Tuesday, August 9, 2011


In the day leading up to the race I felt a strong combination of nervousness and excitement. I was a little nervous about racing at altitude, knowing that I am no where near acclimated. Although this town is raging with the worlds best triathletes several opted out of this race because they say racing at altitude takes too much out of you- and well, they live here year round! So, it just had me a bit on edge. Thing is, this was overshadowed by my excitement to race several of the top women in this sport, so...Game On!
Check out a video of the pro men and women swim start (it focuses in on me just before our start and then out of the water) and then coming out of the water:  http://youtu.be/vwIqF3ywFOY
I knew I had to go out at a controlled pace. I've been swimming a fair amount, and my stroke actually feels better it has in years (hmmmm, maybe that coach of mine and his olympic swimming powers has something to do with it?!?!?!) However, I still haven't been able to put in any real sustained solid efforts in the water since getting here. I knew if I went too hard I'd be unable to catch my breath and the day could start disastrous. As it turns out I settled into a strong pace, focused on my stroke and pull, and was instantly leading a group of girls, with only Kelly ahead of us. I could still see her, and she wasn't gaining any ground. I wanted to GO for her, but 12 strokes hard was all I could put in. Around the first buoy I started getting pummeled. Yup, I've only felt "clobbered" like this once before, and sure enough it was the same culprit. I tried hard to ditch her, but again 12 strokes was all I could muster before relaxing to breath again. The pace felt fairly easy, and I didn't feel it was really necessary to move behind and let her pull. I wasn't struggling and I didn't feel the swim was taking much out of me. Other than overheating I felt great (water was supposedly 75.8. RIGHT?!?! Please WTC change this rule! If I'm hot I can only imagine how the guys felt).  With 200meters to go I decided  "Hell, I don't need to breath for 200m." I threw my kick into the mix and took off. I got out of the water in 2nd, 2mins down from Kelly. Solid!
Thanks to the Training Peaks crew for snapping some shots of me!!

Unfortunately I wasn't able to jump on my killer new Fuji. My long a%# legs require a longer seat tube for the small frame, so his debut might have to wait until Wisconsin :-(
When I hit the road I instantly began gasping, and I mean gasping! I have done a lot of hard riding here in Boulder, and I know racing is different but it still felt wrong. Yesterday was one of the first really dry days here and I typically don't do as well racing in dry climates. So perhaps that played a part, who knows. In the first 5 miles I was passed by Angela and Amanda. I told myself no matter who it was that came up on me I had to go with them. Easier said than done, they ate me up and spit me out. I locked into my power and felt I was holding right where I should be. At mile 30 I was passed by Whitney, Uli and Jessica. My spirits plummeted! I felt I was riding strong and my training has been going really well. I tried to hang with them but it just wasn't happening. I came into the race pretty tired, but had taken 2 days super easy. Ultimately I just think I was struggling with the altitude. Whatever it was, I got my head screwed back on and got back to work. The second loop of the bike was packed with age groupers. It got a bit dicey at times with the open roads, but I remained focused on the task at hand, zeroed in on my powermeter, and tried to say hydrated. My legs were burning and I was ready to hit the run.
My plan was to settle into 7minute pace for the first uphill mile, and see how my stride and turn over felt.  The run is on hard gravel roads and paths with a few rollers. I've done some training out there, so knew it wasn't going to be a fast run. No sub 6:30 pace miles racing up here in the sky! I was running in no mans land. Once to the top of the hill I looked back and didn't see anyone charging at me. I kept this pace and finally at mile 5.5 saw I could catch someone. I passed Marylyn and moved into 7th. I didn't have anyone there giving me info, and the course doesn't really allow the opportunity to scout out the competition. I wondered if I could move up any more, so when I saw Dave Scott around mile 9 I asked how far ahead Jessica was. He didn't seem too confident in his approximation, but guessed 3 minutes. With that I shut it down. I knew I was solid in 7th and started thinking about Steelhead next weekend.  I settled into a comfortable tempo pace and headed for home. Again, I didn't care about my time but simply wanted to secure the best place I possibly could. On this day it was 7th....and amidst my Boulder based competition I was very pleased! I was all smiles heading home.
If you read Kelly's race report she jokes about one of us saying "have fun" right before the gun went off. Kelly sent out a quick "good luck" and I responded with "have fun." We all laughed because at that moment, the battle we're about to embark on doesn't really sound "fun."  However, it is incredibly important for me never to loose site of how fun racing is for me. ESPECIALLY at this level! Painful, YES, but wicked  fun too!
A quick thank you to the CMS crew! Michael and Ryan were in T1 (to tell me I was running out the wrong direction), T2 and at the finish to bring me in. Race day support really means a lot to me, so thank you boys!!! Thanks to Berry Siff for not only putting on a great race, but getting to know even the newbie/out-of-towner and making me feel right at home. Awesome race, amazing volunteers, great course! Those who started these races worked VERY hard to create the best race atmosphere possible.This was a good one. Congratulations Angela, Kelly, Amanda, Whitney, Uli Jessica and Marilyn. It was an honor to share the podium with each of you!
Next weekend I get to enjoy a "hometown" race! I can't wait to get back to MI (for some cooler weather and family fun). I'm especially excited to see a few of my California training partners and friends who will be racing there as well. Another one in the books...and with each one I feel truly blessed to be experiencing this journey!

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