These last 3 weeks have been solely devoted to speed training. Since I spent the entire first part of the season training for a half IM and then did an Oly in September, it was time to get the body used to going fast again. And all I can really say about that is DAMN! That crap hurts! Bryan generally has me train by heartrate and some pace goal stuff...but for the most part I get to chill on the bike with the HR in the 160's while doing my TT stuff...and the run is usually in the 170's...definitely not a comfortable feeling. Since I was used to the longer, slower stuff...this is tough. This morning I woke up totally not wanting to race...but honestly, that is how I have felt for the last few races and pulled out a good race...so strangely I took this as a promising sign. I had no delusions of a podium finish today since I know this race brings out the fast girls...everyone loves to race Mission Bay as it's usually the last race of the season for most (except my awesome Kona friends!). So my only goal out there was to have the best race I could muster up...and to not hold back.
Upon waking I zoomed into race mode and got all my stuff together, got dressed, got the fam together, and headed out caravan style with Bex and Erika. Bex graciously auctioned off her entry for our CAF team (instead she swam 1000 meters and ran 9 miles!!!) and Erika was swimming as part of a relay. Mom raced today as well and Mike and the kiddos came along as race support. So we all headed down to Mission Bay and made it there and parked within 15 minutes...even got great parking! When I went into transition I set up and did my normal walk around...I noticed that there were SO many racks for Wave 2 (my wave 25-29). I glanced at the bikes on them and didn't see too many tri bikes...ok...so maybe there are a lot of newer folks here. I chatted for a while, went back to the fam at the RU tent, did my warmup, dressed and started to casually walk to the swim start. As I was walking the announcer happened to mention that all 25-29 women should be in the water...oh crap!! I threw on my goggles and flew down the ramp and into the water...I didn't even notice if it was cold because I was afraid of missing my wave!
I made it in time and the gun quickly went off. My goal for the swim was to actually push myself...I usually end of letting myself cruise the distance (even a sprint) so I tried really hard to keep a good pace. I saw a few girls pull away and knew I couldn't hold them, but soon enough I felt like I had dropped most of the pack. I really didn't think of much while I was swimming except I could see this chick on my right side doing backstroke. I figured she was newer and was freaking out about her wetsuit. What I also noticied is that I was having a hard time dropping her! She was backstroking like a freaking champ! It made me so mad...so I threw in another gear and kicked it out of there. As I came out of the water I heard mom yelling that I had done a great job...with that I knew I had a fairly good position out of the water (Momma don't lie!). I entered transition and only saw 3 other girls there (the first place girl was already gone!).
I headed out on my bike quickly and passed 2 girls right at the beginning. I didn't know exactly where I was...but knew I was close to the front of my age group. The bike course for Mission Bay is actually nice except there are a lot of turns in the beginning...hard to get down in aero until after Seaworld. But I tried to jam it as fast as I could. I couldn't read my heartrate because the monitor was still wet so I just went off speed. I didn't want my mph to fall under 20 if I could help it (average pace ended up being 19.7...my fastest yet). As I flew around Fiesta I played leapfrog with some little boys (the under 24 boys) and silently laughed as I chicked them. Then I made it off the island. I was stoked because no other female had passed me yet. If you know me, you know the bike is my achilles heel in this sport. I always lose my races on the bike...but I'm finally putting in the work on it and seeing improvement...and it's a great feeling! I came around the corner as I exited Seaworld and this other girl in my age group passed me. I worried a little but just tried to hold onto her as we came over the bridge and into transition...I figured that hopefully she wasn't a great runner and I could catch her there. I flew into T2 and out as fast as I could.
I headed out onto the run sub 6:30 min/mile. I knew I wouldn't hold this pace but figured I would go with it as long as I could...which wasn't long. I slowed down to my normal 5K pace between 7 and 7:45 (overall avg was 7:24 min/mile). I could see the other girl about 100 yards in front of me and set about trying to close the gap. I was feeling great...HR monitor was finally reading and showing 170's...which was fine...so I just kept going at it. But even when I tried to push it I couldn't catch that girl to save my life! It was frustrating but I really didn't know where I was in the placing...so I just made sure no one else passed me! As I came into the home stretch towards the finish line I knew there wasn't anyone in my age group behind me. I crossed the line and saw the same girl standing there with 2 others who clearly had finished racing. At that point I was pretty sure I had taken 4th place. I was excited, but also disappointed that I had lost 3rd by such a narrow margin.
Fast forward to the awards ceremony...low and behold they gave awards 5 deep in my age group since there were over 100 girls in the group! SCORE!! That means I got my very own medal! So needless to say I'm happy with my performance, stoked about the medal, and ready for 2 more weeks of speed training going into Women's Tri. That will be my last tri of the season and I will definitely be trying for a 1-3rd medal...end out the season right...and hopefully as a reminder to next season of where we are going.
Thanks to everyone who cheered and yelled out there today. It was so helpful and motivating! Loved seeing all my buddies out there tearing up the course...so many PR's today. Thanks to my family for dealing with my race day moodiness. Thanks to Bryan and RU for being amazing support and coaching. And thanks to Bex and Mike for the last "victory 5K" after the race...yeah...coach made me run MORE after the race. :) Anyway, now looking forward to a restful evening with good food and good friends. Onto the next!