With a 12pm race start, my race morning went: wake up, eat a snack, short jog with some strides, shower, big breakfast, chill time, ride down to race start (Buffalo, NY in Lake Eerie), get all equipment and uniform checked, and swim warm up. The water temp was 72F (no wetsuit for elites), but I did my swim warm up with my wetsuit on because I wanted to stay as warm as possible for as long as possible. I was able to keep warm all the way up until the start of the race, which allowed me to have a faster swim start.
The first 350m of the swim was aggressive and I just tried to keep my head down and go hard to the first turn buoy, when the group would hopefully string out some. It was a two-lap swim, with a run out in between laps. I came out on the first lap with 4-5 other girls, and saw that Haskins and Duffy had a pretty big gap on us. I stayed with the group I was in on the second lap, trying to get as much of a draft as possible. The wind had picked up and there were waves blowing in on the second lap which caused some person-to-person contact and some water-swallowing!
I had a good T1 and got out on the bike with 4-5 other girls that I'd just been swimming with. We caught up with two girls just a little up ahead, and then caught one more during the second (of eight) laps. So we had a group of 8 working together for the next few laps. The pace was punchy..some people taking really strong pulls, and then a lull in the pace. This bike portion harder than the bike was in Kelowna a few weeks ago, where the pace was pretty chill. Coming out of a 180 on the 5th lap, two girls on the front surged, and I got gapped in the back, which meant I had to go really hard for most of that lap to get back on to the group. I remember thinking "dang, this hurts", but it had to be done.
Here is a video of one of the 180s on the bike. Those are my folks cheering in the background :)
I had a slow T2 putting my shoes on, which cost me some time and meant that the first few girls ran off together and I was a little bit behind. This is something I can't afford to let happen anymore, it's the small stuff like this that can make a big difference in these races. I caught a few girls out on the run, to end up the 3rd american, 2nd u23, and 5th overall (a few different categories since this was a national championship). I'm still learning each time I race these ITU - draft legal races and I have things to work on as I prepare for my next race in Cancun. It's starting to feel like fall here in Virginia, which is great for training! I'm feeling extremely motivated to end the 2012 racing season strong and excited for the next few years.
As always, I am so thankful for my parent's support. They came to the race to cheer me on and it was awesome. I am grateful for the prep and support from my coach, Paulo, and my teammates on The Triathlon Squad.