The race in China was an adventure to say the least. It was about 14 degrees Celsius on race morning and raining. Now, I like to race in colder weather, but I knew being in China that rain would spell disaster on the bike. There wasn’t much to eat, as there hadn’t been all week, despite their best efforts to put out “western food,” so I had a whole lot of white toast with jam and hoped it would be enough. There was a bit of a fiasco before I left California and I didn’t have a wetsuit with me, so I had been praying that it wouldn’t be a wetsuit legal swim. Of course, it was. So, I opted to borrow one off of one of the male athletes. Not ideal, but probably better than swimming without one. The swim was crazy. I spent almost the entire first lap being punched, kicked, grabbed etc. I have never experienced so much unproductive aggression in the water before. I thought about retaliating after I was elbowed in the nose so hard that I thought it might be broken, but I kept my composure and focused on racing. At the end of the swim, I was down from the back of the lead group by about 15 seconds. I knew I needed to have a fast T1 and get out on the bike as quickly as possible. I flew through transition and within 2k of riding hard, head down, had caught the lead bunch. At this point, it became a game of dodging the terrible bike handling and trying not to become the victim of poor bike handling skills. After a crash in lap 3, where someone ran into my back wheel and went down, everyone seemed to calm down a little… but… still no one wanted to work. My HR was at maybe 110 as we pedaled in circles for an hour, which meant that come time for the run my hands, feet and pretty much my whole body, were freezing and completely numb. I had the hardest time getting my feet into my run shoes. Off on the run, I did what my coach had asked of me and stuck to my race plan. I kept hoping that a few of the women who were running in the bunch ahead of me would fall off the pace and come back to me, but that didn’t happen. In the end, I came 8th which may have been disappointing except that I ran a lifetime best of 37:50 for the 10k. Slowly but surely the pieces are coming together and the improvements are happening!
After the race, I boarded a few planes and started to make my way to Australia. I landed in Sydney, after two flights, only to arrive 40 minutes late and have to stand in a quarantine line for about 45 minutes resulting in my missing my connecting flight on to Brisbane. Fortunately, I met a terrific guy, who had just returned to Australia from the States. He very kindly helped me with my bags, as I had too many to move about on my own and because of his frequent flyer status on Qantas managed to get all 3 of my bags checked through free of charge! That probably saved me a few hundred dollars easily! You can’t help but feel lucky when you run into amazing people like that as he more for me with a few simple and immensely kind gestures than I think he even realized. Eventually, I made it to Brisbane where a friend met me at the airport. She showed me around on the way down to Tallebudgera on the Gold Coast, where my coach lives, where I will be living for the next 6 weeks or so.
So far, everything has been great. I get along with my new coach spectacularly and I am really excited about all that we can and will accomplish together. The hardest part so far has been keeping up with everyone back in the States because the time change is so vastly different.
So, if I haven't connected with you yet... I apologize!! I miss everyone and will do my best to get in touch soon!!