Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Eighth time’s a charm – Lake Pflugerville Sprint Triathlon

Saturday morning at 5:30am I was awake popping copious amounts of aleve and cursing being a girl.

Post swim was the best I felt yesterday.  I truly am a fish.

I’m not entirely sure why my body, which is usually a trooper, has to go into conniption fits for about a day once a month, but it’s just one of those things that it means to be me.  I’ve asked multiple doctors and health professionals about it (since all my exams have come back normal) and I’ve gotten answers from “well, just start taking painkillers when you THINK you’re about to start” (no) and “it’s just part of the process” (sad trombone).

This is all well and good until you wake up on race day feeling like a bloated, exhausted, painful monster.  I’m thankful it was the day before instead, but it hit me really really hard this month and I was a zombie on Saturday.  I woke up at 10:30am, and barely dragged my ass around to do all the packet pickup and lunch (Jason’s Deli) and swim and groceries things, and was pretty much ready to be back in bed after. I watched some TV and had dinner (chicken and air-fried potatoes) and did my normal transition practice and sadly, when I got to bed, I couldn’t fall asleep right away, but I did get almost 6.5 hours and I upgraded to halfway zombified when I woke up at 5am Sunday morning.

For some reason, waking up in the camper is a little easier, but with our own walls we were able to blare the music nice and loud and enjoy a cup of tea, the typical sunbutter honey english muffin, and two caff beans sitting at my counter.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure if it was enough that morning but I told myself I could have more once I got to my bike.

We lucked out and two people on the primo rack (closest to bike out) had taken up ENTIRELY too much room, so we squeezed our bikes in (I take up about 1 ft of space) and filled bottles and pottied and did all the normal pre-race stuff in what felt like the perfect amount of time (getting to transition about 45 minutes before closing seems to be the sweet spot – not being rushed but not too much standing around).  At the last minute I popped two 303 (herbal muscle relaxers) to hedge my bets on any residual cramps.  I was the first one of our little group taking off in wave 8, so I wandered over to the start, and spent a little time psyching myself up.  I wasn’t sure if today was going to be a complete shitshow or a decent day but it would all be over in about 90 minutes, give or take.

Love all these goofballs that came to cheer us on!!!

Swim:

Wave starts always catch me off guard, they used to be the norm and I’ve done plenty, but I’ve gotten spoiled with time trial starts and I forgot how combative they are.  Not Ironman-level kung fu judo chopping or anything, but definitely a lot of jostling for position.  I made it a goal to try and find feet to draft on, and I was actually fairly successful for the first half, but after the turnaround I just kept knocking into people or finding open water, so I just kept my efforts calm and tried to focus on good body position.

I swam until my body didn’t really fit in the water anymore and then high-kneed it out to transition.

Swim time: 11:05 (2:13/100m) 3/10 AG  This is my best in 8 years by 5 seconds (it’s always a little long, my Garmin recorded 596 yards and my sighting was pretty spot on).  To be fair, it’s only 40 seconds better than my worst showing in 2013.  I’m pretty consistent and I haven’t put much work over the years into swimming, and that goes doubly so this season.  I will say I think I got out of the water a lot fresher than I have in the past, as I really do think of the swim as a warmup for the rest of the race and rarely push it past the “I’m doing some work” feeling.

T1:

I think a spring of walking on the Addisage sandals have toughened up my feet, as I felt like I could run at a pretty nice clip even on the gravel sections.  Everything went smoothly and I got out of T1 quickly.  Technically, this is part of my bike time since I was over the mount line, but the only noob thing I did was not adjust my gearing (my TT bike had just been sitting in the garage since the last race) and it was very hard to get clipped in and going because I was in a very big gear and that was a few seconds of futzing.

T1 time: 2:13 6/10 AG.  I’m actually kind of confused by this because I thought I was pretty speedy and efficient, and it’s my best here yet by 2 seconds, but apparently I sucked compared to my 35-39 ladies.  *shrug*

No bike pics yet so you get my “stock footage” from the last race.  Are you sick of this one yet?  I’m not!

Bike:

After the clipping fiasco, I got going.  I know this course like the back of my hand (it’s the Jack’s Generic course and we ride the first half of it all the time), so I knew there was no reason to do anything but coast down the first hill into the turn.  Two girls passed me in that section, and as soon as I hit the turn, I went hunting.  I caught them within half a mile and just concentrated on eating my gel ASAP (cracking it open before the race REALLY helps a lot).  That went down fine, but I had oopsed and made my gatorade too strong.  It was undrinkable.  I took a few sips of it and almost spit it out because it was like sludge, but that’s ok on a sprint (I barely drink anything anyway).

Even with the questionable body condition and the lack of palatable hydration, I was feeling rather strong so I went to war.  I concentrated on staying in aero and passing as many people as I could.  Some of the super fast guys caught me but I was not passed by anyone of my gender again.  My goal was to try to hold 20 mph on the way out because I usually slow down on the way back (that tends to be where the wind is), but we actually ended up with it from the northeast, which meant the almost 20 mph I held the first half was with a headwind or crosswind, and made for a nice trip back.

I should have probably pushed the last couple miles harder if I was looking for the absolute best bike split, but the roads were so terrible and bumpy.  I let myself take my foot off the gas for a bit from the gasp-fest that was the first half and instead watched the road and prepared my legs (and brain) for the run.

Bike time: 39:55 for 21 mph 2/10 AG (10th overall female bike split).   My Garmin said right about 20, so I think this is a little generous, but just like Kerrville last year, I will take it.  I improved upon last year’s ride by five whole minutes (same course, just backwards).  Zliten put it best by saying that he feels like he’s one with his TT bike when he rides it now.  I feel the same way this season.  Death Star and I are pretty in sync now.

T2:

Everything went without incident.  I had planned on grabbing my frozen water bottle but I didn’t feel that hot and I hadn’t ran with it in months, so I took a few seconds to take a cold sip of nuun and left it.

T2 time: 1:17 5/10 AG  Seriously, I don’t know.  I know I took 5 extra seconds getting a sip of my bottle but I usually place HIGHER in transition than the actual sports.  Maybe the spot I thought was primo was actually further away?  Again, *shrug*.  Best here by 2 seconds.

How strong does BSS member Rachel (with smiley Courtney behind her) look finishing her first triathlon? 🙂

Run:

I ran out and up the hill and got going and everything felt predictably awful.  I had reminded myself the night before when going through my race plan that it would, so it didn’t freak me out as much as normal.  I hate this run.  I’ve done it a lot, so I’m comfortable with it’s suck, but I really really really hate running on kitty litter with no shade.

Physically, to keep myself running as well as possible, I tried to stay more up on my toes, keep driving with my hips to lengthen my stride, and swing my arms to touch my waistband.  Mentally, I kept reminding myself that I had just completed a friggin’ phenomenal bike ride, and I probably had a place on the podium if I could hang on, dig in, and not let any girls in my age group pass me.

Only two women passed me, and both were in their 50s and running like wild badasses, so I tried to ride their momentum for a while and then let them go.  Near the end, my teammate Lewis passed me and I tried to latch onto him but all that I had was the steady pace that did not waver the whole time.  Running in the heat and the suck felt painful but also somehow methodical – I kept thinking “just keep doing this for 20 more minutes, 17, 15, 10” and my legs kept moving.  They wouldn’t speed up for any sort of finishing kick, but all 3 mile splits were within 3 seconds of each other so I’d call that some even pacing.

Run time: 27:50 (9:16/mile) 4/10 AG.  This is a run PR for me here.  Technically by only 17 seconds, but that was from 6 years ago when I considered myself a runner who dabbled in triathlons vs running now being my weakest sport.  While I keep getting down on myself for not being able to hold that 8 minute/mile pace in races that I have sometimes in practice, I am showing steady improvement.  I have long term plans on how to make this better but for right now, I’m happy that my run has been SOLID this season, if not super fast.

Overall time: 1:22:21 3/10 AG. 

Look at my shiny plastic thingeeee!

I am over the moon with this result.  I feel like I nailed the bike even better than I have been.  I fought hard for that run, even if it wasn’t quite as fast as I would have liked.  I PR’d all three legs of the race (+ transitions), and for one that I’ve done for eight years in a row in various states of form and fitness, that’s actually quite a big accomplishment.  This resulted in an over 8 minute PR at this particular race (previously 1:30:30, Pflugerville 2015), and an over 4 minute PR on this course (1:26:33, Jack’s Generic 2016).  I also took back the house Lake Pflugerville title by 30 seconds, which hasn’t been mine in a long time.  Sorry, Zliten.  Better luck next year. 🙂

And, finally, with this fourth podium out of the five races this spring, I think I can finally dismiss the feeling of it all being a big fluke.  I think I can finally say out loud and with confidence that my case of the proverbial triathlon yips has passed for now.  At the local sprint triathlon level, I can put together a solid race that I’m proud of time and time again.  I’m good enough at this particular thing now to race for the podium, with an 80% success rate.  I think I can finally stick that feather in my cap and call it macaroni.

Lucky #wattagecottage hat and socks. 

It was a really great day racing with Team Bicycle Sport Shop.  We had a big handful of teammates racing and also a bunch of supporters.  Can’t thank everyone enough who just came to cheer! It’s always a little boost on the run when you know you’re going to see some friendly faces yelling your name at the finish.

Now I’m looking forward to a quick summer’s nap before hitting Coz 70.3 training hard – the next three weeks, the only requirement on the schedule is lifting at least twice a week, swim bike and run are to be applied AS DESIRED (sessions, distances, paces).  I already want to swim and ride today, which is a good sign, but with how SORE and TIRED I am, I’m taking myself right to bed after supper and getting one more long night of sleep first.

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4 Comments

  1. Matthew Weigel

    Congratulations again 🙂

    I had a few thoughts / comparisons on the bike: I made the same mistake with gearing on my bike in transition. I installed the disc cover the night before, which requires removing the wheel, which means shifting to the biggest possible gear… and then I didn’t set it back to a reasonable starting gear before the race. Whoops.

    It’s interesting to hear how little water you needed on the bike. I emptied my BTA bottle, and felt like it was the perfect amount. (I didn’t have a gel or any nutrition other than the powder in my bottle, though.)

    And finally, when I looked up the results they had the bike course showing as 14 miles, not 13 miles, which would explain the speed looking a little high. But right about 20mph is still pretty awesome. 🙂

    • Congrats to you too! Huge PR day for the win!

      Yep, I knew the bike results were inaccurate but it’s still nice to see I could ride about 20 mph (I think my garmin said 19.8 or 9 with some futzing before and after) on this course which is about 2 mph over what I’ve ever done before and felt fresh enough off the bike to run a course PR. I think this race was the highlight of the season for me!

      I’m sure I’m going to need much, much more hydration doing an Olympic+, but so far I’ve gotten by with just a few sips of gatorade + 1 caff gel as early as possible on the bike (and pretty much nothing on the run besides whatever gets in my open mouth as I toss the water at my face) to get me through the whole 59-93 minutes. 🙂
      Quix recently posted…Eighth time’s a charm – Lake Pflugerville Sprint TriathlonMy Profile

  2. Jeffrey Jones

    Super Congrats Leah!!! Totally smashed Pflugerville !!! Sooo happy for you!!! Whoop!!! ???

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