The weather in Minnesota is notorious for changing quickly. We have had great weather with highs in the upper 70's, but in the last 3 days it all went downhill. I think the high for Saturday was 55 degrees which made the morning of race day pretty chilly! As Derek and I were driving to the race the thermometer read 46 degrees. Unlike others, I like running in the heat and humidity – it seems that I do better in those conditions and knew it was going to be quite cold in the water and on the bike.
After the pre-race briefing all of the elite athletes started putting on their wetsuits and jumped in the lake for a “warm-up” and the lake was actually warmer than the air, so it felt really good to be in the water. I did not want to get out! I stayed in the back of the pack for the swim because I knew there were some really great swimmers (especially women, three of the seven elite women had the top ten swims on the day). I didn’t go all out in the beginning of the swim and stayed pretty aerobic and felt great coming out of the water. However, when I looked at my watch I was pretty dissapointed because I swam a minute slower than I had last year. I knew my sighting was really bad, because I was pretty far away from the buoys. I kept moving over to the right, but it felt like I was swimming in a straight line…WRONG! When I got up to my bike, I didn’t want to take the time to put on the underarmour shirt that I planned because I knew I was at least three or four minutes behind the other women.
The bike went great despite that I was FREEZING and the wind was blowing like crazy. I believe I was in fifth place coming into the bike and made my way up to second. I was so happy to get off the bike and start running to warm up, but it felt like I camped out in T2 for five minutes. My fingers were so frozen that I couldn’t get my helmet off and then my feet were so numb that it was hard to get them into my shoes. When I finally made it out of transition it felt like I had stumps on my toes and I don’t think my feet thawed out until the fourth mile of the run. I knew I was second coming out of transition and that Kate McCann is a great biker (and even better swimmer) and was probably about 2-3 minutes ahead of me and that Heidi Keller Miler was right behind me. As I made my way up the monster hill I could see Kate at the halfway point and kept telling myself to run faster. Close to the turnaround I saw Derek and he gave me inspiration to go-go-go. He told me “You can catch her Kort, do it.” I had read an article in a magazine a couple days before talking about going for the win and having confidence to go after it. I used that determination to push myself to the finish line, and get my second win as a newbie to this sport. Next weekend we are heading to Iowa and the weather looks to be much nicer – bring on the humidity!!