Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Memorial Hermann Sugarland Tri Race Report (a/k/a Tri #2)

I headed out to Sugarland around 4:45 am. As always, I question my sanity when I have to be awake at 4:15 am. I’m sure my Mom questions my sanity as well, since I am crazy enough to ask her to watch the kids at that hour (she probably questions her own sanity for agreeing to it, lol!). Anywho, I managed to miss the exit…probably because the words “Austin Parkway” were stuck in my head and I was looking for that exit rather than Hwy 6. Doh! But, I figured it out and managed to get to the race in plenty of time to set up my transition area. The dude next to me was cracking me up, because he had this huge towel set out with all his tri gear spread everywhere. Fortunately, he was on the end of the row, so he wasn’t in anyone’s way. It was then that I realized that I had left my ½ PB&J on the kitchen counter, so I took a Gu instead.

Once I had my gear all set up, I headed over to the bathroom and then to the pool. I stuck my foot in the water and it felt great. Cool, but not cold. I’ve only been in a 50m pool once, so the length didn’t seem terribly daunting. I went back to check my transition set-up one more time and then got a call that Kelly had arrived. We found each other and it was great to have her there…it would have been so boring to not know anyone there and have to hang out alone before the race!

Once the pool swim was about to start, I headed toward the pool. I was number 590 out of 700 people, so it was going to be awhile. Fortunately, Kelly and I could talk through the fence. I went over to the pool a few times, just to 1) see what number was swimming and 2) make sure I understood the whole “snake” swim thing. We totally cracked up seeing a woman with the race number 666 on her arms! Seriously, I would have either stayed home or asked for a different number. LOL! It was fun to watch people swim. I loved watching the fast folks effortlessly glide through the water, but I was also relieved to see backstroke, sidestroke, breaststroke and even, gasp, doggie paddle.

300 M Swim - 9:01, 58/72 in AG (pathetic!)
Finally, it was my turn! I hopped in the pool where a short line began to form and waited till it was my turn to get in the lane. The guy called out “10 seconds” and then “Go!” and off I went. Definitely faster than I should have been. I made it to the wall and then headed back. I got into the next lane, but was already winded. I pushed off, but then did sidestroke the entire 50m. I did the same thing pretty much the entire way back too. Cripes! I took a second to catch my breath at the wall before the final lap and managed to freestyle the majority of rest of the way. Fortunately, there was someone there to help you out of the pool! I think I wasted a few seconds getting myself out. I knew my time was going to be slower than at TriGirl…in open water, there’s no wall to stop at. Later, when I saw my actual time, it was pretty embarrassing. I know I can do better!

T1 - 1:54
T1 went pretty well, although I think I spent too much time drying off my feet. I need to practice getting my socks on wet feet or try going sockless. There was one thing I thought was funny…the guy next to me (with the huge towel) started putting on his running shoes. Then, he looked over at me and said, “the bike is next right?”. I told him yes. He asked me, “Are you biking in those shoes?” referring to my running shoes. I told him yes, that I didn’t have bike shoes. Then he cursed under his breath and was trying to hurry up and take of his running shoes and put on his cycling shoes. I gulped a little Gatorade and was off!

Bike - 10 mi - 32:02, 18.7 mph, 17/72 in AG
I love the bike! I was happy with my ability to HTFU and mount the bike and go…I worried about getting my feet in the cages once I was on the go. The 2 people in front of me, not so much. I had to slow down a bit so they could mount and get out of the way. For the most part, the bike route was flat. There were a couple of inclines that I wouldn’t necessarily call hills. There was a little bit of a headwind going out and my pace was anywhere between 15 mph to 18 mph depending on how the wind. As I was approaching one intersection, a car passed me in the next lane and then stopped… I needed to turn left and the police officer at that intersection was yelling at the car to “GO! GO!”. I had to slow down a bit while the dude was trying to decide if the cop was yelling at him or me. He finally went and I could turn. There was one other place where I almost missed the turn. It was funny, because the guy behind me made a comment about that being confusing. He passed me, but we leap frogged most of the way back. Toward the end, he really picked up the pace. He was going too fast for me to pass, but not quite fast enough for me to stay 3 bike lengths behind him. On the way back, there was a decent tail wind in places which definitely helped my speed. I don’t think I was under 17 mph the entire way. Before I knew it, I was at the transition area again. It snuck up on me, because I was surprised when people were yelling for everyone to slow down. Did I mention that I love the bike?

T2 - 1:06
T2 also went well…it probably could have been a little faster since I don’t have to change shoes. My legs felt jello-y as I attempted to jog my bike back to the rack. For whatever reason, I racked my bike seat-first and struggled to get it there (because my gear was in the way). In retrospect, it would have been so much easier to rack it the other way! Live and learn. On my way out of transition, I saw the bike guy I had been leap frogging with…he was still getting his running shoes on.

Run - 5k, 31:52, 10:37 pace, 28/72
The run was pretty sucky. I immediately began to feel cramps in my shins, so I walked for a few seconds and then began running again. I forgot my Garmin, so I had no idea of my pace. This run was 1 mile longer than the run on my 1st tri, so between that and the much warmer temps I was just hoping to have a pace of 10:30 or better. During the 1st mile, I only walked through the water stop. Fortunately, there was not only cold water, but a guy with a water hose spraying everyone and a guy handing out cold sponges! The next mile felt better. I had finally gotten my legs back and had my breathing under control. I did feel like I was slow as molasses though. I walked through the 2nd water station and once again enjoyed the sprinklers and cold sponges. The 3rd mile was where I started to feel tired. I’ll admit, I took 2 walk breaks. One mid-way through and one about ¾ of the way through. On the 2nd walk break, the bike guy caught up. He said something like “this is the last turn, right?” and then held out his hand and said “great race!”. I shook it and then he sped off. Naturally, I had to run again! I managed to stay close to him until the very end. I really wanted to sprint it in, but I had nothing left. Between the uneven grassy running surface and the heat, I was done. As I crossed the finish line, I thought to myself “You’ve gotta train harder! You need to do more bricks!”

Looking back, I am disappointed with my swim, but happy with my bike and even my run. I know I need to get into the pool more often, so that’s what I intend to do over the weeks leading to TriGirl in August. I also intend to do some more running in this god-awful heat, just to make sure I’m acclimated to it. I love this sport and think I may actually have a chance at improving a great deal!

Final Results
30/72 in AG, 307 overall, 1:15:56

1 comment:

Jen's Journey said...

GREAT JOB!!! I am so glad that you mentioned the uneven finish in the grass, that was horrible! With my knee pain I was scared to death that I was going to hurt my knee or turn my ankle! They needed to make the finish on the sidewalk or something.

Congrats on finishing your second tri and for doing running wonderful race!

Keep going STRONG!!