The Night Before:
While getting my things together, I found I wasn't able to fit quite everything into my bag.
Fortunately, the dog decided that he didn't want to race, after all.
We left early enough to get to the race just when packet pick-up started, and found that there was (of course) already a decent line. When we finally got to the front of the line, we found that my number and chip had been given away to someone else. So I got everything else and Speedy and I headed out for a bike warmup. It felt good to get my legs going, and when we got back to transition I went back to the registration table. There was no sign of my number or chip, so I had to stand in the day-of registration line to get a new number. This was pretty annoying, because by this time the start time was getting pretty close and I still had to put on my wetsuit and do my swim warmup. When I finally got my new number, I ran back to the transition area, gave the number and race belt to Speedy to put it together, and put my wetsuit on in record time. We headed down to the lake for a quick warm-up, and as soon as I got in the water I heard the announcement for the pre-race meeting. Crap! But all was well and I got in a quick swim warm-up anyway, and was feeling pretty good by the time the race started.
My swim training this winter and spring has made me a lot stronger in the water, and I'm not so worried anymore about being kicked/hit/generally beat up in the water. I started front and center, and while a couple people got out faster than I did and I got knocked around a little, it wasn't long before I found some clean water and was able to pick people off. The swim was a straight out-and-back, and I think I swam more of a teardrop shape around the buoys but still got out of the water somewhere around 10th or 12th place, which was fine with me, even though I think I could have gone faster.
T1 took me longer than planned, because it took me too long to get out of my wetsuit. I've been wondering for a while if it's worth the extra time to wear the wetsuit for these shorter races, because I think I lose more time taking the darn thing off than I save wearing it for the swim. Time: 1:50.
Went really well. I had set myself a goal of 20mph average, and most times I looked at my computer I was somewhere around 21-22. I passed quite a few people, and got passed by a couple hotshots with disc wheels and aero helmets. I drank Nuun and had gels with me but didn't take any. Towards the end, I got passed by a girl who stayed just out of reach until we reached a short climb at an overpass, and I passed her on the hill and was able to stay in front until T2, which went pretty smoothly. My official average was 19.3, but my bike computer recorded the course as being a little long and had my average as 20 even. I'll take it.
I came out of T2 neck-and-neck with bike girl, and complimented her on her strong bike and she said she was having fun racing me. That was pretty cool. She and I went back and forth for the first mile or so, but she pulled away and I wasn't able to hang with her. The run was really painful; I definitely went harder on this bike than I usually do during bricks, and my legs were not happy. It became a mental game for me, and I kept reminding myself that it was painful for everyone and that if I wasn't hurting by then I wasn't going hard enough. My goal pace for the run was 8:00/mile. My official average is 7:52, but the run time includes T2, so my pace was more likely something around 7:32, assuming T2 took about a minute.
Overall, I was really happy with my race. I wasn't tapered for the race, and in fact did some pretty hard bike workouts last week, and I still ended up at my bike goal, and beat my run goal. I ended up 6th female (I think) and 3rd in my age group. My age group turned out to be pretty strong this year, and much stronger than it was last year. My time from this year was faster than my time from last year by over 12 minutes and would have won my age group last year by over 5 minutes, and this year places 3-7 overall for the women all came out of my age group. And I still placed in my AG, for the first time. Not bad. And Speedy knocked 3 minutes off his time from last year and got 2nd in his age group!
Me and Speedy, post-race:
I wanted to use this race to measure my speed against where I was last year and see what I need to work on, and it turns out I got a lot faster. I know I need to work on running hard off the bike, and now have some triple bricks in my future (future, of course, meaning tomorrow - ouch!). So all in all, definitely a good race. Whew.
Next up: Philadelphia Olympic!