That's right! My first professional race and I made the podium...3rd.
The 3 week Noosa/Sunshine Beach training camp leading up to the Mooloolaba Triathlon gave me some much needed confidence, a fresh motivation for sport, and a new perspective (racing as a pro is VERY different than age-group). All I learned has helped me develop into a much stronger athlete and person. It was a life experience that changed me for the better in countless ways.
Being a draft-legal race I had to borrow a road bike and get to know it & love it in about 10 minutes (that is how long I played with it prior to checking it in). Coach gave me the low down on gearing & I was good to go. I could hardly believe I was about to race a road bike, a pro race, and in Australia! I was so excited and full of butterflies, much like the day of my first triathlon ever…I had nothing to lose.
Beautiful Mooloolaba, a calm ocean, running beach start, a few dolphin dives and I was off! The swim was such a feeding frenzy but I was determined to hang onto any feet within reach. I came out of the water 6th or 7th, well over a min. back from the leaders. The massive meter swimming with the Aussie’s must have paid off though because I felt “alive” out of the water rather than my usual “dead” feeling.
Once onto the bike I was full on time-trialling to get out front. Luckily there was an Aussie girl who teamed up with me and we swallowed the leaders by 1-2k into the bike. Our little pack soon formed to 6 and I was like a little kid at Christmas! I could not believe I was in a drafting race, in a pack, in the front! It was so amazing for this rookie! (I still am lovin’ the feelings I had out there). On the bike there were 3 of us taking pulls, long hard pulls, and 3 girls sort of “along for the ride”. We tried to drop them but they were strong enough to hang on & must have had a plan to “save legs for the run”. Oh trust me, I was wishing I was on my good ol’ TT bike so I could have tried to make a get-away-escape!
Onto the run… oh my gosh my legs were shook up! Maybe it was from riding in a position I was not used to or maybe from riding so hard. Within a minute of the run I was in 6th but very calm. In camp I practiced running strong after hard rides & on toasted legs. I just needed to relax, breathe, find my rhythm… I caught 3 girls about 2k into the run. THEN, Rina Hill (Australian Olympian) passed me. I was frazzled. Part of me thought, “Oh that stinks, but oh well, she raced in the Olympics & has several World Cup podiums, she has every right to pass me”. Another part of me, the one my coach is helping me believe in, thought “Hold onto her, just tuck in and hold on, you have worked so hard the past few weeks and belong there”. So I held on. About a mile later I got brave and considered to go around her & I did. I was secretly freaking out but proud that I got the confidence thing going. I pulled away from her, pretty far away in fact, and hugged that 3rd place spot for dear life & made some time up on the 2nd place woman.
Then my biggest disaster from The Great Aloha Run came back to haunt me… the 4th place girl was moving in on me & fast! Coach was at the bottom of the hill just near the finish and told me I have to move and I have to go now! He yelled to me, “Bree, your race is up this hill”. I knew he meant I can hold her off if I put time on her up the hill, but if I don’t she will get me. I put about 6 seconds on her up the hill. Running through the finish shoot I quickly turned back to see her near but not close enough to take my position. I was so happy to have not lost another sprint finish. That hill saved me! Coach saved me! I also set a new off-the bike 10k PR (36:16) AND… I got a pay check for my day at the office!
All in all I have to say my time in OZ was beyond my wildest dreams and surpassed my expectations. BUT it’s not quiet over… the scooter that haunted me nearly every workout in Australia has not left me yet… Ya, you guessed it… I have another 2 weeks with my coach chasing me down on a scooter. At least this time it is in my back yard and I know ALL the best routes to hide from him! (I am partly joking…. I am SO GLAD he his sticking with me for a couple more weeks of training with the Lavacamp).
CALLING ALL KONA GIRLS: You are invited! The Club at 5am Wednesday if you want to run on the tready’s with me and “SURPRISE-SURPRISE “Coach Paul will be there to lead the session! Lana, Brooke, Wendy, Rani, & Naughty I hope you can make it!
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