Wow. I am exhausted. Right now I am sitting in bed, sucking on a throat lozenge and feeling tired, a little sunburnt and a little disappointed. I was really looking forward to racing today - I was so happy with my training and preparation and really felt in good form. Until this morning when I woke up with a sore throat. Aside from that though I felt OK, so decided that I was definitely going to race and straight away put it out of my mind and got on with the job. I love my job and I could tell that I was going to be able to finish and get through without causing any damage so although I felt a bit flat and was never able to really 'race' the race it was about getting through and I still really enjoyed the day out and was happy to still make it onto the podium. (I would not normally recommend trying to race when you are sick at all so don't follow my lead!!!!) As a quick race recap: The swim - beautiful course and venue but WTF is with the new WTC rules on water temps?????? Making it wetsuit legal for the pros at 76 degrees is pure madness. That is just far too hot and especially when it is a hot day (as it was today is just plain dangerous). It is different if you are aiming to get through and finish the race and are nervous about swimming and feel as though the wetsuit will help you get there. But when you are racing (and warming up) to go hard from the gun then overheating is pretty much a certainty. So rant over. I chose to swim without my wetsuit (was the only pro to do this - although speaking to others after they wished they had too) - yes I definitely gave up some time but my Profile Design Mako speed suit is obviously fast enough in the water as I still managed to lead out the swim (just!). I know I did not feel myself even in the swim and onto the bike it was pretty obvious that conservative was going to be the name of the game for me today. Kelly Williamson (eventual winner) rode really strong as did Angela Naeth (2nd place) and I could not stay with either of them today as they powered up and down the hills. Oh the hills! Probably the toughest course out there I think. It was brutal. And then the run. Not much better pain wise as the heat really started to set in. But the course was great and the crowd support unbelievable - running through the centre of a shopping mall makes any run more enjoyable. A big congrats to all the pro women out there racing today and especially Kelly and Angela!
I can't wait to race here again next year. The people of Branson were extremely welcoming and accommodating and the race organisers did an excellent job - you can not ask for more at a race. And I can not believe the number of cheers I got out on course, both from racers and spectators and I truly appreciate this support - saw many familiar and welcome faces (special mention to the Lawrence crew!!) and also loved meeting a lot of new people out there today. After my race was done I headed out onto the run course to try and return some of the cheers. It is both humbling and inspiring to see the people who got through that course. I have the 'luxury' of racing as a professional and making it my full time job to train and prepare for these races and I still suffered through and found it hard!! - so I have nothing but deep respect for everyone who manages to not only get to the starting line of any triathlon but then to stick it out despite ridiculously hard hills, soaring heat, getting smacked around on the swim, dehydration, chaffing, blisters, nausea, sunburn.... and everything else. So thankyou for the inspiration and reminders of some of the things that are great about this sport. And congratulations to all.