This year, the swim was cancelled early so going into race morning we knew instead we'd be doing a 2(ish) mile run, 52 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. The bike had to be shortened and the half marathon course changed due to storm debris on the course. Good thing I didn't print out the course maps beforehand (oh wait, I did... :)!! And of course the swim was cancelled due to high winds and a very ANGRY Lake Pontchartrain. Although it's always disappointing for a swim to be cancelled, I have to say, I wouldn't have wanted to swim in that craziness!
So instead we sprinted 2 miles first. :) I knew the first run would start out crazy fast (for me). Without paying tooooo much respect to my fellow competitors, I did remind myself that some of the women in the field have a half marathon race pace equal to my 5K pace so if I went out at THEIR 5K pace...well, bad things might happen. Fear none, respect all?
Anyway, I ran a hard but not all out 2 miles and then hopped on my bike.
The beauty of the 2 mile run vs the 1.2 mile swim is, instead of having 3-4 minutes on me, the front of the field only had about 60-90 seconds on me. Now THIS is good stuff! When I got on my bike there were people all around! Much different than my experience in Oceanside where everyone was long gone. This was going to be a fun bike!
I told myself not to waste the opportunity and quickly got down to the business of biking really, really hard. Within the first 5-10 miles I had passed 3 people. Now I know this doesn't seem like a lot but this is quite an accomplishment for me. So how did I celebrate? I decided I wanted to be in my small chain ring going up over one of the bridges and promptly dropped my chain. This of course necessitated me getting off my bike to fix my chain at which point all three of the women I passed, passed me right back! Woo-hoo! (sigh) I quickly remounted though and got back to business.
52 miles later I had ridden probably the best I've ever ridden, averaged way more watts than I did at Oceanside and pulled myself from 17(ish) after the 1st run to 8th place off the bike. VICTORY! But victory ONLY if I could still run decently!
When I started the run, I had some brief moments of panic that I was indeed going to be in for a REALLY long run. My legs were definitely feeling my effort on the bike. But I told myself that to be competitive in the pro field, I need to ride that hard all the time AND learn to run well so no time like now to practice! Within 1 mile I heard the pitter-patter that is the 120+ cadenced stride of Cait Snow. She passed me like I was standing still (but I was running 6:20 pace). Oh boy. Then I got passed quickly again by Cait's QT2 teammate. Yikes. But then things settled down. I settled into 6:30-6:40 pace for the next 8-9 miles and no other women passed me.
Around mile 11, my legs started to stage a massive protest. It was the "you already ran 2 miles hard this morning, which means I've already run 13 miles hard and right now you are DONE!!" type of protest. I was definitely hurting. And to make matters worse, I had some women hot on my tail. Mile 11 was not good to me - I got passed by 2 more people! But I hung as best I could, kept pushing and in the end managed to pass 1 other women to finish in 11th place.
11th AGAIN! Top 10 would have been great but I can't be too greedy. I did still run under 1:30 (barely) off of a GREAT (for me) bike and that is definitely forward progress. I knew going into this year that the best I could hope for was a faster, fitter, stronger version of my old self and that is definitely what I was yesterday in the race. Goal accomplished!
|Yes legs, we are now done! :)|
|Dirk's ladies had a good day in NOLA! (Michelle, Sonja, myself and Libby)|
|There was MUCH fun to be had after the race and I SO enjoyed hanging out with Hailey, Sarah (winner, winner chicken dinner!!), Sonja, Michelle, Libby, Heidi, Chad and Jen and the list goes on and on!! FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!|
Big thanks for all your cheers and support as always - it means more than you could know! I'm also so thankful for all the support from Soas, Brooks, PowerBar and to be a part of the Ballou Skies team. And of course, my love and unending gratitude to my biggest sponsor of all - my family!