So Wednesday after a hard bike hill session I started stepping back from training and praying that my legs would come around to give a solid effort on Sunday. It is amazing how your body can go from feeling the burn as you climb a stair, the kind that you actually lean forward to have your hands help you get up, to being able to bounce up them (almost). Friday I arrived into Geelong late at night mostly ready to go.
These days when I race I am consistent and usually negative split. I don't go too hard to start and usually get better as I go. This race was no different. I stayed “safe” plugging away but not getting any ground on the leaders. The girls behind me actually gained on me. Not good. Every time I started to really move I thought, great my legs are going to give me something here and I can finally gain ground. Every turnaround though there were those darn girls. The second lap I thought – ok you got to do something here Hoogland. Thirteen minutes HARD. Then reassess. At the turnaround they were still there. Twenty minutes HARD. Still there. One hour ended up passing while I upped the pace and finally I put some time into some of the girls. Definitely a negative split, an additional 15 watts on that second lap and lots of room to improve.
I love getting to the run now. I tried something new with my nutrition. At my last Ironman in Cozumel I realized too late that 9 hours of gels was a little much no matter how much you like them. So Brandon Marsh gave me the idea to have a GU chomp every mile. Just stick it in no matter what and either chew or dissolve the calories. And so I did. I have to say that it worked for me and so the strategy for Ironman nutrition unfolds again.
As hard as I tried I was not able to run Anna Cleaver (third place) down in this race. I ended up fourth. Solid but a step from the podium. Bummer. I keep reminding myself the point of the race – hard training day but really would I be where I would be if fourth was good enough? Nope. And so 3 weeks to go – going to make every one of those days count. Hard work and recovery. And maybe some chocolate to keep me going. Onwards!