Sure, I looked up last year's winning time (which was over 13hrs) and I was pretty sure I could beat that. But I had no idea what I was capable of with my current fitness level and temperamental knee, or who else was toeing the line. Turns out that this year there were some pretty strong age group women in the field. Still, the organizers granted me bib #101 (which was the very first number, heehee) since I was the only pro racing. Or maybe just the first who registered. ;)
The women's winner went an impressive 10:02, big congrats to her, and I ended up as the 8th overall woman. When I went to awards with Noreen the next morning, I still didn't even know my splits or final position--the results sheets that were printed up on the wall didn't include the special professional category. (I think because usually a pro would get top 3 and show up in the overall. ahaha!) I just knew I wasn't top 5. It was still fun to hang out and walk around funny like everybody. Various racers recognized me from the day before and thanked me for being so cheerful. One guy even insisted on giving me a hug! (Yes, these are all random people I hadn't officially met.) Here I am with Viggo, head of TriColumbia:
So I was fairly surprised to get called up as a special guest. TriColumbia was so happy to have me there that I got my very own crystal Skipjack sailboat trophy! It was such an honor and totally unexpected. It even says I'm the women's pro champion. Which technically...I was. (n=1)
As I went up to get my award, a guy from the crowd yelled "best smile on the course!!"
Hey, I do what I can.
Me and Sam got photos with our awards when we got back to their lake house. Or bay house...because it's on the Chesapeake Bay. He won the grandmasters division at the Bugeye sprint race, he was done waaaay before I was on Saturday! I wanted to say thank you again to Noreen and Sam for hosting me, and giving me the world champion treatment.
The sherpa had a work emergency and couldn't make it at the last minute, so Noreen got to step up as emergency sherpa and did a fabulous job. Post-race they even got me gluten-free pizza (loaded with bacon) and french fries and potato chips. And for my drive back home, Noreen loaded me up with more Natascha goodies--some FRS and mix1 drinks for recovery along with more snacks! I can't wait to go back even just for a training weekend.
I also would like to thank:
- TriColumbia for welcoming me to race as a pro triathlete and accomodating my crazy international travel schedule. I didn't get a chance to pick up my race packet or check in my bike the day before...since I was barely back in the USA yet, and they sorted me out quickly on race morning. The course was gorgeous and the event itself was extremely well-organized. I say that as a veteran of many WTC ironmans...well they are in fact, the same people that put on the Eagleman 70.3 race sanctioned by WTC, and the course does overlap quite a bit since it's held at the same venue, so they know what they're doing here!
- SLS3 for providing my new racing outfit and compression socks. I've been in their socks and sleeves for almost 3 years now and my cute magenta top is both comfortable and functional! I have yet to get any logos blazed onto it...I've been ridiculously busy and it's kind of fun to have "gone rogue" and be logo-less.
- Rocktape for being stylish, super sticky, and keeping my knee together throughout a full ironman.
- The Bike Boutique of Wilmington, DE: yeah, I'm not on teamTBB any more but I'll always be part of the TBB Wilmington family in Delaware. Huge thanks to our mechanic John for always making sure White Tiger is race ready!
- Token for the shiny fast race wheels!
- ISM Saddles for keep my girl parts comfortable while biking. The Sherpa loves you too!
- Haamonii Shochu...my favorite post-race "recovery beverage" ;)
- my boss and the whole crew at Independence P&O, for the opportunity to help all those kids in El Salvador, and of course for helping my "financial rehabilitation" from piss-poor pro triathlete to debt-free pro triathlete!
- Mark Cathcart, the travel sponsor, thanks for believing in me through the ups and downs!
And of course, all the members of "Team Wongstar": Coach Beck, Food Coach Amy, the Sherpa, the body mechanic, and last but never least--all of you awesome blog readers that continue to follow me whether I cry tears of happiness for going super fast, or tears of misery and frustration because I want to quit. Never quit!