Ironically the Sandestin Triathlon happens to always fall on my anniversary weekend. While some may think it's odd to celebrate an anniversary by racing a triathlon, I honestly couldn't think of a better option. Scott and I headed over early Friday from NOLA to Destin, FL. We had just enough time to settle in, crank out the usual pre-race workouts, and to squeeze in some outlet shopping. We stayed conveniently right next door to where the race as being held and caught a glimpse of the most perfect sunset....
The race went off without a hitch. The gulf was calm, clear, and perfectly inviting. My age group was the first wave with guys/gals combined. I went out hard knowing this quasi-OLY/sprint race would be as I say "balls to the wall." With the guy/gal combo the start was a little rough. I drafted a little settled into a rhythm but found myself solo after I hit the 2nd buoy. No ladies in sight.
Hmmm.... Not having a stellar rock star swimmer history, I figured a few girls escaped me. I told myself, "I'll catch them on the run." After I ran the extra quarter mile to transition, I was off on to the bike. A few miles out people started yelling, "Go 1st lady!" What? How did this happen? Me? First out of the water? What?
And there I was. A-l-o-n-e. A guy passed me here and there. But I was out there flying solo. I'll be honest. It just felt WEIRD! It was nice to not have to worry about drafting packs and reckless newbies. At the turn around I caught a glimpse of my closest competition. She was a good 2-3 minutes back. I felt like I was flying on the bike but carefully kept my heart rate under my coaches 170 bpm cut-off. The glassy-smooth Florida roads were like a dream. The 20 mile bike was over before I knew it.
Off to my usual favorite:the run. At that point the sun was relentlessly beating down. As I set off at a 6:50 pace, I immediately scaled it back to coaches orders. I found myself again in a very strange place: ALONE. No guys. Nada. After I scaled my pace back, I found it hard to get the legs going again. As the heat/sun combo took it's toll on my body/psyche my pace slowed. I was spent. I neared the turn around and again saw the same competition still a few minutes back. I just couldn't muster the energy to pick up my pace. The last 2 miles of the 4 mile run were tortuous. The alone-ness was getting to me. I mustered up enough energy to pick it up at the finish line and finished "unofficially" as the first lady and obviously my AG winner. Knowing there was a pro lady in the field, I knew my my chances of winning were pretty slim. Not sure why a pro would race something this small-but I won't go there.
I ended up 4th OA. Hoping for an overall place, I was a little disappointed but knew I lost it mentally on the run. Tagging an extra 2 minutes from my previous years time, it was pretty obvious that I wasn't too comfortable racing ALONE.
Has this ever happened to anyone else? Ultimately, I guess I'm a chaser at heart :) Maybe this takes some getting used to?
Regardless of the outcome it was an amazingly-fun-filled-race/weekend. And I can't forget to sent a shout-out to Scott who dropped a crazy 15 minutes off of his time from last year. Check out his latest give-a-way too :)And to my fellow teammates who cleaned house :)
You gotta love accepting your award in a bikini! :)