This year was the inaugural running of the Des Moines triathlon. It took the place of Hy-Vee, a huge Olympic distance race that ended last year. As I had previously focused on the Olympic distance race prior to this year, I was looking forward to this event. With not many big Olympic distance races left in the country, I put this on my calendar when they announced it.
My coach trained and prepared me well for this event. And I did what I could to get myself ready. I felt good going in. I was excited to be back in the Midwest racing again! I loved driving around the city; Des Moines is a very clean and pretty city. The grass was green!!, the roads were typical Midwest style, the cars drove slower (I didn’t feel like I was going to get killed!), and my host family was wonderful. Oh, and the humidity was of course very much present.
Swim: Water was WARM – 81/82 degrees. I felt a bit sluggish in the water, and the second half we had the sun directly in our eyes making it rather challenging to see. I had some problems with goggles fogging up too so I really was swimming blindly. I was just behind the top swimmers and could follow their splash up ahead, so every 25 yards or so, I stopped to make sure I was still on course. Better goggles might solve this issue next time. We swam towards a giant Gatorade bottle bouy they had set up at the swim finish and ran quickly to get going on the bike.
Bike: I enjoyed this course. Windy and surprisingly hilly. There were a few out and backs so you could easily assess where you were in the field. I knew I was close to Bria and Elle coming out of the swim so I targeted them for the first 5-10 miles on the bike. After passing them, I then tried to hold Mirinda off for as long as possible on the bike. After she passed me, I matched her pace (out of her draft zone of course) and kept with her until we got into T2.
Run: Felt like I didn’t work the bike as hard as I could have so I was excited to see how I could do. The first mile of the run, however, my stomach was cramped a bit so I held the pace back some to make sure everything was settled. I was in 5th and was hoping to move up a spot since I knew I was not too far off. But as I approached the second mile, the heat and humidity started to settle on me and I began to slow down. Every mile after that was progressively slower by 20-30 sec. I absolutely slogged through the run and was just happy I didn’t slow to a walk. Bria repassed me, so I ended up in 6th, and just tried to hang on until the finish. I made it as far as the finish and no further.
Just a rough day in the heat and humidity of Iowa. I am no longer accustomed to this type of weather and fell apart on the run. I did what I could on this day and I am thankful I was able to travel to and compete at this inaugural event. Thanks to my hubby for supporting me this weekend and being able to pack my bike up in the parking lot before getting on our plane at 3:30 to get home.
photos by Brian Pomeroy