When I knew it was a big race was when I realized we had to check our bikes in the day before. I've never had to do that besides at Rev3 Florida, and I thought that was just because of the 70.3 distance. I headed down around noon on Saturday with Beth to check in our bikes, pick up our packets, and do a little swim at the finish line.
|Mirinda Carfrae was at the expo right at the time we were there, so we waited in line for a second and snapped a photo. I got a little starstruck for some reason and couldn't think of much to say. PS She's very small.|
|I racked my bike and enjoyed the fact that I had a sticker where I was supposed to put it. I didn't have to fight for space. I had a mini issue trying to figure out how to let air out of my front tire, because there wasn't an extender on the tube. Eventually someone at TriBike Transport was able to help me when no one at the race knew how.|
|We saw Genna after we had donw our warm up swim. The swim exit is right behind us in the photo. There are metal stairs leading us out of the water.|
After some swimming and a little shopping (where I just bought a couple more Polar Bottles I probably didn't need but really wanted and found a good deal on) we headed back to the car and went to drive the course. I had been having some nervousness about all the turns and two of the U-turns on the course, so I knew that driving the course would help. It definitely gave me a better sense of what I was heading into on Sunday. And yes, there were a LOT of turns. I was so, so appreciative of Beth for taking a big chunk of time to drive the course with me. She's done it several times so really didn't need to do this. It was really nice of her.
I headed home that afternoon to wait for Jaclyn to get there. She's also on the Rev3 team, and she did the sprint on Sunday and stayed with us the night before. It was fun to chat Rev3 and summit and find out more about what I had missed. We ate Carraba's and went to bed early. We had an overly early alarm set for the next morning. I wanted to be out the door by 4:15 to get down to St. Pete to find parking and get setup in transition.
Though my wave didn't start until 8:13, transition closed at 6:45, so I had to get everything setup and ready only to wait around for a while. In the mean time I found Susan and Jaclyn and we chatted some more. I was glad to finally meet Susan, another Rev3 teammate.
|Transition was MASSIVE! I've never seen so many bikes in one place. This photo doesn't even touch on it.|
|The sunrise was beautiful to watch as I watched all the waves go off. You can see one large group going off in the distance.|
As my wave was walking out I positioned myself front and center at the starting line and waited for the gun. Finally, at 8:13, I was off. On the map above you can see the swim course, and it was odd. The first part wasn't bad, but when we made the first left turn we were suddenly swimming against swells, and by the second turn to the right, I thought I was going to be sick I was getting so nauseous. There was a girl ahead of me that I was trying to stay on her feet when possible. I thought she was in my age group, but I later looked and found out she's 17, so she wasn't in my age group after all. By the end of the swim we had caught several waves, and I was ready to stop dodging people and big waves. Finally I reached the medal stairs and hopped out of the water!
Swim: 24:32 for 1500 meters. 1st out of 44 in my age group.
Transitions are always what I have the hardest time with. I sat down, ripped off the wetsuit, put on my bike shoes and helmet and started regrouping to head out on the bike. I beat the 17 year old out of transition, so I was the first one from my wave to be out on the bike course. That was fun!
The bike was what I had been the most nervous about because of all of the turns. As I started I just kept repeating to myself to slow on the turns and all would be fine. My goal was to hit an average of over 19 mph. I'd be riding in the high 19s and low 20s, but then I would slow down an insane amount for the turns, so the people I had just passed would pass me right back. Luckily there were plenty of straightaways to gain speed and pass people on.
I took a gel in the first five miles and kept reminding myself to drink water from down below. I still haven't gotten an aero bottle for this bike, which I need to do.
As the turns kept coming I know people were getting annoyed with my slowing, but I did the signalling and yelling like I was supposed to. Turns are definitely something that I need to work on on the bike. As the two Uturns came and went, I was glad to see them behind me. And as the course drew to an end, I was happy to see the transition. I had been worried also about getting a flat with the tubular wheels.
Bike: 1:15:56, 19.6 MPH, 10th out of 44 in my Age Group.
As I moved into T2, I knew I had plenty left in me to do well. I had worked hard on the bike, but I still had energy left. I grabbed all the stuff I needed and started to run out of transition. I made it a bit away from my rack and realized I had grabbed a big water bottle that I definitely didn't need. I had to run back to throw that down, so I know that lost me some time.
Onto the run! My goal was to be in the 8:15-8:30 range, but I really wanted to be closer to the 8:15 side. It had gotten HOT by that point, and the sun was beating down. As I made my way out onto the run I ran past Stephanie and the XP group volunteering and yelling for me. That was fun! I started to set into my pace, and the first mile ticked off around 8:15. Perfect! I could do this for 5 more miles!
As I was nearing mile 3, there were people having a yard party and trying to get people to take a beer from them. Though I didn't take that, I did have a massive berry from a lady that had a big, beautiful bowl of strawberries. Thinking back on it, it probably wasn't smart to take, but they were so pretty, and I so love berries. It was so big that I held it and ate it like an apple in bites. I loved that strawberry.
At the turnaround, it was a mental boost to know that I was headed home. I had taken a gel around mile 2 and I took a couple of salt tabs a couple of times as well. There were one or two miles that had splits a little higher than 8:15, but I never felt like I couldn't do it. I kept finding motivation in seeing people ahead to catch and pass, and ultimately I pushed a bit at the end. Because you had to turn off of a road to get to the finish line I didn't surge as much at the end as I probably could have. In the finish chute I saw Tim, and that put a smile on my face.
And then, it was finish line time! I was definitely ready to be done running!
At the finish, I had no idea what my time was, because my auto multisport had messed up on the bike and I had to reset it. I kind of did some mental math and thought I might be somewhere in the 2:30's.
Run: 51:21, 8:17/mile, 9th out of 44 in my Age Group
Total: 2:35:44, 5th in my Age Group
I walked through the finishers chute to find Tim and eventually got over to my coach and to Beth. Everyone had great days! It was then that Tim pulled up my time on his phone. I had finished in 2:35:44 and gotten fifth in my age group!
It was fun hanging out with everyone after the race and hearing about the stories of swimming survival in the rough chop and all the funny stories people had along the way.
Tim was a wonderful spectator, and he was so nice in waiting around until the end of forever to get my award. Since I was so excited to get 5th in my age group we did wait a couple of hours on the awards.
There were so many people at this race that I knew! It was so much fun to walk around and say hi to everyone and hear how well everyone had done. Though it was warm, it was a great day for a race! And what a fun race St. Anthony's is. I loved the people out cheering in their yards on the run, and though the bike course was extremely technical, it was a good experience.
And after a long but wonderful day, Tim and I grabbed my bike and stuff from the ghost town that was transition and made our way home. I was so pleased with my entire experience and the day that I had. I love the Olympic distance, and it makes me excited for my races coming up!