Going into NOLA, I was supposed to be a little bit more rested than I was for Oceanside three weeks prior, but it just so happened that I had a crazy busy week at work and wasn't quite as rested as I would have liked to have been, but was looking forward to putting myself out there with a few new goals in mind. This was going to be a super quick trip for me, arriving in the early hours of Saturday morning and flying out Sunday evening right after the race, but I still had plenty of time to hang out with the Pittsburgh crew and other great friends!
Onto the race....
Swim - 30:13 - The past couple of years, the swim has been cancelled because of the rough waters of Lake Pontchartrain, but this year, the race directors did a fabulous job organizing a swim venue in the shape of an N in a protected harbor. To be honest, I was really confused as to what buoy's to follow. The race director told us to just look for the yellow buoy's as turns. I was a little bit nervous, because my vision isn't really that great. I wear glasses most of the time, but HATE wearing contacts, so I just go about my business not really seeing very clearly. So I just crossed my fingers that I would be able to stay with a group and let them be my eyes. I know this is a gamble, but it turned out in my favor, because I was able to latch on and follow. I got out of the water and looked around at the girls that I swam with and was pretty excited about my swim.
Transitions - AWFUL! So I came out of the water with a pretty big group of girls, and of course - every single girl was gone while I was still fumbling around trying to get my wetsuit over my calves. I did provide some entertainment for the spectators as I was dropping my helmet and sunglasses everywhere, swearing a bit, and then laughing at myself for being so ridiculously slow. The people standing at the fence actually clapped for me when I finally made my way out of T1.
Bike - 2:29 - My #1 goal for this race was to be aggressive on the bike. I failed miserably in this department in Oceanside, so I wanted to prove to myself that I could have a bike result in the same time zone as the other pro girls. Over the past two weeks, I was able to bike outside a fair amount and really get in some quality workouts, so I had my wattage goals and I worked to keep it there. The bike course is an out and back, mostly flat ride. On the way out we had a headwind that turned into a nice tailwind on the way back. I was working harder than I have ever worked on the bike in half iron distance race, but I know that I have to take these risks racing in this field. I was happy with my mentality during the race, but I would have liked for it to be a little bit of an easier effort to get this result. I know that this is a step in the right direction though, but also the area where I really want to improve.
Run - 1:28 - UGHHHH!!! I have never felt so horrible in the opening miles of a run. I am guessing that I am not quite used to really working hard on the bike. But I felt awful the entire run. I suppose that if I wanted to look at the bright side - I was still able to run a fairly respectable time feeling so dang bad, because I honestly thought that when I saw my final run time it would be much slower than it actually was. I just felt clumsy and sluggish - so my new goal is to learn how to run off the bike after working hard.
Overall - I am happy to have taken a step in the right direction, with a new 14 minute PR. I still know that I have plenty of improvements to make, and look forward to working toward new goals. Also, summer is right around the corner, where I will have much more time to get outside and train, and have lots of time to recover.
This race happened less than a week after the Boston Marathon bombings. I had a heavy heart all week long thinking about all of the victims. I know there was some justice when they caught both of the suspects, but that doesn't change how the victim's lives will never be the same, and they are in my prayers. During the race, I looked around at all of the competitors, spectators, volunteers, and families, and felt all of the love that surrounds us. I tried to smile and thank everyone that I saw, but if I didn't, I am putting it out there right now for this race and all races - Thank you for the love and the support!