Seriously... winning was not something I considered when I signed up for this race, got to the site, or even thought about until the bike turnaround when I counted the women ahead of me.
What a fun course.
The water in Lake Mead is gorgeous. I haven't raced in a lake where I could see the swimmer next to me underwater, much less the bottom of the lake!! In fairness, my 16 mos of racing have been limited to AZ manmade lakes. I wore my sleeveless wetsuit, although the water was 78. I forgot to put glide on my neck, and I have war wounds to prove it. The swim went well for me... I felt good, and my arm tendinitis was not a problem with the stretches that Ian Chapple (my AWESOME PT) taught me.
Out of the water and to transition. I can never tell how I'm doing coming out of the water... I'm such a moderate swimmer (although I have to admit that I like it quite a bit), and there are so many people ahead of me that I always feel lousy. My T1 was pretty fast (20 seconds faster than the next gal)... wetsuit off, shoes on (no socks), helmet and glasses on, and I'm out of here.
I am always sooo excited to get on the bike. It's my strongest of the three disciplines, and I just love the power. This may be my most favorite bike course to-date. It was very hilly and so much fun - an out and back course. I kept wondering what my AllSport GPS would read in elevation change. At the turnaround, I was able to count the women ahead of me. But, it's easy to miss people, so when I saw that I MIGHT be in third place, I got pretty excited. After the bike turnaround, I pushed the hills pretty hard - I could see the two gals up ahead of me after about 5 miles. I recognized one of them as the super swimmer that I saw before we started. Could she be a strong runner? Not likely, but who knows!
I then pushed to pass the super swimmer, and rode up to the other gal who was from the LA Tri Club. We spent the next 5 miles or so jockeying back and forth. It was fun. I was comfortable and didn't feel like I was pushing it too hard. I pulled ahead of her on a downhill and kept pushing. I got my heart rate up into the top of my race zone and felt pretty relaxed. I try to pay attention to Nick's advice regarding heart rate zones for racing... he is SO right on about it, I have learned to trust him. Coming from an the independent nightmare that I am, this is big.
I took a water bottle at each bike aid station, and it was just enough. I drank regularly and ate my Hammer gel and solid food. Feeling good! It was going to be a hot day, but the bike wasn't too bad. The wind in your face makes 90 not so bad. I beat the next fastest girl on the bike by almost 10 minutes.
I got back to transition and threw on my running shoes (again no socks) and my visor and off I went. As soon as I left transition, I saw the gal that I passed on the bike. Hmmmm... maybe she's a strong runner. Better get going! Up the hill out of the lake parking lot. WOW, it's hot. Within the first half mile, I regretted not wearing socks. My new orthotics were already rubbing on my arches. Ruh roh. Ignore it, Teri.
The first 3 miles of the run were torture. Uphill, no wind, almost 100 degrees, running from someone. Pure torture. Heart rate over anaerobic threshold. I'm WAY out of my racing HR range, but pace is slower than I'd like. Do I keep it up? I felt okay, so I kept it up. Luckily an aid station. I stopped, drank Hammer Melon (my favorite!), water, and poured water on my salty face and kept on going. Downhill on a concrete path. Whew... I needed that. Run turnaround #1 - I calculated that I was .5 miles ahead. I caught up to Dirk and he gave me some great motivation. Then onto a rock path through the Tunnels. And, crossing paths with Tyson was fun too! I like the out and backs on a trail course - it's nice to see friends. What a fun run course! The heat wasn't so bad with the tunnels to break it up. Run turnaound #2 - .8 miles ahead. Whew... those blisters are hurting. Ignore it.
During that 8 miles stretch of run, I kept thinking about those damn rock sculptures that Mountain Man Events gives out. I wanted one. I've been admiring them on Erica McClurg's mantle for years... I started running for the sculpture. Amazing the things that inspire. I was thinking of what I would say to Nick via text if I actually pulled out a win.
Then I started heading downhill - 3 miles to go. Feeling good. I stopped at EVERY water station and walked a bit, drank, cooled off, thought about the growing blisters that must be bleeding by now and kept on going. Last mile... I hit the mental wall, just like I did at Mountain Man. I know I'm going to take the win, and I start losing motivation to keep up my pace. I walked a few steps, then a few more. What a wimp. I could see the final downhill and I'm still walking... The blisters hurt worse when I'm walking. Wimp. Okay, pick it up... this is it.
Dallas was at the finish, and it was so great to see his face! As always, I teared up at the finish. I'm such a sap. I then ate four popsicles as I sent that text to Nick. I won.