I KNOW, 2 posts in 2 days. You might think I was a real blogger or something instead of treating this site like LiveJournal. Enjoy it while you can…
Read the pre-race details here, if you like that sort of thing.
Where we last left this tale of tri… I was feeling very calm and zen (which is unique for me before races, I get lots of nervous and excited energy going, this time it was just… absent…) and the swim had just started…
I should have probably mention that this is the smallest tri I’ve done – only about 250 people signed up and only 208 showed. However… there were only FOUR swim wave starts. 39 and under had a TON of people and there was a lot of fighting for space. Oddly enough, while there was a lot of jostling, I found that for the first time in a lake swim, I was getting that “water in my ears” feeling. Which meant I had settled into a comfortable stroke like in the pool. Cool. I took care not to get caught up in the excitement and go too fast, just settle into a steady and relaxed pace even with people swimming over me.
I never really found a pocket, but I made do with what I had – I’ve learned to not expect that in the 500m swims we’ve been doing for these races. I kind of can’t wait to do another Olympic simply because I loved the long swim section. However, instead of feeling frustrated this time, I felt… zen. Peaceful. I almost didn’t want the swim section to end. Mostly because I was enjoying it, but also because it was frakking cold and I had a huge hill to run up. Some people raced past me at the end but I just kept pace.
Swim time: 13:37 for 500m. While I do want to whittle this down a little bit, I’m pretty happy I had a l33t swim (it’s a dork thing, don’t ask).
The nice volunteers helped me out of the water on the steep ass ramp, I got my flippie floppies on and took it slow up the hill. No need to get breathless before the bike, energy conservation, yadda yadda. The few people that passed me on the way up the ramp I beat out of transition.
It went like clockwork. I struggled with one sock but everything else went on quickly as planned. I ran the bike out and did a running mount once I cleared the traffic (why oh why people, why do you stop RIGHT at the line, and get on your bike sloooooowly?).
T1 time: 3:12. Pretty excited – I’m getting the transitions down. Yeah, thumbs up indeed.
The first mile of the bike was a bit hectic. I didn’t start the garmin right away. My glasses were foggy. It was in the 60s and I was wearing a soaking wet tri suit. Getting on the bike gloves took a little more time than I thought. Did I mention it was cold? I cursed the weather a bit, and was insanely jealous of the girl who I saw throw on a jacket at transition, but in retrospect, I’m not sure that would have been a good idea.
What may have been a good idea is the duct-tape-over-the-top of my shoes trick, with wet socks and a chilly breeze, my feet were VERY cold. Considering I expect to have clip-in pedals and bike shoes next year it’s probably not a consideration, but even by the end I had frozen feet and was hoping it wouldn’t affect me in the run too badly.
Getting back to the bike, it was a 2-loop course, and we didn’t drive it ahead of time like we did the run course. While there were some rolling hills, it was generally a slight downhill one way, slight uphill the other way. I was pleased as hell with this. When I told people I was tri-ing in Kerrville they’re like “oh… watch out for the hills”. Luckily, the sprint distance was all in town which either wasn’t so bad or I just rock hills so hard it felt flat. Probably the former, but I can dream.
I just kept getting happier and happier as the miles went on. My pace was often above 20-22 mph and rarely noticed anything below 16 mph even on the hills. I took the first lap MUCH faster than the second, and slowed down not because I was tired, but because I wanted to save something for the run and wanted to make sure my back wouldn’t flip out.
I started picking people off left and right at the start. There was so much “on your left” (what’s said to warn someone you’re coming up to pass them) I started having to change it up and say “good morning” and “awesome job”. No one from my age group passed me the whole course, it was only masters folks on really really fancy bikes. It was also a product of the fact that I took the swim really mellow, but my swim was middle of the pack, and I was fast out of transition. There were plenty of people that could have passed me.
I had the bike of my life and I was freaking pumped as I finished. I was also super excited that I didn’t pass Zliten – which meant he was having a great race too. Most bike tri segments I’m REALLY ready to be done. It used to be my worst worst worst of the three. It’s now my best.
Bike time: 49:01 for 15 miles. That’s freaking 18.4 MPH average. This makes me happy in the tri shorts. Speaking of tri apparel, look who FINALLY got himself a real tri shirt?
I was so jazzed about the bike I sort of lost my head here. My time was great, but it could have been better – I fumbled things a few times grabbing them out of my bag. I dropped my wristband multiple times. I halfway considered leaving the bike gloves on for extra warmth, but I knew I was warm up way quick on the run so I ditched them.
I practiced this transition a lot less both mentally and physically (read: besides packing the bag, not at all). How it went: ditch bike gloves, grab race belt, grab head and wrist band, drop head band, pick it up, drop race belt, pick it up, run for the exit, cross line, realize I dropped wristband again, consider leaving it, realize it could be a penalty, run back and grab it, and then finally get out on the road.
T2 time: 1:46. Not too shabby but could have been better. I may go for a race hat next time, it would be easier to grab, especially if it comes out of a bag and isn’t laid out.
I got a few blocks away from transition and realized I should check my pace. I looked down at my wrist and holy crap, it was NEKKID. Making the last minute decision to mount the garmin on the bike was AWESOME… except I forgot to grab it since I’ve never had to deal with it at transition and I didn’t practice. FAIL. I was running naked.
Past the initial freakout, I convinced myself it was a good thing. I had to rely on perceived effort which meant I’d be really in tune with my body and how it was feeling. Since I couldn’t dig into my music and rely on that for pace either, I turned my running more external.
While I’m a big fan of running my own race, I had to do something to stay motivated. I started playing the age group game. If someone passed me who was under 30 or over 34, I let it go. If someone with a 30, 31, 32, 33, or 34 on their calf passed me, I kicked it up a notch. I ran with a really super peppy girl named Whitney for about a half mile, but she got ahead of me on a hilly bit I just wasn’t ready for (she was only 21 so it was ok). During this time I passed Zliten at about mile 1.3, he was having a great race and keeping around 12-13 min miles and feeling great and looking strong. We gave each other some encouragement and I took off (it was very tempting to run with him for a bit, but I just had to keep pushing).
A 30 passed me and I tried, but couldn’t catch her. Now that I’m looking at the results, she was definitely the one who finished right above me in the AG rankings and ran a very fast 5k (pretty close to my non-tri PR). However, the next one was a 34. She was booking it too. I got a little sad until she started walking, and I caught her and passed her. Then she passed me. Then I passed her. Finally she started running with me and was asking me about my camelback and oddly enough I was able to make fairly coherent conversation. She passed me, and then started walking again, so I decided when I passed her, it would be the last time.
I turned on the heat. I was feeling good, I knew the finish was pretty close people were cheering us on, my legs responded well to the request to kick, so I went with it. Best spectator ever: instead of “almost there”, he said “you have about 500m to go”. That was perfect. Just about a 400m sprint. I can do that. I turned it on more. Other best spectator ever told me I had 200m left and the finish was around the corner. I kicked as hard as I could and booked it through the twisty turny corral and hear them call my name and I saw the clock: my time was in the 1:39s. I finished feeling AWESOME!
I beat lady 34 by 1 second. She was 8th. I had no idea until I saw the results.
Run time: 32:07 for 5k – 10:18 pace
Would I have run a better race with a garmin? Maybe. Maybe I would have gone out too fast and crashed. Maybe I would have gone out fast and made it work. I suspect I might have been able to hit my goal of under 10 minute miles if I knew how close I was (considering how well I kicked at the end, I had a decent amount left in me). Apparently, this race I was meant to run without my garmin and while I probably wouldn’t do it again, I can’t say I’m really disappointed with how the run went.
7th Age Group/21 total AG
42 gender/120 total chicky-poos
96 total/208 total tri people
Top 1/3 of age group (and almost gender), over top half overall. I am pleased as punch. I hit both my A goal and my placement goal. This was a great way to end the tri season – PR, a beautiful course, and an amazing day. While I wasn’t sure anything could top my mood after the Pflugerville tri, it did. Favorite tri so far EVAR. We will SO be back next year, whether we decide to do the sprint, olympic, or half distance (we’ll see where I’m at in a year, there’s plenty of time to decide).
Overall, I have such a good feeling about the Kerrville. Just the pure JOY I felt before, during, and after. At no time (beyond maybe on a few of those run hills) did I curse out the course or feel frustrated or angry or taking revenge on the course or honestly be anything but fueled by rainbows and sunshine and puffy clouds and unicorns and sparkles. I spent most of the race just grinning ear to ear, thankful that I was out racing on such an amazing day. Even thinking about it is giving me chills. They can’t all be like that, but I’ll take as many of those as I can! Love, love, loved this day.
We’ll leave the goals for next year to a future post. Please enjoy drooling over what I celebrated with once I got home, and now I’m resting and in taper week 2 – See Jane Run Half Marathon in less than a week!