Oooh goodie goodie, my first Olympic distance triathlon of the year. I love Oly races, they are hard, but oh so fun. You just have to take yourself to that place of real pain and I tend to have a lot more anxiety for these total hammer fests. Loveland Lake to Lake is one of my favorite hometown races because the bike course is really awesome and the run is flat and fun and shady. We didn't need the shade today, the skies were overcast all day. I could race in weather like that every day of my life, it was absolute perfection. Leaving Steve's house after my NormaTec session yesterday he told me "This race means nothing, have fun with it, I don't care if you blow up on the bike. Go with people, race, make mistakes, have fun". Sweet! I rarely race like this, I like to execute as sound of a race as I can so blowing myself up is never an option. I was excited for the challenge.
As I marinated over what Steve said I decided I was going to swim my tail off, like, hard as I can go from start to finish. This is an odd race in that it has a very long run after the swim up to transition (like several minutes), but the guy said on the beach that the swim was between 1500-1600, so it's not like they shorten the swim.
I also decided that if I wasn't completely shot from the swim that I would try to bike my tushie off as well. It's a fun, longer than Oly course (by 5 miles) and I wanted to hammer it hard. Just throw it out there, see how it sticks, ya know?
So, I arrive at the race nice and early to get the most PRIMO of transition spots because Tyler and I have a 6 pack of beer on the line for who out of the two of us has the fastest T1+T2 time. We like to throw down like that. Since this race is a totally open transition Steve-O parked it next to me. He did that last year too. It was neat to see our two little matching Isaac TT bikes lined up together.
The team was giddy and everyone got together to put wetsuits on before the swim. It was really nice that we all connected like that before the start of our races. It would be nice to do that more often, a pre race meet up and last minute good lucks, I really liked that.
I got a NICE LONG swim warm up, all the way out to the first buoy and back. Loved that!! Wave 1 went off, then my wave, #2. I lined up right and went for it. I swam as hard as I knew how. It wasn't always straight, and I didn't always find feet, but I swam on them when I could find them, and I swam as hard as I could. I exited the water 9th in my age group. With swims you never can tell whether your time was good or not, I know there weren't a lot of women out there swimming 22's. Most the better swimmers seemed to be swimming 24's, so my time of 27:21 seems A-OK. Obviously I need to continue LIVING in the pool, but I'm excited about my progress. I swam 27:30 last year at nationals and it didn't have a run to the timing mat...sooooo, I think there is some progress happening!
Onto the bike after the fastest transition I could throw down (just for Tyler). Whew, I was a little tired from the swim. No time to be tired though, onwards!!! I just tried to hammer. Last year I biked 1:27:17 and I wanted to crush that. So hard I went. I picked off a lot of ladies but wasn't really keeping track. More I was keeping track of my friend Ed, who I passed and then we battled the entire bike. It was legal battling, but fun to keep passing each other the minute the other one lost any steam. The climbs were strong and I just felt fast. I loved the course!
On the rollers during the last 5 miles I got into a little trouble. A little group had formed and I was trying to stay legal (no drafting) but it was becoming a challenge. Normally in a race I would just sit back a little at this point and let the group go and work on getting my legs ready for the run. But today I felt it was time to do something different. I tried a break away. AND, I was successful. I put my head down and peddled as hard as I could muster even though I was close to the finish. I broke out of the pack, and came into T2 all alone. I bike a 1:21:21, so about 6 minutes faster than the previous year. BooYa!
I tried to make it a fast T2 so that I didn't have to buy Tyler beer, but I had a moments trouble with my shoe. Doh. We'll see. Off on the run. Holy Moly, my legs do NOT feel snappy. I told myself to just wait it out. A lady that I battled on the bike passed me. She wasn't in my age group, but still, I was racing everyone at this point. I had no snap out of the gate. After one mile some speed was coming to me, and by mile 2 I was rolling along. As I approached the turn around I saw that I was running in 4th (but there were other waves of women that started behind me). I also saw Tyler up ahead and wanted to run him down. When he passed he said "You better come get me". I love Tyler!
So I made the turn and I just started running harder. My legs started coming back to me and I felt like I was clipping along rather nicely. I wasn't making ANY way on the ladies ahead. But I was making some way on Tyler. It took me until mile 5 to catch him, he was running so dang fast (he PR'ed in the 10K, not the off bike 10K, but the 10K, by 2 minutes today!!!). When I caught him he gave me such a boost and I just rode on the Tyler High for the last mile. I crossed the line, happy, tired, and ready to be done with my "three races in three weekends" journey. a 42:27 run today, my fastest ever off the bike in an oly.
Tyler won the epic transition showdown. His transitions totaled 1:08, mine were 1:17. 9 seconds he beat me by, I may just buy him 9 beers for that one!!
It turns out that I won my age group and took 5th overall for the day. Very happy with that. I took 7 minutes off my time for last year, almost 6 of that on the bike, a little on the run, a little on the swim. Great progress. And I think I have an idea on what I need to work on for Nationals this year. Very good learning experience this race was!!
What a great day the Practical Coaching crew had, I couldn't be prouder to be a member of this excellent team. Also, my Father in Law, Roger took all the photos of the race today. They turned out awesome and I am very thankful for them. Thank you Roger. Also, my Mother in law Marla was on Annie duty and took care to watch my swim form too. Chris, my good friend was out there cheering in full force, that was awesome. And always TROY, he dealt with set up and take down of the Practical Coaching tent, ran around the course and cheered, and was so uber supportive of me. Thanks Troy!!
And then, the fun part! Steve, Anthony and I rode home from the race. 85 miles. Yup, it was really fun. I just adore those two guys, I often feel like a little puppy dog that likes to follow them around all the time, but it's just because they are so totally fun to hang with! So, 4pm I rolled into the house, long training day, but OH SO fulfilling!!