The first of three main triathlon races for the year is over and it has become my first write-off race in my 3-year record of (thankfully) being injury-free. The World Championships in Vancouver, B.C. were held the first week of June and provided challenging conditions to say the least. These unusual conditions provided challenges we had not prepared for: can you train for handling hypothermia?
Plunging into the 49-degree water was the beginning of the numb state that imprisoned my body until 10 minutes from the finish of a 2 hour and 10 minute race.
There was a hill on the bike that was said to be the most challenging part of the bike course and I found myself willing to stay or return to it as quickly as possible as it was my only opportunity for blood in my limbs. The 50-degree air temperature made the 55 miles per hour down hill feel unbearable. Surviving, not racing the bike, led us into the 10k run, which I have never looked so forward to in all my career just to get warm! I took off out of transition quite late, as the woman next to me failed to rack her bike properly--thus impeding my racking process and transitioning into my racing flats. Still keeping a positive perspective I found myself so numb I couldn't feel my body from the waist down. I don't understand how my feet knew where to land because I surely wasn't controlling them! As I passed about 16 girls in my first two laps of three I thought, 'Hey, I could salvage an okay result here, top 8, not bad for a day where all things that could gone wrong did!'
Unfortunately, my streak of Murphy's Law continued and I wound up with GI issues that gave me the choice of pulling over and taking care of business or slowing down to a jog. I was wearing a suit that would not allow for a quick transition, so my only resort was to slow down and allow all the girls I had positioned myself in front of over take me for a final position of 22nd.
The day was definitely a write-off for me. Unfortunately, it had to be a race I respect greatly. My hat is off to the girls that performed so well in those conditions and the ones that fought for what their bodies would allow for the day.
Love the competition!
Laura Bennett is a freelance contributor for teamusa.org. This blog was not subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee or any National Governing Bodies.