Finally! The day of my favorite sprint triathlon had arrived!
Hanging out with Missy Payne
The reason I like to show up (at least) 2 hours early, is not because I need the perfect spot for my bike or because I have a 120-minute pre-race routine. It is so I can chat with as many old and new friends and fellow athletes for as long as possible. That really is my favorite part of racing. Salem just feels like a big triathlon reunion centered around a fast little race.
Chatting with Jeanette Schellenberg
I used to get nervous when the fast girls would show up. Now I am loving it. The more competition - the more fun. We all know each other pretty well and enjoy catching up while getting ready and warming up. There is no trash talking and no bad intentions. Just a bunch of friends doing what they love.
Warm-up accelerations with Ammie Black
The 2 hours go by way to fast and I always find myself scrambling around at the last minute. This time, I did manage to get in a little warm-up swim which seems to make my start much more relaxed.
Elite Wave Start
While I like starting in the elite wave with my fast friends, I really dislikehaving to swim with the guys. They just seem so much more competitive and feisty. And sure enough, some dude thought the fastest way was right over me. He kept pushing my legs down until I started kicking as hard as I could. It made me mad. The guys started out super fast, as usual. I just tried to hang on, knowing they would slow down eventually. Not Coach Heath. But pretty much everyone else.
I knew that if I wanted to win this thing, I needed to push the swim a little harder than usual. There were some great bikers and fast runners in the field and my best chance to win was to lead from start to finish. That was my goal. I felt good on the swim and found myself pretty much alone after the turn-around buoy. I was hoping this meant that I passed a few guys rather than that everybody was way ahead of me.
T1 was rather uneventful although surprisingly slow. Not sure what I was doing in there for so long. I noticed that most bikes were still on the racks, which tends to be a good sign.
I tried to keep a steady yet fast pace on the bike. This was a sprint after all and there was no need for pacing. I kept trying to convince myself that his is supposed to hurt the whole time. It is always fun to get passed by a bunch of the fast guys, knowing that I beat them out of the water. If only I could hold on a little longer...
I was happy to make it off the bike still in 1st place.
I was having some trouble in T2 trying to stay balanced while putting my running shoes on. Maybe having Chris Black, the awesome photographer that shot all of these pictures, right in my face was making me nervous.
The run was actually really lonely. The fast guys were all pretty much out of sight and I did not see any other runner until one flew by me right before the finish. Luckily, it was not a girl. Staying focused is a little difficult when it does not feel like you are actually racing but knowing that Jeanette and Kara were catching up scared me enough to keep up the pace.
It was great to see so many friends and family at the finish line. Thank you for all your support and love. It means a lot to me.
Huge congrats to all the other finishers out there. It is a pleasure and honor to be racing with you all. Special congrats to my great friend, Jen Wilson, who survived her first open-water swim and then blazed through the bike/run and finished in the Top 10. You are my hero!
A big thank you to RaceTri for a fantastic event, PowerTri, and HT Training. I could not be doing it without your help!
PS: I am off to Boise now. Hooray! I am very excited for a weekend of fun, friends, and suffering. Good luck to everyone else racing this weekend!