> **Special thanks to Bobby Gill for snapping some sweet pics of me at the race! This one is especially awes because you can see my parents cheering for me just over my shoulder!**
The weekend of Eagleman plus my super sweet 24th birthday started with (drum roll please) work! Yay! Shoot me. Whatever, I actually was able to get out a little early, and Ryan and I rolled out to Cambridge. When I saw my number was 1869, I thought that could be sign #1 that I was going to have a good race (Anything with 4, 13, or 69 is always good luck). Pleased with that, I headed over with Claire, Ryan and his friend OJ to rack my bike. I got on for a little test ride and good thing I did, because I found out that my bike wouldn’t shift into the big chain. Uh oh….there was no way I could be competitive if I didn’t have a big ring. Luckily Jammaster OJizle is savvy enough with the bicycles to know what to do and helped me fix the problem and at least get me through the race. Whew.
Anyway, back to the race, we racked our bikes and took a little swim. Ryan got stung by some jellyfish, but didn’t really complain about it at all. I think I would have. We headed out to the hotel in Salisbury and ate din at the Green Turtle. We watched the storms blow through that were strong enough to knock off my sweet plastic bags I had fastened to my bike that day. Oh well. Sign #2 that this race would be awes was that we pulled up tot he hotel and parked next to not one, but TWO UVA vehicles. Bonus! Thanks to Ryan for helping make my birthday a good time despite the circumstances of racing the next day!
The early morning came and the cloud cover was a blessing. The wind, however, was not. By the time my wave came, the wind and the boats had stirred the water up a little bit. But, I still swam 1 minute faster than at Providence, so I’ll take it.
I got to T1, felt like it was pretty quick and just as I was about to step out I realized that everyone around me was wearing their race number belts already. Huh? Then I felt like I sort of remembered doing that at Providence. I thought it was an Ironman regulation or something, but maybe it was just because Providence was point to point or something? (If anyone can clarify this please do!!). Either way, I didn’t want a penalty so I stashed my bike on the closest rack, ran all the way back to get it, and then headed out. The course is pancake flat, and I honestly wanted to die after about 10 miles. I have never pedaled so much, and doing that ride felt just as hard as the almost-90 mile ride I did a few weeks ago, especially with the strong headwind on the last 10 miles. I was able to pass about 4 girls from my age group on the bike though, so I knew I was probably inching my way up to the top. I still knew of at least 2 people ahead of me though.
T2 went well, and I headed out on the run. The two things that stand out in my mind here are 1. I felt really tall and 2. My steps are so small right now this run is going to take forever. A girl (Cate) in my age group caught me at this point, we chatted and made friends (can you believe it? I was actually friendly!). We passed another girl in our age group, and we knew there was one other girl who was way outta reach. At that point I had a feeling that there was no one else in between, but you can never be sure. Cate began to drop back (or did I begin to pull forward) and I had to make a decision. Do I step it up and “go for it in the run” because there might be another girl out there? Or do I just sit tight, knowing that ultimately I am tapering for WS? I went with the latter. My splits were somewhere in the 8-8:30 range, and I felt extremely comfortable. I was throwing back the soda, water, and gatorade at the water stops like it was my job and felt great by mile 4. My legs had come alive! I knew that if I held on to this, the chicks that I had passed wouldn’t catch me. A big thanks to Arjun and Alex for being out there on the course, they gave me that extra umph in the beginning when I wasn’t sure how it would go.
I hit the turnaround and it was all downhill from there into the finish. I also ran into my old marathon coach at the end who had just done his first triathlon ever (but has done 34 marathons) and so I think I may do some summer/fall training down in Annapolis with the team this year. As always, I’m extremely lucky to have a great group of friends and parental units, so thanks to everyone! And congrats to Ryan, Claire, Rudy and Spider who also had dece-double-plus days of racing!
My nutrition for the day which worked perfectly (I actually lessened it when I saw the cloud cover for the morning) was: 4 endurolytes – 1 before, 2 before the bike and 1 before the run. 1 bottle of Perpetuem on the bike. 1 bottle of water with a Nuun tablet on the bike. 1/2 a bottle of gatorade on the bike. 2 GUs on the bike, 2 GUs on the run. Ice at every stop on the run; water on my face/head at every stop; gatorade and pepsi to drink at every stop.
Numbers wise, I finished in 5:19:10 with a 16 minute PR from Providence! I nailed 2nd in my age group (a technicality actually got me first when they bumped up the first place girl to 3rd place amateur). But best of all, I was able to get that slot for the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, FL this November! Some people question how I’m able to not even blink about throwing down 300 bones to pay for a race where I’ll get smoked at. But seriously, this is probably my only chance to get there for awhile as I move up an age group next year and will face much stiffer competition. PLUS my UVA Tri friends Rudy and Andrew will be there, so some fun times will ensue I’m sure. I’m pretty pumped with how the day ended up and I’m even more pumped to get things ready to head out to CALLLIFFORRRNIAAAAA (said like in the OC theme song, obvi).