I checked and it had been six years since I last did this popular race. I remember it rained heavily at the beginning and continued through most of the race. This year, it didn’t rain during the race although we did have an impressive cloudburst late afternoon prior to soften up the ground on the singletrack run course and transition area in the field.
I had a little extra nerves this time because it’s my first time back in the elite open wave since baby. Did I have the starting speed to not get pummeled to the back of the field? We would see about that. How would I stack up against the other elite ladies, including now faster than ever Stacey R? Well, I knew Stacey would likely win by a lot and I could give it a go for second. So that was the plan. As it turned out, Stacey was a no show due to sickness, so that left the door open for the rest of us.
My swim turned out as well as I could be expected. Actually, it turned out a little better. After surviving the crush at the onset of the race, I found myself behind Brooke and Nasrin. Awesome! Brooke towed us around the first 2/3 of the course and Nasrin took us in. We dart up the hill as someone tells us we’re 1-2-3 in the womens’ race. Ooh. I knew then that I had a real shot if I rode well and didn’t blow it on the run.
I started the bike fairly hard to open up a gap. Actually, I started the bike as hard as I used to ride the whole thing in a sprint, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep that up for 17 miles then a decent 5k run, so I backed off a tiny bit a few miles in. But not before I passed a guy also from the elite wave. Yee-ha! I figured I was riding well on a gently rolling course that suited my strengths. My legs felt good but not that powerful awesome great feeling yet, which is good, because I’d like that feeling to come around later in the season. I was all smiles as I rode back into the park as later waves of athletes headed out. So cool to be in the lead! Too bad I didn’t forget all about getting my feet out of my cycling shoes for dismount until I saw the cycling finish line. Not-so-smartly, I un-velcroed my shoes just in time to clip out and run floppy-shoed rolling my bike back into transition. Smooth one, Parr.
Now to run. With a little bit of asthma, but never mind that. Next time I’ll remember to use the inhaler once before the race to help with that problem. One of the nice benefits of pregnancy has been reduced asthma problems, which is awesome. Of course, reduced is not the same thing as cured, so a little albuterol before those sprints couldn’t hurt future run splits. I don’t know if it made a major difference here or not. Probably not, because the wheezing tapered off after a mile or so. I don’t recall any sudden surge in speed after that most likely because there wasn’t one. The run is somewhat rolling on surfaces of gravel, mud and grass which is fun. There are two out and back portions to give me a view of the competition and a quick peek at the men’s race coming the other way.
Like the bike, I didn’t feel terribly fast but felt fine and I seemed to be expanding my lead on most everyone except Jocelyn S. who runs like a gazelle. My finish time was 1:20:xx, which is far better than my 1:25 from six years ago, and good enough for a win of about 3 minutes over Brooke T. who came in second. Not bad! Actually, better than not bad. That was really good! I may find myself less thrilled when I see all of the splits once they are posted, but I really couldn’t have expected to do better with current fitness. Good showing and great to see and race with good friends!