An old friend Liza (who I haven't seen in years) happened to be standing at the finish waiting for her boyfriend to cross the line. This is what she took about 2 sec after I crossed the finish line. What she didn't capture was the subsequent dizzy-spell stumble because I attempted to stop immediately after sprinting across the finish.
I wanted to do a quick recap of today's race before I drift off into nap land. I'm fighting the urge, but it's inevitable. First, I want to acknowledge the fact that while I'm sitting on my couch snuggled next to my cat having just showered and wiped away my #72 Race Number, many people who I know and don't know are also racing much longer distances today in Lubbock at the Buffalo Springs Ironman 70.3 and Ironman Couer d'Alene. Many good vibes go out to all!
and now...a quick recap.
This was the first ever Triathlon in Lake Pflugerville, which is a man-made lake in a northern suburb of Austin. The shorter distance intrigued me, as did the fact that the race was going to max out at 350 participants. I really enjoy the smaller races as well. I honestly haven't been doing that much training. Obviously, I've been slightly preoccupied over the last few months. Fortunately, my run training has continued and truly helps me in all three disciplines.
The Swim- 500m I've always said that I wanted to just be an average swimmer. If only I could come out of the water in the middle of the pack, I'd at least feel like a contender. My age group wave was fairly small. I ran into newly married Colleen as we all nervously stood around in our caps and googles still placed on our foreheads. She introduced me to a friend of hers who was incredibly nervous. It put my nerves to ease a bit seeing someone else so incredibly shaken by this event. We were the 4th wave to start and the 3rd female age group to go. We got in the water and the bottom was disgusting. It was that soft mushy mud that sank up to your ankles and felt slimy. I walked until I could tread water. I was feeling slightly nervous, but that's certainly not unusual. Things only got worse for Colleen's friend when we entered the water. Her ankle timing chip came off,which is the worst thing that could happen. While I was treading water, I actually tied it in a knot around her wrist while our 1min countdown started.
The good thing about our wave was that I rarely felt the kick and pull that you feel at so many swim starts. I found a position immediately and tried to relax. So, the relaxing thing wasn't happening. Every now and then I would indeed hit someone or they would hit me. I kept trying to site the buoys and make sure I was on course. I always feel so relaxed in the pool, but an open water swim in a race atmosphere takes it all away. We turned one buoy and at one point I looked up and it looked like people were swimming the wrong way...Or, was it ME?! I stopped and treaded water for a few seconds. "Nope, I'm still on course and there are people in my age group behind me!!" I put my head in the water and just tried to give it all I had.
I saw Shawn who was there cheering for me and he gave me the "Go Get 'Em" command that I needed to hear!
I finished in 12:39, which was good enough for 11th out of 29 in my age group. I had reached my goal of being a middle of the pack swimmer. Of course, I didn't know any of this at the time. As with every race, my job now was to get on my bike and attempt to chase down as many women as possible. Because there were 2 other female age groups ahead of mine, I had a lot of people to chase!
BIKE So, it was advertised as a 13.2 mile bike, but the race announcer kept saying a 14 mile bike today. Because I didn't bring my Garmin , I still don't know what the final actual distance was. I was just trying to push as hard as I could, but still leave the tank at least 1/4 full for the run that was still to come. The bike course was fantastic...a one-loop course, a few rollers, but nothing huge, decent roads, some nice straightaways to pick up speed. I was passing a lot of people and the entire time, I was only passed by two bad-ass guys who were on a mission to win the race. I passed a few women in my age group, but several from the other two waves that started before us. I took it as an encouraging sign that the 30-34 age group seemed to be dwindling. I just assumed that there were a few ahead of me all the time. It kept me driving as hard as I could.
I finished the bike in 42:07 and according to the results page it was a 13.2 mile ride at a pace of 18.8mph. I didn't know at the time, but that ride was good enough for #1 in my age group.
Again, I saw Shawn as I was pulling into T2 and just seeing him and hearing him gave me the little push that I needed to give it all I had on the run.
RUN It was advertised as a 3 mile run and it's also my favorite part of any triathlon. This is where my Gazelle training works miracles. My swim fear is over and the fear of mechanical problems on the bike are over. Now, it's just me. This course was a 3 mile loop around the lake on crushed granite trail. Thank goodness it was mostly overcast because there was absolutely no shade to be had. I took off and saw a woman in front of me that I recognized as being in my age group. I passed her in the first half mile. Thank you! From then on, I just kept looking ahead and made it a mission to just keep passing the person in front of me. I was really tired and felt the mental demons start whispering. "Slow down and relax. Isn't this supposed to be just for fun?" In the first mile, I took a Tangerine Power Gel. It took a few minutes, but I suddenly felt the lift that I needed to finish strong. Like the bike, I passed a lot of people and was only overtaken by two fast dudes.
I love seeing the finish line! It gives you the biggest rush and sense of accomplishment. As it drew near, I saw one more woman ahead of me. I tried to pick it up, but ran out of room. I didn't pass her, but it ultimately didn't matter as she was in the 25-29 age group anyways.
According to results: 3 mile run in 19:40 (6:33 pace!!)--sounds a little far fetched to me, but I'll go with it! #1 in my age group