Last year, the team ended up at a Pizza Hut. We had a 16 year old server who had no idea what to do with a group of 15+ people. It was traumatic. So, this year, I suggested we try Buon Cibo in Hernando. It ended up being the best call ever. Order at the counter, get yummy food fast. I can't wait to take the monkeys.
(Abita Strawberry not pictured.)
The meal set a good tone for the weekend--well, that and Coach Kevin Leathers' advice on when to "put the hammer down," which became our ongoing mantra/joke.
It was so nice not being scared out of my mind like I was last year. Having successfully completed the race once, I figured I could do it twice. Plus, we lucked out with some overcast skies, so I felt pretty sure I wouldn't almost collapse from the heat like last year.
Ashley and I had a minor screw up--we set up our transition areas in the wrong spot, but I was able to correct it seconds before transition set up closed.
There was one major concern with the swim--the water temperature was like 72 degrees. That doesn't really sound cold, but the race was wet suit legal. Not that I own a wetsuit or anything. I wasn't too worried about it...until I actually got in the water. Holy crap! My body totally went into shock and my heart was pounding and I could not catch my breath. Shannon, who was watching, would later tell me that my whole mouth was blue. I believe it! Anyways, I managed to bust out the side stroke and complete the course faster than the year before! (Although last year they directed us on the outside of the green buoys--this year we went inside.)
I was pretty ramped up getting out of the water and tried to walk through transition to get my heart rate down. When I got to my area, I was shocked to see that Ashley's bike was still there. What? That's right, I beat her on the swim! That's a first.
She rolled in shortly after and I said, "See you on the course" as I took off on my bike. I knew it would just be a matter of time before she caught me. Once she passed me, I strategically let her get just far enough ahead that she couldn't see me. That way she wouldn't go balls to the wall the whole race. Having her as my rabbit helped me keep my pace up, but around mile 8 she definitely put the hammer down because I didn't see her again until the switchback on the run.
Regardless, my bike time was over three minutes faster than last year.
I decided not to put on my cap for the run since it wasn't sunny, which I regreted. The run! Ugh. After working so hard on the bike it was REALLY hard to find my legs. The first mile was pretty brutal and I was run/walking counting cones. Then, thankfully, I caught up with a woman with an Ironman tattoo. We started chatting and she had a great pace going, so I stuck with her until the end. Seriously, I would have ended up walking those last two miles without her. (Thanks again, Holly!!)
As I rounded the last bend, the whole team was there cheering so I put the hammer down one last time and finished strong. Seriously, I can't tell you how nice it is to cross the finish line! It's at that point that I tell myself, "Dang, I really need to do this again."
My run time ended up being about 30 seconds slower than the year before. Oh well.
Both of my transitions were faster and my overall time was 1:33:27. That's nearly six minutes faster than last year! Woot!
Ashley and I hung out and cheered until all of our teammates finished. Then we went back to the room to shower. I was just hanging out, eating leftover pizza, and waiting for Ashley to get dressed when Star texted me. "You just won second place and you aren't here!"
So I hustled out to the pool for the awards ceremony and sure enough, I got second place in the Athena category. (My teammates took first place in the relay!) We all got plaques and pink trucker hats. Yes!
At that point I hadn't even checked my times, so I was really surprised. And happy!
|Bike Pace:||16.51 mph|
|Team Name:||Star Runners|