A long long day yesterday.......70.3 Augusta. To sum up quickly after leading the race from mile 0 right through until mile 63 of the 70.3 miles I seemed to run right into that brick wall (the one that no one else seemed to see!!) and then carried that around with me for the rest of the run/shuffle as I proceeded to lose finish spots at the rate of one per mile. So a massive crack/blow up but at least I can say that I went out there for the win, put it on the line, but it just didn't happen. That's racing though and so although the outcome was really not what I wanted or expected of myself there were many positives to take away from the race. It has just taken a full night for me to realise them. So the slightly longer race summary: The start was somewhat somber with the moments silence for two athletes who had been training for that days race but had not made the start line - tragically killed in accidents while training. As I walked down to the dock to dive in I couldn't help but be even more grateful for being able to do what I do and was determined to go out and enjoy the day. Moments like that really do put everything into perspective. So the swim was fast - a current assisted river swim and I was pretty happy to have a good lead over Laura Bennet, one of the fastest fishes in the sport. Off onto the bike and it felt lonely. Nothing ahead of me - no bikes in sight at all - but I knew the chase would be on behind me. I just tried to focus on putting some power down and putting in a solid ride. I had driven the course the day before but the hills which didn't seem to exist on the drive felt like they had grown overnight and it also appeared that we had a headwind the entire loop. I think though that is just called trying to ride on the rivet for 90km. Into T2 and I had a nice buffer of a couple of minutes back to the chasing girls and I headed onto the run feeling quite relaxed and comfortable. I know never to feel confident of anything though when there is still a long way to go relatively speaking. At about this time too the sun really broke through and the heat and humidity started to climb. I didn't feel hot at all though, and in fact that was probably the problem - even after I finished I just felt cold. Not a good sign. So right at about the 6 mile mark I faltered, cracked and it was all over - from there it was about making it home. My body had just shut down and wanted no part of whatever it was my brain was making it do - which was get to the finish line. Eventually I did though, disappointed, shattered actually, because that was not the result or outcome that I wanted or had prepared for. After a lengthy medical tent visit, pack up of things, hasty drive to the airport, two flights, another drive and a comatose sleep, I have come to the conclusion that it was not all bad. I know I am fit (really I don't even feel too bad today) and it was really just a massive blow up in race - nothing more. And that there is no point dwelling or moping about it. Now it is time to just get on with the job - which is 4 weeks of super hard work before my next race.
I also met so many nice people over the weekend and I really appreciated all the cheers that I got along the course (I think you guys really did get me home in the end!!). So thank you. And thank you also to the race organisers and all the volunteers - I don't think I have ever seen so many volunteers out on the course. Congratulations also to not only the winners but the thousands who made it through yesterday - very impressive and heartening to see, not only for the health of the sport but also for health fullstop.
Right now I am off to the pool - time to get things started.