought this race was pretty well run.
Swim (1/2 mile)
The Olympic swimmers started first since they were doing two laps of the swim course. When the last Olympic racer started their second lap the sprinters were allowed to start. I wasn't such a big fan of this because it meant that the stronger swimmers were not far behind the slowest Olympic swimmers.
I started in the front of the pack and was anxious to see how I would feel after being out of the water for two weeks. Somehow I felt great and by the first buoy I was in the lead. I had no trouble sighting and was just cruising along, feeling the best I've felt in the water this year.
From the last turn buoy back to the shore was a little hard to navigate with the sun in your eyes but enough Olympic swimmers were there to keep you going in the right direction. After what seemed like the quickest swim ever I was suddenly done and running to transition. Couldn't be happier with how this went.
Swim: 11:10 / 1:22 pace / 1st female
Bike (18.2 miles)
I was a little nervous about the bike leg after not being on a bike in two weeks either. I don't have the best bike handling skills and was worried I was going to be jittery and shaky during the race. Luckily I frequently train on this course so I know it inside and out and had absolutely nothing to be worried about.
I think the race day nerves caught up with me on the bike because I found myself going much quicker than I anticipated within the first couple miles. I debated whether to pull back but ultimately decided to take a risk and push hard from the beginning. No holding back, at all.
I pretty much even-split the two laps on the bike course and zipped by people on the hills. All those super hilly long rides Mike had me do definitely payed off and I was thanking him in my head while climbing. This bike course, in my opinion, is awesome. It is two laps with two big hills on each lap with a mix of flat, gradual climbs and descents and big descents. There is a nice mix of elevation, which makes it much more fun.
By the end of the bike I was starting to get tired and was ready to run. I knew I was either in first or second coming off the bike but didn't know if I pushed too hard to be able to hold on during the run.
Bike: 1:04:04 / 17.04 mph / 5th female
Run (3.2 miles)
Time to find out whether taking a risk on the bike leg would pay off or cause me to blow up. I decided to run without my watch since this was mostly a trail run. I took off and just wan hard. I didn't think about paces or anything. Move forward and go hard. My legs felt heavy at the beginning but not terrible. They never felt great but they did feel better as the run went on.
Around halfway I missed a turn and got a little lost but quickly made my way back to the trail. I opted not to take any water during the run which ended up being a smart move because my stomach became sloshy with about a mile to go. At this point I was hurting and ready to be finished but didn't want to be passed so I kept trucking along, hoping my legs wouldn't fall off in the process.
Thankfully the run course isn't too hard. It is a trail run but it isn't very technical. I definitely would wear trail shoes though because it is really rocky and uneven. There is also one pretty steep hill that has a warning sign before it. Once you exit the trails you follow the lake path all the way to the finish line.
Run: 25:55 / 8:05 pace / 4th female
When I crossed the finish line I was spent. I pushed a lot harder than I was mentally prepared to do but it payed off. I dropped almost 22 minutes off my time from last year, with the majority being on the bike leg. I could not be happier with how this race went, especially considering everything that went on before it. Just goes to show that anything can happen on race day!
Finish Time: 1:43:14 / 2nd female
Now I am ready to fully dedicate my training to the NYC Marathon. I have some hard workouts coming up but I am ready to put in the work and am excited to see how much I can improve from last year.
And as always, a HUGE thank you to Mike for helping me get to where I am today. Last year I was clueless and not putting in nearly as much work as I needed to be doing. I have never been so confident in my training and am excited to see how much farther I can go.