My first race of the 2012 season is officially in the bank, and I am quite pleased with how it went! After a less than ideal end to the 2011 season, I thought that I might be nervous or perhaps lack the confidence to get back out there, but I was actually really excited to race and very calm according to my standards.
The conditions were a bit tough today, but at least we didn't have to deal with the steady down pour that they were predicting yesterday. I found myself really cold in the water today, and was so happy to be wearing my brand new Blueseventy Helix fullsleeve wetsuit! It took the help of 3 people to pack me in the suit, but once I was in, I was ready to go! Despite not really being able to feel my hands and feet, I thought that the swim went ok. I didn't have too much trouble sighting, and I managed to swim on some feet for a large portion of the race (sorry Paul Bregin for slapping your feet more than a few times!) The Helix felt awesome in the water, and I love the thin neoprene arms! They weren't restrictive in the least! I exited the water 1st female, and 9th overall.
My T1 wasn't too bad for a change! I had to wrestle very briefly with getting the wetsuit off from my right ankle, but I think I was outta there in ~55s this time around.
Despite having impaired motor function in my numb hands and feet, I managed to do a flying mount without running into a barricade or another athlete, so that's progress I'd say;) It was chilly out there on the bike and a bit wet, but I had a great time riding my P3 again (3rd ride on it since the crash). I felt like I put in a good effort and remained in control for most of the ride...that is, until I had to descend the 6th Line hill. Everything was going so well up until that point! I had a bit of a panic attack at the top of the hill, and had flashbacks to my crash, and just felt like I was going too fast and couldn't control my speed, so what did I do? I sat straight up and braked the whole way down and maybe said a little prayer..., ugggghhhh...wanted to kick myself, but boy oh boy, is fear ever a powerful thing! I've gotten a lot more confident descending on my road bike, but obviously this particular tri bike is going to haunt me for a little while longer it seems...that's ok, I'll keep working on that! Anyway, even though the bike leg wasn't perfect, it was pretty decent and faster than last year in I think tougher conditions, so I'm still walking away a happy girl:)
I had a bit of trouble getting my feet into my running shoes in T2, only because they were still numb and weren't cooperating as well as they could, but it wasn't a huge problem or anything! I was off to tackle the run in 42s.
I always forget about the hills and the trails that really define the Milton run course, or rather, the effect that those hills and trails have on my quads! I think there was one hill in particular, just after the 3km mark that really did my quads in today. I think there isn't much time to recover from the previous hills, and then you get hit with a really steep one in the trails, and I certainly felt like I had slowed down to a crawl trying to get to the top. My lungs felt it too though, not just the quads! By the 5km mark, I was literally willing my quads to cooperate with me for another 2.5km, because a face plant on the home stretch of the run course was not something I wanted to contend with. It was great to have my bike leader pop back onto the course, because it made me feel like I had to stay upright if he were to do his job right:) Plus, the spectators AND athletes were amazing at cheering me on throughout the last 1.5km, so I made it to the finish line without completely cramping up and I got to break the banner!! That was certainly a highlight for me, because I was 2nd last year, and missed breaking the banner by ~20s or so. I made some good improvements on my run split, and I'm thrilled to kick start the season with a victory!
Thank you so much to my family and to my friends who made such a big effort to come and see me race today! Your support means the world to me, and having you there undoubtedly contributed to my success.