Scott, Erich and I got up to the host hotel in the early evening of the 4th and got to bed early! Sparing you the details... we got our packets the next morning and headed out to the race site for a quick preview of the swim, the bike, and the run courses.
The water was a balmy 72.5 degrees and was clean and clear. So clear in fact that you could see the buoy line for the entire length of the swim... more on that later. Swam for 15 min at the most and did a couple of race-pace efforts... felt delicious!
We hopped on our bikes and spun through the two loop run course. This was really helpful. I am just a whole heck of a lot more comfortable and confident if I know all the nooks n crannies of the course. We got some good perspective on the more challenging parts of the course.. specifically a rather long climb on the out and back section of the run. "I see you hill". Legs felt fresh and ready to go!
We then headed out in the car to drive the bike course. The odd thing is that the hills never really interpret well when you're in a car. You know what I mean? You're so out of touch with the road and the environment that you can't get the proper perspective on what the climbs are actually like. Better than having no perspective at all right? I had heard that this was a difficult/hilly bike course... and yeah... it was. Good enough! We dropped our bikes in transition, ate some dinner and headed back to the hotel.
I'm trying to think back to exactly what was going on in my head that day... and really... there wasn't a whole lot there. I can remember getting excited at points throughout the day... but I never felt nervous or anxious... not once. THAT is why I'm such a big freak the week before a race... so I don't have to deal with any of those feelings the day before. Works for me I guess.
As usual, I got up at the ass-crack of dawn. 3:15 am might seem ridiculous to you guys but to me... its perfect! I got up, showered, shaved, threw a bagel with peanut butter, some oatmeal, a banana, a Cliff Bar, and some sports drink down my gullet and was ready to go!
We got to transition at about 4:50... MORE than enough time to double check our bikes and get all our nutrition together. I don't like being rushed... so extra time is always a good thing. Plus, its fun to watch others come in to set up. There were some VERY serious faces there that morning... and what's really odd is that they really don't know how to respond when I smile and say a sincere, friendly "Hello". It REALLY throws most of them for a loop... particularly the guys. You know those guys... the one's with the perpetual glare that says, "I'm super fast and I'm going to kick your ass"... yeah... those guys. The one's with the fancy bikes that you pass and say "Hi" to on the second loop of the bike course. FUN!
Anywho, I donned my wetsuit and walked down to the water, hopped in, and warmed up. This was a wave start and my wave was set to go at 6:41 am. I felt good. Confident. Settled. Happy.
On a side note: You women out there... if you see a necklace or some earrings that you think would look good on ya... just freakin BUY the damn things ok? That's rock solid... and you deserve it!
<---- THIS is a GOOD look!
I sauntered out onto the dock then jumped in the water. I ended up talking to a guy that I had raced earlier in the season at the Duck Bill Thrill Olympic... small world. I lined up at the front left and had a surprising amount of room... why weren't these guys jockeying for position. Huh. OK. Whatever. Out of the blue, the horn blasted and we were off! Coach Liz and I had discussed the plan for the swim and I was going to do everything I could to stick to it. To sum it up... I was NOT to go balls-out. The plan was NOT to surge at the beginning but to ease into the swim, find some feet, and stick with them. I've NEVER been able to find feet... let alone stick with them but I was bound and determined to this time. Contrary to other people's experience with this swim start... I had ZERO issues! As a matter of fact... I remember thinking, "Hey! Why aren't I getting pummeled?" I immediately found feet just to the left of the buoy-line and hung on... I felt like they weren't moving quickly enough so I went around and found more feet. Then it donned on me: "This is a race. This is a 70.3! HEY! I'm racing in a 70.3! This is freakin COOL!" Isn't that odd? I was just so relaxed... maybe too relaxed? I dunno. I only sighted 5 times the entire swim. I was on the buoy line the entire time... concentrating on my pull and rotation... finding feet... leaving feet... passing people with different color caps. I never once felt taxed or overworked... even when I'd surge to get around someone... I was just comfortable. Not having to look up at ALL basically, didn't hurt a bit. At the water exit I waited until my hands dug into the bank before I stood up and then took off at a relative sprint. Looking around heading into T1 there were a TON of bikes left on my rack. Considering I was racked next to all the rest of my AG competitors I thought this was a good sign.
Swim Time: 32:45
Overall I'm happy-ish with this swim. The thing I'm MOST happy about is gaining experience in drafting as well as pacing. Everything was even-keel from beginning to end. I would like to see that time get down to 30 flat or below... and I know that's well within my reach.
Wetsuit off, number belt on, glasses on, helmet on GO! Shoes were clipped in already so I hit the mount line and started to go to work...