Being my third triathlon in five weeks – plus two “training camp” type weekends, not too much felt out of the ordinary as I packed up and headed down to Williamsburg last weekend. Being on the road is starting to feel like the new normal, and I’m not complaining! I am loving being able to escape the city on the weekend and put in quality training and racing hours.
I arrived pretty late so I settled into the Colonial Inn and got right to bed. It was an early wakeup on Saturday so I could get down to the practice swim. It was here that I was able to meet up with my Rev3 teammates. Our shimmer suits and new team t-shirts were definitely taking the beach by storm that morning. After the swim I headed over to the expo which would also be T2 and the finish line area – right on the campus of William and Mary.
I spent some time here at the team tent — and of course taking some green screen pics.
I swear, I could go home after the green screen a happy girl without even racing!!
Saturday ended up being quite hot, so around mid day I went back to the hotel and that is when the fatigue from the past few days really hit me – with a 3 hour nap! I’ll admit spent a good portion of that nap in the NormaTecs (yay for drivable races when I can bring them!). After dragging myself back out of bed, I still had to squeeze in a ride and find some dinner. Luckily Williamsburg is an amazing race venue and there are plenty of options everywhere for the food situation. I found a premade meal at the Fresh Market and a few hours later was back to settle in for the night.
Unfortunately at this point my roommate – and fellow Team HPB and Rev3 teammate — Maggie, was just getting to Williamsburg. The travel day from hell, this girl was seriously dealing with it all. She didn’t get to the hotel until I was in bed and relaxing watching the Jodi Arias movie on Lifetime (That’s a crazy story by the way – I must have been living under a rock to have missed pretty much this whole thing. Or maybe that’s good because I was just training under a rock:)) Anyway, as Maggie unloaded her stuff I caught her up on life, Jodi Arias, and the deets for tomorrow — then it was sleeptime (again!).
I love the earlier start time at this race, but when I opened the hotel door at 4:30 both Maggie and I let out a gasp – it was POURING rain. Neither of us really accounted for that! We crossed our fingers it was going to be a passing summer storm, and headed to the race site. Since it was point to point, first we stopped in T1 to drop off our stuff for the run. The rain was continuing so plastic bags it was! Then we headed out to the river for the start. Everything went super smooth for me. I had the perfect amount of time to tune up the bike, drop off my morning clothes, get into my wetsuit, and relax before the start.
As the pros went off I watched intently….and I couldn’t help but notice that they were being pushed quite a ways off course by the current. It seemed so odd to me though that they were going so far off course – and no one was breaking from the pack. I debated for awhile the benefits of pack swimming vs swimming that far off course. Sighting definitely wasn’t an issue with the cloud cover (the rain did stop, but the clouds hung around). When my wave lined up, I made the decision that I’d stick with the course and swim alone if I had to. The other interesting part of this swim was the tides were also affecting the start – for a good 2-2.5 minutes we were dolphin diving and water running to the first buoy before it was deep enough to swim! Of course this creates a lot of giggles and “what the hecks” as we made our way out there. It was all fun though and we were all in the same boat, so no biggie! In fact, I must be quite the dolphin diver because I hit the first buoy first. (BlueSeventy you can send my swim bonus to my home address :))
Once it was deep enough to swim I noticed that in fact most of my wave was getting pushed out left. Honestly – I had no problem staying on the buoy line. But, because so many men in the waves ahead had also gone off course, this created a chaotic first turn. Once I made it around that buoy though I got some open water again and just kept swimming. It wasn’t until the second turn that I finally saw another pink cap, and I managed to stay on her feet all the way in. I happened to be swimming without a watch (working on replacing my Timex!) so I had no clue where I was time wise. But – RD Eric told me I was 4th amateur female out of the water (and third was a few steps ahead) and that was music to my ears. I hopped on my bike and set out for the ride.
Overall this ride passed by quickly. I was doing a good job at catching people once they were within eyesight, but I also felt good about how hard I was able to ride when there was no one in sight many times. Towards the back half I also realized I had caught a couple of the pro women. Given their headstart, I felt pretty good about that! The bike course has no major hills, but also isn’t pancake flat, and the winds were stronger than when I rode around the day before. At the two out and back points I was able to see that I had no room to relax – there were definitely a few girls in hot pursuit. I ended up coming off the bike in 2nd – now time to run!
I had checked out the run course a bit the day before and so I knew there were a couple hills on both sides of the out and back. The humidity was also quite high at this point (note – I think a lot of people were fooled into thinking it was cooler than it was with the cloud cover as well. I was glad I stuck to my nutrition/hydration plan on the bike despite the clouds!). There were quite a few Rev3 teammates both racing and volunteering which was amazing. At the first out and back I saw the girl ahead of me and she looked good – and then I noticed I was being chased by two others who also looked like they were holding up great! Tara was sitting in fourth place, and having raced against her a few times now, I know she can run! Seeing them so close to me got into my head a little bit around mile 3. I wasn’t feeling super fresh. I just came off of a HUGE training weekend. It was hot. My race belt was bothering me. — I began to compile my list of excuses and wait for the girls to catch me. And then I got to the second turn around – and I still had the same gap on them.
This was when I truly started to believe. I heard I was 1:50 down on first place, and I just decided to tuck in, and hold on. I didn’t have another gear in me, but I could hold this. I knew I could – I’ve done it in training. Many, many times. At the far end of the loop I saw that I was making small gains on first place – and maintaining the gap to third place. As I came up on the final mile my teammates were amazing cheering me through and keeping me going when all I wanted to do was stop and get some coke. The last mile is basically a half mile downhill, then a half mile back up to the finish. I hit the turnaround and looked up, only to see two girls – third and fourth place – coming down. Fast. That was as much of an “oh shit” moment as I needed, and I put myself into gear. Looking at my Garmin data I can actually pinpoint this moment as I briefly managed to drop to a 5:33 pace! Of course I didn’t hold that all the way up the hill, but I did finish strong and keep about a minute between me and the third place finisher. Which – I was SO pumped to see – was Tara!! She gutted out quite a race and earned every bit of that.
All in all, I loved this race, and I was happy to walk away with a 2ish minute PR on top of everything else. It’s always fun to race on a college campus – the energy is built in to those places I think! I also started out this year with the intention of racing to see exactly what my potential is going to be in the next couple years. Nailing this second place and earning the pro-card qualification (if I should choose to take it!)…..well – it just feels really good. There’s no real way to describe what it is like to believe in what your potential is – and spend years putting in the work for those goals – and finally have it start to show in tangible results. But I’m excited for – and ready to work for – some big things to come. Only time will tell!