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Loveland Lake to Lake

This weekend I raced Loveland Lake to Lake. Loveland was my first Olympic distance race last year and kind of my "intro" to the tri world. With us focusing on much longer distances this year, I didn't really feel like I needed Loveland on my race schedule, but I wanted to go back for the nostalgia of it all. And I am glad I did.

Rode up early in the morning with Anthony and it was a nice time to decompress, relax and just chat about stuff. It's a good thing we are both morning people, or it might've been a real grumpy ride.

We got there right when packet pick-up and transition opened and went ahead getting things done. Loveland is a first-come-first-serve transition area. I set myself up in a relatively nice spot. Went for a warm-up run with some friends, stuck some beer in the cooler and down to the water to get started.

Now, Loveland is a beach start and can get pretty aggressive. Last year, I had major, major anxiety to the tune of me treading water and waiting two waves before I could get my heart rate under control enough to continue swimming. At one point, I had waved at a rescue boat, but they didn't see me (probably a good thing, since I was ready to call her quits). So, needless to say, I was worried about the swim start. Thankfully, Steve had done some drills with us to help alleviate the anxiety and it appears they worked! I went off at the front of the pack, swam strong and just kept going. No anxiety, no nothing. It was nice.

Coming out of the water I was pretty happy. Started the long run up to transition (and I mean LOOOOONG), but no worries. I had my bike set-up and I worked on getting my transition time down and I did (by about a minute). Off on the bike-- here I go!

The bike itself is pretty much uphill the whole first half, then downhill and then some rollers. I somewhat remembered it from the previous year, but perspectives change. So, a little worried about the uphills, I held back some, but kept steady as I could. This was bad and good. Bad because I probably could've gone a bit faster in the first half, but good because then I really rocked the second half of the ride. I stood through my climbs where last year I remembering struggling even to get up them. The rollers at the end, too, seemed like nothing where (again) last year I was struggling.

SIDE NOTE: The course is gorgeous!!! Here are some shots from when I drove the course. Just another reason to do Lake to Lake.
Somewhere about 5 miles left, I looked down at my watch time-- no way! I was going way faster than I expected. At this point, I could qualify for nationals!!! (I had contemplated qualifying for nationals a few days earlier, then looked at the times I would need and thought "nope, not gonna make it". Now, I decided to push for it!)

Finished the bike strong and into transition, then off to start the run. Here is where I have continually had back issues. BUT, not this time! Yay! (Thank you, Dr. Ken.) Off on my run. It was steady and easy-going. Being an out-and-back, I got to see a number of people on the course and cheer for them (and them for me). It was nice to have so much support and be able to give it.

Coming around the end was the best. There were people lined up all along the finish shoot and, for once, a number of people I know... including my kids! I slapped Hunter a high-five, got yelled by Beth to "finish it!", saw my chiro, my swim coach, everyone-- fun stuff!

Finished pushing it to the end. Then ran into John and Jewels, got some water, went to where a buncha peeps were hanging out, cheered in more friends, it was great. This is what you don't get when you go to the big events far away.

The whole day was a great experience. I dropped a half hour off my last year's time. I was glad to see so many people, both out on the course and after. I was happy Ross got to come up with the kids. I was extremely excited to see Jen complete her first triathlon (she rocked it!). And, yes, I even qualified for nationals. :)


Bret said...

Great job! Congratulations on qualifying for nationals!

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