I'm glad to say that I'm seeing improvement! On August 5th I took a short drive over to the Lake Zurich Triathlon in terrible weather. I was worried the race might be cancelled due to the heavy storms and big bouts of lightening, but after a brief delay and a shortened swim, the race was on.
Going into the race, I was a little worried due to being in South Carolina for the previous weekend. I was unable to swim and bike as much as I wanted and felt that I might not be able to race up to my capabilities. Little did I know that the trip might have given me some needed rest :-) .
The swim was shortened to 400 meters due to the late start (which suited me being a weaker swimmer), but my summer long swimming payed off as I pulled off the 9th fastest swim out of all the racers! I was ecstatic getting out of the water and hearing that I was low 5's for the 400. This was so surprising because I started near the back of the racers and it was a staggered start. Three racers went off into the swim every 2 seconds or so. So by the time I was in the water, it was a sea of swimmers. I managed to find little holes between the swimmers and pull off a fast swim. My transition was a little slow, but I managed to hop onto the bike and took off charging.
I was worried with the tire pressure in my tires because of the slick roads, but once I was riding, everything clicked into place. I looked down at my bike computer and said, "this thing must be broken." It was reading 31 mph, so I figured that it was in kilometers per hour or something and started to hit the buttons. I soon found out that I was actually riding that fast. My first 5 miles I was blazing and averaged 30 mph! I continued to power through the bike and was thinking that I must have a tail wind and everyone is going this fast. I didn't understand how I could be going that fast. I soon found out that I was right behind the leaders of the race even with the later start! With all my momentum flowing, I transitioned quickly and took off running. Overall for the bike I averaged 26.1 mph. That is the fastest I have averaged out of all my tris so far!
The run was alright for me. I felt like I was not going very fast, and I do not run with a watch, so I was unsure of how fast I was actually running. I just settled into a pace and jogged my way through the run. I need to figure out a way to fix the blisters that I keep getting. If anyone out there knows of a good product to use to prevent blisters let me know! I have tried using all sorts of bandaids, but they all end up falling off by the end of the swim or while I am transitioning shoes. But back to the run....I finished it up and ended up having a 33:50 or so run (5:26 pace), which was surprising to me. I thought that I was going a little slower than that, but once I finished my dad told me that I for sure won the race. It was an amazing feeling knowing that I had won a decent "olympic" distance triathlon. I wish the swim was full length so that I could have seen how fast my 1500 would have been. But it is alright, I still enjoyed the race and had a great time out there. Olympic distance is what I am going to concentrate on and hopefully will get into the ITU style racing in 2 years or so. I just need to get my swim time down and I think I can hang right in there with some of the top guys. I have been racing professional ITU style duathlons and can hold my own against some of the top in the world, but I would like to get into the triathlons. Hopefully with my continuation of swimming 6 days a week, my swim times will drop and I can be right up there!
Also, another note...triathletes are some of the greatest people out there. I continually meet some of the nicest people I have ever met at races. Everyone is always offering advice or words or encouragement. It is just an amazing sport that makes me smile everytime I think about it. I don't know what I would be doing if I had never gotten involved in this sport. Yes, it is an extremely large time commitment with many sacrifices and early to bed/early to rise type days, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Another side note about Lake Zurich. Three years ago I race in this same exact race. I was not even able to place in my age group! And now....three years later, I won it overall! It just shows that if you are committed to something and put all of your heart into something that you love, you can succeed at whatever you want to succeed in. Thanks for all the support from my family (especially my dad) and sponsors for helping me in this sport! Without them I would never get where I am today!
Well, its time for bed for me for another long day of training tomorrow. My next race will be the Cornfest 10k on August 18th. I'd like to run low 31 minutes, but we shall see what happens. I will definitely let everyone know how it goes! Check back soon, I will right an update about my recent camping/training camp up in Dodgeville, WI!