I got down to the race on Sat after a very smooth three and half hour drive. I met up with my homestay Bob, Anne Marie and their two cute kids. They were wonderful and Bob drove me down to the race expo to register. I was happy to see race director Rob Vigorito who welcomed me and we chatted about the never ending question to why I decided to turn pro at 32 instead of enjoying the limelight of a top age grouper. I had just spoken about this the day before to a really nice girl who had emailed me with a bunch of questions.... I explained to Rob that how would I ever know how I stood against the pro's unless I raced the same race as them. It is a slightly different race when you are racing amateur to pro. I wanted to put the extra time and commitment in that would hopefully take me to the next level.
I will never forget that the year I won St Croix as an amateur I passed a few pro girls on the run and one looked at me as I ran by and she said to me oh you must have cheated or drafted on the bike. I was so taken back by this that it made me more determined to be on the same start line as the pro's.
So anyway I registered then headed down to the race venue. I met Bob who kindly showed me a bit of the bike course as I had a 45 minute bike to do. It was very hilly with some long slow climbs and fast descents.
At 5pm I headed to the pro meeting where the reality of the excellent pro field hit me. There were a few ITU girls there and Linsey Corbin and I both joked coming off of Ironman training how we were not looking forward to getting our butts spanked by them. Well she was hoping not to get hers, I knew I was getting mine spanked.
Race morning went smoothly. My race number was 9 which must have jinxed me as that is where I placed amoungst the pro field.
The swim is in beautiful Centennial Lake. It was typical of how my swims go, hang on as long as you can, which happened to be around 300 yards of hard swimming and then I surrendered to swim my own pace. It turns out I should have held on for another 200 yards and I probably would have been able to stay with the group. Well I settled into a comfortably hard pace....
Mistake Number 1 Never put the words comfortable in the same sentence as an Olympic Distance race.
I rushed out of T1 to try catch Desiree Ficker who had just left and in my haste Mistake Number 2 I pulled my shoe off of the clip while trying to slide my wet muddy sockless foot into it. Well I managed to lose some time there and Desiree was no longer in sight. So I just started to bike as hard as I could.
Mistake Number 3 I never got my srm fixed from breaking it in IM Arizona therefore estimating my effort on the hills.
I did push as hard as I could on the downhills getting up to 40+ mph on some and slowing down to 10 mph too on a couple uphills. It was a fun technical course. Mistake number 4 It helps to know the course so you know which gears to be prepared to be in when you take a sharp corner and all of a sudden you climbing a steep hill in your granny gear.
I sadly did not catch any of the girls on the bike which was quite uninspiring as I was hoping too. I came into T2 only to find out that the guy I racked my bike next too had forgotten that I existed and left me no spot to rack my bike. Therefore I just rested it on the side of the rack and decided at this point to take my time and put socks on to avoid getting blisters over a ninth place finish.
Mistake Number 5 Treating my transitions like the race was on pause.
The run started with a nice steep hill right out of T2 which sent my heart rate soaring. I enjoyed the quiet time and had to keep reminding myself that I was in a race. Thank goodness the occassional age group guy came flying by me which was a good reminder.
Mistake number 6 Always keep your head in the race!
I ran hard and kept a good effort. At mile 4 and a half I saw a girl in the distance. I was excited and pushed hard to catch her. It was Jessi Stensland and I pushed hard up a hill to pass her . My mile dropped by 40 seconds and I realised that I probably was not pushing hard enough before. My last two miles were my fastest and I was happy to finish strong.
It was fun to do an Olympic race again! It was especially great being done by 9am!
Next up Eagleman 70.3!