I'm happy to report that I finished my first race of the year! I wouldn't normally be OK with "just finishing" a race, but when my other option is not racing at all, I'll take it.
The race started off really well, with a fast swim in the 70 degree water (no wetsuits). About 500m into the race, I found Alice Henriques' feet and stayed on them all the way to the end. Alice is a great swimmer, so I knew I was in good company. I made up the hill to transition without my toe hurting and got on the bike just behind Annabel Luxford. I immediately started trying to chase her down and got close a couple of times. She pulled away from me on one of the downhills about 1/3 of the way into the race and I never saw her again. After that, it felt like I was riding completely alone. At some point I caught up to Sara M. and then was joined by Leanda and Margie, right at the part of the course that gets crowded with other cyclists and cars. It wasn't easy to keep up a fast pace while trying to avoid the commotion.
I managed to get off the bike in second place. When I was running out of transition I heard someone yell you are 90 seconds down. Usually, I would say, ok time to get to work. Not this time around. It was more like, let's put one foot in front of the other and try running off the bike for the first time in 8 months. It wasn't pretty, especially with the steep hills in the first mile of the course. I was quickly reminded that the few runs I've done have been either on the treadmill or on the flat rail trail. I was determined to finish, regardless of the time or place. I crossed the line in 8th, running about 5 minutes slower than my best on the Columbia course. I was smiling and happy because even though I didn't win the race, it was a huge victory that my toe didn't hurt!
We were all lucky to have the perfect day for a race. Thank you to Team Fight for being so supportive and being such a positive influence on the whole event. Congrats to Brock for returning from injuries to become a triathlete again and thanks to Brian for being a huge help before the race. Most of all, thanks to my Mom & Dad for making it to the race start and for cheering for us on the run course.