I wrote this race report May 10th....but didn't have time to start the blog until today. Here's the dirt on the Kinetic HIM:
The drive up the night before was fun. N let me listen to all sorts of oldies and I blasted “hot blooded” really loud on the radio and got that song stuck in my head.
The next morning, everything was unfolding perfectly. I was feeling good, but when I looked around at 6:50 am and saw everyone else in their wetsuits, warming up I was overcome with doubt in my ability to do this distance. 10 minutes prior to the start, I begged N to take me home. I really need to control my nerves and be more confident. I probably could have shaved a least a half hour off the race if I could have been more steady. I tried to control my breathing during the anthem, but I was already hyperventilating.
Finally, the race started and I dolphin dived with the swim wave but being so panicky before the start destroyed my rhythm. I had to grab onto a kayak for a while and collect myself. By that point, I’d lost the pack and had to push forward on my own without that sweet draft I was hoping to find. I loved not having a current to deal with and I’m pretty concerned about swimming in the ocean for IMFL and the river for Cheseapeake Aqua Velo. Luckily swimming in a wetsuit felt great. I barely had to work to stay afloat and the XTerra suit seemed to encourage good technique as promised.
I did not feel a sense of urgency in TI since I’d just swam 1.2 miles and was about to bike 56. I chatted w/ the woman next to me, who had forgotten to fill her water bottles so I gave her some water. At the start of the bike, Stella (my bike) made a horrible squeak noise. I still can not determine what it was but it continued the duration of the race. The course was 2 loops past a winery, through farmland, over gorgeous bridges and along a marina. I wanted to take a detour at the winery mid-course, but figured that was not a great plan. My nutrition was going well but I went too slow and let everyone pass me since I wasn’t sure how much energy I’d have to chase them back and forth along the course. I could only pass people on the up-hills since I am an attack machine on the ascents. Next time, I’ll have a better feel for this distance. I held back way too much on the bike and didn’t stay aero enough. Poor Stella...I know she's too good for me...but not for long. I'm going to be awesome on the bike this year, now that I know better.
By the time I dismounted the bike, I had moved to the back of the pack and many bikes were already racked. Although that was slightly discouraging, I started off the 3 loop run feeling solid and happy. I love to run! However, eventually discouragement set in yet again. The hot sun was unrelenting and the wind I felt on the bike had all but disappeared. The 2nd and 3rd run laps were brutal. I had built a layer of course sandy salt along my face. Gross! I alternated running and walking even though during training I’d been able to run nonstop for up to 16 miles. For a few seconds I ran with tears streaming and I hope everyone thought it was sweat! I toyed with the idea of stopping…sitting on the grass and resting, but luckily I stayed focused.
The pick me ups were seeing my training team members along the course, and smiling for N on every loop. I also heard the “Hot Blooded” song coming through transition. Fantastic! It had been playing in my mind the whole race, so it was nice to hear it again and get it out. That perked me up and I was able to fly up the hill.
I am proud of the run. I was able to pass a bunch of people who crushed me on the bike. I stayed strong and took good care of myself so I didn’t loose fuel, dehydrate or get hyponatremia. It was slower than I had anticipated, but given the heat conditions I think I did great. I wouldn’t change anything about how I tackled the “run” that day.
The finish was incredible. The announcer knew how to pronounce my last name, which was a race first. Again, I got teary eyed while finishing, but no one could tell because I had a smile and sunglasses covering the emotion. I’d do this race again. Next time, I am going to be much faster and really steady and confident.
How did I recover that day? At the winery of course!