Last year, my third year of triathlon, was to be the year I did my first Oly distance race. However, starting in June as I ramped up the running my Achilles started hurting. I tried to change my stride and my training schedule but by the end of July I stopped running altogether. My race, in September, was a Swim, Bike, quit. It really killed me to do that.
Fall was 8 weeks of physical therapy and then my VERY cautious return to running, starting with weeks of only walking. By the time it was time to start planning this year's schedule I had no idea how my heel would be, so I planned a few Aquabikes and some relays, and Iron Girl as my first race with a run. With each running setback I just kept thinking "I have until Iron Girl to get it together."
My races this year have largely been disappointments. With the aquabikes it was nice to actually complete a race without having to run, but they left me feeling a little empty, like I hadn't finished the job. The relays were fun (once as biker, once as swimmer) but there's too much waiting around.
For the last month or two, the running was finally feeling good again, and the speed was starting to come back. I was still struggling with the mental part of believing myself to be healed and able to run without thinking about my heel.
Just before the Brick n Pic I crashed on my commuter bike on a wet road; I went down on my right side, bruised my hip, hit my head, but was largely free of any real road rash. I lost a few days of training and I lost my last chance to brick the IG course. So, by yesterday I knew I was ready, but not as ready as I wanted to be. But, I was SO looking forward to doing a WHOLE TRIATHLON! Not an aquabike, not a relay.
Run: 34:00 (10 min/miles)
When did they move all the swim times earlier? The last I had seen my swim time was 7:35, so imagine my surprised as I headed to the water at 7:28 and saw my wave already in the water! Into the water with no time to think, and then we were off! There was the usual body contact (but not as bad as what I experienced last week at North East during my relay swim). There was more sea grass floating around than I've ever experienced, but I've trained myself to "Just keep swimming!" I swam and sighted pretty well. Swim time: 25:53
I was fast and efficient and onto the bike in 2:02
My plan was to attack the hills and hold back on the descents. With the wet, and congested roads extra caution was needed. Overall, I had a great ride and it almost felt easy. It went by in such a blur. Bike time: 1:02:59 (third fastest ever on the route)
I got slowed down by soggy socks: 1:38
I knew that the run was going to hurt, and it did. I was determined not to walk any of it; I succeeded, but on some of the uphills my run was hardly different from a walk. Gatorade Hill nearly broke me, but once I got past it I knew that it was literally all downhill from there. My last challenge was the cramping that was starting to hit me in the hamstrings but I refused to give in to that! Finally, into the finish chute and DONE! Run time: 34:11
Total time: 2:06:42
Age group rank: 50/235
(Bike was 276 overall, T1 was 73 overall)
This was my first race where I put together a good swim, a good bike, and a good run! Wow, what an experience!