This Olympic distance triathlon is a beautiful race that I’ve enjoyed racing the past two years. I know some were looking to see me come back and defend the title, but I was most interested in shaking out the cobwebs after a big 3 week build in the lead up to Triathlon Nationals in a few more weeks. Sure would love to have a strong race, but based on how I felt in the taper, I had dug a little deeper than I expected so I knew it might not happen. Never know until race day though and one should always hope for the best.
The point to point logistics of the race are a little tricky, but make for a neat race. The bike course runs through gorgeous countryside with some good hills particularly late in the race. With the completion of a new road in the area, the course was shortened a bit and re-routed around some of the worst of the road conditions. The new section crossed a high spot where the views were spectacular. The bike is followed by a two-loop run that is comparatively flat and pretty fast. This is a fantastic race that I recommend to any body. Don’t be scared off by the Over the “Mountain” moniker– it’s hilly, not mountainous.
The Swim. The Elite pack spread out pretty quickly and I looked for a good pair of feet nearby to tack onto. The speediest of the group seemed to be positioned on the outside edges. I look to my side and see Anne Basso, who eventually surges around me and aims for some feet up ahead and a little wide from the buoys. I consider going with her, but I don’t really feel up to surging and hang on to her feet for a little while but lose her shortly after. Realizing it’s not my day to get some feet, I settle into a pace that I feel is appropriate for me and notice someone else has found my feet. When I sight — tap, tap. Could be anyone, but I sense that it’s Stacey Richardson. At the turn buoy, we head into the rising run and sighting becomes trickier. I have some trouble getting my bearings and the person on my feet comes around to my left, which helps keep me straight. I see that it is Stacey and she maintains pace right next to me until the very end when she goes ahead and I try and follow her feet in. I notice my back is a little tired from sighting, and I don’t have any real energy for surging, but the swim is otherwise fine. I’m 3rd female out of the water right behind Stace and run up the hill fast to make up for my other slowness in transition. It works, as I’m out of T1 right on Stacey’s heels.
The Bike. My fine motor coordination is off evidenced by my inability to clip into my pedal. I think it took me a million years to get going as Stacey rides off and the police car waiting to exit waits anxiously for me to get out the way. Arg! I finally get going and my legs immediately tell me it’s not my day to go fast. Where I should have power and strength, I have burning & fatigue. Oh well…I’ll just have to do the best I can with what I’ve got. I eventually catch up to Stacey and we trade positions a few times on the course until she gaps me a little once we hit the big hills. I keep her in sight the whole bike, which is amazing considering how I felt. I have to say that it’s a lot more fun racing when you feel a little stronger. The hills take their toll on my already fatigued glutes (I’ve been doing lots of hill work and I’m not quite recovered from that) but I make it and still in 3rd position. Melissa Bell is still ahead of Stacey and I (great job on the bike Melissa!) and I know that Kristin Price can’t be far behind and will make short work of all of us on the run.
The Run. I hit the run and don’t feel fast, so I settle into a manageable pace. Kristin passes me before a mile is up and Stacey & Melissa are well ahead. As I continue, my left hip, which had been sore last weekend, starts to be bothersome, gradually hurting a bit more as I went. I kept things as relaxed as possible and it looks like I’ll get through the race in 4th without any major problems until about a half mile to go when the hip starts to hurt terribly. I run-limp in to the finish concerned about what the hip pain means for Nationals and immediately ice it.
Overall, it was good to see Kristin, Melissa and Stacey have great races. I had a tough day and still came in 4th in a competitive field, so that was very good result. I’m very satisfied with everything except for the hip problem, which may mean I forego Nationals, but it’s too soon to make that call.