This past Saturday, I raced elite nationals at Hagg Lake, Oregon. Hagg Lake was about 1.5 hours away from downtown Portland, so we were out in the country...and it was breathtaking out there! The course was very rolling (barely a flat section on the course) and lined with huge pine trees. The temperatures indicated that we were just about to begin the fall season, with highs in the 60s. The water was just warm enough to be non-wetsuit (69 degrees). Although this temperature would be too cold for warming up, it is okay when you are racing!
The race began at noon, with 19 other women on the starting line.
I had a great start and got out to an early lead for the one loop swim. I ended up leading the swim and exiting in first position. The water level was low in the lake for this time of year, so we ended up having a longer T1 run (the run out of the water was just a prelude to all the hills to come!). I had a decent transition, and immediately we began climing as we hopped on our bikes. I decided to climb the first hill with my feet on top of my shoes and did not put my shoes on until I crested the first climb. I pushed the first climb, realizing there were three other women with me, Sarah Groff, Jasmine Oenick, and Julie Ertel.
I tried to mix up the pace in the bike and make our bike group even smaller by launching a few attacks throughout the technical, hilly, eight-lap bike. Although I was never able to break up the group with attacks, we still rode hard and made the bike challenging.
Once we approached T2, I had a great transition and was out on the run course just a step behind Julie.
Once out onto the run, we had to start up the steep hill we climbed on the bike. Although it was quite short for the bike, it did not feel so easy on the run! The run was very hilly and some of the hills could really take the power out of your legs. Despite the course, I was feeling great during the race. Unfortunately, on the first lap, the turnaround was not marked and I did not know where to turn!! I ran past the spot, asked where to turn and Julie and I finally just decided to turn around. By the second lap, the cones were up and we were able to make the turn appropriately! I may have lost about 15 or so seconds, but in the end, it did not matter. I lead for about three laps of the run, with Julie right there. She made surge at the end of the third lap and I was close to her, but never could quite get back up to her. She finished in first for her second national championships and I finished 10 seconds behind. Sarah Groff claimed the final spot on the podium with her 3rd place finish.
Overall, I am pleased with my performance, but of course you always want to improve and think of what you could have done to place higher. I felt strong throughout the race, but my main focus is just less than two weeks away with the Toyota Cup in Dallas.
I had so much fun just getting back in racing on Saturday and am really looking forward to racing the remainder of the season.
For full results, go to http://www.pigmantri.com/jmsracing/results08/usatage08d.html