When I crossed the finish line of the Chicago Tri last year I came to the realization that I was ready to race long course again. Three years of sprints after Alex was born and I could predict my time within a minute and almost guarantee (hopefully!) a medal of some sort. It was fast, it was fun, but it was getting boring.
I didn't realize that I was going to register for Ironman WI two weeks later, but here I am, exactly three months away from my second 140.6. And today was my first race of the season, in Elkhart Lake, WI. I did this race last year for the first time and fell in love with the venue. So easy, so fun for the fam- I had to come back for more.
So, to gear up for the big race in September and to get out of my sprint rut, I raced Olympic distance. My first Olympic distance in FIVE years! It seems crazy that that much time could have passed but it was 2008 when I last raced longer than sprint. I knew I was in for a challenge with this hilly course, but it was time to get out of my comfort zone.
The swim- should be piece of cake, right? Well, I believe I swam at least 100 yds off course (never a good sign when you are by yourself, don't fool yourself into thinking you are the fastest ) and I hauled ass to get back on track. I exited the water a little winded and a lot annoyed.
The bike- pretty hilly but I've been training hard on the computrainer so I actually felt pretty good. This course has some crazy turns but I managed to turn in decent splits except for a few super hilly miles. There was almost no wind today, so it made for fast straightaways. It was fun to pass guys on my new bubble gum pink bike- I've been looking forward to it:)
The run- killed me last year and I was back for revenge. I have adequately trained hills this year and it paid off. Don't get me wrong, two of the giant hills were ball busters, but I ran all the way up them and actually felt ok. The run turned out decent, nothing amazing, but felt good to "handle" those hills.
So, 2 hours and 47 minutes later, I crossed the finish line. It got me 7th in my age group and 16th overall. Am I happy with that? Eh, not especially, but its ok. I think it's safe to say there will be NO medal for me this year. With a half and full ironman being all that's left for the year I am out of contention. The longer the race, the less the swim matters and the worse for me. But you know what I am happy with? That I'm racing out of my comfort zone. This is not the easiest path for me, and there is something to be said for that.
A special shout out to Elisabeth S who killed it her first time at this race and got 4th in her age group! Woot! And thanks to all those CAC'ers who cheered me in. And to my hubby for toting a 3 year old around for 4 hours. Despite the fact I felt like I was going to throw up pre race, the feeling I have now is why I love this sport. The people, the pushing yourself, and the pride. Congrats to all Elkhart Lake racers!