The trip to St. Louis was short and sweet. I flew in on Thursday evening from Phoenix and flew out on Saturday evening after the race. Since Quassy I have been training in Flagstaff. AZ with Paulo and the rest of the squad. I have absolutely LOVED the training in Flag. There are endless amazing places to run, a 50m pool, and decent roads to bike on. I will write a post about Flagstaff next week and talk about it more.I had an amazing homestay in St. Louis, Erika and Mark Hiller. They were sooo welcoming and accommodating. They made the lead up to the race very relaxed and stress free. Erica made us (there were 3 other pros staying with them) a very tasty pre-race meal the night before the race.I was really surprised to find out that the bike and run were hilly. I just expected St. Louis to be flat, but it definitely was not. The race actually took place about an hour west of St. Louis in a town called Innsbrook. They used The Innsbrook Resort as the race venue. The swim was in a lake that was relatively warm and clean. The bike was in the resort for the beginning and end, but most of it was out on the rural roads of Missouri. The run was completely in the resort and was extremely hilly, on gravel roads and the beginning and end was on grass (cross country style!!).I felt pretty confident coming into this race with all the work I had put in the previous few weeks in Flagstaff. Paulo decided that I was not going to be resting for this race. He likes to call it “coming in hot”. I knew I had a chance to win, I just needed to express my fitness and stay focused. I knew the swim was going to be fast since Lauren Brandon was there as well as a bunch of other really good swimmers. Just as I expected, the swim was quick. There was a group of us together at the half-way point with Brandon just a bit ahead, but I put a surge in and managed to drop everyone and swam in alone with Lauren about 10-15 seconds ahead of me. Onto the bike I focused on pushing my watts and keeping my head down as much as possible. I passed Lauren around the 10 mile mark and was now riding in 1st. About 5 miles later Catherine Jameson came by me pretty quick up one of the hills. I dropped back to make sure I was not drafting and continued to ride with her for a few miles. The pace seemed to slow down and I didn't want anyone from behind catching me. So I threw in a surge and got to the front again and continued to hammer until getting back into T2. I honestly couldn't believe I was leading the race. I started out the run hard, but felt in control. Every mile I was in front I felt like it was more my race to win and I didn't want anyone taking that away from me. When I crossed the line I was bummed that they didn't have any tape to break since it was my first pro win, but I will win again and hopefully they will have tape for me to break :)Running to the swim start (or walking like I did)...I didn't realize getting to line last would result in me having the worst start position :)I ended up squeezing in on the left end..my only obstacle was the metal fenceI was second out of the water about 10"-15" behind super swimmer Lauren BrandonPaulo and I have been talking a lot about seizing opportunities. It is really easy to talk about doing it, but actually doing it is an entirely different beast. I knew I had the opportunity to win on Saturday, I just needed to execute my current fitness and stay focused. In a triathlon there are so many different things that can go wrong. The key is if something doesn't go your way to let it go immediately and move on. It is also really important to focus on nailing everything the best you can; being the swim start, transitions, or the last few miles on the bike when it is easy to fall asleep. I will say not everything went perfectly for me on Saturday, but the difference was my attitude. Every time I nailed something I gave myself a pat on the back, and when something didn't go to plan, I didn't sweat it. I also for the first time in a LONG time believed in myself and raced with confidence. Someone tweeted at Paulo on Saturday and said they saw me out racing and said "I looked like I was on a mission." It just shows that when you put your mind to something, you can accomplish your goal!
I have to thank Paulo and all the Triathlon Squad peeps for all of the support over the last couple of years. It is amazing to be part of a group that are all committed to athletic excellence. A massive thank you to my incredible parents for their all of their love and support with everything! I know I wouldn't be doing what I am today without them! And last but not least my hubby...for being my biggest fan, letting me leave me months to train, and always being there to listen to me when I have a good or bad workout.
Blue Seventy: I raced in the TX3000 Trisuit and used the PZ3TX swimskin
Rudy Project: I used the Wingspin TT helmet and the hot pink noyz sunglasses
Powerbar: I took 5 gels (3 on the bike, 2 on the run) I normally only take 3, but I felt like I needed the extra sugar boost