Last week, I raced in the Hamburg World Championship Series event in Germany. I love Hamburg and was really happy to have the opportunity to come back to Europe to race the event again this year. The crowds are always fantastic and the atmosphere is so inspiring.
I had a rough few days leading into the race. I broke out in an allergic reaction to something, still undetermined, about 2.5 days before the race, and by race day was covered from neck down with hives. I took some benadryl and other legal allergy medications to try to keep them at bay, but they were pretty much out of control. Fortunately though, they were not itchy just ugly to look at.
I was also really nervous heading into the race. I felt very unfit and unprepared, despite knowing that my training had been going really well and that I was very fit by most peoples standards. After a few good chats with my trusted "inner circle" I managed to calm myself down a bit.
The race was chaos. I had a clean start but was attacked starting around the 200m mark and by the time I hit the first buoy, I found myself being dragged down repeatedly. I tried to get to the outside, so I could at least swim forward, but this was to no avail. Every way that I went, I got grabbed and pushed under. I was actually fearful that I was going to drown for a little while. It wasn't until about the 500m mark that I was actually able to even start swimming. At that point, it was damage control. I started to work my way up, through the bodies, trying to limit my losses. At the 1000m mark, the re-entry, I was well back. However, knowing that I have a strong bike leg, I tried to relax and just get to the end of the swim in 1 piece.
I exited the water, climbed the stairs and made my way to T1. Then "wham" I'm on my butt in the middle of the blue carpet. I stepped on a piece of blue tape they had holding the carpet down, slipped and totally ripped my knee open. I hopped back up and gathered myself for what I knew would be a hard first few laps on the bike. Head down, I bridged up to the group ahead. Realizing I was not at the front yet, based on who was around, I followed another attack and bridged through another group. Now, by lap 3, it was a waiting game for the run. I tried to stay out of trouble - ended up sitting at the back for a while as the group slowed and sprinted in and out of corners. On the last lap, I moved to the front, but as quickly as I got there, I was at the back again. So, I resigned myself to getting off the bike at the back.
I settled into a good strong rhythm on the run and started to pick women off in front of me, one by one. I had a plan and going out too hard never ends up well for anyone, so I wanted to try to "build" through the run. I managed to pick a few women off and wasn't caught from behind. I finished the race in 23rd position, 3rd American, with a run split of 36:44 - which is over 75 seconds than I ran on a shorter course last year. I was pleased with my performance and considering the "adversity" I was dealing with leading into the event, I was pretty pleased with how I rallied and pulled through. It was another solid performance that moves me to #31 on the WCS rankings leading into the race in London this weekend.
Now, I am in London - staying across the street from Hyde Park - preparing to race stop #5 on the WCS series. This is the "test event" for the London Olympics and as such, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is here. I am ranked #31 and will be wearing #29 - so only 2 women in the top 31 in the world are NOT here. So, it will be FAST, FURIOUS and a whole lot of FUN!!!
I race tomorrow at 1:06pm GMT and the event will be live online on www.triathlon.org. Definitely check it out... you don't want to miss this one!!!