When I began to re-plan my season at the end of July, the Lake George Triathlon Festival was the first race on the Modified Schedule tab of my excel spreadsheet of 2015 races. The timing was right, just over 10 weeks after I started my progression back to biking and running; the location was also ideal, located just 30 minutes from the lake house where I go for my summer train-cations. The added bonus would be that my grandparents would be able to be spectators-their first ever triathlon experience-and I thought it would be really neat for them to see what my races, they so often hear of, are all about first hand.
After a nearly 11 month hiatus since my last race in Kona, I was thrilled to see “Oly Tri” on the schedule of just my second training block from Brian. While I was mostly content just being able to train again and do what I love every single day, I wanted to experience the rush of competition and this seemed like the perfect occasion to make my comeback to racing.
As I was packing to head to upstate New York, all of the things about packing for a triathlon that usually are stressful and overwhelming were new and exciting. Making my lists, checking them twice, putting particular items into certain bags and lying all of my race gear on the floor divided into swim, bike, and run piles was such a treat! The night before the race when I was setting my 4am alarm, I expressed my excitement by adding emojis to my alarm label.
Race morning arrived and for the first time in many, many races I was not overwhelmingly nervous. I was able to eat breakfast instead of forcing down food, and I did not experience a bunch of negative emotions that would have made me want to scream and cry. I felt calm and confident and ready to race.
I set my spot up in transition and then got to watch the sunrise over the mountains. It was a very serene moment; the calm before the storm.
Finally it was time for my wave to get in the water. I lined up in front and got a good clean start when the air horn sounded.
I found some feet for the first 200m or so, but was on my own for the rest of the swim, except when passing the groups of swimmers from the earlier waves. The swim was a huge breakthrough for me, it was the first time in a race where I did not panic at the start and feel like I was hyperventilating. I also did not have my usual thoughts of “I cannot wait for this to be over,” and “How much longer until I am out of the water?” Each stroke felt strong and smooth; I was having the best swim of my triathlon career.
I glanced at my watch when my feet hit the beach and saw 20:58. The timing mat was a bit further up the beach so my official time was 21:04, which is a two minute Olympic swim personal best.
I was stoked with the split, but not all that surprised since I had been diligently working on my swim this year and it was nice to see that all the time in the pool over the winter really paid off. No doubt my new Huub Axena wetsuit also provided me with some free speed in the water.
My awesome swim was a set-up for the rest of the race. The feeling of being out there hammering was incredible. I did not obsess over numbers or splits, but rather I raced by feel. Since I was one of the last waves, I was flying by other competitors the entire bike and run. Each person I passed fueled my competitive fire.
It was a very special day and I am so blessed to have had my parents and my grandparents there cheering me on and supporting me. It was also a real treat to be able to race in the Adirondacks, a place that I hold near and dear to my heart.
I said before that being able to race again was the icing on the cake, since I am just so happy to be able to go out every day and do what I love; I guess winning is sprinkles and chocolate ganache thrown on top of that icing. For the record, my finishing time is also an Olympic Distance PR, not too shabby.
I really am no stranger to comebacks.