Race number 1 for 2013 is now in the books, and I had a great time in Dallas. The people were friendly, the entire race crew was amazing, and my room-mate for the trip (and fellow Canadian Triathlete), Evangeline Fletcher, was my support crew/training buddy/friend all wrapped into one!
I have to start by mentioning that Dallas is SIGNIFICANTLY hotter and more humid than Toronto has been by 100-fold. Dallas was consistently hitting mid 40s with the humidex. I was already really lucky that the women's race started at 9am, as opposed to noon for the men's race, and that it was overcast as opposed to sunny. Really lucky still found me in the med tent for about an hour after the race;)
The field was stellar with Olympians in the mix just to keep it extra interesting on an 8 loop bike course, and 5 loop run course. Getting lapped out becomes a very real possibility, unfortunately. The swim consisted of a dive start from a cement break wall, followed by 2 triangular loops before heading to some in-water stairs and out into T1. I knew the chances were very slim that I'd make the lead pack out of the water, but the plan was to get into a pack or on some feet and not end up in no-man's land completely on my own. And of course, the goal was to minimize the gap between that lead group and myself in the swim. I was pleased to come out of the water in a small pack of 5, and to be among swimmers who have been faster/ahead of me in the past. I'm especially pleased, because that was my first open water swim of the year, so hopefully this is just a spring board for even better swims to come.
My T1 went smoothly, and I didn't waste time getting on my bike and starting to hammer immediately. One of the girls in my swim pack had a really good T1 and took off a bit ahead on the bike. She also happened to finish in 12th place at Elite Duathlon Worlds last year, so I knew she could BIKE and RUN like the wind. I worked really well with Erickson from the USA to form a two woman team, and we took off together from T1. We were able to reel other girls in, and eventually drop them, and at the end, we caught back up to the Duathlete superstar and another American girl that she had caught and had been riding with for a while. The wind was quite the battle on each loop heading east! I'm quite proud of how aggressively I rode, and thrilled that I pushed the highest wattage to date in an Olympic distance tri! The worst part of the bike was seeing that phenomenal lead pack of women lap out so many competitors:( It's a terrible feeling to feel like you're prey being hunted...insert flashbacks to ITU Buffalo last year.
So, the first two disciplines of the race went well, and then we got to the run. Oh boy...here is where the fun began. The heat and humidity and intensity of the race just caught up with me within the 1st loop of the run, and literally beat me to my knees! My breathing was ragged and uncontrolled, despite the fact that I was reduced to a shuffl-y type jog. I was pouring water over my head at every aid station, putting sponges in my suit, ice, etc., but alas, it was just survival mode by loop 3 of 5 of the run. It certainly felt like an eternity, and I even had an ITU official ride beside me for the last couple of loops as he kept giving the heads up to medical, that they might be needed at any time! That's when you realize that you must look as good as you're feeling, haha! I was super pleased to just keep trekking on like the little Engine that could and get to that finish line upright and in tact. And you know what? Even with that awful run split, I still managed to be sub 2:10...2:09:38 to be exact, which for me, is a PB for an ITU race!
The wonderful, Super-Mom, Donna Quick, who has been my "substitute mom" at all of these away races over the past couple of seasons was there at the finish line to make sure that I got to medical, as always and without fail, before running over to the swim start to see her son start. She is an amazing woman!
Overall, I'm really happy with how I handled this race, and I'm glad that I got the first big, scary race under my belt before hitting the start line of an even bigger, scarier race in just a few weeks...the ITU Edmonton World Cup!
So, now it's time for a couple of tough training weeks, including the Binbrook tri this Saturday, before some rest and my first WC race.
Thanks for all of your support:)