The Lake Lanier Sprint was my last scheduled triathlon for the season, and the last race I planned to do before the World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand. In addition to that, I would get to do this race with my awesome roommate Olivia, who would be experiencing her first triathlon. So I had a lot of reasons for wanting to do this race. It's a short one - 400m swim, 12 mile bike, 5k run, on a course I know well, and placed 5th overall on last year. But, what I didn't anticipate was coming down with a viral upper respiratory infection 5 days before the race.
What started as a slight sore throat - grew into a raging sickness that had me completely out of training for the next 3 days. Though my sore throat began to get better, other symptoms began to add up, coughing up a thick fluid from my lungs, congestion, fever. With the race looming, 2 days out I went for a 3 mile run and barely held 9:30/mile pace. One day away, I rode the bike and run course (about an hour on the bike -easy) with Lauren Lacey, and squeezed in an easy 20 minutes of swimming.
The thought in my head, "How am I going to race like this?" but then, I really just want to be here for Olivia, and for Lauren, worst case I could drop out if I'm really struggling. So at this point, there's no race plan, it's just see what my body can do like this.
Swim - I'm lining up in the water and cannot believe I'm about to get in it. Lauren and Olivia are already in the water. 3... 2... 1... Go. And I find myself pulling away from the pack. Is this really happening? I'm the 7th or 8th person out of the water. Most of them, I pass in transition and head out on the bike in 3rd AG. I'm coughing. I feel terrible. Dig deep.
The bike - I'm coughing, but holding a steady pace, I see Olivia and squeak out some support with what little voice I can find. To add a little excitement, as I was coming into the last three miles on the bike, there is a turn where we have to cross and intersection. For some reason the police allowed a car to pull out in front of me and nearly struck me, forcing to slam on my breaks and nearly crash. A race official nearby on a motorcycle came to check on me and be sure I was ok and told me the police should not have let the car through. Never a dull moment! I hold my place on the bike and transition quickly to the run. RUN - I'm forgetting I'm sick now, and tear through the next three miles, working my way up the pack and into 3rd overall. Unbelievable. I had a fantastic race and finished in 3rd overall. Soon after, the sickness took over me again and I couldn't speak for the next few days. I was sick for the next two weeks.
Olivia did amazing in her first triathlon. She was one of the first girls out of the water with an incredibly strong swim. She muscled through the bike and the run into 13th place in her age group. An incredible natural talent, I can't wait to see what she does next season. She had a small set back as well, having to unexpectedly get her wisdom teeth out 2 weeks before the race. (Look for a blog from Olivia on her first race experience - coming up!)
|Olivia killing it on the bike!|
Lastly, I can't forget to mention my crazy teammate and training buddy Lauren. As coach Dan put it "Peas in a pod, and trouble!" Lauren ran to a second place AG finish, with a time 6 minutes faster than the winning time in her AG the previous year. Tough field out there! The crazy part, she did it with a stress fracture in her foot. Yup, crazy. So probably neither of us should have been racing, but you can never predict what a day will bring. It was Lauren's fastest 5k to date.
|And, two Team EC athletes, shining up the podium despite our illnesses.|
And now, off the World Championships!!! Here I come New Zealand!