RACE RECAP OVERALL
I loved the first race of the season. I've done Azalea five times now and it did just what I wanted it to do: it got me fired up for the rest of the season. It shook off the cobwebs and reminded me of how fun this sport is. It also taught me a few things to take with me to my next race.
It was a VERY COLD morning. Temps on race day in transition were 32-36 degrees. I opted to do my warmup in the pool instead of my normal run > bike > swim routine and although it didn't make a difference mentally, I think it may have affected my body in the race. I normally do a eight minute ride to check my brakes and gearing to calibrate my power meter and to get my cadence up. Then I do a quick run with dynamic drills and some strides to warm up my legs. Then I get in the water and do 200-300 yards to get a feel for the water.
I skipped most of that because of the temps. I did take my bike out briefly to check on a sticky back brake that had been repaired by the tech in transition. I did run (very quickly) from transition to the natatorium. In that 30-second run, my feet became ice cubes and felt like concrete blocks.
My warmup was spent running my mouth and swimming. The diving well in the pool area was warm and I sculled, kicked, swam and played around for 20 minutes. Got out, got back in and then went to line up.
The swim (300 yard pool swim) was exactly as I had imagined it. Last week I mentioned that I'd been doing a lot of mental work for this race. One thing was visualization: seeing the swim in my mind exactly how it was going to happen. Once I was in the water, it was deja vu. The water looked the same, it smelled the same. I did my flip turns when I wanted and heard the crowds around me. It was just like I imagined right down to the detail of me swallowing chlorinated water on the third lap. I was relaxed for the entire swim. And I was a few seconds faster.
One more thing before I close for the day. The night before the race, I had watched Grey's Anatomy. Did you know that power posing can make you feel more confident? Before one of the most important surgeries of her life, Dr. Sheppard stood like a superhero. Feet spread apart, hands on hips, chest out, chin up. Spoiler alert: she nails the surgery. WATCH THE CLIP HERE.
In the line-up for the swim start, I stood just like this on the side of the pool. Right before the swim director said go, I did it again. I looked him in the eye and when he said, "Go", I took a deep breath, stepped forward and jumped in. I felt like I was flying!