I'm positive that I thought of some clever way to intro this post, but I can't recollect what it was, at the moment. So let's just jump right in.
Swim: 400 m, 7:50
This was slower than I expected (slower than my seed time). The swim worked like this: we all lined up by swim seed and they sent us off on 30 second intervals. And there were about 170 people. Which means that the last person started more than an hour after the person. Crazy, huh? I was seeded number 50, and I felt pretty good about that; it was cool to head towards the front of the line. Unfortunately, most of the athletes I coach were seeded way farther back, which meant that I didn't get to see them swim.
How did the swim feel? Easy. I'm sure it didn't feel easy while I was doing it, but in retrospect it certainly was. At the Central YMCA triathlon, I felt like I was pushing the absolute limits of my pace for 400 meters. But this felt like a steady, aerobic pace. In short, I wasn't really racing. Am I happy with my time? Yeah, I feel okay about it. But the lackadaisical attitude--one that viewed this race more as training than racing (and there's nothing wrong with that)--during the swim was a theme for my day.
Bike: 12.4 mi, 41:27, 17.5 MPH
I'll get right to it: I kicked ass on the bike. 17.5 MPH isn't that fast, really, but I can say most definitely that I laid everything on the line on the bike. I kept a high cadence and a challenging gear through the whole thing, even into the 20 MPH headwinds we experienced after the turn-around. I felt like a frickin' bad-ass. And I suppose that's probably all I need to say about that.
I also nailed my transitions. Managed to start and end with the pedals on the bike, and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who did that at this race.
Run: 3.1 mi, 28:17, 9:07/mile
This was the real challenge. The course was exceptionally hilly, and I do not do hills well. I'm not built for hills, and I don't have an opportunity to really train on hills (except for the sledding hill in Sedgwick County Park and the dam at Lake Afton). I rounded the corner off of the Emporia State campus and asked the police officer at the corner, "There are no more hills, right?" Ha!
Again, I felt like I wasn't really racing; even in the back of my head, I kept saying "It's just a tempo run." But it wasn't just a tempo run; it was a race. And I kept trying to break through the "race to train" mentality, but I don't think I ever really did; I just managed to find a slightly faster training pace.
But it was a pleasant surprise to get to the end and realize that what i thought was a 12-minute pace turned out to be 9:00! Imagine what I could have done if I had been trying!
Final: 1:17:36, 1st F 20-24, 7th F overall
I could not have been happier with these results. I could have been happier with my performance, for sure, but these results made me kind of forget about the fact that I didn't perform to my full potential. Because it was a little training race, the first of the season. And for me to do so well in the competition when I wasn't even peaking . . .
Well, let's just say I'm very optimistic about this season.