The Austin Tri is one of my favorite tris, I love the course (only course I like more is Cozumel), I love the organization (High Five puts on a great race!), I love that it's local so I get to race with friends, I love the loops on the bike & run so I get to see tons of spectators! I just love everything about this race! 2012 would be my 5th Austin Tri- it was bought by the TriRock series, so it's new official name is TriRock Austin, but it's still the same race. I was feeling pretty good about my tri season so far this year, so I set a goal of PRing at Austin even though I knew my 2010 PR would be really hard to beat. Looking at the weather forecast, I thought it would be a great day for a PR (my 2010 PR was an odd cloudy, cool Labor Day) Sunny, 9 mph south wind, and high of 101 ("but it should 'only' be 88 when I finish"). In retrospect, I was a bit delusional.
Pre-race was pretty typical, up at 4:00am, meeting lots of friends in transition, hanging out at the team tent before heading down to the water for the start. The swim course was a little different this year, they've had a huge growth of fanwort in Town Lake, in some areas (most of the original course) it's way too thick to swim through, so this year we swam mostly east instead of west. I didn't think anything of it and assumed it wouldn't make any difference for me. I know a lot of people don't like swimming in Town Lake, but I have always enjoyed it. I don't think it's any "dirtier" than Lake P-ville, Lake Travis or anywhere else we swim, and it's certainly cleaner than the Ski Ranch water! No wetsuits this year, I got in the water with the other purple caps, and swam over to the start line, and heard "5...4..."seriously? already? ok, good thing I swam straight out to a good start spot! "GO" Not too much contact at the start and I felt pretty good. I noticed quite a bit of fanwort on that first stretch heading west, but we turned quickly and there wasn't much plant life after that. Crossed under the First Street bridge and headed toward the Congress Bridge- cool I'd never swum under First Street before! As I got close to Congress I started to smell the bat guano, I had not thought of that before the swim! We always smell it running under the Congress Bridge (where the famous Austin Bats live) but now I was actually swimming through bat poo! Ok, maybe this east bound course isn't so great after all. It also seemed like the water got choppy in that area, it was a little windy and they had boats out for safety so that's not really surprising, but I would turn to breathe and get a mouth full of water instead- yuck! I checked my watch at the turn but I knew it wasn't the halfway point and it didn't really tell me if I was on course for goal time or not. As I got out of the water I saw 36:xx on my watch! WTH how in the world did that swim take me 36 minutes?!? Goal time was 33 minutes. Yikes! Official swim time was 36:28 my slowest swim time at the Austin Tri ever! This was shocking to me because I felt good during the swim and I feel like my swim training has been going well.
As I was running up to my bike I could feel the KT tape on my ankle coming off- not cool, I had practiced swimming in it and it stayed on fine. (I've had a slight Achilles "thing" for a while, it's really more of an annoyance than an injury, but I'd like to keep it that way, and the tape seems to help). I got to my bike and decided that I had to at least take off the bottom piece of tape that was coming off anyway, so I sat down on my towel to do it right, put my socks and shoes on while I was sitting, I actually put one sock on upside down first (heel of the sock on top of my foot) I've never done that before! Then I got the rest of my stuff together and got out of there. 6:00 for T1- my longest T1 ever at the Austin Tri- not looking good for a PR so far! But I knew if I had a good bike & run I could still make up for it.
T2 was 3:27, nothing too interesting there, except that giant step up to get onto the course, I'm pretty sure they had a little step in between last year.
I started running and my legs still felt tired & sluggish. I hoped maybe it was just a brick feeling and they'd feel better soon. It already felt warmer than I expected, and I knew all hope of PRing was gone, so I just wanted to have a decent run. Mile 1 was actually pretty quick considering my legs didn't feel great. By mile 2 I was already getting hot and I ate my emergency sport beans. I was also feeling really thirsty, which is rare for me. Up the little First Street hill and back down, I was already halfway done! I LOVED seeing and hearing all the spectators on the course- so much fun even on a hot, tough day!