Thursday, September 22, 2016

Aquathlon World Championship 2016

Err.  Umm.  Errrrrrrrr. 

How do I even write this post?

Ten months of training.  Forty-five minutes of racing.  And now the biggest race of my life is behind me.

Mexico is hot.  Maybe I should say, Mexico is humid A.F.!!!!  I had trained for it (sauna, overdressed, general summer training), but seriously it was humid.  Between checking in to transition and the start of my race was about three hours.  By the time I started I was sweating like I was running a marathon.  I had sweat rolling down my back and the front of my uniform was completely soaked.  Thank goodness there was going to be a dip in the ocean in the middle of the race.

Let's get started.  My wave started at 9:50am and had two other age groups in it, 40-44 and 45-50.  In total there were somewhere between 50-100 ladies starting together.  I lined up somewhere in the middle and tried to not get nervous about what was about to happen.  The gun went off and it was time to move.  The race was all inside a park inside of a marina and there were lots of turns.  The first turn was within the first 100 meters and then the first water stop was 100 meters from that turn.  I lined up to take the turn on the tangent and then skip the first water stop.  I mean, who needs a water stop 200 meters into a 2.5k race?  Well, the chick in front of me, that's who.  She came flying from the right side, cutting in front of me to grab the bag of water (yep, BAG of water) and I pushed her out of the way.  Sorry chick.  You don't need water that close to the start of the race.

I stayed in the pack for most of the first run, probably running into transition in the top 10 of my age group.  Transition was quick, shoes and socks off, grab cap and goggles and I was off.  It was long run down to the dock and I took it a little easy to get my heart rate down.  And then I did the most graceful thing ever - I jumped like an 8 year old boy into the water.  The previous day at the swim practice I dove into the water and my goggles came off and filled with water.  I wasn't going to risk that during the race, so I just jumped and immediately started swimming.  I doubt I even lost a second and my goggles stayed put. 

I thought I had a great swim.  For me it was a great swim.  I swam confidently and strong.  My line probably sucked, but with the water being so clear I just looked for other competitors and swam toward them.  The whole backside of the swim I had a girl tapping my feet.  The whole damn way!!!  At one point I told her not so politely to GET OFF!!!  Then in the last couple hundred yards I was able to get on feet myself and swim in the draft.  That NEVER happens to me.  It was the fastest swim I have ever done in open water and yet, it was a solid two minutes slower than most of the competitive girls.  I've come leaps and bounds this year with my swimming but I still have a long way to go.

The water was so beautiful and clear.  There were fish and corral and I really tried to concentrate on my race.  I saw those things the day prior in the practice swim and while I was snorkeling earlier in the week.  But the coolest thing was that there were scuba divers at each turn pointing you in the correct direction.  I couldn't help but smile and wave to the first one.  So neat.

Anyway, I was out of the water and running up the dock into the second transition.  Cap and goggles off, shoes and race number on.  I had decided to do the second run with no socks, which I had never practiced.  I didn't want to waste time putting on socks and it was only for a mile and a half.  Who cares if my feet got ripped up.  But, I struggled with the stupid tongue on my right shoe in transition and in my head I'm screaming, WHO CARES!  GET MOVING!!!  And so I did.  But I was in no-man's land.  As much as I could run with those chicks, I fell behind them in the swim and there was no longer anyone to catch.  Well, I did catch about 5 girls during the run but only one was in my age group and all the others were from the previous wave.  I thought I was running well, but I was a solid minute and a half slower than the first run.  I kept running, though, and as I made the last turn onto the finishing chute, my team manager handed me an American flag and I got to have my own personal victorious moment at the finish line. 

In the end I finished 17th in my age group.  Top 20 at the World Championships?  I'll take it.  And I went from the 10th American to qualify in my age group to finishing as the fourth American in my age group.  I race confidently and without fear.  To me that's a victory.  But I have to admit, I'd like another crack at the race.  I believe I can do better.  Unfortunately, I can't go to the 2017 world championships as I already have vacation plans paid for during the championship.  But coach and I have already devised a plan to get to the 2018 race.  I'm ready for revenge!!!


Carina said...

Woot, woot! Congrats!!!!

Anonymous said...

So exciting! Congrats!

Nick Frerman said...


lindsay said...

So cool! I had no idea you were doing something this awesome (then again, I've sucked at keeping up with my blog buddies). Congrats!

Val said...

That is so cool, Mer! I'm so excited for you =D Thanks for posting pictures, too ;)