|With my friends before the race|
I raced again at 9 weeks, in an Olympic distance triathlon (half mile swim, 28 mile bike, and 10K run). Due to the experience of events with my last race, my mental approach to this race was a lot more relaxed. I knew I could easily cover the distance, and felt like I could probably clip along at a decent pace, but I was not going to push it like I did at the last one. I was actually hoping that doing the longer course would help me to stay calmer and keep me from going as hard as I would want to in a sprint.
This race was also in the town I currently live in, so I’ve been able to get out on the course, and I’ve done the sprint race the past two years already. The swim would have been fine if my goggles hadn’t gotten completely fogged up, and I felt lost at times in the swim portion of the race (this made me realize my weakness with open water swimming and sighting). How disappointing to have this happen in the lake I swim in! When I saw my time coming out of the water, I told myself it was okay that I was behind what I had thought was a doable swim goal time. Stay relaxed, deep breaths. I hurried through T1 and headed out on the bike. I knew it would be a long, hilly ride. I settled in at a pace that I felt comfortable with (though not extremely fast), and while I was out there I remember thinking about how much I was enjoying the ride! I focus so much on getting to the end for races, that I don’t often enjoy the adventure along the way.
I moved through T2 quickly and headed out on the 10K run. My body felt good, strong. I started at what felt like a moderate pace, and gradually kept picking it up as I went along. No tightness, no cramping. I just felt good. I continued this through the end, feeling on and picking up the pace as I went. I was definitely tired at the end, but it was also a race that my body just felt GOOD throughout. Could I have gone faster? Most likely. Should have I? I’d rather not go there. I like to try my best at each race, but I also knew I needed to race smart. I ended up first in my age group and fifth overall, and I was pleased enough with that. I got a lot of enjoyment out of that race, and in the end still felt like I raced smart and competitively.