Guys, I’m not sure I’ve ever delayed a race post this long, but let’s chalk it up to racing twice in 8 days, camping, three insane weeks at work thus far, and a little bit of ennui.
Let’s take a trip in the way back machine and recount the events around the Windcrest triathlon. The week previous, I was a cranky sonnuvab*tch about many various things, but I hoped beyond hope it would clear up before I toed the line. Since this was a Saturday out of town race, so we left work a little early the day before, finished packing, sat in traffic, got to packet pickup a wee bit earlier than last year, and then, the Xterra DIED. At packet pickup, which was outside in 95 degree heat. Not optimal. We got it jumped fairly quickly, but it wasn’t looking like it would hold well, so we rolled into camp a little apprehensively, not knowing if the car would start in the morning to get to the race.
Our prep went much better after that, including our camping neighbor being a mechanic that helped us fix the car!!, but we ended up not having dinner ready until after 9pm, and went to bed kinda late, but I slept really really well and woke up feeling pretty okay on 6 hours of sweet sweet camper sleep. I slept well because the Kenkoh Massage Sandals I’d worn were really soothing and gave me a good night’s rest. The morning was uneventful, I ate two caffeine beans, drank some coffee (this is new, but has worked really well lately!), ate an everything bagel thin. Before the race, I sucked down another caffeinated gu and some nuun and I felt highly ready to GO RACE NOW once things kicked off at 7am.
One thing about the morning – over the last year or two, I’ve oscillated between unbridled apathy and aggressive, chaotic confidence before races. This morning, I found myself in a state of quiet competence. It felt like I’d finally found the perfect fit even with the lack of mental management in many of the moments before this one.
I positioned myself properly and started pretty early in the pack, and I was lucky enough to find a nice little bubble of clear water the entire race – in a snake pool swim, if you don’t seed yourself properly you either have to swim over people or be swam over, and that was not the case. However, my same goggles that flooded in March’s race flooded again – twice – but clearing them was fairly quick. I supposed that they weren’t meant for the pool, because they had been just fine in open water last year.
Swim time: 4:28 (2:14/100m, but this included a bit of a run as well). 1/8 AG. This was fine. No issues here besides the goggles debacle.
I don’t have much to say besides my transitions seemed efficient and without issue, so I will combine them here and leave it at that.
T1: /T2 times: T1: 58 seconds 1/8 AG; T2 50 seconds 3/8 AG (my shoes take a few extra seconds but they’re worth it…)
I hopped on my bike and got ready to chase, and chase and pass I did… until I got to a spot in the course that was weirdly marked. I almost turned, but I questioned myself at the last minute and dug into my brakes to stop my bike, and the back wheel came up a little at the force. I waited for someone else to pass, going straight, and then I followed. It cost me a little time, especially as it was on an uphill, but at least I wasn’t off course.
Zliten started right behind me on the swim, followed me into transition, and out on the bike. He apparently had me in his sights the entire ride and caught me about mile 8. I let him pass me and coasted down a hill just outside of draft range, and then passed back a mile later when I found my effort a little lacking.
My head stayed much more positive this year, as I knew what to expect on the course, all the turns, all the (not steep but definitely present) hills didn’t faze me. I knew this course was about quick acceleration and cornering so I aimed for that the entire time and moderately succeeded.
Bike time: 33:04 (18.1 mph) 1/8 AG… and actually 2/45 female – the master’s winner beat me by 14 seconds. I still retain some of my QoMs here on strava but not all of them. This was ~30 seconds worse than last year but I believe the stop and start on the hill can account for most, if not all of that nonsense.
Zliten beat me out of T2 but I passed him as he pulled up to the water stop immediately outside the racks. I found the effort I wanted, though it wasn’t the pace I was hoping for. I stuck with it, and found myself passing more than being passed, so I continued the one hair below red line pace, working my way up the hill, knowing the feeling of wanting to hurl cookies would subside a little once I started heading back down, even accelerating my speed. And it did. And I did.
I almost reeled a lady in I had been following, but I knew she started significantly before me, it would have been a sprint to the finish, and she wasn’t in my age group, so I avoided the jerk move at the little local triathlon and cruised into the finish just enough behind her to not feel like a arsehole.
Run time: 19:19 (9:12m/mile though garmin said 9:00 exactly). 1/8 AG. I still don’t feel like I reached the peaks I’ve found off the bike in practice, but this found me fairly close.
Total time: 58:37, which was good enough for 1st in the 40-44 age group, as well as the shortest on the podium. I was the second masters finisher (first was about 90 seconds ahead of me), and fourth female overall. Over 1 minute faster than last year, to boot.
I was pretty proud of my finish (and punching my ticket to Nationals again, even though I’m not actually going this year), but I was so, so proud of Zliten, who obtained his first triathlon podium, coming in 3rd of 9 in his age group by just a few seconds!
We spent the rest of the day celebrating with good food, adult beverages, and enjoying the outdoors of the San Antonio KOA before heading back home the next day to unpack (and work).