It's been two weeks since Kansas 70.3 so this blog is way overdue. In fact there's been so many races on the triathlon circuit and quite a few more miles in my legs, that it feels more than two weeks ago. My trip to Lawrence was short and sweet and I had a great time during my stay. In a large part this was due to my wonderful home-stay, Laura (and her husband Jeff who was away for the weekend but crucially made it back in time for celebratory margaritas after the race), and to race director, Ryan and his huge team of volunteers who put on a professional but super friendly and relaxed race.
Going into the race I felt pretty uncertain as to what to expect from myself. Since moving to Boulder at the end of April my training had been up and down. Knocked out with an infection, it took me a while to acclimate to the altitude and then just as I was getting into the swing of training I strained a ligament in my back which basically had me out of action 10 days before Kansas. I felt like I was missing the consistency I usually draw confidence from going into a race, but having already had to pull Florida 70.3 from my schedule I was going to make it to Kansas start line whatever so I spent much of that week in and out of physio, chiropractor and massage appointments. I had to race to try and pay off my medical bills. A strained ligament doesn't repair over night but come race week I was moving much more easily and bagging some good sessions during my "inverse" taper. I'd almost put all thoughts of my bumpy prep into the race out of mind until I listened to a message from my coach, Matt telling me that I should forget all the training I've missed. Doh! So, what do I then do but remember ... Luckily I'm quite good at the amnesia game!
Race morning arrived and everything went pretty smoothly. I was pleased to hear that the swim would be non-wetsuit, and a quick look at the lake showed it was going to be a bumpy swim too. Watching the men head out and soon spread out in all directions I figured it would be pretty hard to find feet (and by feet I mean Amanda Stevens's super speedy feet!) So, I enjoyed the bumpy lumpy swim and got to enjoy longer than normal in the water for 1.9km. Onto the bike, the Kansas course was my cup of tea. Undulating, windy and nice and warm to boot. I caught Amanda, who had a 1 plus minute lead from the swim, at about the 15 mile mark. I felt pretty good and pushed on. I was using a disc, thank you Shimano, for the first time and it felt fast especially when the wind caught it at the right angle and it felt like a sail: pushing me on. In the latter part of the bike I could definitely feel it was heating up....the run was going to be fun!
Heat I was happy to deal with, I was less certain as to how my back would feel after 90km in the aero bars. I'd used the hills to get out the saddle and stretch things out a bit so I was optimistic. Heading out of T2 I had the usual heavy leg feel but from my first couple of mile splits I could see I was running pretty well...maybe too fast: i didn't want to blow up. I had a few guys in front of me so I used the out and backs to try and keep pace with them. There was a particularly cruel hill with no shade that I felt like I was crawling up! Luckily round the corner there was the aid station where Laura and her friends were volunteering and their cheers pepped me up.
With temperatures of 90 degrees plus, running down the yellow brick road to be greeted by Dorothy and the full Wizard of Oz crew was a good sight. My first race since touching down in Boulder and my first 70.3 win. I like Kansas ...even more so when I discovered that the post race food included pulled pork rolls.
As always, lots of thank yous. To all my sponsors for kitting me out with the best kit: Cervelo, Newton, Aquasphere, Shimano, PowerBar, XLabs, ISM and Biestmilch. My fabulous home-stay hostess, Laura and to Ryan and the volunteers for putting on a great race. To my support crew scattered far and wide: coach MD, family and friends (you know who you are) who've put up with rather an up and down past 2 months!
Next up is Challenge Roth - which I am pretty darned excited to be racing. I'll keep you posted on adventures in Germany!