A very proud coach...

Well, the race has come and gone and with that comes an ebb and flow of emotions. I was very nervous this morning as was Sarah (probably for somewhat different reasons!) but I think both of us controlled our nerves very well. I did by walking 4 kilometers to the race and pacing quite a bit before the race and Sarah did by having a very, very solid race.

She started off as we thought with her right up in the front of the swim but because the swim was only a one-loop course, it was tough for the pack to break. There was about 20-24 women in the first pack which is somewhat uncommon. I was able to see Sarah come out of the water in third spot and grab her bike. I then moved quickly to the spot on the major hill where I would spend the next 6 laps. Sarah looked very strong on the bike which really isn't a surprise since we put in some good quality time on the bike in preparation for the Olympics. We were going to throw in a run focus but she had some lingering calf problems from her silver medal performance at Worlds so we decided to allow the calf to heal with less running and ramp up the cycling a bit. Our plan was to go into the bike and implement a few attacks to try to separate the field a bit into smaller packs but with such a large front pack, Sarah said it was virtually impossible to do. She tried and I believe she was able to tire the legs of some of her competitors upon entering T2.

Sarah came out of T2 in 13th position and looked very, very strong. Great biomechanics and run cadence. I was able to get pretty close on the course to shout out some positive words and splits to her as she passed me throughout the 4 laps and she just looked so solid on her run. Interesting because as I mentioned, we had reduced her run training a bit and ramped up her bike training. I don't have her run splits yet but I believe she ran in the 36 minute range which is about 1 minute faster than last year on the same course so that is a huge improvement!
As the race progressed, I became even more and more proud of Sarah, her accomplishments and her will to compete and continue pushing forward. She never let up the entire race and proved why she is an Olympian. Come to think of it, remember that she just started in triathlon 4 years ago. How about that for a first go around, eh?
Sarah was able to run herself into 11th place for her Olympic debut and while our pre-race tactics weren't able to be fully initiated due to the swim not breaking up, it was still a very, very successful race for her but I have to admit, her expressions after the race indicated that while she was excited, she wasn't fully satisfied which tells me there is still quite a fire burning inside of her that we can and will bring out. I love that about her and am so honored to be on her team!

Up next she has Elite Nationals, the Lifetime Dallas race and a World cup in Mexico. She'll then enjoy a little down time and then we get to start again on some great plans I have for her off-season.

As a recap, our women took 4th (Laura), 11th (Sarah) and 19th (Julie). Great job USA!

Enjoy some photos I took at the race today...
Sarah leading the bike pack.

Sarah diving into the water for warm-up.

The women lined up on the pontoon getting ready to start.

Our three USA girls after the race.

Sarah running into the transition area.

Vanessa (silver medalist) with Laura right behind her.

Emma Snowsill (gold medalist).

View of the crowd while the athletes are coming into the transition area.

Sarah running to the pontoon (swim start) after being introduced.

I'm off to the mens race tomorrow...stay tuned for another blog soon!

Coach Bob