I woke up without any nerves today which was nice for a change. I even emptied the dishwasher as I drank my morning coffee before hitting the road to Canmore. I think I hit repeat on Katy Perry's new song "Teenage Dream" the whole way - it is catchy and has a good beat!
When I arrived I parked at Quarry (swim and T1 area) and ran into a few of my athletes and other friends. I set up my own T1 and then headed up to the Nordic Centre to set-up T2, get body marked and get my timing chip. I found my friend Erin and after Tony's official pre-race meeting, we boarded the bus to shuttle us back down to the swim/T1 (yes, lots of logistics in this race). Full course women were last which meant I had an hour from the first group to go until I went. I had a great time cheering on Erin, Cindy, Kerstin and others and hanging out on shore. I still wasn't nervous and felt very relaxed. This is very unusual as normally I am dry heaving at this point! Yes, it is true! I get so nervous I dry heave before most races.
Then it was finally our turn to go, women - full course. I did a quick warm-up and then waded into the water with the other women. "Ok, everybody be nice!" I yelled, "let's all be swim friends" as Tony did the coutdown. And we were off! The swim was very uneventful and no contact (thanks ladies!). I did keep veering right as my right arm seems to be stronger than my left these days. Possibly a hazard of not really swim training this year I guess. I tried my best to sight and stay left but kept veering right. I worked on not pulling as hard with my right arm to straighten mysef out and it helped a little - I am sure my swim form looked hidious! As I rounded by shore the wonderful TRi It staff was on shore cheering. I took a second to wave (yep and they even saw me wave!) and then completed lap 2 of the swim. As I got out of the water I knew I was about mid-pack.
I ran all the way to T1 but man, it is a LONG run from Quarry Lake to T1. I had to sit to get my wetsuit off and shoes on as I was dizzy. Caesar from Terrascape Racing (my mountain bike team) was helping out in T1. He packed my wetsuit into my bag and even offered his shirt to dry my hand to get my gloves on quicker. Thanks Caesar! And I was off on my mountain bike - whew, now I was in my element! I quickly worked on passing girls but remaining patient. I climbed to the Nordic Centre and headed out on my first lap. I hit the technical sections and cleaned then nicely. I had several spectators and men racing comment on how fast and confident I was riding. Love it! Before I knew it I was at the long climb (Georgetown to Matching Jersey's). I flew up it faster than normal as I have wridden this for several races this year. Back to the stadium for lap 2 and I continued to pass more men and women. As I passed and encouraged a few men on the climb at the beginning of the lap one guy said "I am trying not to like you because you are making this look fun and easy. Stop being so nice". I laughed and pulled away. The ride was uneventful in that nothing bad happened (such as a fall or seeing anyone else fall) but I just know I had a HUGE smile the whole time. I was having so much fun! I LOVE BEING ON MY MOUNTAIN BIKE!!!!!!!!
My second lap was much slower than my first as my quads were fatigued. I just kept pushing forward and only allowed myself 5 steps when I needed to walk on flat but, had to walk the hills. I continued to look over my shoulder running scared as I knew a women had to be close behind. As I saw the stadium I tried to run faster but fatigue had set in and I hit a root and landed in a full skid on my belly. I jumped up and quickly assessed - no blood. OK, get going. I ran my little heart out as I hit the stadium securing my 5th place women position. Thrilled!