I returned from Auckland, New Zealand just two days ago, having finished 10th in my age group in the Olympic Distance Age Group World Championship. Fellow EFRT teammates Megan Severa (below) and Scott Endsley raced there too!
This was the race and adventure of a lifetime!! Below is my report on the race itself. I blogged about the lead-up on my Cort the Sport blog so if you'd like more detail (LOTS of detail) about what it is like to be a part of Team USA, you can find it there including entries on:
Precious Cargo - packing the bike
Welcome to the ITU Grand Final Auckland
Settle In Day
Swim Course Familiarization
Dinner with Triathletes
3:5:3 Race, Team USA Meeting, the Roo arrives
Bike Course Preview Ride with Team USA Coach
Men's Pro Race, Bike Racking, Race Thoughts
Race Day - written almost immediately post-race
There were 1594 total racers, 686 women, and 79 in my age group. To be tenth among them was pretty cool. The original wave sheet had 82 in my age group, so only three no-shows!! The winning time in my age group was 2:08:43 - SMOKIN'! Full results are available online.
- Swim (1500m) - 33:47 (38 in age group / 367 of women / 1038 of all racers)
- T1- 3:50 (16 / 232 / 683)
- Bike (40k) - 1:11:08 (5 / 43 / 511)
- T2 - 03:49 (31 / 312 / 898)
- Run (10k) - 42:40 (6 / 103 / 551)
- Total - 2:35:16 (10 / 156 / 709)
The swim started with a wait in corrals by wave. I learned from the practice swim
that my feet got pretty cold waiting on the asphalt of the pier so my friend and roomate Donna suggested we wear the hotel slippers for our wait. It was the perfect thing.
As it was our turn to go, we lined up and sat on the edge of the pontoon (see pics here).
With 30s left to go, we hopped in the water with one hand on the pontoon and waited for the air horn. It was go time, the butterflies went into formation, and I got to work doing what I love. I had acclimated to the water temps and found the 58 degree water to be fine. I did wear two thick swim caps including my Endurance Films cap AND my AquaSphere goggles!!
The swim course had six turns and it took us out beyond the protection of the wharfs. Out on that most distant leg, the tide/chop was significant but kind of fun as it felt like you could almost body surf each little wave. The problem was the turn buoy at the end was pretty small and hard to see. Spectators noted whole groups getting swept one way or another by the tide and I'm sure we did too. I made sure to keep swimmers to both sides of me, hoping that would minimize my error. I swam in the top half of my age group, but still 11 minutes slower than the fastest swim time of 22:26 (WOW!!) I have some off-season work to do.
It was quite a long run up to transition where I easily found my bike and set off.
I was glad to have pre-ridden the course. I immediately started passing people on the ride and began to gain some confidence. Parts of the ride were in the right lane, parts on the left, but we always stayed left and passed right. Riding opposite was not as big of a deal as I thought. Nor was the cold a factor, and I was happy not to need the arm warmers and gloves I had laid out.
The course was rather busy/congested and there were quite a few officials out watching for illegal drafting. I was probably too paranoid about penalties and there were places where I backed off a bit until I was sure I could pass within the allotted time.
This was a two-lap course so at one point, we split off and turned left for a second lap or went straight to finish. I made the turnaround but quite a few people missed it and got nearly to transition before being turned around.
I finished in 1:11:08 -- 5th best in my division, 43 best among women. The fastest bike time in my division was 1:09:08. I am a slightly better cyclist, comparatively, than I am as a runner these days.
Coach Jim had my stats as Lap #1 approx. 20.8 mph, average HR = 163 Lap #2 approx. 20.2, average HR = 159. With all the turns, steep hills, and the headwind along the water, I would not call this a fast course. My HR was a bit lower than expected for race day; the cold temps could have been a contributing factor, but truly, I think I could have, should have ridden this more aggressively. In London I will.
Nutrition included 2/3 of a bottle with Perpetuem and one Surge gel with caffeine.
I was really looking forward to this run. I grabbed a gel in transition, which I promptly lost, so I had no nutrition on the course but didn't really worry about it. I didn't drink anything either, because I wasn't thirsty nor did I want any disruptions to my flow.
At this point, I knew I'd at least finish and I sensed I was putting in a decent race. I laid down a 42:40 on the two-lap course that had about 50 turns in total and a variety of surfaces that made for a slower course. In fact, my friend Donna slipped and went fully down on one slick ramp.
The course was lined with spectators and it was pretty cool to hear "go USA" along the way. The loudest yells of all came from Tim Yount, USA Triathlon's COO, who was stationed near the turnaround/finish, ready to hand us flags for our finish.
I ignored my Garmin and ran by feel and flow, focused on catching the next runner up ahead. Coach Jim had Lap #1 approx. 6:37 pace, average HR 166; 91 cadence. Lap #2 6:55, 170 HR, 90 cadence. I worked hard but ran happy!!
Post Race Reflections
This was, without a doubt, one of THE greatest adventures of my life. I am just so pleased to have gotten there healthy, kept my wits, and raced well for myself and for all who were pulling for me.
As a bit of a homebody who likes adventure in controlled doses, it was a big step to race 8000+ miles away. This trip gave me confidence and opened up my world in so many ways. I wrote of my thanks and gratitude
in my race day post but I'd like to add to that list here by thanking those who steered me in the right direction during the race week - Mike Morris, Donna Williams, Marshall Wakat, Mark Long, Caroline Kavanagh, and Suzanne Kavanagh. I benefited from their collective experience and excellent logistics management!
Thus ends the 2013 race season. Time for some recovery and off season, then a careful build with Coach Jim to the World Championship in London, September 2013!!
Thanks, Endurance Films and all my teammates who have helped to make this an amazing year!!