Woke up and did an easy hour’s ride with Sara. It turned out to rain and was super windy, but my legs felt OK. I thought they felt just right for the day before race day. After a quick shower Rikki and I were off to Huntsville. We arrived at the hotel, checked-in and then headed over to the race site to register. I switched to the 1st wave so that I could start the race with the fast swimmers. Hoping that I would have some feet to follow. For some reason I was quite nervous...I am not sure why...I had planned to watch the Sprint Tri that was starting at 4pm, but instead I just wanted to get away from the race site. I am still not so sure why I was so nervous about the race. Back at the hotel room I set up my gear for the next morning, cleaned my bike and did a round of yoga. Then Rikki and I headed to dinner. I had some warm bread, pasta with sautéed veggies and grilled chicken...was craving a ceaser and the double chocolate cake for dessert...but decided those could be had after the race. We went back to the hotel, watched a movie and I was asleep by 9:30pm.
Woke-up at 5:30am, got my race gear on and had a quick breakfast at the hotel. Toast with strawberry jam and a black coffee...the hotel didn’t provide peanut butter L Then I biked the 2km to the race site and got a good spot in transition to rack my bike. Set-up my transition zone, picked up my chip, got body marked and then I had plenty of time to relax before the race. I ate a banana and chatted with a few friends...before I knew it the time was 7:30am and I headed into the water to start my swim warm up. I did about an 800m warm-up and felt OK...the nervousness that I experienced the day before came back though and then I started to get really cold. Weird. I positioned myself towards the outside of the main pack of swimmers and then the race started. I was with a group of 2 others who seemed to be the same speed as me but I dropped them at the first buoy and then I was all by myself. Then my goggles fogged up and I couldn’t see a thing...as I reached a bouy I had to stop, take-off my goggles and sight towards the next buoy...this continued all race...eventually I thought I saw the swim exit and picked up the pace towards it...well, I was quite surprised when I realized that I had mistaken someone’s dock for the swim exit! Grrrr! Swim time of 30:59 (that’s about 1min30sec slower than last year...) I was pretty upset when I saw that on my stopwatch. Thank goodness I saw Mamma, Papa, Sara and Rikki there cheering me on. That helped me forget about the swim and start thinking about the bike. I had a pretty good transition and got my feet in my pedals no problem after the bike mount line. The bike started out OK...I was watching my powertap and trying to keep my power above 190W. Legs felt pretty good the whole way and the hills weren’t as hard as I remembered from my ride on Tuesday. The road conditions were horrible though, especially because of all the rain. I took in 1 gel and about a bottle of eLoad during the ride. At around the 48km mark I thought “phew” I’m almost there! Then another pothole surprised me and then I heard that “shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” as all the air escaped from my back tired. Grrr! I then asked myself the question: “do I change the flat?” or “do I ride on?”...I choose the latter. The 2nd female passed me shortly after but I rode on....almost took a tumble turning into transition but I made it! Hoped the wheel was OK. Fumbled a bit in T2, still a bit shaky from almost falling off the bike on the last turn, but soon I was off on the run!. I felt great the first 8km...didn’t even notice the hills. Then the last 5km I REALLY noticed the hills! Splits were 1km-4:01 (hr 163), 2km-4’14 (167), 3km- 4’03 (167), 4km-4’10 (171), 5km-4’14 (170), 6km-4’43 (170), 7km-4’20 (168), 8km-4’57? (170), 9km-3’21? (170), 10km-4’21 (169). 11km-4’45 (170), 12km-4’58? (170), 13km-3’25? (170)...the last 200m some guy stopped right in front of me as I was running and I ran right into his elbow! OUCH! So happy that race is over. Ended up 3rd female overall and first in my age group. Looking forward to a little bit of rest the next few days.