Sunday was the Waconia Triathlon. I have a history with Waconia in that when i was playing alot of tennis, this race was the ONE race i did every summer. It was a good distance, not an all out sprint but not a full Oly distance.
1/2 mile swim, 20 mile bike, 4 mile run. Doable on minimal training. Even tho it is far from flat and the water is usually choppy.
I didnt have any expectations for this race, it was close to home, it was short by the HIM standard and since i had had unremarkable runs since Kansas i was in limbo about how i felt this would go. I did do a TT mid week that felt good so i hoped that IF my legs were good and strong for a ride that would carry me up and over cemetary hill and the rollers of this short but challenging 4 miler.
We had really bad storms saturday night, enough that Rich came up to get me to say we had to go to the basement since the sirens were going off. I wandered down and was then wide awake at 11:30 pm. There was so much flooding in our area that at one point i said to Rich, "Maybe it will be a swim-run! no bike, if the roads are closed!" And funny thing was i was all over that idea:) Oh well, I did fall back asleep and woke up pretty well rested at about 4:45.
Made my way to the race site ( about 30-40 min drive) and parked and racked and did all that stuff. It seemed so small compared to the M dot races. I liked it:)
Warming up I also thought how short the swim seemed. Really ? We only have to go to that buoy, the one that looks about 100 yards away? It was my first Elite wave swim so i was nervous about guys swimming over me. I can handle the knuckle fest with women but guys slugging me is another story. I laughed at that thought tho and recalled swimming thru the 55+ guys at Kansas and getting nailed by them so i figured I hopefully would be ok.
Warmup came and went and I even got into the 70 degree water to warmup. A first. 70 felt AWESOME compared to the 77.999999 ( ha, joke 81?) water we had at Kansas. I was ready to rock and roll, but my plan to line up 2-3 row was a bit screwed since we had a beach start and all the Elites were lined up on the beach in a horizontal line that must have stretched 50 long. Ok so not much place to go other than back a bit and find some water. I wished Suzie good luck, we both were in our goofy goggles so it was hard to tell it was her, but we we both had lumps in our throats before the start..and off we went.
I got knocked a few times but it actually spread out pretty well and i think i had a pretty clean swim. A bit of drafting, and since there was cloud cover it was ok to see and i think i made it in as 5th women ( someone yelled that) and into T 1.
I was racked near Brooke, who won this race last year, so when she came in right behind me I knew i had a good start to my race. Jan also came in RIGHT behind me. Getting the wetsuit off was fine, I was a bit dizzy when i was rummaging around so i had this weird fear i had left my helmet in T1, so funny i made sure to pat my head before i got out of T1 to be sure i had it on.
You go up Cemetary hill to get out on the bike. I knew i was 4-5 back from the leader and as soon as i got up the hill Brooke passed me. Then Jan passed me. And I had this "Ahhh so here we go again..." At that point i said to myself "Get top 10 elite Julia, its your first elite race, dont freak out." But as we rode ( and granted I think we had the best day EVER on this course wind-wise, I mean it is not an easy course, rollers and alot of open farm land) Brooke and Jan were coming back to me. And all the sudden i felt like i was riding their race....And since it was a shorter ride I "sat in" legally for a few then thought by mile 10 I was going for it. For about a mile I hung out at a legal and controlled distance from Brooke, who was ahead of Jan. Jan passed Brooke. Then about a mile later up a hill, I passed Broroke too. And from there on out I had Jan in my sights, often close enough that i thought i could pass her, but also controlled enough knowing it was 7-8 miles in that i wanted to be able to put the gas on at mile 12-15 to finish strong. I was pretty sure there were some "get out of the saddle" hills towards mile 18 as well.
And so I rode...Rich rode out from home ( got in a hundo!!) and took these videos...
I came into T2 in 3rd and left in 4th. oops. I had a few wardrobe malfunctions, and Brooke came in right after me and left before me. Oops. again. I could NOT get my shoe liner to stay put and i nearly fell over trying to get the shoe on. Finally after what felt like too long i said "to heck with it," go. And it sorta worked itself out ( both shoes actually) but miles 1-2 I had my liner at my midsole and I just decided to ignore it. It was rubbing but whatever. Then I realized the right one was bunched up too. Guess that is what i get for wearing these trainers ( sockless) when i go to the track ( um, 1x) and for sprint races. ( lets see, last sprint was a year ago.)
The run was hard as i expected. Mile 1 is slow you go up up up up turn right and keep going up. They call it Cemetary Hill, bc there is actually a cemetary at the top. I was close to Brooke and we ran close with her taking a good 20 foot lead on one of the downhill straight aways after mile1. I just sat there, getting my pace going and figured that if she was going to run away from me that was going to be a dang good run on her part. Go girl! At the turn around point we were together, she was a bit ahead of me, and on one of the uphills i passed her. And I never looked back. The crowd was really nice cheering thru downtown Waconia and i tried to gage where she was by the cheering. So when i went by people and they cheered I prayed and prayed that there wouldnt be a 5 second delay but more like a 30 second delay before they cheered again. I did NOT look back bc i knew that i just needed to run my run. And after i passed her i just gave it all i had. Even tho the last 3/4 mile is down hill there are some sneaky little rollers in there, even in the last 1/4 mile and i just again did NOT look back. I remembered how sick i felt at Kansas and knew this was a gimme if i didnt slow down.
Jerry McNeil had some really nice things to say, and that was pretty nice to hear. Thanks Jerry!
I do know that when i started the run he commented on the efficiency of my stride, and said " SHE WILL NOT SLOW DOWN." gulp. Ok, got to live up to that one:)!
I was really really proud of all the athletes that raced today. Suzie who is an up and coming start was hot on my heels as was Brooke obviously. But in an out and back race I just have to LOOK the OTHER WAY when you see people closing in, its just too much of a gut wrencher to try to worry about who may catch you! It was a hot day, with about 90% humidity from all the rain we have had and everyone that crossed that line did a phenomenal job.
Ok I would be lying if I didnt tell Rich that when i picked up my race number friday that I was a bit "FREAKED" at getting #3. But I also thought, a flighting thought that left me soon after, "What if I could get 3rd?" And ya know, I did! Jerry also told me that I got to go to the BOUS in Mission Viejo, Ca in October. When he said " ARe you going to Hawaii?" I laughed out loud, and then thought, wow he thinks maybe i could go to Hawaii? I just know that I have read on Beth's blog about the BOUS and I am honored that I can go. I dont know alot about it, but I guess this year they are doing a team format, so that 3 people from a state can go and represent themselves and their state as a team. What a team we would have:
1st place: A gal that just graduated from the U of MN and was a swimmer ( no joke, and a runner and a biker! her 2nd Tri EVER!)
2nd place: THE Jan Gunther. If you arent from around here you may not know Jan, but heck if she is even in my zip code i am proud. Founder of Gear West ( now she owns the ski side) multiple time finisher and winner of the Birkie ( Xc ski, like a gazillion miles in cold and wind and all that while i am sweating on my trainer, Ahh. I need to move...tangent) and winner of the 2009 IM MOO 50-54AG. I could go on and on. She is a total stud. Oh and she is 51 years young.
3rdplace: ME:) hee hee. Highly decorated tennis player who loves to work hard, tries to stay out of trouble, has a coach that makes dreams come true, or as i told JH last night "make dreams come true that i never even knew I had,"...
I am not sure how the Tri season will play out, that is a blog in and of itself. But I think i have to go to this BOUS? Anyone? Thoughts? My goal would be to have a fun time with the ladies and gents from MN, to meet some people, to see Marit, maybe go see my friends in La Jolla, and oh, NOT finish dead last:) That is sad to say, but that was my thought when Jerry told me I could go, since its not AG it's ANYONE!!! OMG, wow!!!
Thanks Gear West, as always for being so generous with your sponsorship of the races. And to the city of Waconia, Mayer ( Mayer Lutheran, they used to beat up on us in Basketball!! LOL), and all the volunteers!!!! and to my supporters, Rich, family and friends.
PS I took a 2x caffeinated Powergel on the bike. Vroom vrrom. training secret 101.