My 2008 season is officially over! And it ended on a good note :) I just got back from Clearwater, FL where the 70.3 World Championships were held. The race went awesome and I was impressed with the race organization, volunteers, spectators, and all the other competitors! Thanks for making it a wonderful experience!!!
Since this was only my second 70.3 race...I went into the race with the mind-set that it was going to be a learning experience. I definately wanted to race hard and fast...and I also wanted to enjoy it. I ended up with a top 10 finish and almost broke 4:20 with a 4:20.28. And I am fired up and ready to be stronger and go faster next year!
I arrived on Wednesday evening...with no luggage AT ALL! Although I'd flown on a direct flight that was only about 2/3 full, nothing came, and I was the ONLY person on the flight to not get their luggage. Oh well, I guess in a way it was a blessing in disguise...without my running shoes, bike, or workout clothes I couldn't be tempted to do some workouts. For the past two weeks, the muscles back of my knee had been flared up and giving me some trouble...one day I could barely even walk, but with rest, rehab and ART (THANKS TONY!!!) I knew I could toe the start line if I stayed smart in the few days before the race. So no biking or running for me...until the race!
The next few days were pretty low key and I started to get excited to race. I just knew this was going to be a fun one! On race morning I woke up and was ready to go. Pre-race prep went according to plan and the women hit the water at 6:47am. The swim was okay, I didn't feel like I had my full-on swim speed but that was okay. As we rounded the bouy to head back into shore, we turned into the glaring sun...I couldn't see anything!!! I somehow managed to make it back in and up to T1. The transitions were totally new to me with the bag system that they use for full-ironmans...but it all went smoothly and I was on my bike before I knew it. I felt strong on my bike and got into a good position ready to hammer for 56miles. I was a little worried about being too close and getting a drafting penalty...I need to be better about this because looking back on the race, I think this is where I made some mistakes. Oh well, you live and you learn, and I spent 90% of the bike on my own. Before I knew it, I was back in T2 and it was time to run. I came flying out of transition and at about 1/2 mile in a looked down at my watch and was ticking off 5:42 pace...I knew I wasn't going to be holding that for 13.1 miles so I backed off and settled into my own pace. Three girls (Nina Kraft, Erika Csomor, Catriona Morrison) passed me at about 1 mile, I was very tempted to try to stay with them and let them 'carry me'...but I also wanted to run smart and not die like my first 70.3. So I kept cruising along and felt better and better as I went. I saw Mirinda Carfrae (last years World Champ) on a little out and back section and started to push the pace a little more with hopes of holding her off. Towards the end of the 1st lap I passed the 10th place runner...who hoo! I was now in the top 10. I knew I still had another lap to go, but was feeling strong and knew if I dug deep I'd be able to pull out a top 10 finish and hopefully catch a few more ladies up ahead. I ended up staying in 10th and was happy to cross the finish line! Thanks to all my competitors who pushed me to my limits out there and a huge Congrats to winner Joanna! And Mary Beth, one of my ITU travel buddies, had a superb race coming in second, you go girl!!!
Now its time for a little R&R...and no structured workouts for a few weeks...and a trip to the hot springs is planned for this weekend :)