Travel to San Juan was a breeze; Jarrod and I travelled on a direct fly on the Friday before the Sunday race. Our friend Fabian picked us up from the airport and drove us to our hotel, where were upgraded to an ocean view suite! Score! We ordered a bunch of room service, built our bikes, and went to sleep.
On Saturday, we completed our pre race activation sessions and our pro meeting. Jarrod had raced here before in 2013 so he walked me through the transition, and as much of the course as he could. We got to bed early and ready to have a great race the following day.
The alarm clock went off at 4:30am on race morning. Jarrod and I both slept great; it’s comforting having your spouse there. We checked our bikes, set up transition, then returned to our rooms to put our swim gear on and avoid the lines for bathrooms. It was about a mile to the swim start from our hotel, so it was the perfect run warm up!
The gun went and I got out to clean water with my friend Helle Frederiksen. Heather Lendway was with us as well and the three of us quickly got into a line and swam very efficiently together. The water was very smooth until the final few hundred meters; we went under a bridge and the water was much choppier after this point. We exited the water in succession; Helle and Heather opted to put shoes on for the 400m run to transition while I chose to run without. I exited T1 just a few seconds ahead of Helle.
The bike course was one large loop with one satellite loop. I had a specific plan from my coach Neal Henderson for how to attack the bike. I didn’t realize how quickly I was opening up a gap on the rest of the field; at 40k, I had put almost 4min on the rest of the field. The second lap was a little busier the agegroupers that were now on the course, but the course was plenty wide and I had no problems. As I rode back towards town I felt my energy fade a bit, but knowing it was almost time to run really motivated me.
I got off the bike and I have to be honest, I wasn't feeling fantastic. I never panic when I feel this way; racing Ironmans has really taught me that these feelings will pass. I ran very controlled through the first 5k allowing my body to settle after a hard ride. When I turned around I could see that I had a couple minutes on Helle; I just stayed relaxed and ran my race. I came through the halfway point and saw that I hadn’t lost much more time. It was now getting pretty warm, and I knew that if I could keep running my pace I had a good chance of keeping my lead. In the final 5k I gave it everything I had and though I had only been thinking about holding off Helle, a strong Stephanie Roy had run into second. I was absolutely thrilled to win in such an awesome field! It was so special to have Jarrod there and run into his arms when I crossed the finish line. 2016 was full of consistent results where I was always in the mix, but I never found myself on top of the podium; it felt amazing to win again!
This event was absolutely incredible. It was well organized, the course was beautiful and I had so much fun. I was originally planning to race Galveston 70.3 but after this result Neal and I decided it would be best to focus on my preparation for Ironman Texas. Until then, thanks for reading!