Hello from the road! In the last 7 days, Eth, Ad, and I have been in 8 states covered 2000+ miles. Plus training, and… oh yeah, THE FIRST RACE OF 2016!
I get nervous before every race – I think everyone does! But the first race of the season always yields a few more butterflies. Tritonman, being my first race of my first pro season, carried particular weight in my mind!
Going into the race, I had few expectations – I worked extremely hard with Greg over the winter to build my swim, and I knew it had come a long way with his guidance as well as the help of Kim Brackin, who in only two sessions over the winter had helped me make some big changes to my stroke. After feeling broken in 2013 and 2014, and only beginning to feel whole again in 2015, I am entering my 2016 season starting to feel like I’m finding the athleticism, strength and fitness, and confidence in my ability to MOVE that I haven’t felt since probably late high school/early college.
Knowing the work that we’ve put in, and the continual progress we’re seeing, as well as the strong field of women signed up for Tritonman (including Olympic Bronze Medalist, Erin Densham), Greg and I agreed we weren’t be as concerned with the result of this race as we were with the effort put forth. And it was a solid effort indeed.
But rewind to day before the race. Ad and I drove to San Diego from Vegas through an insane windstorm – just another adventure/day in the life!
My best friend from childhood moved to SD about 8 months ago, and I haven’t seen her since her wedding last June, so it was AMAZING to be able to stay with her and her husband’s in their amazing apartment, which is right by Little Italy and just 2 blocks from the ocean! Camp has been great, but it was super refreshing to stay with people completely outside of the world of triathlon, and we had a lot of great laughs in our short visit with them. Couldn’t have asked for a better “homestay!”
Race morning, Ad and I woke up bright and early (3:30/4am!) and I made my regular pre-race oats+pb breakfast with coffee. I was less on top of the transition opening/closing schedule than I should have been, so I didn’t get to warm up on my bike, but I was able to do my typical run warm up (2mi easy jog plus a primer and some builds to race pace) while I watched the men kick off their race – Adam, Greg, Elliot Bach, Robbie Deckard, and Michael Arishita, were all racing, so lots of Team IE-ers to cheer for! I had plenty of time for a final trip to the bathroom, (new ROKA!) wetsuit on, swim cords, and then a solid swim warm up, which was great to have – for me, the more warm up I get, the better!!
Time moves quickly on race mornings, and before I knew it, I was taking my pre-race raspberry Hammer Gel and being called to the line.
SWIM – 9:59
The swim start was in the water this year (apparently it’s been a beach start in past years), and luckily for us in the chaos of the swim we couldn’t feel any of the swarms of jelly fish that were lurking in Mission Bay! I still need to work on getting out fast, but by half-way through the swim, I found myself at the front of the main pack, with 6 or 7 girls not too far ahead of us. I still have a ways to go until I’m where I want/need to be, but I was definitely a step closer in SD, coming out just 15 seconds behind Lindsey Jordonek, who was ranked 10th in the world last year!
BIKE – 34:11 (Avg pwr = 206W, Max pwr = 391W)
Racing in the “elite draft legal” race meant that we were allowed to bike in packs and use drafting to both conserve energy and go faster! I caught Katie Gorczyka coming out of T1 and we were quickly joined by Kelly Kosmo. The three of us worked super hard together, and although we weren’t able to catch the lead group like we wanted, we were able to eat some time out of their lead over the three laps around Fiesta Island. We came screaming into transition, ready to crush the pavement in the final segment of the race.
RUN – 17:43 (Avg pace = 5:49)
Coming out on the run, I took a few hundred yards to ease into a strong rhythm. We haven’t worked my run at all other than building base miles and a few tempo runs leading up to Tritonman, so I didn’t really know what to expect from my legs. In the first mile, I passed Katie and Kelli, and I continued to pick up speed as I found my stride. It wasn’t until lap 3 that I overtook Nicole Truxes and began really reeling in Johanna Gartman. I put in a surge to run her down but JUST ran out of runway, crossing the finish line under a second behind her!
Overall, I ended up 8th (see full results here), besting two women – Truxes and Gorczyka – who had completely dominated me 4 months prior in Puerto Rico. I’m getting closer to being in the mix – proof to me that hard work, commitment to the details, and trust in the process pay off – and that makes me even hungrier for more! Obviously speed/fitness in both my swim and run will continue to be Greg’s and my focus, and then my transitions have significant room for improvement as well!
As I mentioned, after racing, there was no rest for the weary! The team did a flush bike, a short but HARD open water swim, and then Adam and I did an easy run before getting on the road to head back to Vegas. The next day, we hit a 4hr ride and long tempo/strength swim on Sunday, and began the journey back east on Monday! Our next destination: Clermont! Florida racing, here I come!
Until next time, enjoy some pictures of San Diego, race day, our final workouts in Vegas, and our journey back across America!