Well, it's almost a month later and I haven't posted a race report for Gator Bait! It was a fantastic race - I placed first in my age group and overall had a fabulous, close-to-perfect race.
500 meter swim: 9:26 (almost a minute of that was the run to the mat!)
13 mile bike: 45:57 (17.0 mph)
4 mile run: 39:24 (9:51 min/mile)
I came into this race feeling nervous because of the sad, slow running I did at CapTex and Small Texan. Even though I'd had a couple of good brick workouts with strong, solid runs, I didn't know what would happen on race day.
The swim was great, no issues there. It was a time trial start. My actual swim time was 8:32 based on my watch, which I was very pleased with. I think the course may have been short, but I'm not going to argue about it.
In Transition 1, I tried to put my helmet on backwards, which freaked me out. Then my Garmin strap wouldn't fasten. I was frustrated and felt slow coming out of the transition area, but I settled into the bike ride and went for it. On the way out on this out-and-back course, I kept watching the people coming back. I was almost to Gator Bait hill (the turnaround point), and I still hadn't seen any women returning. I knew Shelly was up there somewhere, but I started to realize that I was at the front of the women's field. Finally, the women's leader passed and then a few more ladies, and then Shelly, and I was on my way up the hill.
It felt great to ride up this hill that I was afraid of last year and only attempted this year two weeks before the race. I passed people all the way up - people who were cycling slowly and people who were walking. Coming back to the lake was a blur. I felt so fast racing back downhill almost all the way back to the lake.
As I entered T2, I looked around and saw how few bikes were in the transition area. I thought, Oh my God, I'm at the front of this race. Well, I definitely wasn't going to slow down to put on socks. I threw my bike on the rack, pulled on my Zoots, and took off for the run.
The first half mile of the run was hard. I was battling mental demons that were telling me I was going to stink at the run and that I'd inevitably slow down. I ran out of the park and passed Robert and friends, who were cheering for me. I still didn't feel good.
About a mile and a half into the run, I caught up with Rosemarie, who was dressed in the new Trisition Area Alamo Tri Club kit like me. As I passed her, another Trisition runner came up beside me and said, "Hey, I want to run with these Trisition friends!" He and I took off together, and had a conversation all the way to the finish line. His name was John, and he told me several times that I was pacing him. I've never been in a situation where I'm the pacer in a race, and it felt great! I felt strong and light and fast. Shelly gave me a high five on the way back from the turnaround. I think she could tell how relieved I was to be feeling good on a run.
John and I ran in towards the finish line, and I let out a big cheer when we crossed. I was so proud of myself! I had the same finishing time as last year, but last year the bike was a mile shorter.
After the race, we were happy to stay around for the awards. Shelly got second in her age group, missing first by only 30ish seconds. We took a Trisiton Area Club photo, and that was the end of a great race morning!