The last race of the season turned out to be the hardest. I should have known. I'll just write a quick report..
The swim was, in one word, cold. I jumped in before the race, jumped right back out, and spent the 5 minutes before my wave start panicking. I did not want to get in that water. It was a three-bouy course, and it took until the first bouy for my face to stop hurting from the cold, and for my arms to work. By the second bouy I could feel the water, and pull. In the final stretch I was cruising, but it was too little too late. I still swam a 15:26, my best OW swim of the season.
The bike was awful. I had one of those "hey, legs, where'd you go?" rides all the way out. After the turn-around I was able to put in some effort, but again, too little too late. Awful bike time of 37:-something...it should have been in the 33s.
The run went great, other than excruciating achilles blisters from my new runners! The first half mile were awful--I was limping, swearing out loud, etc. Then I accepted the fact that my heels were going to hurt, and I was able to run a decent 20:50 run (7:30 pace).
Overall, I'm thrilled with what I accomplished this season. In only five months I learned how to ride a bike, learned how to swim for real, learned how to train (though I'm definitely not DONE learning how to train!), competed in three triathlons, qualified for nationals, and learned so much more, I wouldn't know where to start. To name a few important lessons: Integrity, consistency, mental toughness, believing in myself.
I can't wait until next season!