Austin is awesome. Really cool little town that in a way reminds me a bit of Boulder. I guess the people that are from either city might not agree with me there but that is just my outsider opinion! Great people, great race and great BBQ!
The weekend was a bit of a whirlwind with a long travel day Friday and then getting everything prepared on Saturday. Having driven to my past few races I forgot how time consuming the flying/rebuilding bike process is. I'm all practiced up now for IMAZ in a couple weeks!
Race morning came around fast and...COLD! Yes, Texas is cold. I wouldn't have believed it unless I felt it myself. And I definitely didn't give it enough respect. Mental note, when the weather is in the low 40s and it's windy, I *might* need to put a jacket, gloves and/or arm warmers on for the bike...
Okay, I'll make this quick!
Holy cow - I CAN actually still swim under 30 minutes! YAHOO! (not by much but hey, I'll take what I can get). I'm pretty sure I swam better than I have been because Andy Potts zipped up my wetsuit. Yep, nobody else was around and I can't do it by myself so I asked Andy, knowing that he would definitely know how to do it right! :) Seriously though, I'm a big Andy Potts fan. Very down to earth and nice and funny too. Anyway, the swim was a pretty standard swim for me. Sprint at the start, feel like I might be dying, try desperately to find some feet, try desperately to see a buoy...ANY buoy...you know the drill. I was actually successful with the "finding feet" part but then my feet started to go REALLY off course on the far end of the triangle so I went off on my own. I think I started my own little pack which I lead for a bit but then eventually they passed me and I hopped on back for the ride in. I got up out of the water with Charisa and counted it a good day. Off to the wetsuit strippers and then my bike in 14th place.
Even though 14th out of the water wasn't the best (20 female pros started I think), the good news was, there was a whole bunch of people still in transition when I got there. It was at this point that I made my most stupid decision of the day - which was to NOT put on any extra clothes for the bike ride. Oh Beth. Silly, silly Beth.
I got off to a good start and, as mentioned, there were several girls riding just up ahead for me to chase down within the first 5 miles. This was fun. But after I passed a few people and got settled in for the long haul, I started to notice how REALLY, REALLY cold I was. Like really cold. From mile 5 to about mile 40 I was miserable. I'm just going to tell it like it was. I was just so, so cold and beating myself up for being so stupid for not putting any extra clothes on. I was having trouble controlling my bike and taking my nutrition and well, thinking straight. After about 75 minutes on the bike I was seriously starting to consider stopping at one of the intersections where there was a police car and asking if I could just sit in the car for a while with the heat blasted on HIGH. Yeah, I was miserable and it was only my own fault!
But I pedaled on. I just kept telling myself, IT WILL GET BETTER. The sun will eventually warm up the air and YOU WILL BE OKAY. And finally, around mile 40, that is just what happened. It was almost like a flip of the switch. I went from fearing the loss of fingers to thinking "okay...it's time to race!" :)
As you might imagine, my 35 mile pity party from mile 5 to 40 didn't really help with my power numbers or keeping my HR up. Yep, the numbers for this race weren't too pretty. BUT with a strong last 15 miles or so, I did somehow manage to have one of the faster bike splits and pull myself from 14th out of the water to 6th place out of T2. I will call that a success!
I started the run off like blazes - for one just because I think I was so happy to be off my bike and some what warm! :) I was also really excited to see my sister Becky and brother in law Doug who I knew were out on the run course. First mile 6:23...whoa there sister...dial 'er back in! I did just that and settled into 6:45 pace for the next couple miles. I didn't feel great but I was doing okay and then, my nausea started full force. Yep, it was just going to be one of those races - the kind where you are forced to work through some issues and learn how to keep calm and carry on. :) I feel like I did a really good job of managing my nausea this time around though (I learn a little more each race as to how to deal best with it) and although I suffered a bit for the middle 4 miles and my pace slowed to 7:00-7:10, by the end of the 2nd loop and for most of the 3rd (final) run loop, I was back to feeling pretty strong.
In the those middle 4 miles I got passed, first by Elizabeth Lyles (I have to say, she would have passed me either way as she went on to run a 1:22) and then by Jess Smith. Once I started to feel better I tried desperately to reel Jess back in but she was running very strong and tough and was not going to let me! In the end, she finished about 35 seconds up on me. Close but no cigar!
I finished 8th overall and honestly was pretty pleased with the effort and result. It wasn't perfect but I did the best I could and once again came away with some good lessons learned. I didn't feel great but I also knew I wouldn't. Honestly, who does feel great 3 weeks out from an Ironman? Nobody, I don't think! Still though, I'm so happy that I came to race and picked up some extra fitness for IMAZ in 3 weeks time.
And the entire weekend was so fun! My homestay Vicki was absolutely amazing - she has hosted a ton of athletes through the years and she totally knows the drill. She invited me into her beautiful home, gave me the most comfortable bed EVER to sleep on, fed me and amazed me with her stories from her experience doing RAAM last year. She cheered like crazy out on the course on race day. I truly couldn't wait to get to her spot on the run course each loop! :) And then she had an awesome BBQ at her house on Sunday after the race and I got to meet a lot of great people from the Austin triathlon community. Very good stuff.
|I'm pretty sure one of my homestay requirements now is that a cute dog is available for pets and playing ball. Izzy definitely met that requirement this weekend!! :)|
It was also just so, so, sooooo awesome to have Becky and Doug there. They came all the way from North Carolina and also cheered like crazy on the run course. Let's be honest, watching a long distance triathlon isn't the most fun thing in the world unless you are a triathlete! But they were great and it meant the world to me that they came. After not having any family at the last race I did, it was really pretty awesome to get a big hug from Becky and Doug at the finish line yesterday.
|Becky and Doug on the UT campus. Although short, we had a fun weekend together! (and they fed me real Texas BBQ after the race! :)|
And finally, I really enjoyed this race because I got to see and race with a lot of great friends! There is something very fun about getting to warm up with Charisa and put my wetsuit on with Jess and get the post race run down with Beth, etc... We are all just doing what we love and are so lucky to be doing it together!
So onward we go! More racing experience under my belt and just 3 weeks to go until my final big one! I've been gaining confidence all season long and it's time to finally put that to good use for my 4th attempt at this crazy IM distance.
That is...if Sandy ever lets me get back home from Austin! (next option...fly straight to Phoenix! :)
Thanks for all the cheers and congrats to all those that raced this weekend!