It was a three hour flight into Florida with mom!
She enjoyed making fun of my compression sock golfer look but other than that, she behaved o.k!
Bree!!You see! I followed your advice, here is mom as the luggage slave! hehe
5 hours after having left St-Sauveur, we were arriving at the gate at Disney world!
After getting lost in Disney for a bit and getting an involuntary tour of the place, we made it to the great caribbean beach resort. It really felt like an optimal set up for my St-Croix revenge! The concept of the resort was to make you feel like you were in the carribean islands.
Again, a steel band was playing in the hall for check-in. We were assigned the Aruba part of the resort, and were given the -finding Nemo-room, in building 55. Ah...number 55 was going to be with me for the week-end!
But the day was still young at that point and we still had to go to registration, get two short trainings in, talk to Lance and eat!
And things were not going to be so simple! Lance had warned me that getting in on friday would make things more stressful and he was right. Some unexpected things happened. It turns out they wouldn't let us in to go to registration, we had to go to a designated parking with that had the name of one of the seven dwarfs and were handed another map to get there. We got to the parking and hopped on a shuttle back to point A (the transition zone). At that point we had not found our secret parking strategy yet!
The good thing about taking the shuttle is that I met my old friend David Gagnon, a triathlete from Quebec I train with when I joined my first triathlon team (Université Laval rouge et or). He was on the waiting list for the Pan Am games but ended up doing this race because he too was so hungry to race!
At registration, I was a happy girl because I was handed my St-Croix number all over again, 55!
I grabbed my bag and we were on the way back to the resort where I got my two trainings done (this includes spraining my ankle running a loop in the grass around the resort and nearly having a couple of heart attacks trying to do laps in the wierd shapped pool, bombarded by kids doing canon ball competitions (actualy, I was told there was no other place to swim before the race, the lake was closed until race day and there were no serious swimming pools!).
Nevertheless, I was feeling good after those trainings, like a grass hopper eager to race.
After all that action I did my pep talk with coach. And that is always great before a good night's sleep.
Oh! How could I forget! I also had a message from the Lifesport team on friday saying they had just received the triathlon jerseys and were trying to get one to me for the race!
Saturday went by in a blink! I got to make sure I knew the bike course, then get my bike adjusted, check into transition, do my trainings, go to the pro meeting and get some rest. (Yes, that was also in the schedule!)
I also finaly met Travis Blanton, my new friend who's mission is to help me work on a plan for sponsorship and work on some details to help me start up my new pro career.
He has already helped me so much! He did a great job motivating me for the race too. He is also a great athlete and dad and was participating on sunday. That didn't stop him from making sure my bike was all set and giving me a short pep talk before the start on sunday!
Studying the course.....
I also received my surprise when I got back to the -Nemo room-(the beautiful jersey!) along with a note of encouragement. I am such a lucky girl to have my Lifesport team rooting for me in that way! And I still can't figure out how they managed to get that to me on time for the race!!
The alarm went off at 4:30 am but I was up and ready to go at 4:00. It was fun to see many of the pro women from the St-Croix race in the transition zone that morning, these included my teammate Lisa Bentley, aswell as Joanna Lawn, Nina Kraft and Erin O'Hara.
As we stood on the beach in the darkness, I was feeling strong and concentrating on the strategy I had planned to have a good swim. The music they had on was nice and loud and I got real pumped up!
Until the gun, it was still pretty dark and I kind of liked that! When the gun went off, I aimed for the group of swimmers I needed to chase. This time, I was able to hold them longer but at one point, I put my head down to push harder and when I looked up again I had lost them! I was on my own again for a while until the pack including Lisa Bentley pulled up to my left. We swam much of the distance together. At the end, I pulled away but not significantly. There was nothing to do but stay focused and stay positive and that is what I did.
Thanks to Louis Mc Neill for the wonderfull pics taken at the swim finish!
I ran out of the water as fast as I could. The run to the transition was long and we got cheared by the croud along the way, which always helps! After a -better than St-Croix-transition, I headed onto the bike course. Twenty minutes in, I caught a visual on Joanna Lawn and Amy Marsh and kept it to help me maintain a good pace. Slowly, I moved up and by the end of the bike, I was in second place and in the transition with Joanna and Amy.
It was great to get a visual on the other competitors at the turn arounds, the race was great in that way. Time flew by because there were so many things happening on the bike course (this even included distractions such as having to slow down to allow some very proud long legged birds cross the highway in a careless way. Those birds were bigger than me!), there was not so much wind and I was just feeling fast, trying to keep my cadence up and calories in!
Getting off the bike, I had never felt so good. My legs still felt strong and I thought I could take a chance and run fast right away. I had never felt so good coming off the bike so I went for it. I was second now and was going to go for it.
Unfortunately, I did not hold that pace and faded at each of the three loops. I am glad I went for it though....I got caught by Joana on the last loop, tried to hold her for a while and then she moved away, there was nothing I could do.
I really liked that run course! There was a long stretch in the grass that made me recall our baldwin park trainings in Maui and I was actualy able to use that for motivation during that part of the race!
I ended up crossing the finish line in third place and that was good!
That was a festive finish! I was greated with flowers and a bottle of champagne which we popped and sprayed all over each other. There were a couple of sips left in there for mom who had spent the day in the sun. Let's just say she had a taste....
Here is a picture taken with Joanna after the race! A really nice gal!
The awards ceremony!
Where my friend Laura Keefe, an amazing girl and Lifesport athlete, got her spot for Clearwater. Here she is with her husband and supporter, David.