I represented the team for the first time this past weekend, racing in the Folsom International Triathlon near Sacramento. This marked just 7 weeks of training under my new “beginner” program with our coach, with the last couple of weeks having started my prosthetic residency working full-time hours. I’m unofficially classified as a “development pro” for the team, so this year is the big transition from age grouper to pro, and we’re off to a promising start! I drove up with my mom and G-dog the previous day, battling a couple hours in traffic, and we stayed with my friend Jen and her boy Josh, who was also racing.
When my wave (amateur females 34 & under) went off race morning, I must not have been awake yet. I immediately got dropped by the faster gals, and quickly found myself alone! A bit disappointing as I’ve felt my swim has improved incredibly these past couple of weeks though it sure didn’t seem like it on race day… Lesson learned: gotta get on some feet IMMEDIATELY. I was able to catch some feet midway through and exited in 28:14.
Though the location of the race was a bit deceiving (“Nimbus Flats” state park), the bike course was somewhat rolling, and on sketchy pavement to boot (net uphill on the way out, net downhill on the way back). It felt tough and my glutes were burning. I only got passed by one girl from my wave (ha, a worse swimmer than me!) and then we ended up leapfrogging on the way back. She was in my age group so I did my best to maintain contact with her–though she still took off ahead of me out of T2. hm, I need to practice the shoe thing. I biked it in 1:12, pretty close to my prediction of 1:10.
After biking my legs off, I was extremely surprised to exit T2 with my legs feeling absolutely phenomenal!! It was the strangest feeling! I tried keeping the girl I had biked with in my sights and hit a 7:05 on my first mile. yikes, I was certain I’d gone out too fast and sure enough, my second mile had dropped down to 7:19. Oh no, I was really in trouble now and just focused on making it through the next mile, where the turnaround would be. I actually drew inspiration from my faster pro teammates during the run–Bella, Beck, Hilary, Belinda, Chrissie–who I haven’t yet met but have been following all the fun race reports and amazing results they have been getting throughout the summer. As I was wearing the TeamTBB badge and representing the team, it was my obligation to race to the best of my abilities and I stayed motivated by thinking of how fast the other girls could run off the bike.
Amazingly, the next 3 miles ticked off 7:05, 7:05, 7:01…I was flabbergasted that my legs could feel so fresh. I may have pissed off a (much bigger) guy who I passed too closely to, he started yelling at me for not giving him any room! I decided not to waste my breath and instead gave him all the room he could want by leaving him behind! No hard feelings, dude!
I really struggled to hold it all together both physically and mentally in the last mile and could feel myself slowing. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the place to do it, as I much later learned that I would end up missing the age group podium by only 15 seconds!! So I ended up 4th in my age group and 20th amateur woman (23rd overall with elites), recognizing that the competiton back here in California is much deeper than the other states I’ve raced in, AND WOW, the 35 and older women here really kick ass! Their wave started much later than mine, and I was near the top 10 all the way until the 35+ wave started finishing half an hour later.
Overall my final time was 2:27, a new Olympic distance PR, and my 10k was actually an outright PR–44:39 would be my fastest both in a triathlon and by itself. pretty crazy!! I later learned that wearing my post-race hot pink cowboy hat and matching race bikini is rather conspicuous and actually turns out to be great for team exposure. haha! I actually got my first fan email yesterday from someone at the race who tracked me down by Googling Team TBB. funny!
All in all, a good experience, I was happy to be hitting a lifetime best after just 7 weeks training. Obviously there is still a lot of work to do, but I can only go faster from here on out! next up is a half iron in about a month, I do actually prefer the longer stuff, so really looking forward to that one!