Warning - the last month has been jam packed so I have quite a lot to ramble on about…
Was so nice to kick the season off in Oceanside. I went into the race looking to have a solid hit out and see how well my body has taken to the offseason of training. I knew I was in pretty good shape but you just never know how that first race is going to pan out.
The race didn’t really start out as well as I had planned. I had a pretty ordinary swim and found myself 3 minutes off the pace when I finally made it into T1. Once out onto the bike I felt ok and just put my head down and worked as best as I could to try and make up some ground. I closed the gap to a little over 2 mins by half way but was unable to hold it there (damn it) and by T2 it was back to 3 minutes. Once out on the run I knew I had my work cut out. I would need a very fast run if I was going to get myself into this race. I didn’t feel particularly great running out there. Actually, I felt quite terrible at the start but after a few miles I settled into a rhythm and the miles started ticking over nicely. After the first lap I hadn’t made up much time at all on the leaders and with 5 km to go was still around 1:50 down on 1st (Sarah Groff) but was slowly closing in on 2nd (Leander Cave). My main focus became catching up to Leander. At that point I didn’t even think about catching Sarah. It was only when I caught Leander that I had my first glimpse of Sarah - she was only 30secs in front of Leander! I had to dig pretty deep but was able to catch Sarah around 500m from the finish line. It was such a great feeling to cross that line first – and so nice to start the year off with a win especially after such a disappointing end to the season last year.
After Oceanside I had planned on racing 3 weeks later at St Anthony’s then St Croix 70.3 the following weekend. We dove right back into training on the Tuesday after Oceanside. I planned a good 2 week training block before St Anthony’s. That is until I crashed my bike the following Monday – I will not go into details cause it is kinda embarrassing… hmmm yes far too embarrassing to share - I still can’t believe I fell off! Such a spaz!!! After the crash I was quite sore and sorry and although I did keep up most of my training volume I had to tone down the intensity and, after a couple of days, Coach Siri and I decided that we should give St Ant’s a miss so that I could let my body heal and focus on having a good race in St Croix.
It is always such a tough decision to pull out of a race – especially one of my favorites - but I know it was the right decision. St Croix rolled around so fast and before I knew it I was back on the island staying with my St Croix family - the Holt’s, and gearing up for another exciting race!
I have mixed feelings about my race in St Croix. I always like to come back and race there to test myself out over a really tough course. I feel like I am in far better shape than I was this time last year and was hoping it would show in my racing. The race started out well enough - I was 3rd or 4th out of the water around 2 mins down on Joanna Zeiger and 1:30 behind Nina Kraft. I didn’t particularly feel great at the start of the bike but really tried to attack and get away from the girls that were just behind me out of the swim. I was quite surprised at around mile 10 to look up and see Nina and Joanna. I did not expect to catch them that early. I took the lead not too long after that but Nina chased me and caught back up on the beast. There is a $250 prime for the first to the top of the beast and Nina was going after it. Once over the beast, though, I was able to pull away. I really wanted to give my legs a good test out there. I was feeling pretty good and was really enjoying just being out there riding my super fast Cannondale Slice. I think I got a little carried away with racing and noticed late in the ride that I was feeling quite thirsty. Oops…. At the next aid station I grabbed a water bottle but unfortunately it was only half full – drank it in like 2 gulps. I wasn’t too worried then though - my legs still felt pretty good and I figured I would be fine. That is until I got onto the run – oh dear! I just felt terrible from the start. So so thirsty and it was starting to heat up. I had a 3 min lead off the bike but I was just not running well at all. I drank what I could at the aid stations but the damage was already done. I just had to hold on as best I could until that finish line. Catriona Morrison was closing fast and looking really strong. She caught and passed me with around 6km to go and I had no response. I could only hope that there was no one else behind her. I finished 2nd in the end but with one of my slowest run times ever.
After the race I felt quite annoyed with myself for making such a silly mistake. I am usually quite diligent with my nutrition plan knowing exactly how much I need to drink and at which aid station I will be refilling. I just didn’t give St Croix the respect that it deserved. You can get away with it on a cooler day but not in St Croix with it’s hills, wind and heat. Having said that though, I can sit back and look at the positives and negatives of the race. I put together a decent swim and had a great ride and feel that my cycling is starting to improve. I just messed up my nutrition and paid for it big time on the run – I know I can run much faster than that. I just couldn’t do it on that day.
After St Croix I had a couple of days off which included a road trip with my pal Mary Miller up to Boulder via Las Vegas. We had such a fun trip but that is a story for another day. I am now just trying to adjust to the altitude and get back into training before my next race which is the Revolution 3 triathlon on the 7th June.