This was easily the choppiest and most difficult swim I've done in a race. I'm glad I've done a bit of training in windy Kingston so I've at least encountered rough water before, but I wasn't prepared for how difficult drafting and sighting would be when I was also trying to hold a half-decent speed at the same time. Luckily there was a pretty big group of LPC athletes swimming about the same speed, so I did catch a draft occasionally, but I'm sure I was heading in the wrong direction half the time and I was feeling pretty seasick by the end. The feeling getting to shore was similar to how I'd expect to feel finally getting to port after a long, exhausting trip out to sea.
Thrown off by the swim and sitting further back in position than I was hoping for, I jumped on the bike and started pounding right away. A few minutes in I'd caught 2 girls but quickly realized I was going too fast and slowed down to a pace that was just comfortably uncomfortable. I think after that I was pretty consistent, a strong pace but something I could maintain, despite some uncomfortable false flats and some rough road.
After pushing the pace on the bike, my legs were feeling a bit heavy starting the run. I was very worried about starting out too fast, because that has ruined countless races in the past. The first k was right on target, 4:15, but the next few were a bit faster and by the turnaround I knew I wouldn't be able to maintain the speed the whole way. Just past the turn I saw Lauren behind me, barreling towards the halfway point looking much much stronger than I felt. I started fading right around 8k, and right about then she caught me, but luckily stayed right behind until the 500m-or-so homestretch. I tried making a move a few 100m from the finish but it was too far out, and I fell back. My dad was right there yelling "keep pushing!" and I'm pretty sure I yelled back "I can't!" (not my proudest moment...). Then, just before the finish, the small part of my brain that was still coherent quietly reminded me that the moment I crossed that line, it would be all over and I would instantly feel better. So I tried one last attempt at a full-out sprint. The result is below:
Not my worst pain-face ever. But close.
Overall I'm very happy with how the race went. I think I even handled those swim conditions okay, all things considered. Last step on the road to Barrelman, now less than 3 weeks away!
Thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way: family (so happy to have both of my parents and my Grandma there cheering me on!), friends, MainCycle Hamilton, teamLPC and the Hurdle Project, Multisport Canada/Recharge with Milk and the Ambassador team. Thanks for reading!