After a surprising 7-hour Race Eve sleep, I fueled up with a breakfast of fresh coconut meat, a yam and a banana (for later). Nothing new on race day, unless you're on a tropical island and have a pretty tough stomach and plenty of time to digest. I couldn't miss the opportunity to fuel straight from the island and felt as though the fresh coconut water in my bike bottles was liquid gold.
We rode our bikes to the start - a nice 25 minute warm up. Transition set up was BIG RACE style with bike and run bag drop offs. After we were all set up, we headed over to the beach to warm up with all of our new friends. I danced a bit more than I should before a race but this feels like a vacation and a party and a race. When it was time, we all lined up at the swim start. There were a couple of false starts that got us all giggling and then we were off! I tried to stay on some feet but it was difficult in the ocean and soon I was on my own. I'm not a great swimmer so I spent the whole swim thinking "this is how it feels for people who hate running and do tri". The swim was 1k of beautiful salt water. I climbed out of the water in 21 minutes and was happy with that.
*Sidenote: With the heat and difficulty of this course, this race was just as much a game of nutrition as it is swimming, biking and running. I nailed my fueling plan, drinking at least every 15 minutes and taking in plenty of calories and electrolytes.
Even with an okay swim I was one of the last people out on the bike. This race is mega tough and because it's on a remote island and offers a nice prize purse it attracted some serious talent. The heat wasn't bad at first but the 5k climb at the start of the bike loop is a monster. I only managed to catch one guy and he passed me again on the descent - for every hill and on every loop. We played leap frog for the entire bike. By loop 3 the climbs were all much bigger than they were at first, as climbs are wont to do. The bike ends with a mini loop and they don't even talk about the mini loop being a mini monster climb. It was HARD! My favorite parts of the bike portion were 1) obviously the landscape, ocean and mountains 2) the wild animals that I said "hi babies" to every time I saw one 3) riding through town and having everyone out cheering. The bike was 100k of beauty and pain. What more could an endurance athlete ask for?
Though, I have to admit, not catching up to anyone on the bike got to me a bit but I shook it off to tackle the run in my normal fashion. Here I was able to pass several people and even caught one of the male pros, finishing only a few seconds behind him. The run was insane. I averaged a 9-min pace with *almost* all I had. That said, it was one of the most fun run courses I've run! It started in the fun town, then up a tough climb, then through a dirt road with cows, cranes and goats, then running in shin deep water for about 10 feet to get onto the beach and run on the sand to start the next lap. It's 3 laps total to equal 10k. I threw in a kick to the finish and almost crashed into a cheerleader that jumped out to cheer for the pro who finished seconds before me. We have great video of that and of me dodging her and running straight to John who had his arms full of flowers (that he won - for me). Amy Kloner, female pro and BFF was there too, screaming and yelling for me. She had won the women's race about an hour earlier!
|Me: honored to be receiving my award with these ladies|