We made it – my last planned race of the season. With grad school well under way (meaning my sleep and training have taken big hits), I didn't come in with high expectations. But in the end, I ended up in 2nd place overall, and since this was the college regional championships, I was able to help our team finish 3rd.
The swim was crazier than normal, partly because the collegiate athlete field was huge. I got stuck in the middle of a big group of about 10 with no room to navigate. The leaders (wisely) accelerated around a few of the last buoys and by the time I reacted they had gapped me, and I ended up swimming in alone in 8th place or so.
The bike course was in terrible condition. Although there were a few smooth, fast sections, the road was torn up and virtually un-raceable for 40% of it. I (like most people) sat up and rode safely through the potholes, gravel, etc. It felt like I was going to break my bike. But this is where I lost the race. The fastest bike split beat me by about 4 minutes by barreling through everything, and I never had a chance to catch him in the run.
I came off the bike in 3rd overall, and was out of transition in 2nd. From there, I set a fast pace around 5:00/mile while I gauged whether I'd be able to catch 1st place (knowing he was about 4 minutes ahead, but not how fast he was going). But I quickly learned that I wasn't going much faster than him, and ended up cruising the last half of the course. It was a fun "cross country" finish, and I had flashbacks of high school cross country!
Overall, a positive end to the season. Now that I'm in grad school, my training schedule is changing (and lessening) tremendously, but I'm excited for what's in store between now and next summer!