I must say that the two days I spent in Michigan (Thurs and Fri) helped me ease my nerves for the race this weekend. After flying home saturday morning, I headed straight to St.pete from the Tampa Int'l airport. After checking myself in and picking up my race band, packet and goody bag, I helped out at the USAT booth for a couple hours. I met a lot of people and saw a lot of familiar faces! Both two good things that come with racing in triathlons. I checked my bike into the transition area before leaving the race venue and I felt ever-so-cool walking over to the "Elite" rack (ok-so I'm really living this opportunity up!). I must say that Seduza fit in well with the other bikes but after looking around at the Pro rack, I could spend a lot more money on her. I'm happy with her and she hasn't let me down :)
The best part of Saturday was meeting my two sponsors. First, I met Eli who I must say, is my exact twin. I don't think two strangers could look more alike! I ended up walking away from the Zoot booth with tons of Schwag, which I planned on wearing (very proudly) on Sunday. I absolutely LOVE the Zoot clothes and the transition bag is just awesome! So many compartments and places for everything! And I walked away with a cute visor as well (I love my visors!). Check out the www.zootsports.com webpage for the clothes and awesome Zenith Wetsuit! I also talked with Samatha M. who is a very nice professional athlete. I headed over to the Hammer booth and met Steve and Bryan. Both two awesome guys who truely LOVE what they do. By good reason, of course, Hammer nutrition does have the best product on the market. Check out the website and order your products ASAP!! www.hammernutrition.com . Especially with Ironman 70.3 Florida coming up, you know you want to have plenty of liquid calories to deal with the hot temperatures.
I headed over to the Hampton Inn where my two best guy friends were staying. Carlos, Mike and I are triathlon buddies, but ever since I graduated grad school and moved from Ft.Lauderdale, we make an effort to spend time with each other during our races. The evening ended with a great group dinner (11 of us) at Outback. I think we set a record of the most bread consumed in one night! I was absolutely part of that record...bring on the bread and sweet potato!!! YUMMM
Finally, around 8 pm I was laying in bed and sitting for what seemed like the first time in 3 days. Of course I didn't sleep a wink that night and just wished that it was 4:20am when my alarm was to go off. Breakfast consisted of 1/2 bagel with PB and jelly, a packet of regular oatmeal, 1/2 banana, coffee and a diluted sport drink. The usually breakfast and it works well with me. My drinks for the bike were HEED (from Hammer). Getting body marked went rather quickly, but I must have walked 2 miles from the car, to transition and then to the pier. What a warm-up!! The wetsuit went on quickly, almost forgot to grab my chip and before I knew it, the Pro women had started and I was walking up to the starting line, getting ready to start at 7:07am. It was a nervous feeling, standing there with all the Elite women and as I looked around, I wasn't sure if I belonged. But everyone was nice, supportive and nervous as well, so I guess I fit in just fine. The gun went off and I was running in the water. The swim was wet-suit legal, but I was regretting the decision within the first 500 yards as my full wetsuit was keeping me awfully warm for the 77 degree water. After 10 minutes, I was feeling more comfortable in the water and wishing that I could swim more. I ended up swimming my goal time of 23 minutes. The wetsuit quickly came off and I was running in transition to greet Seduza. No heart rate monitor, no computer. All I needed to do today was to race my hardest. I didn't want numbers, I just wanted to GO and give it my all. The bike was great and I felt really good. The legs were hurting, but that was expected. I was really pushing. I started to feel better around 25K, but of course, there wasn't much left in the 40K race. I ended up with a sub 1:15 40K time (1:14) so once again I met my goal time. Sadly, however, I was being reminded of my first couple races when I started triathlons, as today I was being passed by all the Elite women during the bike. I guess I'm not an age grouper anymore :( Now it was time for the run. After 1/2 mile, I was in the zone and feeling more comfortable. It wasn't until mile 3 that I really started feeling good and picking up the pace to sub 7:30's. Although I ran a slow 48 minutes, I think I held back too much for the first couple miles. I'm not quite sure how to run fast sometimes and once I'm in the zone, the race is done. I almost beat my goal time of 2:25 and ended up with a finishing time of 2:28. Not too shabby, considering that this was my first race as an Elite and only my 3rd Olympic distance triathlon. Accomplishments today: I was happy with all three disciplines, I had a great time out there, I PR'd by over 20 minutes and I met a lot of nice people. Because I knew SO many people in the race (and met a lot) congrats to EVERYONE!!!!! Also, I BIG congrats to Carlos and Mike!
This weekend Karel raced in Athens and placed 9th at the Twilight crit. Good job Karel! He's off to New Mexico tomorrow for his first 5 day Tour! After a quick 20 minute nap, I was on the computer typing up his nutrition plan for the next week, since I can't be there to cheer him on. I know he will do great! After fixing up his TT bike, we went for a 40 minute spin on our bikes. It was kinda funny seeing him on aerobars...now if I can only get him in the pool! (I know he can run since he completed the st.pete times Turkey Trot 10K in 39 minutes!!!!). After our spin, we watched the Tour de Georgia on versus. Although I'm not sore from the race, my legs started to tighten as I watched the riders on the Brasstown Bald Mtn. Stage which I experienced my uphill fall!! hehe
Today was a big step for me and even though I placed 31st (out of 32), I met my last goal of beating at least one elite and one pro. Starting tomorrow, my training is solely devoted to Ironman 70.3 Florida. Finally, a race that lasts more than 4 hours....now that's my kind of race!!! I better stay focused-Goal: Sub 5 hours.