Nick drove me out there race morning and my super awesome coach called and left me a message making sure my head was in the right place and telling me to be aggressive and kill it!  I had sent him a list of my goals, but he’s encouraging me to race more by feel than anything…maybe not be so rigid with my data while racing.  That was super motivating.  It was chilly in the morning, but the forecast called for a beautiful race day with a high of 70 at most.  The water was around 60 degrees.  They changed the starting location last minute, so the swim and run were different courses, but the bike was the same route.  I was excited to race in my new QR Superfull with the breakaway zipper.  I was nervous about the run since I hadn’t done more than 6 miles yet and only had one brick under my belt.  Last year, this race was one week after my bike wreck, so I was oh so grateful to be racing and not on the couch “cuddling” with a few bags of frozen peas waiting for bone to heal.
At the race, I found a few friends and team mates to chat with while setting up transition.  Nick was there to provide support to me the whole time.  I was early enough to get an end spot on the transition rack and the athlete next to me was very sweet.  My warm up went just fine and I also got in some fun social time with a few friends.  I saw a former co-worker at the start doing his first ever Olympic distance and I must say, I’m so proud of him!  I convinced a few others to get in the water, just to at least get comfortable with the temperature.
Strangely, my wave was 3rd and it was an extremely aggressive swim start.  I was pushed under, elbowed and kicked more than any other swim.  I’m always comfortable in open water due to my surfing background, and I’m aggressive too, but this was just intense. I started right off the front and did catch a draft for a little while, but I think I lost a lot of energy just trying to fight through the carnage.  I got “sandwiched” really close between two other swimmers and blocked and struggled to swim a few times.  However, I survived the masses and after a while, I was fine.  This is the first swim where I have not worn a watch.  Coach has done wonders getting me to learn when to use the watch and when its holding me back.  I used to look at my watch every so often, more to reassure myself that I wasn’t going to miss the cut off time… although that was NEVER a problem for me.  Sighting was easy, there were barely any turns.  I caught up with the back half of the 2nd wave.  I got a swim PR of over one minute for the distance- crushing me expectations!  I executed this well and am happy with my performance in the swim.  I was 11th/43 in age group and 51st/201 women.  I still have work to do here, but am happy!  : )
T1:  I showed that QR wetsuit who is boss!  Thanks to Triathlete Sports in Bangor Maine I am loving my wetsuit.  I hate to buy online rather than a local shop, but this online retailer is located in Maine which is my home state so I feel better about the purchase.  I was 1stAG and 5th overall women in transition.  This is where my impatience and time control freak nature serves me well.  I’m a total planimal.  Nick got an awesome pick of my flying mount with my leg kicking out over the top of the bike.  Its awesome.
Bike:  I was trying to stay aero, so I barely looked down at my watch.  I tried to actually descend well and not lose power, like at Giant Acorn and I did fine.   Riding by feel and not looking at the watch often, I was 10 watts higher than I thought.  I rode exactly at my FTP (Functional Threshold Power) rather than 10-5% below.  This means I probably am stronger than I think.  That is my theory anyway!
 : )
I passed 19 women and 14 men, but 4 women passed me and 50 men passed me on the bike.  No, I didn’t count them… I got tipsy off some wine (gasp) and ordered my “endorphin report” for $9.00 when I got home…which gives that data.  Yeah, I’m such a geek!  I was 5th/43 in AG and 27th/201 women on the bike.  The bike used to be my weakness, but now I’m stronger here than the swim or run.  The bike split was faster than my Giant Acorn PR by around 2 minutes (same course).
I saw my IM Moo training buddy L out on the bike in the 2ndloop.  She had bought a tri suit with her name on the butt, and had told me about it, so when she passed me I had to laugh.  That girl is intense, competitive, fun and fast.  We are going to push each other in training and motivate each other for WI.  I love how our biggest competitors are also our biggest supporters in triathlon.  I’m really truly proud of her and her progress this season. She was the fastest female bike split of the day, by a landslide!  I know that when I had my injury, she said to me on the bus when I went to spectate a trail run, “You just need more mental toughness.”  She was right!  I can learn a lot from her by setting big goals and dreams and being vocal about it.  I need to do the same!  
T2:  Fastest woman in transition!  At least I have this leg nailed.  : )
Run:  Ouch.  There was loose gravel, rolling hill, grass and no pavement.  I let two women in my age group pass me.  Nick took some great pictures of my friends and me, but I struggled here in the last 3 miles.  My run legs WILL come back.  I have been very conservative here with flat zone 2 runs, not brick training, and no real long runs.  This race was my longest run since November.  Therefore, I’m OK with my 8:28 pace.  I’ll get it back.  I was 11th/43 AG and  46/201 women.
I finished the race 7th/43 AG, 34th/201 women and 222nd/700 all participants.  Not stellar, but not terrible.  Once my run is back, I’ll be even better.  I’m excited.