I competed in my fourth World Championship Series race this past weekend in Yokohama, Japan. This was the final race in the series leading into the Grand Finale in Gold Coast Australia. My number one goal for the race was to finish the race with an overall ranking of 5th in the standings and I am very pleased to have accomplished that goal. I finished 9th overall, which was my lowest score of the four, but really fought the race through to the finish line and can’t beat myself up over the result.
The race took place right in downtown Yokohama (which is only an hour outside of Tokyo). We swam two laps in a calm harbor, 8 laps on a flat and technical course and ran the standard four laps. The race was all flat, but very tough due to the weather. I have never raced in such humid conditions. The air temperature was in the upper 80s, but since the humidity was close to 100%, the heat index was near 100 degrees. Training in Colorado with such low humidity, it is tough to switch to a drastically different environment. I feel as a triathlete you have to be ready for any weather condition and be ready to race with whatever is given to you on that day!
I started off on the swim feeling pretty good, I tried to make sure to start on the outside to avoid contact with the fractured ribs (although they are healing up now very well). I exited the swim in third position and got on the bike working hard from the start with a small group of four athletes. Despite our efforts, we were unable to hold off the chase pack and they managed to make up the 20 second advantage we had, at the start of the third lap. From this point on, I focused on staying hydrated as best I could (although I still ran out of fluids the last lap of the bike) and make sure to stay at the front in case any breaks occurred. I also knew a good T2 was critical. I ended up starting the run about 4 seconds off the leaders, which is not great, but not terrible. I caught the leaders within the first 200meters of the race.
The 10k run was the toughest 10k I have run so far this year. The humidity was so high, I felt like I was being suffocated by the air! I focused on staying with the leaders and just trying to keep contact with them. After the first lap, I was already hurting and knew it was going to be mentally and physically challenging. I was hoping my body would hold up through the end and not collapse in the heat. I was able to stick with the leaders until about 3k left to go in the run. Lisa Norden (the race winner), put in a surge and I was not able to hold onto the pace. Unfortunately, on the last lap I ended up losing almost a minute from the women I was running with and ended fading a bit on the last 1k and finished 9th. I was starting the feel my leg muscles beginning to chill and goose bumps all over my body, so I was just glad to get across the finish line. I gave it everything I had to stay with the leaders for as long as I could.
Heading into the finale, I am in 5th position overall. My goal all season has been a podium and I feel I have been knocking at the door. My goal is a podium finish and a 3rd or 4th place in the overall rankings. After a long travel back to the States, it will be a quick recovery and then I begin a hard training block before my next overseas travel. I have the Chicago Triathlon this next weekend and although I will be training through the race, I want to have a strong showing there and test out the TT fitness on the bike.
I was bummed to miss Nationals this year, but with all the races I am doing I felt I had to make the decision to focus on the WCS races. Congrats goes out to Jasmine Oenick and Matt Charbot on their wins yesterday. Also, Jarrod finished 6th in the men's race today in Japan, so congrats to another strong finish for him.