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My training plan: I worked with a personal coach to develop a plan that would include activities I was already doing (swim and group runs) as well as workouts I don't generally do, like long bike rides and speedwork at the track. The weeks leading up to the race included 2-3 runs, 2-3 bike workouts, and 2 swims, with some yoga and strength thrown in there for good measure.
I wore: For the swim, the water ended up being chillier than I'd expected, so I ended up wearing a wetsuit for the first time -- ever. I really, really wish I'd done a little more swimming in it beforehand; swimming is my strongest discipline, and I wasn't able to get into my groove with the new gear. Under the wetsuit (and for the rest of the race), I wore a Speedo tankini top with a surprising amount of support, Zoot tri shorts, and a bright pink Oakley sport tank. Wearing a bright color makes it easy for my husband, friends, and family to pick me out as I'm going into or out of transition (or the finish line!).
I ate (during the race): GU -- Jet Blackberry, to be specific. I had one a few miles into the bike, and another around 20 miles into the bike portion so I would get a bit of a kick on the run. I also drank a bottle of Gatorade and plenty of water.
What I wished I'd known: I knew I'd be riding the bike over a couple of bridges, but didn't realize until that day how steep the climb was. I should've prepared better for that.
The best part: Getting a surprise third place in the Athena division after a really disappointing finish. (Getting my beer mug trophy filled with a tasty post-race brew wasn't too shabby, either. All things in moderation, right?)
The worst part: T2, the transition from bike to run, was miserable. I had pulled some muscles in my right leg, and when I got off the bike, I was unable to bend down to get my race bib, and I really wasn't sure how I was going to run a 10K. I considered quitting, which is not something I've ever done. I shuffled out of the transition area, tears welling up in my eyes, and saw my husband, who reminded me how hard I'd worked and that all I had to do was do my best. The first mile hurt -- a lot -- but things loosened up after that, and I was able to hold a reasonable pace the rest of the run, even picking it up on the last half mile for a strong finish.