Solid race--4:32 and 7th overall in a strong field, qualified for Clearwater. Swam well, ran fairly well, biked. . .meh, ok. If that's enough info for you, skip to the bottom for the pictures from the post race trip to Chicago. Otherwise, keep reading: )
Before I get too deep into the actual race reporting, I would like to comment on a notable change in my preparation for the race. I still did all the usual swim/bike/run training, but I decided to make one very important pre-game change. My hair. (Those of you with short hair can tune out now). I would describe the normal pre race hair ritual as non-existant. I yank it into a ponytail, and don't give it a second thought. Not until after the race, that is, when I usually spend on the order of 45 minutes combing it out of the most incredible tangle imaginable.
Thanks to Katie, my incredible "mom for the weekend", the problem was solved. Double braids are definitely the way to go. Took me back to my gymnastics days as a kid.
On to the race. The lake had some decent wind chop going race morning. Combined with the 6-12 inch visibility, I knew drafting was going to be tough. The pro women's wave included several incredible swimmers, so no opportunities for mistakes if I wanted to be in a swim pack. As soon as we heard the gun, I went HARD, managing to get to the first buoy in the lead (from my vantage point, anyway). That didn't last long. BUT, I did manage to settle in with a group of 3 girls, and exited the water in 30 minutes and change, my fastest ever swim time!
I am quite accustomed to biking my way back into the mix. This time, I was actually much closer to the action than usual coming out of the water, but my legs seemed to have stage fright. The first 15 miles of my bike ride weren't great. I spent the first few miles questioning whether or not I had a mechanical. After searching for a few excuses--brake rubbing? Nope. flat? Nope.--and coming up empty handed, I decided it was time to suck it up and get to work. I seemed to pull things together for the later part of the ride, and moved up 6 or 7 places before running out of real estate.
Nothing too remarkable happened on the run. I found a good rhythm, but more or less held position. Sub 1:30 on a course with some hills. I've run faster, but given the Ironman racing and training bookending this race, I'll take it! Overall, I felt really good about the day --good prep for IM Canada and nice to see that the extra swimming is (fingers crossed) finally paying off.
I finished the weekend off with a trip to Chicago (I love Saturday races. . .more time to play before the end of the weekend!) My friends Paige and Jack were excellent windy city tour guides--wake surfing on the lake, dancing with Lady Gaga, and checking out the downtown sites were a few of the highlights.
No idea what this silver thing is called, but everyone else was taking a lot of pictures, so I figured I'd join the party. This is the view from underneath.
Obviously not the real Lady Gaga. . .the question is, was (s)he a lady at all? We were really not sure.
It was a fun weekend of racing & playing before heading back to San Diego for IM Canada prep!