The whole plan was a bit vague, Raquel and Sami were trying to decide if they were gonna race/come along, but between Raquel’s exams and Sami’s last long training weekend by the end of last week it was obvious this was going to turn into a solo race.
I had made plans to room with two friends of mine if nobody from my family end up coming, so we cancelled one of the rooms in our reservation and figured we would make it a fun girl’s weekend. The one part I was not thrilled about was the drive since I was by myself, the trip itself wasn’t a long one but is always nice to have somebody to chat with.
Fast forward to Wednesday and it hit me all of the sudden that I had been on a funk all week long, it was time to shake it off and concentrate on the race. By Thursday morning I did all that I could to change the mood and get pumped for the trip.
Friday I was ready, packed my bags and loaded Pandora with everybody’s pre-race tunes. I have to say that no, I did not like all of them but it was pretty cool to see/listen to the music on my way to Knoxville.
Saturday morning I woke up early, had breakfast and loaded the car. Backed the car out of the garage just to find out my front right tire needed some air, thank GOD Sami had the bright idea to look at the tire to make sure there were no nails. Come to find out I had no one but two nails, so had to drop off the car at a Goodyear store nearby and ended up heading out 2hrs later than I had initially planned.
By the time I made it to Knoxville it was almost the cut off time for the practice swim, so went directly there, swam in the river and proceeded to check in for both the race and the hotel. Changed into my tri kit and went for a spin and left my bike in transition. Which by the way was FAAAAAAAAAAAR from the swim end, if you’ve done this race on the past and thought T1 was far well they moved it even farther due to construction, next year I am taking roller blades J.
By the time I got back it was time to shower and meet Dasha, Jennifer and Tony for dinner. The rest of the evening was spent laughing and chatting which is always good before a race.
Heading to transition
The morning off we headed to transition, got a quick run in and made it to the swim start. I was surprisingly calm, I think I am getting good at not loosing my mind before every race. I know I’ve put the work and at that point there is not much to do just to follow the plan and hope everything comes together.
The swim was a wetsuit legal with some current, I don’t think Chattanooga current but there was some. If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning you probably remember reading my ‘summary’ of IMFL as a volunteer and some things I needed to do/change, my wetsuit being one of them (long sleeves vs sleeveless).
A couple of weeks a go right before New Orleans Haley Chura was nice enough to offer her TYR Hurricane for NOLA 70.3 that way I could see how it worked and I could borrow it for IMFL, well there was no swim in NOLA so this was the one race where I was going to give it a try. Mind you she is probably the BEST amateur triathlete swimmer out there, so I have to admit I felt a bit of pressure knowing that same wetsuit had been top female out of the water on this same race two years in a row (2010 for the Olympic and 2011 Half), I knew there was a good chance there were still some ‘speed power’ in there and was looking forward to take advantage of it.
The gun went off and I went out like I always do HARD, the Olympic distance is a swimmer’s distance so I wanted to put as much gap on my competition as possible, not knowing where I was (rank wise) I took the turn around to head to the swim finish and GOSH that was messy! At this point the people doing the half and those doing the Olympic are swimming together, it was not pretty and if you think I swam over you please accept my apologies, there was no way out of the pack (or multiple packs I should say). As always I tried to be as close to the buoys as possible and made it to the swim finish.
I glanced the clock and I thought ‘uh, oh 25min is NOT good’, but then of course thought, well that means it was long which means is probably going to work to my advantage. Other the run to T1 everything went super fast, I had practice leaving the shoes on the bike so I just had to grab my helmet and glasses and was on my way out. Now I just need to go to one of the Multisport Explosion bike practices and learn from these kids how to do a flying mount and dismount (yes, I had my shoes on the bike but I mounted old lady style).
As I was heading out I saw a couple of friends, and then realized if they had started 5min ahead of me and I know them to be pretty good swimmers I might have done ok. A couple of min later I realized I had swam a 20 NOT 25, not a PR since I have broke the 20min twice in Chattanooga but I really don’t think this current was as strong, I will take it!
The bike course on this race is HARD, hill after hill after hill, and I am not talking about rollers I am talking about 9mph climbs. I wanted to go hard on the bike. By the time I made it to T2 two girls had passed me who by the way were drafting of each other, the good thing was that as they passed me and started taking turns an official pull next to them and apparently gave one of them a penalty.
T2 was pretty fast too, I haven’t had a chance to compare transition times because they are still working on the final times, but I am willing to bet I had one of the fastest transitions in the female field.
I started running and felt ok, a bit out of breath but controlled (I don’t know any other way you’d run a 10K in an Olympic race). By the turn around I thought I could push a bit harder but my legs were done, I stared to feel very fatigue and my breathing was out of control. Around mile 3 a fellow local triathlete (Kat Tindol) passed me, Kat ended up taking 1st in our AG. I knew my run was not going too well but wanted to make sure I finished. It was hot and the more I tried to control my breathing the worse it got. The last mile an a half I just wanted to be done, I was taking landmarks one at the time, a couple of times I really questioned if I was going to finish, by the time I took the turn to the finish shute I was just in heaven thinking I was done.
Not the best picture of me but it really sums up how I felt
1st – I will probably not race again two weeks after a HIM, I was not able to do a couple of things in between those two races which probably harmed me more than helped.
2nd – You can turn things around, the beginning of the week was not ideal but I managed to turn things around and by Friday I was pumped and full of positive thoughts.
3rd - I am SO proud of myself for keep pushing, I knew I was not having a great run, in the past I would have given up and gotten mad, but talked myself into doing all I could to cross that finish line which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes... “Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try”
4th – We are all entitled to a bad day and/or bad race, just make sure you hold your chin up and give it all.
5th – This will probably be the last time I EVER go by myself to a race, I wished so bad that Sami, Raquel and the kids were there, especially after the race. I was glad to have friends there but it was not the same.
My goal is always to give it my all and I did, now is time to recover and get back on the training wagon. While I am home I will be doing shorter workouts, since it is the only one time I get to see the family, but they’ll be more intense so that at least I can keep my fitness. I am eager to come back and start with IM training, I know I am in a good place and it is only going to get better by November.Before I go, shoutouts to everybody who raced the half distance… 90 degrees on that course is not something anybody can do! I was so proud of everybody but specially my roomies Dasha and Jennifer and my friend Heather Holland who the first thing she said when she crossed the finish line was ‘I rather give birth to triplets than doing this again!’, well the truth is that you have done one of the hardest courses with one of the hardest race conditions… piece a cake from here!. As well as to Kat for taking 1st in our AG on a VERY tough day!!