I was able to break up my season with 2 non-drafting races. The first was Chicago and the next LA; I was excited for races where I could use my bike to my advantage. Chicago is always a favorite place to visit after spending my college years there I have many fond memories as well as family that live in the area. In addition, Jeff was traveling to the race as well as my parents so I was excited to have so many people there to support me. Sadly, the race didn’t go as planned. The day before the race I went for an ill-advised bike on the race course, lake shore drive. I should have know better not only was I scared out of my wits by the traffic but got two flat tires and had to walk my bike to the nearest cross street and hail a cab back to the hotel. The race didn’t go much better; I was shook up on the swim when another competitor was very unsportsmanlike stopped during the early portion of the swim and purposely clawed off my goggles. There is always contact during the start of our swims but this was totally out of line. I was upset and in shock. I stopped to fix my goggles and swam to the other side of the pack to get away from that competitor; I would not have know who she was except for the special color cap she received as an honor. For the next week I had the claw marks where blood was draw on my forehead. The bike and run didn‘t go very well; I don‘t think that it was my day. I gave my best effort and it wasn‘t good enough the final insult was when I was out-sprinted for 10th place with 100 meters to go. I just had nothing left in the tank at that point and was lucky to finish on my feet.
Two weeks later, LA went better. I had another great homestay which makes it easier to afford traveling to all these races. Unfortuneatly, a training partner had a bad experience with her homestay, but on the plus side she was able to race superb despite that outside stress. I really enjoy ocean swims and was looking forward to competing after last year’s debacle where most of the field was DQ’d. The swim went well; I came out with the front pack and had a good transition. The bike was faster than last year; I definitely have room to improve if I want to hang with the top racers but I didn’t lose ground to anyone except the top two finishers. I came off the bike in 3rd place and ran solid. It felt much better than Chicago but the effort wasn’t good enough to hold off the charges from two fast runners behind me. I finished in 5th and was happy with the result overall but know that I have a better run split in my legs.