Today I did my 6th Columbia. I had my 2nd best time on the course (best time dating back to 2008 when ALL I did was short course) and was the 14th OA female/pro female. I would rate my race as "okay" - certainly nothing spectacular but also not the disaster that it very well could have been. More than anything I learned a lot today and for that I'm thankful!
Things I learned at Columbia 2012:
1) It's possible to go out TOO hard in the swim. In Oceanside I didn't go out hard enough to stay with the pack. I was DETERMINED to get the job done today. Turns out though, that when you try to go out with the likes of Sara McLarty, Leanda Cave and other such swimming superstars, bad, bad, VERY bad things happen. Needless to say, in the end, I swam 95% of the swim alone. This was a painful lesson to learn.
2) I do really like to swim without a wetsuit. And 70 degree water really isn't that cold.
|Early morning fog on the lake. Columbia is a beautiful place to race!|
3) I learned how to start with my shoes on my pedals. No laughing! But this was always something I put off and said I'd learn "another year". Well this is the year! I can't be the only pro that doesn't do this. So I figured why not try in a race when transitions really do matter BIG TIME! I practiced about 10,000 times on Saturday and then did it just fine today. I've been converted. I still managed to have the 2nd slowest T1 (dang!) BUT I had the 5th fastest T2 which is seriously saying something when you are competing against ITUers!!! :)
4) The fatigue you carry from training for an Ironman is the real deal. I definitely felt it today, pretty much from the start. Dirk warned me of it and I struggled with it mightily today but in the end, knowing I was going to be this tired still wouldn't have stopped me from racing. I really love this race and I really love TO race. I had a great time no matter the outcome.
5) I learned a little about myself today. It was the first time in a pro race and one of the few times in ANY race where I really had to decide if I was going to give up. This is where there is a big difference between AG and pro racing in my opinion. It's much easier to give into the fatigue when you are racing for "nothing" vs an AG win or an elite amateur title. I really struggled with my thoughts in the early stages of the bike because I couldn't wrap my head around suffering just for the sake of suffering. And although I really wanted to "quit" I'm proud to say I eventually turned it around in my head. This landed me my 2nd fastest run time on this course which is saying something considering I had legs of lead! Really though what I learned is that there is a very fine line that we teeter on in races and if you can just keep on the good side, you'll be okay!
6) I also learned it's all about perspective. I actually went a bit faster today than I did last year at this race and my bike and run times were faster than last year (yet my swim time dismally slower...). Of course last year I was 2nd in the elite amateur race so I went home with a big award and a smile on my face. This year I finished down in the pro field and left empty handed! Yet last year I probably didn't give the race a second thought when it was over vs this year I feel as if I learned so much. As the saying goes, can't win 'em all. :)
All in all it was a great weekend. I had so much fun with the Pittsburgh crew! And we stayed with THE most awesome family, the Sproules! THANK YOU SO MUCH CHRIS AND TAMMY (and Suzy for hooking us up with them! :). I really enjoyed getting to know a family in the area and of course it didn't hurt that they had two of the best dogs ever:
|Meet Wrigley and Camden. Yes, we want treats now please!|