Wednesday, November 17, 2010

70.3 World Champs

I think my body was in denial with the fact that I still had one more race to go this season. The training leading up to Worlds had gone very well and I knew I was ready to have a great race. My body however, seemed to decide that it wasn’t in the mood to race on Saturday. Mentally I knew I was ready for the race season to be over but with the great training I had done I was excited for my second chance at the World Championships. I headed down to Clearwater on Wednesday night with the parents in tow and my husband to join us the next day. It didn’t take me long to remember how much I loved Clearwater with it’s white sandy beaches, palm trees and warm weather. I enjoyed my pre-race training and relaxing and was happy to have the chance to catch up with sponsors, friends, and the Lifesport crew. Race morning came fast and other than a last minute flat tire in transition, which I was able to get changed very quickly, everything went smooth. I did a quick swim warm-up and lined up for the start of the race. It was a fairly windy day and the ocean was a little choppier than I had hoped but I love swimming in the ocean so I wasn’t too worried. It was a beach start and the water was pretty shallow for a while so we had to a lot of running, a few dolphin dives and then finally got down to actually swimming. I got a great start and managed to be in the front group but that’s where the good part ended. I somehow managed to get passed by almost everyone despite trying multiple times to get on feet and keep up with some of the other women. For some reason I just could not find that next gear. Finally the swim ended and I made my way up through T1. The fears of my bad swim were quickly confirmed when I saw hardly any bikes left on the racks. I was pretty mad at myself but coming out of the water behind is not a new situation for me. I didn’t panic too much (ok, maybe I did...) but I headed off on my bike and prepared myself to kick some butt on the bike. Just like with the swim though, my body did not want to cooperate. My legs felt heavy and I could not get my speed up. After getting passed by 2 women, I finally got so frustrated and just started hammering. This probably wasn’t the smartest reaction but at that moment I didn’t care. After I settled down a bit I realized that my legs were actually sarting to feel better and I finally found my rhythm. I don’t really know what changed but I was glad for it. The second half of the bike went great and I finally started seeing my average speed get closer to what I had been hoping for and I was able to catch a few girls before getting back to T2. I headed out on the run somewhat hesitantly and not really knowing what to expect. For the first time all season my legs actually felt good right from the beginning. I settled into my pace quickly and just focused on keeping things steady and keeping up with my calories and fluids. I love 2 loop run courses and it was great having so many people out there cheering. I managed to catch a few more girls and even though things really started to hurt at mile 10 I was able to pick it up enough to catch one last girl before the finish. At least I ended on a good note! In retrospect my race wasn’t really as bad as it felt at the time and I’m glad I kept pushing and never gave up. Of course I wish I had raced a bit better but it was still a HUGE improvement from my race here 2 years ago and I’m happy about that. Overall it’s been good year for me with tons of improvements and I can’t wait to see what comes about for next year. A big thanks to all my sponsors, Zoot Sports (thanks Jake!), Orbea, Zeal Optics and GU and to my coach Dan. And of course thanks to my parents for all their support and my husband for putting up with me all season! Now it’s time to relax, catch up on sleep, catch up with all my friends, and start planning for next year. You can follow my off-season activities on my blog. I’ll hopefully be posting a bit more often! -Heather Leiggi