I did it. I finally had my first pro race. It’s a weird thing, after telling people you’re going to go pro, then you actually have to apply and get your elite license, which in the back of my mind I didn’t think would go through and I would have to go back and tell everyone I was just kidding. Then there is the actual pro race. I promptly began worrying about missing the race; getting injured, pregnant, or just delayed on my flight which would keep me from the race itself thus officially not being pro…but lo and behold, I made it and it’s over. Now I can move on without these weird thoughts.
The race itself went way better than expected. I’m such a nervous wreck when it comes to change that I was concerned I would defeat myself before even getting off the start line. I very nearly did that, going to the pro meeting was an event in itself and I was so nervous, my heart rate was 180 and I had a good sweat going. For me, it’s always hard meeting new people and I hate feeling like I’m on the outside looking in, I just had to accept the fact that yes I’m the new kid and it takes time to get to know new people. The hardest part was sitting in my seat watching everyone greet one another and laugh and chat. The meeting sent me into a death spiral. I started stressing about the morning and finding a pump to borrow. It sounds crazy now, but these are the things I worry about, luckily the pump was easy to find and the morning was pretty uneventful. I even talked to a couple people.
Like I said, I was desperate for the race to start. Since this was a half, I knew that even if it went poorly, it would only be 5 hours of misery instead of 10. Thankfully, once the gun went off all my anxiety disintegrated and I was able to focus on the task at hand.
I had two major goals going into this race, swim with the pack and have a good run. I knew the bike would be harder to control since there were a lot more factors. I had been on the trainer for almost three months because of snow. I also knew that I would likely be alone on course. I was ok with that.
The swim in ways was much harder than expected, but also much easier. It was harder in that people take the swim out so fast, you feel like you’re not going to make it. But easier because with only a handful of girls you can pretty much tell where you are and where you need to be the whole time. Once we were off I swam as hard as I could but couldn’t quite stay on feet, just when I felt like I had to give in to swimming alone, the two girls in front started to come back to me and we had a group of four. Then our group of four was able to pick up two more girls out front and we swam pretty comfortable into the finish. When I got out of the water, I was able to look around and I was pleased to see most of the women’s field in the group.
The run to transition was very long and I essentially got dropped, kind of sad, so coming out of transition I was last seeing most of the girls up the road. Boo. I dug in really hard to try and bridge up knowing how valuable it would be to bike with other people, but I couldn’t close the gap. I let my legs burn for almost a half hour and it seemed I was only keeping pace with them and making no progress to catching. I decided to settle and ride hard but forget about keeping up. This was ok, and I was still riding harder than I felt comfortable.
The bike course was challenging, being very flat and windy, which honestly I hate, my mind always wanders on flat courses and I can’t seem to maintain my power. So that’s basically what I did for 56 miles, I road hard then would get distracted, ride hard, distracted, then around mile 45 I realized my legs were killing me and I should probably just relax to the to make sure I could still execute a solid run.
Off the bike, and I was rearing to go. My plan was to run steady and try to push it to the finish. First off, I’m someone that doesn’t notice scenery while racing, I feel like I’m concentrating so much on the road and my own thoughts that I never have a chance to look around. But this run course was awesome; old cobble stone streets and then out along the ocean. It was great, but it was also freaking hard with a massive hill at the center of the course that was steep and seemed to go on forever. Way harder than I expected, that’s ok because I think the other girls were feeling the same way. The run was relatively uneventful. Since it was an out and back, I could see all the girls in front and I counted myself in 8th. All I really cared about was being a contender and I was only two minutes behind 7th.
Honestly before I knew it, I was headed to the finish. I did manage to pass one girl who started walking from further up in the field, but seriously that was just bonus, I was already happy with how I had performed.
In general, I was super happy with my results. It’s funny that I felt like such an outcast before the race, but during I never felt like I didn’t belong and once it was over, I had officially joined the club and the race was my initiation. I’m glad that my first race was such a good experience and hoping that this is the beginning of a great 2015 of racing. Just to add a couple thank you’s, I’m super happy to continue having Parvilla Multisport and Pactimo supporting me this season and my Guru killed it out on course! Even with my erratic pacing.