Unfortunately, this is not the race report I had hoped to write! The day just didn't go well. I felt a bit crappy the week heading into the race, but it's the taper and you don't always feel very good. Warming up I felt tight and ugh, but again, I didn't think about it too much because that doesn't indicate how the race is going to go.
The swim felt fine - I totally couldn't hang with the front group and swam by myself the entire time. I felt like I was going hard but not too hard, but my time ended up being pretty bad compared to where I should've been. But running out of the water into transition I was so winded!
The first lap of the bike was horrible. So horrible in fact, I contemplated stopping many times, which is so not like me when I'm racing. My legs just weren't there. Of course, I'm glad I didn't stop and am proud that I got my head out of my ass and my legs warmed up for the second lap. I ended up going 1:05:40 on a legit 40K which isn't terrible, particularly since my legs didn't show up until half way. Fitness-wise I would've expected to be a minute or maybe a little more faster.
The run was hot. And a bit hilly in sections. My plan was to stay controlled the first 5K and then lay it all out there. Even though my bike wasn't all that good, I still go into every run thinking I can do it fast. I caught a few girls in my age group within the first mile and was feeling pretty good. Even after the steep hill I was okay, but shortly after while doing all those zig-zags through the streets I started hurting more than normal. It seemed like every girl I would see in the distance and then work to catch was in the 25-29 age group - where are all the girls in my age group? (huh, they were way ahead!) I did end up catching one girl really close to the finish line (never, never quit - even when it seems hopeless ;) My run split was nothing to write home about, but after looking at the splits of everyone it wasn't all that bad - and again I really feel like I could've maybe been 2 min faster on a normal day for me.
So overall - I was a little 'off' on all 3. But at a race like this a little off is a big deal. I think I ended up 8th in my age group (another listing at the awards said 7th, so not real sure what happened), and 24th female overall in 2:16:04.
I am definitely disappointed with myself and my performance. It's a tough pill to swallow. I trained hard and really tried to do everything possible to put myself in a good position to do well there. It just wasn't in the cards.
The race itself was pretty good - a challenging course and pretty good shwag to all participants. Tuscaloosa is definitely not a city I would ever choose to go back to and that's not just because I went to Auburn (War Damn Eagle). For a small town it has horrible traffic and it's just one ugly chain/strip mall after another.
The awards ceremony was nice although unless you were a big winner you didn't get anything except a little plaque. And seriously - water, hot protein gatorade and burritos is not the best post race food. Can I get a coke, please?
The best part of the weekend was traveling with my friends and hanging out with Marty and Tassie. I love my girls and had such a great time with them - they make it all worth it. This is getting long and I'm tired so maybe my next post will be about speeding down the highway, running through the airport and the sacrificial cupcake.