Spoiler alert: 1st AG, 7th OA, 04:46:45
After a decent night of sleep (at least by my “night before the race” standards) I was up at 4:45a for a peanut butter bagel and some Honey Stinger waffles. Drank some water, got in the car, and got on our way. Made it down there, parked, and walked over to transition. Although I cringe every time I have to leave my bike outside over night, it is so much easier to not have to carry it in that morning… my hands are full as it is! Got my transition area set up, mean mugged all the people on my rack (all my competitors… booya!), and stretched and hung out, listening to Explosions in the Sky. Got my wetsuit on, walked over to the swim in area, handed my phone over to Kevin with instructions to live tweet the day, and off we went!
Swim: I lined up pretty much right in the front of my age group, slightly off to the right side. At the horn, I booked it and had pretty quickly gotten to the front of the pack with no contact by the time we hit the first turn bouy. The course was a rectangle that you did twice, but the start and end were not the same place (see garmin data for map). The first loop was pretty uneventful, although as I hit the halfway of Lap 1, I started coming onto slow people from the groups in front. Around that time I saw that there was someone else in a light blue cap (our wave) next to me, so I eased off to let him pull in front and grab his feet. Followed him to the end of the first lap, where he ditched me behind a pack of slow dudes. Climbed out of the water, sprinted around a couple slowpokes, dove back in, and off we went again. Second lap, again uneventful, knew I was a bit too far off of the other blue cap to grab him, so I just relaxed and swam my race. The one thing I noticed… I suck at sighting. Like whoa. Definitely some less than ideal lines during the race, which was also made possible by not knowing how many bouys and where they all were. A big thank you to Tori Mayer at Drexel University from taking me from a slob to a FOP swimmer in 6 months!
29:59, 12th OA fastest time of the day. Xterra Vector Pro, Aquasphere Kayenne, Garmin 910xt
T1: Nothing to report means good things. Wetsuit off, sunglasses on, helmet on, bike grabbed and run.
1:33, 15th OA fastest time
Bike: Go go go! On to my murdered out (with some pink) Trek Speed Concept, courtesy Breakaway Bikes. I knew going into the race that: I’d hold a general power output of 240w, there would be really strong headwind/crosswind/tailwinds depending on my location on course, and that I was gonna go fast. All three of those came true. The course was an out and back with a two loop square at the “out.” Every turn was 90 degrees, and there were tons of straight aways. It pretty much could not have been a faster course, if not for the wind. When the winds got bad, I just kept telling myself that everyone else was dealing with them, and whenever I could, I would watch the rider(s) in front of me make a turn, and then track the amount of time it took me to get there, and then compare splits at the next turn. More often than not, I had made progress. Despite all of this, my stomach was feeling a little funny, like something wasn’t digesting smoothly. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to finish the run without a bathroom stop, but I figured I’d deal with that when it came up.
I wish I had some wise or inspirational or reflective things to say here, but I honestly don’t. Just go fast. I passed a lot of people, and wasn’t passed by a single person, except the referees on motorcycle. In the tailwinds, I was cruising at 27mph, and 17mph in the headwinds. I’d just put my head down and tell myself it would be over soon. Came flying into transition, pretty happy with my dismount and overall race.
T2: Again, not much to report. Bike racked, helmet off, socks and shoes on, grab my race belts and hat, and we’re off.
1:22, 16th OA fastest time
Run: I started out feeling okay, but my HR was sitting around 176, so I tried to back off without taking off too much speed. The first two miles or so I felt okay, but my HR wasn’t going anywhere. Around mile 3, I made a concerted effort to get my HR to fall… and fall it did. My signal went beserk, and I ran the last 10 miles with the heart of a dying person (anywhere between 0-80bpm). At this time, my splits were starting to creep higher, so I said fuck it, I’ll keep pushing. I remember thinking to myself that today I wanted to see how far into “the well” I could push myself. I kept picturing myself being in a hole, but rather than giving up or thinking about how deep I was, I’d grab a shovel and keep digging deeper. My stomach was feeling pretty shitty, and even though I was drinking water, I wasn’t able to take salt tabs or gels. I think in the entire race I managed 2 or 3 gels, and maybe 1 salt tab. Normally I take one of each every 2.5mi. Through the first 6.5 miles (lap 1) I was feeling okay, but on the second lap I was hurting pretty bad. Consider the pictures below:
I dragged myself around the second lap, making sure that I kept putting one foot in front of the other. As I approached the finish line, I tried to make myself more presentable, and crossed the finish line with a new overall PR time!
1:48:34, 42nd (I think) OA fastest time (WOOF). Saucony Kinvara 2, Nathan Fuel Belt, Garmin 910xt, Oakley M-Frames
Post Race: Got some water, Muscle Milk, food, got stretched out by a friendly person, and laid around. Was excited about my results, and talked to a couple friends on the phone – but not for long, because Kevin had run my battery pretty low tweeting up a storm. Waited around (roughly forever) for the award ceremony to start… and they went through EVERY category (all international distances, then overall, masters, clydesdale/athena – with sub categories over over/under 40 and over 150, over 185, and over 220,) before finally getting to AG awards for the half. Kevin was kind enough to get his paparazzi on for my first ever podium trip, and a great way to end the season.