In my dreams, I came here to tell y’all how I PR’d this course like a mofo. That I took 5, 10 mins off my time that I was already stoked about from Tri Rock. I knew I had it in me. At least, that I came across the finish line before the time of 3:25:52 and I triumphed in spite of injury.
Well, I’m afraid I can’t do that people.
I crossed the line at 2:47:06.
To be fair, the run was short (0.7 short of a 10k at 5.5 per my garmin) and the bike was (as advertised) 3 miles shorter than TriRock, and the transition area was very, very efficient.
However, I’ve used some magical mathematics and normalized my time at about 3:09, so still a SEVENTEEN minute PR when I was holding back a little due to the knee’ster. If that’s all you cared about, feel free to jump to the comments and tell me how much I rock. Details below. 🙂
Saturday AM we loaded up beastly and headed to Irving TX. The drive was pleasant and without consequence. We got to the hotel, checked in super early since they had a room, got our packets (no line), ate lunch (I got a club sandwich and a salad – trying for less fat/protein and more carbs in my pre-race meals)… and watched some of the ITU race (Pan American Games) they were hosting that day and checked out the swim and run course… and then it was 2pm. Essentially, we were ready for bed minus driving the bike course (we’re never this early/efficient) so we did that and then settled in the room for a day of reading, movies, and just relaxing. It was actually pretty amazing – since we weren’t home we couldn’t do chores or do anything, so we just chilled and participated in the pre-race pajamathon.
Around 5pm we decided on room service for dinner and looked at the menu – everything was all FANCYLIKE, so we ordered off the kids menu. I got a grilled cheese and mashed potatoes, and Zliten tried to order a turkey sandwich twice and they fucked it up twice, so it was on the house (nice of them). We drifted off around 9-ish after having some sleepy juice. I was a little nervous but felt pretty ready to rock this. Oddly enough, I was mostly afraid of crashing my bike at T2 because my seat is so high now.
Also, earlier, we went to go hit the hot tub, and found this. No lifeguard for the plants where the hot tub used to be. So sad. I had considered getting in a pre-race swim but the lack of hot tub made me decide to skip laps in the tiny pool.
Zliten woke up around 4am – I slept til like 4:30, and I tea’d and oatmega bar’d pooped and got ready and took a bath to warm up the knee in lieu of a heat pack and being at the host hotel, we took our bikes and helmets and nothing else down to transition and got body marked, claimed good spots in our assigned racks, and headed back to the room. I pooped again, listened to Titanium really loud (which is becoming my theme song for myself this year), tinkered around, and then we headed down about 6:15 to get our transitions actually set up, get a quick warmup run, quick warmup swim, and then all of a sudden it was the pre-race meeting and we lined up and I said goodbye to Zliten who was in Wave 2 and watched the pros start.
I had some nips off a honeystinger gel but couldn’t get it all down without a sour stomach so I left it under a tree (there were NO trashcans) intending to pick it up later. I didn’t. Oops. Sorry, Play Tri.
Swim: 32:06 (2:08/100m)
Even though I’m much faster and more confident in the water these days, I started near the back because I was terrified of full contact swimming and my knee. I didn’t want a stray kick to end my race. So, I hung back (and peed in the lake, sorry Play Tri!) and still even, found that it was roller derby in the water. I tried to stay near the wall since that would protect my knee but everyone else thought the same thing so it was no ones fault but…. ugh. After the buoy turn around, it freed up. Like, a LOT. Like, was I the last one in my wave? I looked back and around and no, but people spread out a bunch and it was hard to sight so I just hoped for the best and swam. I may have pushed one lady who decided that she wanted to swim on top of me repeatedly but y’know, fuck off or go around, right?
The the course went up, and right into the sun. Sighting sucked, and worse, that was an out and back so swimmers were heading directly at you (if they were a little off course). Fun! I got a little discouraged and started some negative thoughts, but then I had the STOP, you’re swimming, you’re not injured, you’re in a very calm and very comfortable temp lake. Stop being stupid and just swim like a spider (when I feel strong, I feel like I’m crawling across the water like a spider, don’t ask, it makes sense to me), and I stopped trying to sight every 3 strokes and went to counting to 7. I passed a few people and had my last full contact incident and got up the stairs and into transition.
I saw a 43-something on the clock, not knowing what the fuck it meant, but I did a little math and though that 7:12 start + 31-ish mins = 43 so I was excited!
This was a FABULOUS tri in many ways, but one was how efficient swim->T1->bike was. It was the first tri I didn’t use any sort of sandals. Up the steps, over a sidewalk, and T1 was right there. My bike was about midway from swim to bikeout on the end, and it wasn’t very big overall. I did a good job at executing, and very happy with my efficiency the first tri of the season.
Bike: 1:13:57 for 22 miles
The price I paid for a great swim and super efficient transition was my heart rate was SPIKING as I started to pedal. About a mile in, I realized I was nauseous and not feeling great, so I slowed my roll a bit and shortly after, my HR came down from 175, to 170, to 165, to 160, and I felt great. So, I resumed the semi-hammer pace of Olympic riding and my speed climbed from 15 to 16 and I ended loop 1 of the 3 loop course at 17.5. As my goal was 17 or above, and I usually get better as loops go, I was stoked. More like that, I said. In my head, I upped the ante to 18.
I coined a term today – “dude-holes”. Being one who has the lady-parts, I usually start in the later waves, and if it’s not a looping course, I only have to deal with women passing me. Who are usually very polite – “on your left” “hi there” “good job”, or at the very least, they give you plenty of space if they’re sucking too much wind to say something. Not the dude-holes. These guys are on 10k$ bikes with disc wheels and 4% body fat and are passing you with inches to spare and nary a word. The first and second laps, I got really, really sick of the dude-holes and was super excited that I wouldn’t have to deal with them loop 3.
Never mind, guess what? Loop 3 was the worst! There were sprint dude-holes AND “my first tri” people going 2 mph and not knowing tri-ettiquite. Sigh. I did my best to encourage all the first-tri’ers when I passed them and try to not get run over by the dude-holes.
It was not all rude people and terror – I actually quite enjoyed everything else about the bike. I love loops. Once, I rode a 50 mile bike ride in 3 mile loops and couldn’t have been happier about it, so 3 loops here was awesomesauce. There was enough up and down to be not quite just like riding on a trainer, but the elevation change total was ~350 feet total. I leveled up again in aero riding and rode in aero a lot, even around some corners!!! I loved my higher seat giving me more power. I loved seeing Zliten twice (on his second out/my first back and his third out/my second back) and cheering for him. I’m pretty excited about a 17.8 mph ride – only tri I’ve ever done better was Kerrville Sprint.
Also proud of the fact that the thing I was most worried about – the bike dismount… I did the slowest ever, but still did a flying dismount. I’ve almost fallen every other time trying to get off my new higher seat trying to put a foot down with the other one still over the other side, but this time, it just clicked. I’m so going out to a soft place to practice for next time because it’s the first time I’ve ever attempted but… YAY!
Again, by the book. I noted I did better on the swim than the bike because more bikes were in than were out when I started. The only sucky thing was that I forgot to set out my run nutrition, so I forgot to grab it. D’oh! (next time I’ll put an emergency gel in a pouch)
Run: 57:41 for 5.5 miles (~10:30 pace)
Man, I wish I could claim this pace for 10k, but the course was short. I got out of T2, wobbled up the big grassy hill, got my legs under me, and settled into what was comfortable for just a bit. I looked down, and it was high 10s. Ok, that’s fine. I tried to bring that down to low 10s, and the knee started letting me know that it was not yet complaining, but warning. I took it easy for the first bit to see if it would loosen up, but every time I tried to go sub-10 it definitely told me no. Also, my tweaked back wasn’t 100% better, so my glute muscle on that side (it works it’s way out that way sometimes…) was voicing it’s opposition as well.
So, I ran the pace I could. While I definitely wasn’t 100% easy pace, it was moderately challenging, I could have definitely pushed a bit more if I was 100% healthy. And, y’know, had not had a month off running and just been cleared to do 1.5 miles with a mandate for slow ramp up just 12 days ago. It was a huge zigzag course – down a street, up a street the same side, down the other side of the street, up that side, around a u-turn, and repeat for the Olympic. It was pretty much flat, some slight incline/declines, but I think it registered as a total of 6 ft ascent, heh.
Also, I got to see Zliten every zigzag! He stayed steadily one slot ahead of me (I tried to push to catch up once and the knee said nooooo), and looking for him helped distract me from the run, my knee being stiff, my glute stinging, and when I was on the last down and he was on the last up, I could tell he made up a little ground and I told him to finish strong. I came back around the u-turn, up the last area, tried picking up the pace as much as I could, and he met me a bit before the end and ran me in across the last street and I saw the clock when I crossed – 2:58.
Holy crap, I knew I was going to PR today as soon as I finished the first bike loop, as long as nothing blew up on the run, but I had no idea I was going to finish sub-3 on the clock (I knew it was short but still…).
I am proud at my head for the run. At no point did I get negative. When I realized my knee was going to hold me back, I realized it was what it was, and I pushed as far as I could and no further. I didn’t ever think, “fuck it, I may as well walk”. I felt pretty damn awesome and happy all day. Getting to see Zliten 7 times on the run helped. A great spectator cheered every time ANYONE went by and made me happy. There was cold water and powerade, so I didn’t even need my nutrition.
Finish: 2:47:06 – 8/12 AG, 50/79 gender, 217/279 overall (this seemed to be mostly seasoned triathletes and club so… can’t complain… I didn’t DFL!)
My normalized time was about 3:09 – I PR’d the swim by 7.5 mins, the bike by about 6 mins at the same pace for 25 miles, and the run by 2 mins for the same pace at 10k. That took me to -15.5 mins, or around 3:10. Giving myself ~1 extra minute credit for better transitions (instead of the about 5 mins I did better, because transition was way smaller)
While I definitely was done running when I finished because my run miles have been severely limited by the injury, I felt great – no sickies, just wanted some cold powerade and to walk around, and celebrated with Zliten because we both had great days. I beat him by 2 mins today. I smoked him on the swim and transitions, and he beat me on the bike and run. We both felt great after and got our stuff and headed from the transition to the hotel (100 feet, love staying at the host hotel), got a shower, packed up, got out, got our prize (In N Out – this is the reason we race in Dallas-area), and rode home.
Race champagne was a little lacking as we cheaped and lazed out and got it from the gas station, but Shiner Ruby Redbird is making up for it. The end!
-I told Zliten after this race, I would know what I needed for Buffalo Springs 70.3. It’s very clear. Run endurance re-build and some bike endurance in the bank. I’m going to spend the next two-ish weeks doing less, but longer sessions. I need to rebuild carefully on the run with my knee, but I need to see a double digit run or two this month before June 30, and some QT on the trainer with higher resistance + veloway/Pfluger love – the wind, the heat, the hills and all. I’ve got the speed I’m looking for, I just need to extend the comfort over more miles. I only wonder what awesome I could have done with a full training plan and look forward to seeing what I can do for Kerrville. For BS, it’s survival mode.
-I have no idea if the swim was short. I’m taking it at face value and saying not. The water felt fast so I’ll take it. 🙂
-I loved everything about this race, minus the dude-holes. I’m pretty sure this is on the annual list.
-I think I’m about 1-2 years away from a new bike. I have always said I’ll get a new bike when I couldn’t easily remove weight from the bike naturally by defluffing, so I have about that long to get down to true race weight. Because I drool every time I see a sexy QR with a disc wheel…
-I did not track calories or food Thursday on as I wanted to make sure my body had enough fuel and I wasn’t freaking out over processed carbs, and for the race, I felt totally nourished and it worked. Tomorrow, I’ll get on the scale, track again, and life will go on. My tri suit fit pretty nicely today, so there’s that.
This is epic novel length, so I’ll get into June goals and week 21 in another post. Very happy with Tri #1 of the season. In 2 weeks, I get to defend my unicorn and rainbows title (in my own mind) at Lake Pflugerville, so we’ll see how well I can do with the goal to hurt myself badly and 2 more weeks of knee recovery!