Festival of Flowers Olympic Distance Triathlon

I think this is the longest I have ever taken to do a race report! I read Ashley Long’s (www.ashleylong.blogspot.com) race report and started to feel slack. This race is an olympic distance race that is a National Championship qualifier, so I figured there would be a lot of hammerheads out there. I decided to do this race at the last minute for a couple of reasons, Doug St. Martin was doing his first olympic distance and I wanted to support him (I can’t go to a race and not participate), I had a free entry, and I wasn’t completely satisfied with the way the last 2 races ended. I felt that mentally it would help to get a decent race in before IM Austria. Now, it’s not like I tapered for this race, I actually had and 80 mile bike ride the day before. IM is my focus and racing during IM training is just another training day, yes I don’t always remember that line, but I try.
Okay, so morning of I actually got to the park without getting lost, and packet pick up was a smooth process. I had given myself enough time to get everything done and wasn’t stressed much at all. Regina and Susan weren’t participating so they were just hanging out and making me laugh. I had never done the olympic course here to everyone’s surprise, so I asked Forrest about the bike course. His words were, “It’s like the half bike but shorter,” well DUH! 
They changed the swim a little so the way to sight this year was to just aim directly for the sun and when you finally hit the 2nd yellow buoy turn left. I know a lot of people were happy about this, but I just couldn’t find a reason to be happy about swimming directly into the sun. I felt blind. I still managed to get a little (not much) off course with those new instructions, but felt strong. The only problem was it looked so short from shore that I think I forgot that the distance really wasn’t that much shorter than the 1.2 miles I had done the week before. Therefore, don’t go out strong! No, seriously it wasn’t that bad, but it was the first swim I had done this year without a wetsuit . . . I managed to try to keep it strong the rest of the way knowing that I had done that in a pool on numerous occasions and came out of the water at 30 flat. I will take it. No way was I going to be unhappy, especially since I didn’t have a time to go by from doing the race before. 
I transition and hit the bike wanting to make up as much time as possible. I was told to treat the bike like a long sprint, so that’s what I was going to do. I ran up on Cheryl Quinn early on and she mentioned some chick in black was ahead of us and had a “30” on her leg. I told Cheryl I didn’t know if I had the gas to chase, but would try. I saw the girl in black, or thought was the girl in black, the entire bike. She was like the little carrot dangling in front of my face. It was funny b/c I would alternate thinking, chase her down and then instantly I would think, don’t kill yourself you have a run to do. I love the devil and angel I seem to have on my shoulder:) So I tried to find a happy medium and tell myself that if I take it easier I will have a really good run. Obviously, temptation got the best of me. I don’t feel I hammered the bike, but I definitely didn’t hold back either. I catch up to her, and sure enough, we play cat and mouse a few times and I ended up rolling into transition ahead of her. Normally, I wouldn’t be so concerned, but I was beat out by a minute the week before and I knew that 1st place was already going to Kat Welling (hammerhead w/fins for feet and legs that pedal) so that left lots of “unknown” for me. I was extremely happy with my bike time of 1:06:55 for 24 miles. 
I head out of transition running trying to remind myself to take the first couple of miles a little easy and concentrate on turnover. It doesn’t work! My first 2 miles were my fastest, I didn’t realize this until after the fact but that wasn’t the way I wanted to start out. The heat didn’t seem to bother me a bit, I have to say the weekend before in Macon made this heat seem like a winter warning. About mile 2 was when the numbness started again in my foot, very frustrating, so I would walk the aid stations and dump water over my head and start all over again. I near the turnaround and run up on Doug, who isn’t looking his finest (sorry its the truth), and he mentions he went way too hard on the bike. I gave words of encouragement and tried to keep up the pace. By mile 4 some guy that had been going my pace was doubled over, he managed to stand up and start walking. I told him to just try to pace off me and follow for a little while to see if that would help. He decided to try that, and it helped me to know I was helping someone else so I tried to stay focused, but knew the speed wasn’t what it had started at. I hit mile 5 and took the first look behind me to see if the infamous girl in black was right there, and I was happy to see she wasn’t. As I get to the end the guy that was doubled over hits his 2nd wind and we run in together. I manage to hear Doug’s wife yelling for me so I try to pass someone up the hill only to have him pass me right back a second before the finish. 
All in all, I was pleased with my results from the race. My run ended up being 49:11 (not good for me), but I was happy with it, which was nice. I, like Gman, had managed to do 5 races in a span of 6 weeks all while training for an IM. I actually kidded with Tracy Mckee on Monday when she was asking about how my body responds to short distance stuff when you train for long distance and I envision the confusion like this . . slow twitch, no, fast twitch, no, slow, no, fast, no, what day is this!!! Maybe you had to be there. Anyway, this race was just what I needed, I even managed to shift Doug’s gears into overdrive b/c even though he was tanked when I passed him, he only finished about a minute behind me. I was finally ok with my results, and with the realization that if I want to race and train for an IM my results may not be what I always want them to be. I finished 15th out of the females, and this was the perfect precursor for IM Austria. I am glad I raced, and, oh I hate to do this, Forrest you were right and this is why I listen to you . . .most of the time:) 

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