Thursday, September 05, 2013

Houston Towne Lake Sprint Triathlon - Race Report

Nothing like starting your day with an "Oh sh*t" moment, because you set two alarms for race morning and neither of them went off.  Hmmm, I set one for "weekends"and one for "Sunday"...ummm yeah, the race was on MONDAY morning.  It's Labor Day, yo! (said in my best Jesse voice from Breaking Bad)

Luckily, my internal alarm clock is used to waking up stupid-early, because I still managed to get dressed and arrive at the race with more than enough time to spare.  I really wasn't sure what time to arrive...the transition for the olympic distance closed around 6 am, but us sprint folks had until 7:10.  I wasn't sure how the parking would be, so I ended up planning to just get there really early.  You know, just in case. I parked easily and made it into transition and saw this....

Yes, that's right...I was racked at #666
Imagine my surprise when I looked at the numbers...there's 1045, 1043, 1041 and 10-wait, what's that?  Yes, it was #666....but it was crossed out with a skinny markers and then 1039 was written in.  Oh well, at least my race number wasn't 666...I would have stayed in bed.  One person I know, who happened to be racked a few spaces over commented that this meant I would just ride and run like the devil.  I hoped so!

After some visiting and gabbing, I headed down to the water and did a little warm-up.  It didn't go as well as I would have liked, so when another tri peep came down to the edge of the water for a swim, I tried it again and had much better results.  A few minutes later, I found the Hubby and kids.  About that time, it was time for the sprint race to begin.  The race started with the Oly at wave started at 8:33, so I still had a little time.

THE SWIM - 400 meters, 8:19, 2:05/100
Finally, it was time to get in the water!  I have to say that this felt like my best swim ever.  The day before, I had a short practice swim and kept telling myself to just keep going - to think of myself as a machine that just keeps going and going.  During my practice, I said to myself, "You are a machine"with one word on each stroke and breathing during the "machine".  I thought I would use this mantra on race day, but for some reason I kept telling myself to be calm instead.  In fact, I think I was repeating something stupid like "Be" (stroke) "Remarkably" (stroke) "Calm" (stroke/breath).  Hey, stupid or not, it worked!  I was calm, I swam.  No anxiety, no crazy breathing, no panic.  And the funny thing was....the swim was over before I knew it.  It.was.awesome.

A friend captured this pic of me coming out of the water...I am smiling!  I think that's a first for me!  When I saw the Hubs, I told him, "Best.Swim.Ever!"

TRANSITION - 5:53 (WTH???)
So, everyone says that transition is the 4th event in a is very true at this race.  There is a 1/4 mile run between the swim exit and the transition area.  It's over sand, grass and pavement, so it was recommended that athletes bring an old pair of shoes to put on and use to run to T1.  I did this. In retrospect, I think I would have been fine barefoot.  Fumbling around with my shoes cost me valuable time.  Well that, and I had to pee.  Sigh, yes during a sprint.

THE BIKE - 12 miles, 38:36, 18.7 mph
The bike was frustrating to me.  With both a sprint and an oly going on, the course was crowded and I felt as if I was spending much of my time yelling "ON YOUR LEFT" and riding on the left side of the lane.  Everytime I started to pass, it seemed like I would pass multiple people.  There were a few times when a biker would just be riding right in the middle of the lane.  Other times, there seemed to be a casual rider to the far right, a semi-fast person trying to pass, and a much faster person creating a 3rd lane to pass both. (I was somewhere in the middle.)  Maybe I should have been more aggressive, but I didn't want to get in trouble for violating any rules, so I pretty much just played it safe.  Toward the last few miles of the race, the course thinned out a bit and we had a bit of a tailwind, so I was able to make up some lost time.  I was surprised to see that my pace was only a teeny bit slower than Bridgeland (which was 18.8 mph), because I felt like I was really pushing it at Bridgeland.

T2 - 2:27
No peeing, no fumbling with shoes.  Not sure why this wasn't faster...something I can definitely work on!

THE RUN - 3.1 miles, 28:14.3, 9:06 pace
As I came into T2, the Hubby yelled something about how one I my friends was 8 minutes ahead of me and that I needed to catch her.  Something the Hubby may not have realized...I think 8 minutes is a long time and my friend is a hella fast runner...ummm, yeah so not motivating, lol!  But seeing him and the kiddos as I headed out on the run did help, as did seeing a couple of awesome friends who were cheering.

Yes, that is a heel strike!  Add it to the list of things to work on....

TOTAL TIME - 1:23:30.9 (9th in AG)

I ran sooo much better here than I did at Bridgeland.  I didn't wuss out and walk at all...okay, that's a like, I didn't walk until after mile 2.   Every time I looked at my watch, I was under a 9:30 pace.  And even though my heart rate was into the 170s, it still felt great.  I know that a 9:30-something pace isn't "fast", but this is pretty damn good for me.  (Note:  I do think the run was a bit short - maybe 3 miles?  I didn't start my Garmin right away and I forgot to stop it when I finished and my pace was around 9:25/9:30) The run did stop feeling good sometime after mile 2 when the sun came out from behind the clouds and was beating down on my right side.  For a few seconds, I became a pansy and walked.  But then I somehow managed to channel my inner bad ass and started running again.  It might have been because I could tell that I wasn't that far from the finish.  As I approached, I heard friends call my name.  Then a fellow coach from Woodlands Fit called my name.  And then I saw the Hubs and the kids!  And then it was over.

Me and the kids after the you know how hard it is to get one shot with everyone's eyes open?

So yes, there are things I learned from this race - have a mantra on the swim, be more aggressive on the bike, and channel the inner bad ass on the run.  Oh, and definitely work on faster transitions.  Other than that, I wouldn't change a thing...I had fun on this race. Oh, and the nice bling certainly helps, too!

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Yeah, *****! Magnets!!!! Sorry, you can't mention Jesse without that one popping in my mind.
Great tri!!! You did fantastic. 666 ... really???