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April 28, 2004
       
  XTERRA SAIPAN
and

TAGAMAN
1st Place Pro (x2)
 
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Third times a charm as I swam, biked and ran away with my third Xterra Saipan Championship. New this year was the Tagaman road triathlon held the following weekend. This race was a 2k swim, 50k bike and 15k run. A special award was presented to the top male and female for the double. As usual, I had an amazing trip and met lots of new people.

This year we started our trip in Guam where I hosted a triathlon clinic for the Guam Triathlon Federation. I covered several topics including nutrition, fueling, transitions and racing as well as workouts. The turnout was great and there was a lot of enthusiasm for the upcoming races in Saipan. Five days later we headed to Saipan to prepare for the big races.

Race morning we awoke to a very interesting swim course. The current was extremely strong with waves breaking all over the place. We got the tail end of a typhoon passing around the island. My hopes of breaking 3 hours this year went out the door after seeing the swim. Saipan has always been known for its dolphin dive swim but not this year!

I had a great swim but due to the current my time was slow. I was third out of the water but ahead of Courtney. I quickly took over the lead within the first mile of the bike. The course was very slippery from the heavy rains the days before so I proceeded with caution. Courtney caught me near the top of the first climb and we rode together for a short time before he dropped me in a technical section. The rest of the way I rode strong with no idea where anyone was, not even Courtney. I managed to crash twice but no injuries.

As I entered T2 I was in the lead but 6 minutes down from Courtney. I ran pretty hard beating my time from last year but never caught my husband. We finished fifth and sixth overall respectively.

Throughout the week before Tagaman I visited a few new sights and went to talk to local kids at Saipan International School. I also spoke at the local library on “Performing Your Best” (sports nutrition.) In-between all the fun I managed to get a little training in on the new Felt DA!
I didn’t know what to expect for my first road triathlon of this distance especially having never owned a tri bike. The only thing I did know was that there was going to be some tough competition.

The race started at 5:30am. I have never raced that early in the morning. It was still dark when we were preparing to start. The swim was a bit longer but the water calmed down and was back to its usual shallowness. I had another great swim coming out of the water in second, but 2 minutes down from the lead woman, Claire Murray. The bike course was pretty flat with a couple of hills. I wasn’t sure how conservative I needed to be with a 9 mile run ahead of me. I also had a gal drafting me most of the race. I finally dropped her up a hill and then dropped my chain, but she didn’t catch me.

I arrived into T2 still in second and still 2 minutes down. The race was on as the sun began to shine brighter and the temperature heated up. I slowly began to reel in first place. With each mile I grew closer and closer. The aid stations were wonderful and the volunteers were great. They had cold sponges, water and cups of ice. I made sure I grabbed something at every station to keep cool and hydrated. It was at mile 4 when I made by big move to take over the lead. I was running hard and fast, but comfortably. I began to put a gap between myself and Claire, but not a big one. She was holding on strong. Third place was charging hard as well. I was beginning to feel not so comfortable as I had a mile to go. Claire was still behind me but only 30 seconds back. I put on one final surge as I sprinted for the finish line for first place winning by 37 seconds. It was one of the closest races I have been in to date. It was exciting!

A lot of people had their doubts about me on the road including myself. I found out it wasn’t so bad, but I still like off-road triathlons much better. Oh yea, I forgot to mention how Courtney did. After he kicked my butt in the Xterra race I couldn’t let him win again so I not only beat him, I ran him into the ground! So I am back in the lead with the score 2-1!

Until next week at Wildflower . . . . .

 



Jamie and Courtney...2004 score: Jamie 2, Courtney 1


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