So Saturday I went out for a bike ride with my buddy, Herb and just wasn’t feeling it. I figured I was still needing to recover from my ridiculous past weekend (hilly bike followed by 33k trail run), but hoped I would feel better for the Lake Pflugerville Tri on Sunday.
Then Saturday night Phil and I had a party to go to. It’s a party we enjoy every year, and since it seems I have some event every weekend, I’d have no social life if I blew off ever social event the day before every athletic event. We walked into the party and someone handed me a Margarita. I drank it (ya know to be polite) but them switched to beer (hey, I have to race in the morning!) and had some BBQ. Not the optimal pre-race meal, I thought.
Sunday morning I woke up 20 minutes before the alarm (with a little help from a hungry cat), but felt good and well rested. I had packed everything in the car but the water bottles the night before and I had laid out my race clothes and body glide, so I was able to quickly get dressed, grab my pre-made PB&J from the fridge, and 2; no wait, 3; no wait 4 water bottles*, a cup of tea and head out the door.
*I had one water bottle filled for the bike then the aerobottle I actually use on the bike, one for pre-race hydration, and one 10 oz hand held for the run (to dump on my head). For some reason, whenever I have a race, it ends up looking like I was camping out of my truck for a week. I’m gonna share a little pro-tip with y’all. I have a 6-pack wine bottle holder (doesn’t everyone?) that is perfect for toting full bottles out to a race and empty bottle home. It also keeps my bottles from leaking Gatorade all over my race bag. I put all of my bottle, my empty tea mug, and my insulated beer cup (I do travel prepared) in the holder for easy carrying.
Anyway, I get out to the race site a little after 5:00am (and a little after Coach Cindy, who drives like a lunatic!) and got some good close parking. I donned my headlamp grabbed my bottle bag, pump, and tri bag and headed to transition. Bob had volunteered as a body-marker but was working in the dark. I offered him my headlamp since I would be in the mostly lit transition area and not trying to write legible numbers on people (I did have to borrow Sandra’s light when I needed to use the port-o-john in the dark, ’cause you DON’T want to be in a port-o-john in the dark).
I picked a spot as close to ‘bike out’ as possible since I’m not particularly efficient running in my bike shoes, but I can’t seem to ride without socks. One day I will master the flying squirrel bike mount, but not today. So I ended up in the second row in, third bike down. A good rack position. I didn’t even realize there was a TriZones bike rack until after I was set up. I heard people talking about a TriZones rack, but I figured it was just a rack the gals had commandeered. Nope, it was an official race designated bike rack.
And this is one of my favorite transition sites since most of the beach debris wears off your feet by the time you run across the blacktop to your bike.
All set up with still 2 hours until the start I set about socializing with everyone I knew, and dang, I knew a lot of folks at the race. We had the TriZone tent chock full of team member and family. Training with Coach Cindy was right across the way. Georgetown Triathletes was next to TWCC, and KLBJ had set up a tent near the finish line and I had buds in each tent. I wished everyone luck and they, me, then it was time to get down to the water.
The boys started first, then the gals went out but oldest to youngest, so I was in the third women’s wave, but started at 8:00am, a 1/2 hour after the first wave (which is the open wave, where the Pro athletes can go out and not have to worry about swimming, riding or tripping over us slow age groupers).
The weather looked pretty good, the clouds were starting to break, but the wind was negligible. Last year the wind was 20mph with frequent 30mph gusts, so this was much better (although I had two friends who were complaining about the lack of wind, so apparently I also hang out with crazy people). The water was calm and I had a really good swim without punching, clawing or biting anyone! I started out left, since the buoys did not look exactly straight and I could swim a straight line for the second buoy from my starting point. Nicki said she was going to draft off of me, which was fine. I was looking for Dionn since I know she swims a bit faster than me hoping to catch her draft and stay close. The water was calm and the gals were not nearly as vicious as in most wave starts, so I could easily site and stay close to the buoys. Dionn was wearing this cute blue tri-outfit. I did draft off a gal in a blue tri outfit but was surprised to see it was NOT Dionn as I exited the water. Dang it! Where was that girl?
My swim time was 9:47 for 500m, which is a 1:57min/100m. Anything less than a 2min/100 is good for me!
Ran into transition, got my socks and shoes on, helmet, glasses, considered my race number, but then left it for the run, ran out in 2:04 (that seems a lot longer than it felt).
Hopped on my bike and I was off. About that ride that I wasn’t feeling on Saturday? I was on FIRE on Sunday. I was flying. I wondered if I would start feeling it on the “hills” (there is one section of the bike route with some rollers on it) since my right butt cheek/IT band was tweaking a bit, but no, it never turned into anything.
Also, I am going to assume they have great schools in P’ville since they certainly aren’t spending tax money to fix the roads. There are giant cracks and patchwork fixes on most of the back roads in P’ville, but the race director and volunteers marked the road with neon orange to warn us of impending danger. Good job, guys! Someone also marked the miles counting down in the middle of the road in giant numbers so the riders had some idea how far we had come and how far we had to go.
I finally caught up to Dionn about 5 miles into the 14 mile bike course. Passed my buddy Rhonda, she shouted something after me, then kept talking and although I couldn’t hear what she was saying I thought I heard her say “Dionn” Noooooo! She can’t be that close. The big problem with passing your competition is that then you have no idea where they are. They could be right on you tail or dropped into the wind. There came a point where all I saw were guys (ya know, the guy who started 15 minutes before me? Just sayin’). Rode up the final hill strong, jumped off my bike and into transition. I didn’t see any 40-44 year old women on the bike after I passed Dionn, so I had no idea where all my competition was. Did they smoke me on the swim and I just never caught them? Did I pass them all early on the bike? Are they faster runners than I? Will they all blow passed me on the run? I do actually think about these things.
Anyway, 14 mile bike 39:04, that’s a 21.5mph average. Did you hear that, 21.5mph!! I’m feeling pretty good about that.
Into transition: shoes off, shoes on, helmet off, grab hat grab race number, grab water bottle. T2 = 1:06
The run course in P’ville is a flat crushed granite 3 mile trail. In 20 years it will be nice and shady, but right now most of the athletes are taller than the trees that have been planted. And as much a s a runner might hate a headwind, a light tail wind feels like noting but hot, and there are a couple of spots on the run that will feel just plain hot. This is why I grabbed my hand-held water bottle for the run. Cause when you are hot, water on your head feels great.
I had considered grabbing my Garmin to pace my run, but because I do not wear it in the water and do not need it on the bike, sometimes trying to get it on for such a short run is more trouble then it’s worth. But I do know that I tend to go out too fast on the run. Ahh, I’ll wing it, no Garmin.
Felt pretty good on the run, not sluggish, once again there was cloud cover, which is very nice on a run. I was picking folks off slowly and methodically. There was one gal who got on the run right before I did (she was not in my age group, so meh), but she was slowly putting distance between us and after a mile I stopped looking to see how far ahead of me she was. But other than her, no one passed me on the run. At this point I noticed a slooshing in my tummy, I could actually hear it. That generally does not bode well on a run. I wondered if I could continue running if I threw up, could I barf and run at the same time? Oh, O hope the GI distress doesn’t move lower . . . Surprisingly, this never turned into anything!
I saw my buddy Eva a ways a head and noticed I was gaining on her, I kept me pace and eventually caught her. At about 1.25 miles left to go, you could plainly see the finish line . .. across the lake and even hear Logan announcing finisher. A fella in front of me stopped to walk, “Come on!” I said, “You can see the finish line!” He did not appear to be amused.
I caught up to a fella at the Trail 2.50 mile marker (which is not exactly the same as the race mile marker, but it’s close). “We can do anything for a half mile, right?” I asked. He corrected me that it was a bit over a half mile. Alrigthy, then. Actually, a lot of folks lose their sense of humor near the end of a tough race.
With .25ish miles to go I picked it up and passed a fella in the finish shoot (I do actually hate to ruin someone’s finish line picture, but you gotta do what you gotta do). I had told my friends that I had hoped to finish by 9:16 and when I looked at my watch it said 9:16 so good for me! Just a few seconds after I came in my buddy Tony came in, apparently he had been trying to catch me the whole run. So close, Tony, so close. My run time was 22:43 for 3 miles at a 7:34 min/mile.
Apparently, Run-Far – the timing chip people – were updating their website immediately, so before I even knew my exact time my friends were telling me my time and paces:
My total time was a 1:14:46
a 2+ minute PR over my best time on that course! Woo-hoo!
I took my insulated beer cup over the the KLBJ tent (a team in which I am a member) for a hydrating beer. Watched a bunch of friends finish and cheered them on. I have to say, I have never seen so many determined folks approach a finish line. Seriously, these folks were not playing around today! I missed the pizza (since I cannot eat immediately after a race) but did have a cookie, or two.
Then TriZones cleaned UP at the awards ceremony. I hope someone was taking notes because we seemed to take award in every age group.
I got second in my age group (the gal who came in first smoked me outta the swim and I just never saw her), but I made the leader board as 8th overall women! Woot!
1 Andrea Fisher 01:04:22 (Austin TX Open OVERALL)
2 Hollie Kenney 01:08:08 (Austin TX Age Groups Master)
3 Ruthann Lobos 01:10:33 (Austin TX Age Groups F 30-34)
4 Lindsey Ginko 01:13:02 (Austin TX Age Groups F 35-39)
5 Carrie Cass 01:13:24 (Austin TX Age Groups F 40-44)
6 Meredith Johnson 01:13:41 (Cedar Park TX Age Groups F 35-39)
7 Joni Moore 01:14:30 (Salado TX Open F 0-99)
8 J Red Tripp 01:14:46 (Round Rock TX Age Groups F 40-44)
9 Michele Lopez 01:15:12 (Leander TX Age Groups F 30-34)
10 Jacque Peppler 01:15:57 (Austin TX Age Groups F 35-39)