My predictions were correct.
I was pretty lucky and work scheduled me to work in Alabama the Monday-Thursday before Powerman Alabama. I worked in Auburn (and ran around Auburn University--that campus is TINY!) Monday-Wednesday and then in Hoover on Thursday. The Elite Athlete Coordinator (Nicole, who is AMAZING) was able to hook me up with a hotel for Thursday and Friday night (well, for Ryan too of course:)). The hotel, Hyatt Place Hoover, had a shuttle as well. Michelle Parsons, an incredible athlete from the UK, was staying in the same hotel, so we went to the mandatory elite meeting together. It was fun listening to her talk, not only because of her accent, but also because of how accomplished she is for her age and in general!
Unfortunately, Ryan had been having major stomach issues leading up to this race. He couldn't keep food down from Saturday, March 17th until Thursday, March 22nd. Needless to say, he was dehydrated as well. We both rode a loop of the two-loop course on Friday to test out our bikes (my first time riding outside!) and see how we felt. Ryan said he felt amazing....the only issue would be keeping today's food down so that he could race well. We went out to a pretty good hibachi grill for dinner and then went to bed shortly after.
Race day came bright and early. I knew I was ready for the run portion and was determined to stay with all of the girls except one as Ryan told me she could run a 35:xx 10k....and I couldn't do that right now if my life depended on it. The 10k run course was the 5k course done twice. There is a 0.8mile section where it is in the woods. During that first 5k, I was able to catch up to all of the girls (everyone started out real fast) that were in the second pack. During the second 5k, I caught the lead group (not the leader--she was WAY ahead of us all) so felt pretty proud of myself. I ran a 38:xx on a HILLY course and on trails for 1.6 of the 6.2miles, so I'm happy.
Onto the bike... yikes. I was in 6th place after transition as I came in with a pack of girls from the run--I got stuck behind during the trail section, which was fine because I couldn't go TOO much faster anyway. I immediately got passed on the bike by 3 females within the first 2miles. Since there were 11 females racing, I made it my goal to stay in 9th place for the first 20k loop of the bike course. I accomplished this goal and did not get passed until 1/2 way through the second loop.
I started the run in 10th place. My goal was to repass the female who passed me on the bike, and I did just that. I knew I didn't have quite enough time on the 5k run to catch the other two females who passed me later, so was content with finishing in the single digits. I ran a mid-19 for the 5k, with no "competition" nearby, so I'll take that.
As I finished, Ryan of course was waiting for me. He was also throwing up quite often. The poor guy had been throwing up since the second bike loop. He finished 5th ($500 richer!) but I truly believe he was capable of winning this race.
There is nothing more frustrating than seeing someone you love disappointed over something that they can't control. Ryan's little brother brought home a nasty flu bug from school, Ryan caught it, and was out of commission for almost a week. The timing just really stunk. We both decided next year that not only will we be healthy for this race, but we will also be in the BEST shape ever so that we come in ready to win. I really embarrassed myself out there with such a slow bike, but in my defense, not only was I competing with some of the best duathletes in the world, but I had also just started biking in January after taking two years off. I am NOT going to be that dumb this year. Ryan and I are ready for next March!