I'm not going to lie, that I almost pulled out of even doing this race. The week before Memphis I had several long chats with Thomo (my coach) about whether I wanted to still race Kansas 70.3 I was having some major doubts that I had done enough training, that on top of feeling like molasses at the end of a hard training block didn't leave me feeling too confident. Of course I knew I could finish, but when I do a race, its because I want to "race". So I came home from Memphis, did a big brick 2 days later and felt great and decided to quit thinking so much, trust the training (gee I say that to my athletes all the time) and go race already!
Lawrence KS is one of those really cool college towns. We stayed in this incredible hotel called the OREAD. It was brand new, and right the campus. We had this incredible room with huge windows that overlooked the city, and a balcony. It kind of made we want to stay a few days after the race .....or go back to being an undergrad because of amazing views of the campus.
We did our pre race routine in nearly 100 deg temps and air as thick as soup. I was sweating just standing in line to pick up my packet and check in my bike. This venue was beautiful and the race site was fabulous, but it was a bit logistically challenged. A double transition area, long walks from parking to the expo and between transitions, shuttle buses in the morning made for a lot of extra effort just getting to the start line. Thankfully once it was all finally in place..it cooled off and race day had perfect temps for racing.
Race morning came with a very early start. We were up at 4 trying to allow enough time to get to the race, shuttle ride and transitions. There was a long traffic jam getting into the campground, which left me a little short on time to get set up at both transitions because I was in a very early wave. I did not have much time left to warm up by the time I walked from T2 down to T1 and set everything up. Thankfully I was feeling loose and ready, and used the long walk from T2 to T1 as my warm up. This would not cut it in a short race!
What is it with these warm lakes this year? The water was 77.5...so wetsuit legal but barely. This time I did get HOT. Insulated in neoprene and swimming in warm water, left me nice and toasty. I felt great on the swim other than being warm. The course was very well marked and easy to navigate. Several people said it was marked long. I have no idea...maybe it felt long because there was a little head current coming back in. But its all relative. I was so glad to be done though and peel off my wetsuit and hop on my bike.
This bike course was very fun. It is quite hilly with several out and back sections. There were some flats but a lot of climbing a well. Parts of it reminded me of the IM Wisconsin course. A new first for me in a 1/2 IM though....a dismount to cross an oil slick on the road. Could this oil be from the Gulf seeping its way up to Kansas? LOL. They were making everyone get off their bikes and walk across an area with oil which apparently was quite slick. I tried to use my cyclocross skills here! I felt great on the bike but did hold back a little more than I would normally on the uphills. I wasn't sure what to expect from myself and knew it was a challenging course and just wanted to be able to run. Only 1 girl in my AG passed me on the bike and I knew she would as she is a rocket on the bike. I have raced her for years and know she can kill a bike course. On 1 out and back I heard Adam yell at me. He started nearly last and knew he would be trying to hunt me down. Me the rabbit!
I started the run feeling good, it didn't take long to get the legs going. This run course had 3 out and back sections that you did 2 x. Each loop had 1 big hill so you had the pleasure of doing it twice, and a section of a lot of twisty turns on a paved path through the campground. I liked this run and even the big hill was tough in some weird way felt good on the legs. I had a solid run and felt strong the entire way, and even started chasing down a few girls in the last mile or 2. No one in my AG passed me but with all the out and backs I could see I was gaining on 3rd and 4th places. I caught one girl with less than a mile to go, and was quickly gaining on 4th. She kept getting closer and closer, I was digging deep and trying so hard to catch her. By the time we made the right hand turn into the finishing stretch I was nearly sprinting (at least that what it felt like), but ran out of road...by 8 seconds. I have to say it felt so good to be able to RACE at the end of this! I finished 5th in my AG and very happy with my day.
If I had trained any more than I did for this I would be feeling guilty about being a bad mom or wife, but I might have finished a little higher up, but. if I had trained any less I would feel like not racing or prepared to even go do a big race like this. Thankfully quality over quantity works for me and in the end the training was there!
A special HOORAY for my client Courtney....who finished her first 1/2 IM ever in KS. Not an easy 1/2 to start out with but good prep for her big day in Madison!