Race time again?! Two short weeks after Texas, I headed down to New Orleans for race number 2. After a good showing at Texas, I was excited to be hitting the start line again. My body, however, did not agree with my mind. My post-Texas recovery was way slower than I had expected. I thought my body was just in a bit of shock after the first race of the year but looking back on it, I realized that it was more likely due to a bit of a bug I somehow contracted. It was minor enough to just keep me feeling not my self and keep me wondering why my workouts felt extra hard and my appetite was off, etc, etc. Anyway, by race week, I finally started to feel back to normal. I was still feeling kind of flat but race week is always weird anyway. I've had some great races after feeling terrible the week prior and some horrible races after feeling great. So, you never know. I was hoping that my 3rd time at New Orleans was going to be the charm. My previous 2 attempts were a bit of a disaster. In my first attempt I got lost on the run course (don't ask but I wasn't the only one!) and the second time, a mechanical issue on the bike forced a DNF. Both years the swims were cancelled due to high winds anyway. This year, with the change of swim venue, the race looked promising for a full on triathlon. And to keep from the suspense, there was no drama this year. I did not get lost (although WAS paranoid about this, especially with the crazy N shaped swim course) and my bike held together (although I might have had a few moments during the bike course where I was secretly wishing something would happen-those darn headwinds!). The swim venue moved to a marina this year which was provided the necessary protection from the wind but also did not give much room for 1.2miles of swimming. We were told the water was 64 degrees and so the race director kept us from jumping in until after the pro men had started but we still got a short 5min warm-up. I hesitated jumping in and was expecting a cold shock the water really didn't feel that cold. So, after quick warm-up we were off. My weird breathing issue from last race was not an issue this time so I was able to get the start I was hoping for and be a little more aggressive from the beginning. A few of the fast swimmers got away pretty quickly but I managed to get myself in the main pack of women and we spent most of the swim together. It is always nice to have people to swim with and draft off. The N shaped course was not as challenging to maneuver as I thought but the water had a nice chop to it despite the protection from the marina. The waves hit the walls of the marina and came back to slap us in the face. I ended up swallowing quite a bit of water which was pretty gross because it definitely wasn't the cleanest water... Our pack of women held together for the rest of the swim and I ended up heading out on the bike in 6th place with lots of women close by. There was a lot of action early on in the bike course since we were all so close. My legs did not feel great but as I remembered from Texas, it sometimes takes them a while to come around. I tried to pass a few women but the efforts seemed to take more out of me than I expected. The ref's were tailing us big time too and you could tell we were all twitchy and nervous trying not to draft. After about 20miles, things started to spread out a bit and I was finally was able to settle down and ride steady. My legs still felt flat and the head wind we were riding into didn't help. There was a lot of talking to myself and I basically just ended up forcing my legs to keep pushing hard even though they were screaming not to. Some races just feel easier than other. But, I'm not gonna lie, I was a bit discouraged with how I felt. I know from past experiences not to judge or let these things affect your race though so even though these thoughts were in the back of my mind, I pushed them aside and told myself I could still have a good run despite how I felt. I got off the bike in 6th and I was relieved that my legs felt a little peppier than they did at Texas. My husband told me I was 90sec down on the next women and so I set my sights on her as I settled into my run. I knew there were some fast runners behind me too and I was secretly hoping for a podium spot so I knew I had to get moving! I felt good early on in the run and the miles seemed to be ticking off quickly. After 5 miles or so I could see I was making some progress on 5th place but just when I starting thinking I was going to be able to catch her, Kim S. came flying by. She went on to have the fastest run of the day-a breakthrough run for me. Congrats to her! I managed to catch that women I had been chasing and felt decent up until mile 9. The last 4 miles were not pretty but I hung in there and managed another sub 1:30 run and another sub 4:30race. I finished in the dreaded 6th place spot, the first spot off the podium, and while it was not quite the performance I had in Texas, I was still happy to back up my Texas race with another strong race. I ended up with the 3rd fastest bike just like in Texas. Proof that you really can't judge until after the race! I had my fan club down supporting this race so the after race festivities were extra fun-chargrilled oysters, beer, bourbon street, a city tour, more chargrilled oysters and little voodoo tour. Now it's back to business. Off to Utah for a mini training camp and then Florida 70.3.