My first trip to the Southeast USA for a triathlon was fun. One of my favourite things about being an athlete is the opportunity to travel and see new places. I have never been to the “South” before and it was more or less as expected: hot, humid and hospitable….lots of churches and Trump signs too.
I was also a “big girl” on the trip traveling for the first time without my crew (i.e. husband and 2 year old!) which meant actually having to take care of my bike on my own and do all sorts of other stuff that my very capable and helpful husband does for me. It is funny because as a runner I used to travel and race on my own all the time but managing triathlon is more challenging for a person like me (i.e. highly distra
ctible and not always detailed-oriented). Needless to say, Graham reminded me about a thousand times to remember to pump my tires on race morning and to wear a race chip. Seriously though – there is sooooo much to remember!!!!
The most important thing to remember during race day; however, is to go hard, harder, and hardest through the swim, bike and run. Oh and to take in lots of fluids in the heat. I actually saw an age group man, about 6 hours into the race when I was checking my bike out post race, who had fallen off his bike leading into T2. I asked him if he needed more water and he said he “wasn’t drinking water” only salt tablets in the heat. I couldn’t believe he had even made it back to T2 in one piece (barely!) because at 95 degrees (35 celsius) and high humidity, water is a necessary. I am not sure that the run was going to be a good experience for him under severe hydration.
Anyways, a downstream swim suited me well – although a wetsuit, downstream swim is a dream come true! – and I was only a few minutes back of the big main back with the super-uber swimmers a bit further up the road. The plus side of being a “developing” swimmer is that I have lots of targets on the bike course. The bike course wound through a rural part of South Carolina which made me happy because I got to “collect” another state for my collection. I managed to move from 20th spot into 4th position through the bike ride (yay!). I am in
a much better position off the bike than a year ago when I basically didn’t see ANYONE from the start of the race until when I started to catch people half way through the run – ugh talk about a long time trial day!
Although I look forward to the running portion for the entire day leading up to it, sometimes I find the running …hard. Like in Augusta, when my garmin reads 120 degrees on the pavement post race. I KNOW everyone finds it hard so it is a matter of dealing with the environment as positively as possible. And dumping and drinking LOTS of water.
I started off well but faded through the second half of the run and wondered if I would make it. With 2 miles to go I could see Jeanni Seymour putting down some serious work and closing the gap. I tried my best to stay relaxed and to keep moving but my legs.were.dead. When I still had a small but dwindling gap leading into the final half mile, I attempted a “sprint”. I though to myself of all my track days and how I couldn’t be outsprinted – that’s my trick. There is nothing like attempting to run fast when you can hardly lift your legs. It was ugly. Very very ugly. But I got the job done and crossed the line in 2nd place behind (way behind…) Helle Frederiksen and 17 seconds ahead of Jenni Seymour. I was very proud of myself because sometimes fighting the brain in the heat (stop, just stop!) is the hardest part of the race. And I always love finishing at the pointy end of the stick 🙂