11.5. The water temperature. 13. The air temperature. Surprisingly, I didn't find it too bad...as a pool swimmer, I hate cold water!! The swim went well, it was like I was swimming in a bubble or my appendages were just too cold to feel any contact, but I was barely touched the entire swim! That rarely happens with 75 women starting! I came out of the water in about 13-16th place, in a good spot but at the back of the front pack, so a solid T1 was in order.
This is where I decided to put on an impromptu complimentary "what not to do in transition" clinic for the crowds. I got to my bike no problem but my wetsuit was stuck to the frozen stump (my foot) at the end of my leg--I think it might have folded weird around my ankle. Anyway, by the time I actually got on my bike without my wetsuit dragging behind me, I missed the front group. Crap! I put my head down and just went--although my legs were feeling a little flat on the day. Slowly the stragglers were being picked up by our group and then the group from behind up caught us and we were a one mega group with all the big runners chasing the 2 out front (including Helen Tucker, the eventual winner and one of my Noosa training partners--so inspirational!). Not my ideal situation but my run has been solid, so I wasn't too worried.
Then into T2, I put myself in the top 4-8 girls coming off the bike, but again, decided to continue my free clinic. My bike first got caught up with another girl who cut hard to her rack in front of me, then I proceeded to run right past my rack (excellent), then I couldn't get my bike into the rack, it fell on top of me, then after I put it back in, the girl next to me leaned on it and it fell out again (on top of me)...anyway, I finally got my shoes on and got onto the run a little farther behind than I would have liked.
I knew I would have my work cut out for me on the run and coming out of T2 a little behind didn't help. I found a couple girls to run with and tried to make up ground on those ahead of me. In the end, the legs weren't feeling super fast and I was dropped by the group of 4 I was running with in the last 300m and finished 28th. Oh, and I'm pretty sure the run course was long....everyones run times were a bit slow.
Not great, but not that bad, there were some big names that finished behind me. I just think my focus wasn't as sharp as it should have been and it cost me a few spots. It was a tight race, if I had ran at the speed that I've been training and racing at, I may have ended up anywhere between 10-23rd...this I know, and won't let a slightly disappointing result hurt my confidence into Des Moines! I just need to sharpen my focus, tweak a few things...no more free clinics...and I'll be good to go! The Netherlands officially has 2 women's spots for Beijing secured and I still have 2 more chances to meet the NOC's qualifications for Beijing!
Sharp as a tack!
Thanks for all the cheers out there on such a cold day!! It keeps me going!