I was excited to start the season with this race. I developed some good off-season fitness and was looking forward to putting that to a test, along with everyone else! I had a year of racing the half distance under my belt, so I was much more comfortable with racing the distance.
I combined the trip with some good family time, visiting my brother-in-law and future sister-in-law! We had a blast getting a great tour of Johnson Space Center. I was able to see the NBL but at 86-degrees, it was a bit too warm to swim in! We explored some training mockups of the ISS and got to see the historic mission control where Apollo 11, 13 and others were controlled as well as visit the current space station mission control. Definitely the highlight of the weekend!
As for the race, things did not go as planned the day before because I had some bike issues and didn’t have my normal prep routine. I felt pretty rusty since I haven’t raced in several months.. or put my wetsuit on in as much time! But I put all that aside and focused only on the positives and the good preparation I have had all winter.
I knew the swim start would be a bit chaotic with 30+ women starting. I didn’t quite have the best start, and couldn’t get settled until about half way, when I found myself with a small group. The water was nice and course was very easy to follow. No problems, just the normal first race of the season issues. It was great to get a swim in with my wetsuit — shoulders felt loose and comfortable!
T1: A few embarrassing things happened during T1 that I debated about sharing. I figured, why not?! First, as I was running up from the swim, I completely face-planted onto the ground. Hopefully no one got this on camera, but it would have been a good shot! As I was getting my bike off the rack, I almost forgot my helmet. Then, running out of transition I almost mounted my bike before the mount line. Thankfully I was yelled at 😉 Wow, time to start thinking clearly and get focused. It’s just a triathlon – nothing I haven’t done before!
First few miles on the bike, the legs felt like crap as we weaved our way onto the main road. I finally got settled into a pace. Got some food and lots of fluid in since I swallowed more than a small amount of salty sea water and was thirsty! J There was a line of women up the road that I targeted and was slowly able to pick off a few. I just tried to stay focused and let the miles tick away. I have never done a flat fast straight course like this and I enjoyed it more than I thought. We had a steady cross wind blowing the entire way, but it didn’t bother me. It was nice to just settle into a rhythm.
T2: No drama this time. I knew I was in 7th coming off and also that I had a line of women behind me drooling to catch up!
Got into a groove early. The 3 lap run course had lots of turns and would be very crowded by the 2nd and 3rd laps. I tried to get a good feel for the course, both from where I was positioned and the layout on that first lap. I kept my pace in check and focused on each mile. I had the best support crew out there, cheering me along – popping up every 5 minutes! The run course was a very spectator-friendly course they made sure they took advantage of seeing me! I had fun and enjoyed the crowds and cheers from everyone. Even though there wasn’t anyone around me to race to the finish line, I made sure to give it a good kick into the finish because that’s just what I do!
I was pretty stoked at the end. Finished 9th in a good solid field. I am looking forward to what 2016 will bring!
Some pretty awesome photos from the weekend. Getting a tour of the NBL, Mission Control Center (historic and current), a rocket garden, Saturn-5, a shuttle mock-up, and a panel of signatures of famous people who had been there (the one being pointed at we actually saw there!). And of course, I got my pre-race ride around the campus!