Race Report: Amy Wong
I arrived at a surprisingly chilly Lake Denison around 6:15 am in a conga line of cars with various tri/race bumper stickers and bike racks. There was a light mist on the lake, and I was glad I had kept my light fleece in the car. As I approached the registration tent, I saw Rachel & Kate, and then a shivering Becky right away; and after a brief chat with them, I ran into Deb too. It was so great to see familiar faces in TE uniforms all day long!
By the time I got through the usual race prep and TA setup, I had met up with most of my 10 or so teammates who were racing. Some of us went for a quick practice swim. It was a pleasant 76° in the lake, certainly warmer than the air temperature! Luckily the sun came out and started to heat us up quickly. Before I knew it, it was already time for pre-race announcements and lining up for swim waves.
That’s when anxiety set in. I wished I had time to drink some water and use the bathroom again. As I clustered in the pink cap swim wave with Mona, Kelly, and Deb, my belly started to hurt, and memories of the term “GI distress” – which we had discussed at TE seminars – started flitting through my mind. This had never happened before, so I thought that maybe this was what they were talking about! Well it was too late to get out of line… could I make it? I had to! Thankfully, as soon as the horn sounded and we hit the water, the pain completely vanished. Guess it was just stress after all! I floundered my way out of the water right beside Kelly who patted me on the back in passing.
Then it was onto the bike ride with its notorious hill, which I managed without a hitch. This was thanks in large part to Becky, who had organized a road trip with Deb & me the prior week to come ride the course twice (since it was 1 loop for Sprint, 2 loops for Olympic). During our practice ride, I was pretty fatigued on the 1st loop and wasn’t sure I could even do another one. But by the 2nd time through, I knew when/how to respond to the hills better, and I ended up thinking the course wasn’t so bad after all. This really helped the intimidation factor on race day.
Lastly, the out & back run was uneventful, just felt really slow. As I was cursing my way up the little inclines on the way out, I kept thinking that I should have done some brick workouts during my training. Oh, well, “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve,” right? I felt better on the way back – maybe because it seemed more downhill, my legs got used to running, or the encouragements of fellow TE’ers at the finish line helped egg me on.
In the end, I was pretty happy with my performance overall. I was more consistent across all the segments and swam my fastest ever – even with imaginary GI distress! So even though I will never be fast enough to win anything (unless the category I’m in is really, really small), the real reward was that I got to just hang out with my amazing teammates on a gorgeous day, eat free food, and cheer everyone else on. It was more fun than I ever thought I could have at a race!