Holy crap. After almost a week, I’ve gotten over the funk I was in and I’m ready to bask in the accomplishment of actually getting to the start (and finish) line of 24 races this year in one piece. Things I’ve learned overall:
How to get to the start line
- What works for me to eat the day before and when (meat, taters, veggies or giant sammiches, around 2-4pm is optimal and then a snack before bed).
- How to warm up for each distance (triathlon, a lot of walking around, then a half mile run with pickups, then as long of a swim as I can get – 100m at least)
- What to pack for each type of race
- What to eat for breakfast (oatmega or PR bar, chai tea, and organic lactose free milk or a honeymilk/muscle milk if it’s a distance race) and when (as early as I can)
- How to calm the race nerves, and know that you’re too burnt and racing too much when you have absolutely zero butterflies.
How to keep my head in the race
- What to think about before the race (visualizing the whole race going smoothly and going through the entire race plan several times)
- Being strict about not going out all “happy puppy” (thanks to Libby – I love that expression) and building intensity through the race. I’m not great at negative splitting races, but I’m getting closer than I ever have and definitely not fizzle-booming like I used to.
- When your head starts going to the bad place, eat. Shove something in your mouth. That’s what that means.
- Z- EAT MOAR!
- Even if something goes horribly wrong (lady cramps at mile 16 of a marathon, dizziness and lightheadedness at mile 6 of a 70.3), or it’s just not your day, don’t just give up. Push as long as you can, slow down, take stock, assess the situation, make steps towards fixing it, and get going again when you can. Reassess your time goal and make another one. Even if you have to do this 20 times, I guarantee you’ll get to the finish line faster than if you just say “fuck it, I’m not PRing, I may as well walk it in” and you’ll still have a race to be proud of.
- Sometimes a victory is finishing a race happy and strong even if your race time isn’t what you expected.
After the race
- Get some calories in right away even if you’re not hungry and don’t feel like it. Even with the great stomach debauchle of the half ironman, I ate til I felt sick, let it pass, and continued that cycle to get at least a few hundred calories of food down and as much as I could drink.
- Every race deserves champagne, from a slow 5k to a triathlon PR to a first marathon.
- Z- Have some bubbly every race! it is important to celebrate your effort. Before the results come out!
- Wear your race medal all day, and you’ll probably need to take a picture of yourself biting it. It’s just tradition!
- A race day is considered a holiday in my book, and thus I am allowed to eat whatever I want that day.
- Sunday races suck – but most triathlons are on Sundays, so just get to bed early enough the hangover isn’t TOO heinous the next day. Nuun while drinking also helps with that.
So, without further ado, here’s a quick play by play:
January 21 – Austin Gorilla Run (5k)
Time: 31 and change
Coolest thing about this race: Running around Austin in a gorilla suit and after training up Zliten all winter, he PR’d his 5k in a gorilla suit at a fun run. As the kids say, BEAST.
Lessons learned from this race: 5ks in the January cold are much better in a thick gorilla suit.
Zliten notes from the race: 2 years in a row at the gorilla run, and this year it wasn’t in the 20’s. It was still cold, but much better then before. Somehow I ran it faster than any other 5k before, but then again I was in training for a half marathon at that point.
January 29 – 3M Half Marathon
Time: 2:27 Race Report
Coolest thing about this race: full on downhill course in our bike stomping grounds so we knew it well, and it was Zliten’s first half!
Lessons learned from this race: Not every race is about my PR attempts – it was a blast just pacing Zliten and dancing around to my music and being silly at the spectators.
Zliten notes from the race: WooHoo all downhill and 13 miles done. The only thing stinky was the school busses they used to get us back to the start. They had an odor of smelly runner. I really enjoyed the start of this race, getting to run on roads I drive on all the time was neat.
February 20 – Austin Half Marathon
Time: 2:29 Race Report
Coolest thing about this race: my fave race shirt and silicone pint glass schwag came from this race. Also, Zliten almost crushed his PR set a month earlier on a much harder course.
Lessons learned from this race: if you’re not sad when the marathoners split off and you were supposed to be running the marathon, you are totally not ready to run a marathon.
Zliten notes from this race: This course was way harder than the 3m, but it was awesome since I got to run it with Quix and a few co workers. We all stayed together until about mile 6 where I just took off! It was a rough finish but also very fulfilling.
February 26: Lifetime Fitness Indoor Tri (10 mins swim, 30 mins spin bike, 20 mins treadmill run time trial)
Distances: Quix swam 450m in 10 mins, biked 15.5 miles in 30 mins (not accurate distance), ran 2.38 miles in 20 mins – 2nd place under 40 out of 11! (Indoor Tri PR – can I call it that?) Race Report / Zliten swam 325m in 10 mins, biked 22.2 miles in 30 mins (not accurate distance), ran 2.13 miles in 20 mins
Coolest thing about this race: first race in 3 months I was able to just open up and race, loved the format, first place under 40 on the bike!!
Lessons learned from this race: I got really down on myself when I didn’t hit my bike goal and I came in first by a long shot (though I had no idea at the time). I took out some frustration on the treadmill but a better attitude would have been “hey, I may have not done quite what I wanted on the bike but I did my best, so let’s try to kick some major ass on the run” instead of feeling like I had to make magic on that run or I was worthless.
Zliten notes from the race: Well I had the best distance on the bike by quite a bit on this one. But my swimming was poor and my run was disappointing. That is ok. It was a fun morning and great to see a bunch of people do their first multi-sport event. The crowd was very different from what you see out at a regular triathlon, and there was almost no spandex here. I think Ill wear my tri suit at the next one.
March 11 – Blue Norther Duathlon (5k run, 14 mile bike, 5k run)
Time: Quix 1:58 (Duathlon PR – my first :D) Race Report / Zliten 2:06
Coolest thing about this race: first real sanctioned duathlon, held some really nice 5k paces both times, did not melt or wreck and die riding in the rain for the first time ever ever.
Lessons learned from this race: I needed clipless pedals badly (which I had but hadn’t put on yet), and needed to get on the bike more and ride more hills
Zliten notes from the race: Cold and rainy to start, humid and hot to end. But the bike was all magical unicorns if unicorns were muddy cold rain beasts. I had a few bike malfunctions but was able to stay on it, then the second run and I had some talks about slippery mud but again I stayed upright. We didn’t know how we did placement wise so we stayed until the awards were given out. And of course we didn’t place, but we finished and that is the most important part.
March 24 – Rosedale Ride (62 mile bike)
Time: 5:15 Race Report
Coolest thing about this race: first metric century OMG! …and we didn’t even go into the race meaning to do the distance. Crazy/stupid/impulsive/fun.
Lessons learned from this race: holy crapballs, use your new pedals for more than a week before doing a 60+ mile ride with lots of stops (hello 3 crashes), also, more time in the saddle was SO needed because this was the most sore and tired I had ever been in my life after a race, and I was to be doing a 1.2 mile swim before and a half marathon after. Also, I didn’t die so I’m sticking with the 60 mile turnoff was a good decision.
Zliten notes from this race: Should we turn here? Yeah its the 40 to 60 mile turn we can make the 60 mile choice later. Should we turn, why not we are feeling great! What its only 38 miles in, why am I feeling like I want to die and never ride again? Food, yes oh thank you boy scout troop what ever you were at the next rest stop. I think I had 8 cookies! We finished, I made it a few yards past the finish line and laid down in some grass. I didn’t even care about the ants biting me for a few moments. The drive home was more difficult than I expected, my legs really didn’t want to work all that well.
April 15 – Austin 10/20 (10 mile run)
Time: Quix – 1:41:51 (auto PR – 1st 10 miler) Race Report / Zliten 1:49:52
Coolest thing about this race: first 10 miler, closest I’ve ever come to negatively splitting a race, kept a great pacing strategy, started in my work parking lot so it was 5 mins away from the house.
Lessons learned from the race: fast and flat doesn’t mean pancake – conserve a little more for second half slight incline of pretty much 5 miles. A little more speedwork/specific training would have helped me get a little closer to my 1:35 goal.
Zliten notes from the race: First race where I had to take a stop and find a porta potty. Also my glasses fogged up real bad in said porta potty and were useless the rest of the race. The organizers did a great job with this one. A band every .5 miles and plenty of water stops, there was even an ice cold towel stop at mile 8ish. Just great!
April 25 – Georgetown Red Poppy Ride (66 mile bike)
Time: 5:05 (Metric century PR) Race Report
Coolest thing about this race: the second time wasn’t nearly as hard (I felt like maybe I could have ran a few slow miles off the bike instead of just dropping to the ground in exhaustion), and no crashes on the pedals!
Lessons learned from the race: EAT EAT EAT a lot on the bike. Feeling like a little piggy in the first half = energy in the second half. Also, no matter how well you plan, you’ll want whatever isn’t in your bento box. Also, as before OMG more long bike rides needed. Also, also – WIND SUCKS.
Zliten notes from the race: Wind wind wind and a little bit of a mental breakdown at one point. I did not eat nearly enough. I had to stop 3 times and just sit down until I felt better. I learned from it though and did better on every long ride after. I would love to do this ride again but with a little less wind. It was beautiful to be out riding in farmland.
When our bike shoes touched down at that finish line, it became officially tri season! Look for the next post for our summer of triathlet-ing!