This was my second year racing the Hy Vee Triathlon. Last year’s race was a bit anti-climactic. A strong bike and run could not make up for a poor swim. While I finished in the top ten, feeling that I was capable of a better race, left me feeling a bit disappointed in myself.
I was determined that this year’s race would be different. At a minimum, I was determined to have an aggressive and confident swim, a swim I knew I was capable of having. The race started about an hour late due to a bad thunderstorm that came through about 3am. This extra time allowed for a relaxed warm up and plenty of time to get in the water before my wave went off. The 84 degree water meant I’d be able to use my Xterra swim skin. This swim skin makes me feel sleek and smooth in the water and is super comfortable. The swim started out very fast, with lots of feet and arms kicking about. I ended up swimming most of the course with a couple of other girls. I came out of the water in 9th, much better than last year’s 17th! Goal number one achieved! While I think I am capable of swimming a bit better, seeing my swim time back in 23 minutes was validation for all the time I’ve spent in the pool over the past year. I know a 23 minute swim doesn’t exactly say “super-fast” but compared to times from previous years, I am happy with it.
As I made my way to the main part of the bike course, I saw the pros coming back, looking like they were barely moving. The storm had brought some strong winds with it, along with wet roads, which claimed a few of them; several of the pro women crashed badly on a corner. Keeping all this in mind, I pushed as hard as possible going out, knowing that the headwind would slow things down quite a bit on the way back in. I was able to make up some ground on the bike, starting the run in 6th place.
The wind did not ease up for the run. While the bike course was the same as last year, the run was quite different. Instead of winding through downtown Des Moines and finishing straight up a hill in front of the Capital, the course was flat and finished at Gray’s Lake, not too far from the start. We had a strong tailwind the first two or so miles, which meant a strong headwind on the way back in. I was able to pass a few girls on the run, but wasn’t sure of what place I was in when I crossed the finish. After talking to the first and second place finishers, and not seeing a third place finisher around, I realized I must’ve gotten third.
When I look back at a race, I always ask myself if I would still be satisfied with it, even if I had placed last in my division. With this race, I can say yes, that no matter where I ended up on the results page, I am pleased with my performance. It was probably one of the more all-around solid races I’ve put together in a while. It was also encouraging to see that the hard work I put in over the summer paid off. I do most of my training by myself and haven’t raced since July, so it was good to see that the work was quality work and prepared me for race day.
Getting to the finish line is truly a collaborative effort. I wouldn’t be there without the support of my husband and parents, friends and training partners, as well as PowerBar, Xterra, Rudy Project, Mizuno, Nuun, and Louis Garneau. Thank you for all your help!
Link to results is here.