So, the 5th time was definitely a success, unfortunately just a bit off from my goal! I had a crazy, but really not THAT crazy, goal of going sub 5hrs. The numbers were there (yes I ran them over and over and over until I wasn't thinking clearly). Last years times were ~35, 1:40, 1:57. I While my swim is strong, that swim is just never fast for me so I figured I would swim about a 33mins but after wetsuit stripping and getting to the T-1 timing mat I woudl be about the same 35. I was dead on. I (over) analyzed past bike times and people I've been racing (bike splits) similar too and thought, on paper, I should be able to bike a 2:35. The thought of that seemed crazy tho, so I settled on a 2:37 goal. My run has been improving greatly, especially in the past run and I thought a 1:45 totally doable! Add those up and they are damn near a 4:59!
I swam my ass off. 2 super fast girls bolted out in front and were instantly gone. I had maybe 2 other girls with me, and one was right next to me so I decided to pull behind her and save energy. Unfortunately the sun was straight in our faces making it impossible to see and she kept STOPPING so I finally went around her and pretty much swam the rest of the race by myself. I caught up to other waves but it was really not all that crowded. I swam as hard as I felt I could, but sure enough by the time I got out of the water my watch read just shy of 33:5x so, and by the time I got wetsuit stripped and into T-1 my official "swim" time is 35.
I left transition with a super speedy cyclist team mate. My goal was to try to keep her at least in sight. I managed that well for the first lap and she had only gained about 90 seconds on me (she is FAST, so yes I considered 90seconds good). I was cycling hard, but my lower gears were giving me a lot of problems, so I spent a lot of time messing with them. I finished loop 1with a avg pace of 21.1… not quite as fast as I hoped, but within myself. Then things started to get ugly. Loop 2 I had my first mechanical problem. Same thing happened at IMCA on a descend. As I got into my hardest gear and actually put pressure on the crank, my chain popped off the rear derailleur jamming it up, leaving me unable to pedal. I'd be lying if I said I just hopped back on my bike after fixing it with my head totally in the game. I had a huge mental struggle, getting mad that my paces had dropped and it really screwed with me. By loop 3 I had lost even more time. Partially due to my attitude, but I had yet another mechanical, this time worse because I was trying to fix it by shifting gears only to jam up both the front and rear derailleurs taking even more time to fix it right before a short steep hill.
Long story short I didn't have a pretty bike split. My time was 2:44. I was passed by a girl in my age group and my sub 5 goal was out of reach. I struggled with getting my head back in the game. I hate to say, but I even considered dropping out. I just wasn't feeling it.
THANKFULLY, I bitch slapped myself into remember why I do this stuff. I choose to do it because I enjoy it. I enjoy being out there, I enjoy the work, the pain, the accomplishments.
I had a quick T-2 and headed out on my run. It took me all of 1 mile to get my head back in the game and realize I was going to finish this day, regardless of the outcome. I felt good, strong, steady. While I was slowly loosing my goal pace of 8min miles, I was not fading nearly as bad as many others out there. As I passed through the transition area heading out for loop 2 I was overwhelmed by the cheers of my friends out there. My first local team and family, Racelab. My training partners, my husband. It lifted me and carried me the entire second loop. I never looked back, I just kept moving forward.
In the end I had a very solid run. I took 10mins off last years run time and managed a surprise 2nd place in my age group. My first 70.3 distance podium.
I'm ending the season tired, happy and completely satisfied with my accomplishments. It's been a tough, tough year personally but I've also found myself finding new dreams and goals I never could have imagined possible.
I've got a fantastic life, I'm healthy happy and besides the minor detail that I'm about to be jobless…. the possibilities are endless