This was the third race in September for me, and at the start of the month I was a little nervous about racing so close together- I like to have 3+ weeks in between races, but that was just not how the schedule fell. I found that it was not the racing itself that was a challenge, but the long drives to travel to races, working full time, training, and (trying) to stay on top of all of life’s other obligations took its toll. I literally didn’t have a free second all month to write race recaps, so a brief social media update had to suffice. All this is to say that I was worn out mentally before I even got to Wisconsin. I hoped that a couple of good night’s sleep before the race would turn things around- unfortunately my accommodations pre-race were not really conducive to good sleeping, and try as I did, I could not shake the lethargy from my body in my pre-race warm-up.
But all was not lost- I don’t expect every race to feel great, have a great taper, etc. Shit happens and you have to adapt, so I was committed to giving my best and focusing on one task at a time.
The gun went off for the women at 7:02 and we ran into the water. I managed to stay on Lauren Goss’s feet for about 30m, which is 30m more than I have ever managed before, and then I watched the bubbles disappear. As luck would have it, every single person on the start list except for me was a front-pack swimmer, so I knew heading into the race that unless some miracle happened, I would be well behind everyone by the end of the swim. There were no miracles happening in Wisconsin- I was 1min40sec down from the leaders (ie. Everyone), by the end of the swim.
Onto the bike it was apparent from the first mile that I was in for a long day. Fortunately there is a long hill at the start of the ride, so I could see my competition up the road, but my legs, quite frankly, felt like shit. I don’t ride with power, which in this case was probably a good thing, so I just focused on putting out the best effort that I could. It took over 30km for me to eventually move myself into third place, with fourth place sitting right behind me. We entered T2 side by side.
I had not checked out the run course before the race, and I am grateful I did not. Essentially it was 10km of hill repeats- definitely the hardest run course I have ever done. The first 4km went well, and I was comfortably in third place, with Lauren and Sarah both well up the road. But it was crazy hot and humid out, and the water appeared to be being rationed out (not sure what the drinking water situation is in that part of Wisonconsin), so we were only offered one of the tiniest dixie cups I have ever seen, half filled with water, at each of the five aid stations.
I sweat a lot when it’s not even hot out, so as I sloshed around in my sweat-filled shoes, I could feel myself falling apart. It felt like I was moving in slow motion for the second half of the run, but I knew I wasn’t the only one feeling this way, so the goal was to slow down the least amount possible.
I made it to the finish line still in third, and was completely spent and extremely dehydrated. I know I had nothing more on the day, but I was frustrated with not being closer to the leaders. It has taken me a long time to recover from the race (physically and mentally), but I will be toeing the line again in 3 weeks at New Orleans 70.3. Until then, Happy Training!!
Thanks to my sponsors: Alto Cycling, Rudy Project, Skechers, C3, DKOS, Riplaces, Caledon Hills Cycling