I am so very lucky to have their support. It meant the world having them right there with me. My mother knows how much I adore the adorable cheetahs (baby cheetahs were born at the zoo just as I was finding my speed again!) She bought me a tiny cheetah figurine to go with my lucky zebra (a post for another day).
It was really a fantastic weekend with perfect weather. Nick & I arrived at the engineering school where the race site was held and parking was a breeze. It is rare to see volunteers so well trained and effective for a race only in its 2nd year, but getting my timing chip, body marking and setting up my rack went off smooth with their help. I did a little run warm up to calm my nerves before my parents arrived at the race and noticed how well marked the course was with clear and obvious signs on where to go to do a 2nd run lap vs finish...something I have mixed up on numerous occasions. I knew it would be a good day. My family helped me put on my wetsuit (thanks Endorphin for the amazing Tyr wetsuit rental) and after a quick warm up they hugged me before the race start.
I had received the wrong color swim cap and only realized this minutes before the start of the swim when I knew I was in the 2nd wave, but my cap did not match the congregating group. Luckily, I asked around and some volunteers pointed me to the race director, Greg, who told me to just swim in my AG wave and I'd be fine. He was prepared with a chart in his pocket of all the waves and colored caps. Then, he proceeded to the microphones and asked them to make an announcement about the caps in case anyone else had a similar issue. I was pretty amazed by that responsiveness and attention to detail. I love race directors who really care about the details and remedy mistakes quickly.
The water was 69 degrees and slightly salty with an in water start. The morning was mildly windy with a very slight feel of a current going out but generally a very friendly waterway. I went off strong and the start seemed really aggressive. I found feet right away, and really loved the feel of the Tyr suit. My old wetsuit was too big and I think the Tyr was properly fitting and felt fast. I did wind up swimming alone by the 1st buoy though and having been dropped, lost the fight. The swim was uneventful with easy sighting and minimal turns back to the boat house. I wasn't pushing hard enough.
30:39 7th AG, 27th OA
T1: We ran up a dock and I wanted the wetsuit off since I always find it tough to run in them. I moved off the path to the side once we were on the grass to remove it where a random spectator started lecturing me about how I'm "supposed" to wait until I'm back at my bike to take off my suit. I felt like I was on Happy Gilmore with all her sideline negativity and also it bugs me when people are wrong and give false information. There's no rule about when to remove a wetsuit but I did not engage or respond to her, although I knowher incessant complaining while I was trying to remove the suit slowed me up. I had to sit down to tug it off. The run back up the hill was long and I was disappointed when I looked at my watch. I discovered the swim times from last year vs this year were about 2 minutes slower this year so I shouldn't put so much weight on a swim, but I entered the bike frazzled from the swim.
2:30 2nd AG, 17th OA
Bike: I had some data/technology issues in the first 5 minutes and although it worked out. I worked my way from the back, passing plenty of people but my legs were tired and my power was way off target with a HR in zone 2. I'm not pleased with my effort here. I averaged 90 watts in the 1st 5 minutes and then 146 watts after that. It was a half iron effort at an Olympic tri. The course itself was fast and flat with minimal traffic. It was well marked and nearly impossible to become lost. I loved the course.
1:08:30. 3rd AG and 11th OA
T2: 1:12 5th AG, 7th OA
Run: Seeing my family as I made my way to the course meant a lot to me and lifted my spirits. The run has some gravel sections and is two out and back loops of flat with about a mile of pavement. I liked being able to see the other athletes. I also loved seeing my parents and hubby a few times. I found the energy and competitive drive to push that had abandoned me on the swim and bike and I went into total race mode. I sped up in the last half and passed a woman in my age group just in time to finish for a 3rd place podium in the 30-34!
45:53: 2nd AG, 7th OA
Overall: 2:28:42 3rd AG, 12th OA. Not a PR but a great day and I turned it around to end the race positive with a solid run right on pace.
The post race food for athletes was delicious and they had a fun park setting atmosphere to relax with the family on site before my family and I headed out to enjoy the region and play tourist together.