"Race day started very early with a 3:15am wakeup call. I’m not really sure why I even went to sleep that night. But I had to get up that inhumane hour because I was driving a young pro, Lindsey Jerdonek, out to the race and she had an earlier start time than I did. Lindsey provided the entertainment making a Columbia mix-CD for the ride out there. It was filled with lots of Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and other catchy pop artists so by the time we got to the race site I felt like a 16 year-old girl ready to kick some M40-44 butt."
Sean and I spent most of Saturday doing pre-race chores as efficiently as humanly possible (e.g., driving the most efficient route to Columbia, packing everyone's leftover lunch into my to-go container, etc.) with the intention of carrying that theme into Sunday's race.
The women and men started the swim together which made for a chaotic and fast start. I recognized Alice at the half-way point and was happy to be in her company. She was swimming strong so I hung near her feet for the rest of the race, doing my best not to irritate the hell out of her. I came out of the water third and heard that I was 13 seconds down from the leader... off to a good start.
Background for the bike: I raced Columbia in 2009 and had a disappointing bike split. It was my first pro race after a strong age group season and I had high (false?) expectations for myself so I did not envision trailing the leaders by EIGHT MINUTES after getting off the bike.
Strangely enough, the woman, Margie Shapiro, who dug in the knife at Columbia 2009 by passing me like a freight train (damn her), is responsible for the athlete I am becoming today. She started coaching me this February when I put my triathlon hiatus behind me and we've been pressing forward since. Life is unpredictable and exciting like that.
Back to 2011, during the bike I rode WELL (7 minutes faster than my '09 split)... and... had FUN. I wondered if this is what Lauren feels like when she rides. A few male pros passed me, but no women and when I came into T2 I was only 1:30 down from the leader.
I ran with the belief that I could catch up and I did around mile 5. Of course this was at the base of the last steep climb back to the lake so the pace was glacial and painful. Back on the downhill and flat I just ran like hell until the finish and came across in first.
This race was a gratifying and rewarding experience for me and I was so pleased to cross the finish line knowing I had given it my best effort. It was cool to hold the finish banner at the end and be greeted by the race director, Vigo. My Aunt Julie and Uncle Rich were visiting DC for the weekend and were at the finish, too.
My training partners were instrumental in preparing me for this race, including the track sessions with the Georgetown Running Company team and Coach Jerry, Saturday morning Wilson pool swims with the regulars (some pictured below), countless swims with David, and a couple bike rides with the psycho biker herself, Margie. I couldn't do without Lauren and Amy Kloner's waterfall of emotional support and encouragement to always ride HARDER. Thank you.
Wilson pool swimmers - Juan, me, Jenny & Kenton