Races on a Monday on a holiday weekend make me sad.
I love racing, but I also love the champagne and patio time and deconstruction and playing music and basking in the glow of an awesome race or plotting how to do better that comes after. And this is much better done with a day of recovery after. Normal Sunday races are definitely offenders, but putting a race on a Monday of a holiday weekend is just extremely cruel. I have Friday, and Saturday AND Sunday night to be good and not do anything above PG-13, and it sucks. It’s a perfect opportunity for a Sunday race not to make Monday at work evil. I’ve actually looked at this race 2 years in a row and nixed it because of what day it fell on. Actually, both Austin Olympic distance races are on Mondays (CapTex on Memorial Day, and this one). Mean, mean race directors.
But then it showed up on the TX Tri series. So my race registration hand was forced. I have vacation to look forward to soon, and I’ve become accomplished at learning how to not have my post-race Sunday fundays really fuck up my next day (read: nuun, eating a lot, and early sleep), and it actually worked out because Saturday became the RUN ALL THE ERRANDS day (not kidding, we left the house at noon, and didn’t finish until 9, it was ridiculous!) and having that be the day before a race would have blown. Sunday was a run all over town day, but mostly in the car and sitting type stuff so my legs felt pretty rested. I had put a 15 min swim/bike/run shakeout on the schedule but after the exhausting day Saturday and lack of time, we called it an extra rest day. I’m pretty sure that 45 mins of easy multisporting w/pickups would not have made or broken my day, though it’s something I’d like to try to get in the habit of doing to see if it does good things for me (I usually go pretty heavy handed on rest days pre-race week except when I’m dumb, like Jack’s Utter Lack of Rest Days Generic Tri).
At the expo, I picked up one of those nifty TYR carbon tri suits for half off! It’s a little snug, but apparently it’s supposed to be, and it looks pretty good. Zliten and I will probably be sporting matching suits for Kerrville! The shirts kinda sucked, I loved the color and the design, but it wasn’t girly fit and the shirts ran super big – like my medium fit Zliten. Oh well, PJ shirt or maybe I’ll wash it and dry it on hot and hope it shrinks. Also got a sweet hat, a water bottle, some bars, and some other random stuff in the packets. We also had to rack our bikes the day before, and had assigned racking with very little space. Also, we got race tattoos instead of body marking. Crazy!
We didn’t get to sleep until about 10, but I got 6 SOLID hours and woke up feeling pretty great. It’s been months since I was really excited about a race, and I think with all the racing I’ve forgotten how to be nervous, but I was really stoked to be racing an Olympic for the first time in almost 2 years.
Pre-race pretty much goes like clockwork nowadays. Oatmega mint breakfast bar, chai late, put on peppy tunez, try to poo a bunch, get dressed and fill camelback and bottles, put the bags in the car, get to the race, set up transition, use the porta potty, warmup run, porta potty again, run into people we know… we saw our coworker/friend J, and I saw Maureen in line for the potties the second time, and then after Zliten’s wave started I found our tri-friend Brian and his mom. It’s nice after a few years of doing this to have friends. I remember my first year of doing this it was kinda lonely.
The only difference this time was no warmup swim. Boo. However, there was a band… on a boat! Definitely a first for me. Very quickly, we made our way down to the water, I placed my flippie floppie, they sang the national anthem, and the open wave was off, then the young uns, then Zliten and J. Fast forward 20 minutes, I’m jumping off the dock, treading water, and then the horn goes, just as someone kicks me HARD in the heel that’s been a little touchy. Yay!
It wasn’t the nicest lake swim ever, it had a whole lot of nature. However, I do love a nice long swim and after 300m or so I found my stroke and just swam steady. It felt slow, sustainable, and comfortable. I had no idea if I was the last person in my wave or what, but I passed a few people in waves before me and had not too many other color caps pass me. I ate some lake water as it started to get choppy but I made it out and felt barely winded though a little disorented being upright after just under 40 mins of paddling.
Swim time: 39:39 for 1500m
T1 went according to plan. Camelback and helmet/glasses on the bike itself was sort of nice – I wasn’t bent over stressing my back as long. I will probably continue this. Exiting what I thought was the mount line wasn’t – you had a HUGE LONG run with your bike to actually get to the mount line which was annoying with clompy clomper bike shoes. I expected this to be longer than normal and it was.
The bike was a joy, minus perhaps that first hill climb right at mile 2. The majority of people seem to hate loop courses, but for me, the more the merrier. The more times I ride terrain, the better and speedier I get each lap. When I know what to expect I can use my energy more wisely, and while some people can study maps and elevation charts and understand from driving it, I really only know what it is to bike a place if I’ve biked it. My goal was to ride the first loop sustainable pace that felt like I could go forever, and speed up from there.
Well, I didn’t really do that. I did ride at what felt like sustainable pace, but it certainly wasn’t 15mph like I’d planned, it was closer to 16. I didn’t fight it, and the second lap I was right about 16.5, and then I knocked out a little more speed on the third and spun the last mile or so easy to get my legs ready to run and ended up with a 16.69 pace.
I was scared as all get out about this bike course because I just don’t understand damn elevation charts. This one looked like a wicked course, but I loved it more than every other course I’ve ridden except maybe Kerrville sprint. I could have eeked out a few more tenths of MPH but I was really enjoying myself, I had more than beat my speed and time goal, and it was getting hot, I knew the run would be brutal.
The only negatives are that a huge tri with a 3 loop course, you’re always drafting a little even if you’re trying not to, rude people with 10k$ bikes, rude people with 10$ bikes riding on the left, and the fact that I am dumb and thought I dropped my chain but instead I just was going down a hill and had no resistance. Duh. I swear I’ve been riding my bike for more than 2 days.
Bike time: 1:29:54 for 25 miles
T2, I realized after doing my normal switcheroo and grab that I had way too many things in my hands to deal with, because I had added a wristband gel holder, a baggie of ice, and a frozen water bottle to my normal race belt and visor, and made the call to take some extra time to sort shit out. Baggie went down the back of my shirt, freezy bottle went down my cleavage, gel and holder went on, visor, and belt, and I was off.
T2: 3:45 (see, long. But it was a choice, not a fuckup).
That water bottle and baggie was my savior for the first 3 miles. The sun was beating down and it was hot as balls. My goal this time was to do everything I could to make it not an excuse, but something I could overcome. A lot of the run is kind of a blur, especially the last few miles, but here are the high/low points.
-Friend filled run: I saw C and M cheering for us! That was a huge boost, both on the first lap when they were there, and the second, even though they had left already, I was like “I can’t walk by them” and once I had made it by that spot, I felt better. I ran into Maureen about mile 1 who tried to get me to run faster with her, but I was just lucky to maintain where I was at. I ran into our tri friend quite a few times, he caught up to me at a point where I was really hurting, I picked it up for a while, but he had to take off. It helped me not to walk. Oh, I wanted to walk. So badly. But I read something that really stuck with me HERE (which btw is my new favorite blog), is she mentions that walking is a choice. Well, I may have been shuffling in the 12s at times, but I was not ready to make the walking choice. I’m still pissed at walking at Couples, and I think that is going to stick with me for a long time and keep me at least pretend running when the going gets tough.
-However, with a 3 loop course and a 2 loop run that doubles back on itself over and over, I never once saw Zliten (or J for that matter). We both were a little worried about each other until we met up at the finish.
-Ice ice baby: A frozen solid water bottle lasted me 3 miles. That’s how dang hot it was. However, I kept fairly decent pace those 3 miles (~10:30s) and just started to fade once my freezy friend was gone.
-The epic hill at the end of both loops was just mean. Especially the second time with no water and all the hot.
-I passed two girls in my age group on the way to the finish.
-My goal was under 11 min miles, and I just eeked out 10:57 pace. Yay!
Run time: 1:07:56 for 10k.
Total time: 3:25:52.
Considering my pie in the sky goal was 3:30, and my first effort 2 years ago was 4:04 and change, I am over the moon! A 39 minute PR! Simple math at the end of a race is hard. I spent lots of time in my head trying to figure out my times from pieces of information I recalled (what wave was being called when I exited the swim, what the clock said at mile 3.something calculating how long I started after the first wave and adding what I thought the rest of my run time was), but thankfully the results were up quickly and I just kept high fiving Zliten all day saying “3:25!!!”.
Next up is the race for all the pistachios. The A race of all A races for 2012.
With this fucker to conquer on the bike (2 loops).
Considering how my body feels this week so far (freaking fantastic – almost no carnage from the race at all), and the fact that I just have a little bit of hay left to shovel into the barn, I’m ready. Bring it on. I’m ready for half iron day.
MONDAY: 1650m swim + weights
45 mile trainer (30)
triple bricks (20 mile bike, 3 mile run) double bricks (10 mile ride, 2 mile run)+ weights
10 mile run (6 mile run + 25 mile bike)
FRIDAY: 1500m swim
15 mins swim/bike/run w/pickups extra rest day
MONDAY: OLYMPIC TRI (1500m, 25 mile bike, 6 mile run)
TUESDAY: 1050m swim + weights
WEDNESDAY: 35 mile trainer
THURSDAY: 6 mile run + weights
SATURDAY: 16 mile run
As you can see, training last week did not go according to plan. I cut some bike miles due to schedule crap so I could get 8 hours of sleep. Then my heel decided to act up a bit and to be careful, I cut some run miles and added back the bike miles. I think I ended up flush with the bike and about ~5 down on the run. I also cut the day before the race as my off day actually ended up being RUN ALL THE ERRANDS for 10 hours (literally), so rest was better than some arbitrary miles. I wanted to make sure I was excited and hungry for this.
This week should go more according to plan-ish. This week is also my first real definitely longer than half marathon run without a race to help me. It says 16 miles, but I’m considering just changing that to 3 hours, putting on something to zone out to, changing my garmin to just display time and HR, and just being one with the road.
For now, I have a crap ton of stuff to do and not much time in which to do it.
**Note: I swear I have post race pictures. Can’t find em. For now, please take this offering of a picture of mah new hair did (Birds fixed my layers).