As you all know if you have read my previous blogs I had alot of doubts going into this race. My expectations were not very high and it was quite difficult for me to line up with an amazing field of pro girls and have the confidence I needed to pull off a top ten finish. The day before the race I got disheartened and nervous and really thought hard about not racing. This is not who I am though. I like to follow through and I am a big believer in facing your fears no matter what the outcome.
I tried hard the night before to do some mental race planning and to bring all the positive energy back.
I awoke and had breakfast at 3.30 am (2 bowls rice crispies 1/2 bagel white bagel with jelly 1/2 bottle water) I got to the race site at 5.30. I made a bathroom stop then headed into transition where I pumped my tires.I then placed my bike shoes, helmut,gel flask and srm on bike.
I headed over and double checked my T1 &T2 bag.I got body marked, then dropped off my special needs bags. I rechecked my bike,put sunblock on, then my wetsuit. I checked in my dry bag and at that time they called for the pro's to start entering the swim start area.
I got my pre race words from Paulo...race smart!
I felt organized and calm and surprisingly not too nervous!
With 20 minutes to go we jumped into the cool water and I made my way under the bridges to the start. I did one or two pick ups to stay warm and then we all just waited for the gun. The gun went off and I swam all out. My body did not quite feel ready for the sprint and I backed off after a few minutes. I was at the back of a small group of girls but as the sun was right in your face I could not see that the front girls from the pack were pulling away and I was left on the feet of one girl. We pretty much swam side by side until a pro guy swam by and I tried to stay on his feet but he picked the pace up and I could not go with him.I realised it was going to be another solo swim and I went into cruise control. It seemed like a long way to the turn around and I was happy when I saw the red buoy and the sun was no longer in my eyes. The trip back seemed a little quicker and I was pleasantly surprised to see 1.01 at the swim exit even though I was looking for my sub 1 hour swim which I really believed I was capable of.
Running to the change tent was surreal and my heart was beating so fast.
The T1 is always a panick for me and I am always happy to get out onto the bike. The first thing I noticed after I got out of the mayham of cheering onlookers was the wind. I knew it was going to be a tough bike. It took my legs some time to feel ok as it was tough trying to recover heading into the wind. The watts were an effort but I rode steady and just counted the miles down to the turn around. I was trying to look for girls to catch in front of me. The good thing about the out and back was you could get an idea how far behind you were. I was excited to turn and enjoyed the fast speeds all the way back to town. I could have used an extra gear for sure. The second loop seemed a little harder and the reality of the 3 loops were setting in. The wind seemed stronger and my mouth was so dry. By mile 35 I had drunk all 3 bottles of Infinit and had to get 2 bottles of gatorade at the aid station to hold me over to the special needs bags where I had 3 more bottles of Infinit waiting. As I hit the B-line I decided to go down into my small ring. My pedals came to a complete halt. My chain would not move. I got off my bike and pushed and pulled on my pedals until finally it came unstuck. I was frustrated as I had worked hard to catch up and pass Marie Danais and Sara Gross on Rio Salado. They passed me while I struggled with the gears. This happened 4 times and I apologised to Marie as I kept passing her and then pulling over. Finally the 5th time it locked I pushed down hard on my pedal and something broke. My srm went down and I figured that one of the wires from the srm was getting stuck in the cranks and now it was just dangling there. I prayed when I made the turn that this would not happen again as it would have thrown me over my handle bars. As I was not quite certain if the problem was solved I really held back on the fast section. I was happy that I got through that second loop. I saw Paulo and I wanted to stop and tell him what was going on but I saw Sergio and Blake Becker there and I figured he would just yell at me to keep going. He yelled out that I was making progress but I knew I was way behind.
Heading into the third loop I seemed to beable to pick it up and pushed a little harder. I was working hard to try make up time and I could feel my body overheating. My head was pounding in my helmut and my mouth remained so dry, my legs however felt great! I was at mile 90 and I still had not had any desire to eat my bars or gels but I had got around 1900 calories of fluids in. I kept dumping water on my head and legs. The ride was fast from the turn around and I basically just rode on the left the whole way back. I was so happy not to see the big drafting packs in this race.
I came into transition and was surprised at how heavy my legs felt coming off the bike. I shuffled to the tent. I started my run with a heart rate of 155 - 160. As soon as I got out of the cheering spectators I settled into a more comfortable pace with a heart rate aroun 149. I was painfully aware of how hot it was and I began searching for something cool to drink. I was carrying a bottle of very concentrated Infinit with me. My aid station routine was a sip of gatorade, 2 sponges and a cup of water over my head. I was in 11th place and Paulo yelled to push as I ran by. I felt ok but as I headed out over the bridge I saw Linsey coming back in the opposite direction. I was at least 2 miles behind her. We had to run past a section of horse stables and I gagged at the smells. I threw my nutrition bottle away that I was carrying as it was not going down well.(probably a bad idea.) I think I made it too concentrated. I however on the positive side I did not feel the usual bloating just a little quesy and definite low in energy. I had only pee'd once on the bike and I knew I was definitely dehydrated. The first loop seemed so long and I could not believe I had to do two more loops. With 18 miles to go I felt like I had little energy and I let my heart rate drop to 135. I contemplated stopping on the 2nd loop but the crowds kept me going. The volunteers were so awesome! I decided to just get through the run and walked through the last waterstops. When a pro ran by me with two miles to go I didn't even respond. I was very happy as I crossed over the finish line but definitely a little dissapointed with my slow run! I was however extremely happy that I hung in there and finished on such a tough day!