Last year at this race, I finished 5th in my age group and felt like I was on top of the world. I really point to this race as a breakthrough for me because, up to that point, it was the closest I had come to being "on the podium." Since then, I've had some great races and have built a little more confidence in my triathlon abilities. My goal for this year was to try to come in the Top 3 of my age group. It seemed doable, but as we were driving out to Marble Falls this morning at 5am, I told Shawn that I wasn't sure where any extra time would come from besides the swim. I remember giving it all I had last year to finish with a 2:13.
It ended up being a gorgeous morning for a race in Marble Falls, which was surprising due to the recent amounts of rain. The weather kept many people away this year, but it was definitely their loss. I was happy to be there. And you know what? It doesn't matter how many races I do. I still get nervous as hell as my age group is corralled into the water. Nothing beats that combination of nervousness, fear and excitement. That odd combination of "What the hell am I doing here" and "I can't imagine being anywhere else at this moment."
1000M Swim What can I say? It was a typical swim for me. Start in the back and end in the back. I felt relaxed the whole time, but I just could not get speed to save my life. I always end up in "no mans land" swimming by myself. So...I finished 12th out of 15th in my age group on the swim with a 21:32. Here was the shocker. Last year, I exited the water in 26 minutes! Either last year's course was long or this year's course was short. Either way, I'll take it! I was starting the race with 5 minutes in the bag. Yes! I also have to justify my performance by saying I was less than 2 minutes away from being in the middle of the swimming pack. (of course 2 minutes in a swim is a long time, but I stray).
23 Mile Bike Ride The first mile sucks as you have to climb up a bridge immediately. I was having trouble from the start getting any form of rhythm. Plus, my legs were rearing their ugly heads from our long bike the day before. Right away, my mind was like, "Just give up. Don't attempt it. Today is not your day." However, my body wouldn't quit. My heart was beating like a newborn as I struggled to gain control. The first 5 miles were rough as they were mostly uphill on the frontage of an interstate. Once we hit Route 71, I finally started finding my energy. " OK Carrie...Here we go." I saw a few women up ahead. I passed them. I saw a couple more and after a while, I passed them. All in all, I passed 12 women on the bike and was passed by one woman who was just tearing it up! I looked at her calf and she was 60 YEARS OLD! You go girl!! She was on a Guru Crono. I hope I'm that graceful on mine when it comes in! The last few miles back to town are the reward for the climbing on the way out. I probably averaged about 25 mph on the last 5 miles, hitting over 30mph on some of the downhills. I got back to transition in 1:12:36 for an avg of 19mph. That was good enough for #2 in my age group. Last years time?? 1:12:45! I had 9 more seconds in the bag :-)
4.4 Mile Run It was starting to get hot out there by this point. Last year, this course seemed to fly by. Today was a different story. I did what I do best and just tried to keep a fast relaxed cadence. About a 1/2 mile into the run, I passed a group of 4 women, one of which was my friend Katy who was kicking butt!! (she had a 14 minute swim for God's sake!) I missed the first mile marker so I did catch my split until Mile 2. It was a 14:30. That meant that the first two miles were 7:15s. I was running well, but I was definitely starting to fade. I can't wait to see the official pics because I'm sure they are hilarious. My hair was flying out of the visor. My race belt was positioned in such a way that it was making my tri top expose a little too much belly. I was running fast, but my mind was starting to fade a bit even with a gel shot at Mile 1. In fact, I was telling myself to just slow down. I was convincing myself that no one would pass me and that I should just relax. ha ha ha... Try to tell a triathlete to relax with one mile to go. Whatever. I hit Mile 3. 7:28. Yep, I was definitely fading. The last mile went fast ( Thank you Baby Jesus in the Manger ) and we made the final turn up a gravel hill towards the finish. I pushed it as hard as I could and crossed the finish line with arms extended. My run split was a 32:08, which was a 7:18 pace...Good for #1 in my age group! Ironically, in 2006, I had a 7:09 pace for the run so the only place I lost time today was on my strongest discipline!
FINAL TIME: 2:08:55 2nd place in my Age Group and a 5 minute PR from last year.
While I'm obviously very pleased with my time, I must give props to those women out there who were just kicking some tail! I was the 19th female overall out of 93 women and I gave it all I had. I don't even think a week of rest would've had much impact on today's race. Some of these women and men are just incredible athletes.
So, what a weekend it was!! Friday: 17 mile Run Saturday: 59 mile Bike Sunday: Marble Falls Sprint Tri
All in the bag.
I let myself go tonight at South Congress Cafe and indulged in a margarita, mojito, appetizers, a meal and dessert baby! (That's probably why I was 19th instead of 1st!) ha ha That's ok...it was well worth it.