Unfortunately the race turned into a duathlon. It was made very apparent that all the officials and race director did what they could to make the swim happen. After trying for 45+ minutes and delaying the race start by at least 30min, they still couldn't get the bouy's out. Not only did they try to get the bouy's out, they even tried to go with a shorter course and make it three loops; the wind and waves weren't having it...
Duathlon it was. We started off with a 2mile run. It was tough to get a solid warm-up in being that we weren't too sure of an exact start time. But after consuming a water bottle with First endurance pre-race and EFS drink, I was ready to go. My legs had a rude awakening when I asked them to start running at pace. However, with the first half mile they woke-up and I was able to get into a rhythm. It was nice to be the one to set the pace. We all came in and out of T1 as a group. The bike is what spaced us out a bit. The first 45min of the ride I was battling back and forth between leading and second place. That sure made for a fun ride on my Specialized Transition. After we made the U-turn to head back home, I was about 1min off the leader. I could see the lead girl coming into T2; I knew I needed a solid T2 to increase my chances of taking the lead. Well, that didn't exactly happen. Since the race was a duathlon, I was able to run and ride with my 2XU socks. However, going into T2 with socks wasn't the best idea. I collected all kinds of debris on them. I tried putting my running shoes on and realized that wasn't going to fly. Too many things were stuck and I couldn't get them off without taking too much time. So, I had to take my shoes and socks back off, then put my shoes on for the last time. This killed my T2 time, but lite the fire in my belly. After grabbing my EFS flask, vizor, and 2XU race belt I was off to the run; knowing another athlete was on my tail. It was time to run hard.
I felt really good on the run; unfortunately I didn't have it in me to hold onto 2nd position. I was passed at about mile 2. All I could do at that point was keep her in my sights and hope to track down another girl. Well, I ran out of room. If I had another mile I might have had a chance for second place. I couldn't be more excited for a 3rd place finish. First time making it to the podium as a pro; sure feels good! I'm planning to have many more in the near future :).
The course was legitimate. It was a bit windy with a few short climbs (bridges) during both the bike and run. Just enough to keep the race interesting. There were a few areas on the bike course we needed to be aware of the road conditions (pot holes, construction, and gaps) and unexpected wind gusts. However, no matter how bumpy or windy the course seemed to get in spots, my Specialized transition helped me get the job done. Nothing like knowing you have a fast and reliable bike underneath you; the best of the best when it comes to Specialized and profile design.
The temperatures were warm but not as hot as I was anticipating. It was nice to be back in the heat. This was also a great way to test my nutrition. My mixture of the Right Stuff (electrolytes) and First Endurance EFS drink did the trick. They kept me hydrated and provided me with the necessary calories for a successful race; great tasting too. Last but not least, without the comfort and cooling factors of my 2XU one piece tri-suit, things may not have gone so smoothly; especially when racing in the heat of New Orleans.
Thanks again to all my Sponsors for supporting and believing in me: