I have a whole lot of thoughts on and around this one, but I’ll stick to the race details here. Kerrville Quarter Distance Triathlon race report GO!
After a few issues including LEAVING MY GOGGLES AND EARPLUGS at the gym in Austin and not noticing until after the expo closed (more of this later), we awoke to rain overnight, and lightning arcing through the sky. I fully expected the race to get cancelled and was already debating the contingency plans (really long trainer ride? just go home and drink mimosas?), but the lightning part went away so the race went on.
I felt like I had been eating non stop since earlier in the week (more on this later also), which meant I was fueled pretty well. I also hadn’t, erm, emptied for a bit, so at one point in the porta potty line I told Zliten I was about to poop my pants or puke, I felt so full. Not the greatest way to come to race morning, but after a few visits to my friend (Porta) John, it was all sorted. Morning nutrition: cliff peanut butter filled bar, parts of a gatorade and nuun that didn’t fit in other bottles, a caff gel, and two electrolyte pills about 30 mins before the start.
Random foods, schwag, the pool, the swedish goggles and CVS earplugs, and the Texas pool.
Kerrville is a time trial start, which means you’re in a line like cattle, and then all of a sudden you hear your own personal GO. Which, in this case, means you’re diving into the water and hoping to all that’s good and fishy that your new Swedish style goggles hold tight. You’re trying not to think about the fact that Zliten just built them last night after an online tutorial, you only tested with about 50m of laps in the hotel pool, and you’re really hoping they do not fall apart or leak or fully burrow into you’re eye sockets or fill your head holes with lake. This is not the case with every swim, probably never again, but this is the start of your Kerrville swim.
Oddly enough, after the initial 100m, I didn’t think about them much. Though, I can still feel the bones around my eyes a little sore in some places today. This lovely, glamorous sport we do, right?
I started out with the pass pass pass pass and then we joined with the half ironman swimmers, which was annoying, but I found some space and mostly avoided trading blows with people. The very dark goggles + a super grey day + the murky lake = couldn’t see my Garmin for anything. So it was swim by feel.
My goal was to pace this like the Splash and Dash, but I think I got caught up in the fact that I usually do a half ironman here, and paced it more accordingly. I also have to remember it was not wetsuit legal, in fact, it was 82 degrees, so that also slows the swim times down. The quarter (what they called it, half of the half distance race) let the ladies go first, which was nice, until I got beat up by the first two dudes from the guys wave after me about 100m from the shore. Seriously? Swim around me. There’s plenty of space. Sigh. Dudes.
That may have harshed my mellow a little, but I got out, saw that I swam ~22 minutes and filed that away under “that could have been a lot worse”. Whatever the race clock says, my garmin clocked me at 2:00/100m moving time, so I’ll take it.
Swim: 22:40 (2:16/100m), 8/18 AG.
T1 has this really steep hill. Some years, I’ve walked it. This year, I actually came out of the water feeling great, so I jogged up it and actually passed some people. Yeah! I did all the normal things, plus decided on bike gloves for comfort, shoved my shit in the T1 bag and ran off. I know this is my fastest time, I think by a LOT, though no wetsuit to deal with helped, I was also racked in the back of T1, so I had to deal with my bike for a lot longer. Hooray for avoiding transition gravity!
T1: 3 minutes flat, tied for 7/18 AG
Dropping off death star for a an overnight sleepaway camp for bikes.
Warning: gross triathlete stuff ahead. I had to pee the entire swim, but couldn’t. I figured, no time like the present. No one was around, and I went ahead and let it go. Baby’s first pee off the bike. Major (long distance) triathlete milestone! I had a brief thought about the shoe stench and then all of a sudden the sky opened up and started pouring, and I was like, “that takes care of that”.
However triumphant I was with peeing, and however thankful I was for the bath, it really wrecked my bike mojo. I’d never ridden the death star in the rain, so I had no idea how it handled. I still probably don’t, because I took all the turns at 5 mph and rode so incredibly cautiously I was probably making little old grannies look reckless. I felt very uncomfortable in aero, so I’d say I spent MAYBE 25% of the race there (and that may be generous).
The course is a generally a gradual downhill on one half, followed by a generally gradual uphill. The bad is that I took the downhill super conservatively, and I probably rode it slower than I ever have, and lost a LOT of free speed. The good is that the uphill parts felt a lot less uphill than ever. Since I’d never taken them before on the Death Star, I got prepared, plopped down into little ring and prepared for the worst… and then all of a sudden I was up them, no muss, no fuss. My 5 mile splits ranged from 16.5 at the worst and 19.2 at the best, so if nothing else, I was totally consistent.
It wasn’t raining the entire time, but wet roads are slippery, and some parts of the course were not blocked off, and you had to ride a small shoulder. Fucked if I’m going to be swerving out into traffic in the wetness in aero to pass people. I did it a few times (not in aero), but I definitely got stuck behind people more often than I should have. Also, I realized that my aero helmet wasn’t tightened down around mile 20, which made it slip all over so I couldn’t see well. I thought it was just a tragic hair choice with a higher than normal ponytail I could never figure out how to fix. Sigh. I will be reviewing that move in transition practice at least 10 times before the next race.
I was happy on the out and back section I didn’t see Zliten. I know that sounds mean, but he is just unbeatable this year and I always win Kerrville. Looking at the times, later we were actually surprised and then did a Strava flyby… I was maybe 100 feet up the road when he got there. Heh.
I suppose, subconsciously, I was a little fearful of that hill I wrecked on last year, even though I didn’t want to admit it. But, again, I was prepared for the worst, and then up it like I climb that kind of shit every week (oh wait, I do…). I rode the last 6 miles so thankful I has stayed rubber side down and had a functioning bike, unlike last year. I probably spent more time in aero at the end than any other section and then all of a sudden there was the sharp turn into the park and lots of coasting and there I was at T2.
Am I a little disappointed in my bike split? Sure. However, I would have been more disappointed with myself if I crashed and spent the night in a hospital or wrecked my new bike or even had a minor injury plaguing me this week due to a low speed crash. Safety first, kiddos!
Bike: 1:39:25 for 29 miles (17.5 mph). 7/18 AG.
I ran my bike in and racked and dumped my bag. I made the conscious decision to use my hokas with regular laces and take a few extra seconds to actually tie them, and with how WET my feet were, I was actually super happy I did. No blisters! Since it was cooler, I left my handheld bottle, but I grabbed the gels in it and headed out.
T2: 2:25. 7/18 AG
This is usually the bane of my triathlon existence, but today I felt weirdly set up for success. It was cooler, I was not coming off the bike overheated like normal. I was feeling… rather great, actually. I got out on the course and let my legs dig in to the pace, and all of a sudden the first mile ticked in at 9:46… and I was like, ok, let’s keep this up!
I also realized that while I had fueled appropriately for the weather, I was only one gatorade and one gel into the day at 2 hours and change. I felt fine then, but I knew I wouldn’t by the end. I let the universe decide my fate – caff gel in one pocket, non caff in the other, and I got the non-caff. Probably for the best because I actually fell asleep before 3am, though the caff gel probably would have helped me finish a little faster. Tradeoffs. I also made sure to take in a gatorade and a water at each aide station because cool and wet doesn’t mean I’m impervious to dehydration.
Just before mile 3, I did the calculations. If I didn’t see Zliten until mile 3.5, I was beating him. Then I looked up and immediately saw Zliten, running strong. I felt happy for him but also checked in with myself to see what I had left and see if I could at least give good chase. Survey says: I was not really to spend all my cash. I wanted to keep some of the change. In my head was the training I still have left to do for my A race. Six days until a long hilly 80 mile ride. Thirteen out from my long brick on the Austin 70.3 route. That is the race where I throw all the dollars at the course and say “keep the change”. Not this one. Patience.
Also, I was already having a pretty phenomenal run split for me. I debatably did better at Cap Tex last year (slightly better official time, but this course was long and that one was a little short), but I was in much better run shape then. This was a pretty great victory. I kept plugging away, fading to low 10 minute miles in the last half, but still very pleased with what my garmin was telling me.
We had some friends and BSS teammates on the course, and closing in on mile 5, I kept hearing Zliten behind me giving them encouragement as they passed (I give hi 5s, less talking/breathing). I knew it was only a moment of time until I saw him and then… yep… decisive pass. I did pick it up a little and kept him in my sights for the rest of the race, but there was no way I wanted to do what needed to be done to my legs right then to go with him.
I know there was some rain at points, but I don’t remember it. I love rain when running. I just kept plugging away and telling myself “10 more minutes of running, “5 more minutes of running” “3 more minutes of running” and then there was the finish and I ran across and it was 0 more minutes of running.
Ganked from teammate Larry’s facebook. Hopefully he doesn’t mind… Before the rain and the sweat!
Run: 1:07:26 for 6.4 miles (registered 6.64). 10:32 official pace. 10/18 AG.
Without really meaning to, I kind of paced this race like my ideal half ironman. I definitely had another loop of the bike course at that speed. If it was the race where I spent all my dollars (and also, had maybe done more than one 10 miler :P), I think I could have done another loop of the run approaching that pace. It was just getting cooler and cooler as it started raining harder, but as I said, I love running in the rain so I don’t think it would have bothered me.
I post race fooded pretty well, got a taco and some chips and some fruit, and a beer. We sat around for a while and chatted, but got really cold and it started to pour. The first time it let up a bit, we got our stuff, and got the heck out of dodge. We had planned to stay and cheer and enjoy a few more beers and float in the lake. Sorry half finishers!
Only slightly resembling a drowned rat.
Total time: 3:14:57. 6/18th AG. You’ll notice that I never placed above 7th in any individual discipline, but I ended up top 1/3rd anyway. Consistency is key!
Immediately after the race, I wasn’t sure whether to be happy or disappointed with it. There were high points and low points. I had no mystical “third place” to chase down on the run (5th was wayyyy ahead of me). I was motivated by Zliten chasing me, but not enough to not get caught. However, I had a really solid day altogether, pretty good age group placement, and one of my best longer distance runs off a bike yet. After 24 hours, I think I’m ready to mark this one down in the WIN column.
What’s next? Two more recovery days, and then we jump back into peak training for a while. In the next two weeks, I have a lot of running and riding to do, and I’m ready for the final push to Austin 70.3.