Picture Post of Life Lately

November 4, 2016

I haven't had the chance to blog lately so I figured I would show you what I have been up to with a few pictures.. 

I could not have chosen a better race week as it fell on Fall Break for school. I was able to study before I left so that I could enjoy race weekend! 

I miss this view:

I didn't include this in the race recap (the recap was already super long) but after the race I ate a double meat double cheese burger from In N Out with a chocolate shake. SOOO GOOD. 

And lastly, I was accepted as an ambassador for I Am Velocity for the 2017 triathlon season. I'm excited I was accepted and I can't wait for next season!

I signed up for a few Spring races. More on that soon.

Besides that I have been trying to stay on top of the studying, reading, paperwork, and tests of third semester Nursing. I have four weeks left of school! 

Race Recap: US Open Triathlon

November 3, 2016

On October 16th I raced my first Olympic distance triathlon! After previously completing four sprint triathlons, I wanted to push for a new distance. This course was a 1500 meter open water swim in Lake Ray Hubbard, a 20 mile bike, and a 6 mile run. 

My mom and I drove up on Friday before the race to enjoy the weekend in Dallas. We stopped in North Park Mall on Friday night for a quick shopping trip and dinner at Maggianos. We stayed at a Holiday Inn that night. Saturday morning we headed over to the Hilton Resort on the lake to spend the day. At noon there was a Swim Clinic and there were course/transition talks throughout the afternoon. I had not been in open water to practice and let me tell you- open water racing is totally different than you think.

After grabbing my race packet, I stripped down into my swimsuit just like others around me as we prepared to swim.

While I am glad I went to the Swim Clinic, it seemed to have increased my anxiety for race day. Windy days = super choppy water. I only swam about 50 meters during the clinic as I wanted to get back to the dock and not be in the crazy waves.

Do you see the second orange buoy in this picture? That was for the sprint.. the olympic distance went out to an additional yellow buoy that was 500 meters from the dock. Freaky!!

I laid out my race set up to make sure I didn't forget anything. It was convenient to stay at the Hilton as this was the race site. I woke up at 5:30am race morning to take my bike to transition and then went back to the hotel to rest and eat breakfast (room service). The race started at 7:45am so I had plenty of time!

The swim was a hot mess. The course was triangular shaped and the olympic distance went straight out 500 meters to a yellow buoy, then we swam across 500 meters to two other yellow buoys, after this there were orange buoys to follow straight back to the swim exit.

I jumped into the water, pushed start on my Garmin, and began swimming freestyle keeping sight on the first buoy. The waves were overwhelming and I choked three times on water before going to backstroke. I backstroked another 20 meters and choked again then decided to wave down a kayaker. No way was I going to quit because of the swim but I had no idea how I would continue for another 1200 meters as I was out of breath fighting the waves. Other swimmers around me were either backstroking or breaststroking. The girl in the kayak was the sweetest. After tearfully telling her "I didn't know it would be this hard! I don't think I'll make it." She told me that even the kayakers struggled to get out on the lake. She also told me that after getting to the first buoy it would be easier going back as the waves would be going with me. All I had to do was get to the next kayak.

I repeated to myself my mantra, "you're stronger than you think." My other mantra was "pull yourself together, Sara!" I repeated these as I confidently spent 500 meters backstroking.

After the hardest part of getting out, it was definitely easier to make it back. The waves were pulling me forward and I was able to freestyle back. I unashamedly stopped at a total of four kayaks to catch my breath/calm down. During one of my stops I looked at my Garmin time that read 00:00. Dang it! I must have not pressed the start button hard enough. As I made it to the last buoy, my goggles fogged up and the sun was coming up. I yelled to the nearest swimmer "I can't see! Can I follow you back to shore??" He yelled "Yes, follow me!" and we swam together back to the swim exit.

I grabbed my bike from transition and clipped in. The bike course was two 10 mile laps. Right when I started I realized I (literally) survived the hardest part- I'm going to do this!

Around mile 7 my bike started shaking and I thought ohh shoot I'm about to lose a wheel. I pulled over to tighten the front wheel and then tried to catch back up to where I was.

There wasn't anything notable for the bike. I just kept up what felt like a comfortable pace and pushed through the miles. 

The run was four loops that included a huge hill I would have to run up four times. I tried to keep up a good pace but I also didn't have my watch to tell me what pace I was at. 
I talked to runners around me, grabbed water and gatorade at every stop, and pushed through each hill. I didn't care how slow I got up that hill I didn't want to walk. Ever.

On my last loop, I met back up with the guy who I had followed in from the swim. We talked a bit then he said he was going to take a short walking break. He had helped me finish the swim and I wanted to help him finish the run. There was no time for walk breaks and we were almost finished with a tough race. We ran in together. I convinced him to raise his hands for the big finish.

We did it!!

Before the race my goals were to finish under 3 hours and finish top 10. I finished in 3:01:51. I couldn't find the splits online for each sport. I didn't make it under three hours but I was third place in my age group. I'll take it!

This was the perfect race to end the triathlon season with! Although it was mentally tough, I finished and now I will be more confident to race more Olympic distance tri's next Spring/Summer. I look forward to racing this again next year. And I already have four more Olympic tri's planned ;)
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