I woke-up at 4:30 for my season opener and had a typical pre-race breakfast-oatmeal with Nutella and waffles with PB and honey and some coffee and then jumped in the car for the hour long ride to Red Bank. Arrived in one piece after going the wrong way down a one-way street so that I could make a pit stop in a Dunkin’ Donuts. Parked on the street and was greeted with some good old Jersey hospitality of a “f*** you a**hole” for making a U-turn on a mostly empty street at 6am on a Sunday morning. Rode down the transition and got prime spots for the bike on the perimeter of the racks. Yes, no USAT officials were present to ensure that the range of our transition gear did no surpass the allotted space of the back wheel. Munched on a Picky Bar, jogged around for a few minutes, and then shimmied into my wetsuit before dashing to the start. I jumped in the water about 10 minutes before my wave went off. I regretted this because it was really freaking cold in the water. While I was shivering trying to keep my feet of the mucky, gross bottom of the Navesink River, as I waited for the gun to go off.
I came out of the water in 23:10; this was my fastest ever swim split. I had clean water for the most part as far as avoiding other swimmers, but the water was far from clean. The swim start happened to coincide with the nadir of the tide so I was dragging my hands through the thick slimy muck of the river bottom for a significant portion of the swim. This made it challenging to get into a good rhythm on the swim, but I feel like when I was not scraping the mud I was focused on a long stroke and swimming smoothly. The other challenge of the out-and-back swim was the swim in was entirely into the sun. I was able to spot of the buoys and other swimmers until the last 100-200m and it was a struggle to make my way to the swim out. I was the second female out of the water in 23:10. This was my fastest ever swim split. Way to start off the 2014 season!
I put toe warmers in my bike shoes and opted to go sock-less but it wasn’t long before my feet were feeling chilly. The goal was to ride around threshold power, while this is a yet to be determined number I had an idea of what it was and I was certainly not coming close to this power. The course had lots of turns, lots of pot holes and enough climbing to make it hard to settle in. I tried to put out more power than I did, but my legs just did not have it in them today. I rode steady with a solid VI, but my power was less than thrilling considering that I rode the same power for almost 4 hours last weekend.
By mile 1 of the run I settled into a decent pace, but I just felt flat. The sharp turns destroyed my rhythm in the first 1-2 miles and then the little cross-country run also took a lot of focus and energy that I did not have. It was disappointing to not have a good finish with a strong run. I may have had more of a kick were I passing a ton of people and not 10+ minutes up on the next woman, but I also was not feeling like my running self today. Certainly not my best run, nor was it my worst
Overall I had a good swim and an acceptable run and bike. Transitions were smooth, no major mishaps or slip-ups. Nutrition and hydration plan worked, albeit it was only an Olympic distance. This was a fun race and a great rust buster for the 2014 season, also never hurts to kick off the year with a personal best on the swim.