I was really looking forward to this race this year, and then I got strep throat. While I feel 100% better, I’m still on the antibiotics, not to mention that being sick means I haven’t run since last Saturday, haven’t biked since last Thursday, and haven’t been in the pool in almost two weeks. I didn’t think I had much chance of beating my time from last year, 1:15:11, so I didn’t even wear my watch! No watch, and I haven’t put a computer on my new tri bike yet, so I had absolutely zero idea of how fast I was going or how far I’d gone.
Maybe I should leave the watch behind more often! I had a great race, and finished in 1:14:19 — a minute faster than last year, and that’s after being sick all week. Crazy. My time was good enough for 3rd place Athena, although I’m still kicking myself for not winning. I was the first Athena off the bike — I could tell because mine was the first bike back on the rack, and we were all racked together. I didn’t know if I could hold on during the run, but I gave it my best shot. It was impossible to tell who was Athena, because not all of us had the giveaway “A” on the back of our calf. Turns out I was passed by two other women, probably in the last half mile, because they each finished less than a minute ahead of me. But that’s life. I’m still very happy with my race and with the improvement over the last year. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
I reinforced my reputation for arriving at events at the last minute when I got into transition only 5 minutes before it closed at 6:30. But the sad part is that I was actually in the parking lot before 6 a.m.! Because this race is in the middle of a neighborhood, the parking areas are a mile or so away and you have to walk or ride your bike to the race site. I obviously didn’t study the map hard enough, because I set off for the race site — and a mile and a half later, I was in the middle of nowhere. I’d missed a turn right out of the parking lot and had been riding backwards along the bike course! (I didn’t turn around earlier because I saw cones and figured I was heading in the right direction.) Sadly, I even dragged two poor guys along for the ride, since they’d been following me. We turned around and finally found the right road, but I probably rode 5 miles before the race just trying to get there. I can be such a flake sometimes.
Fortunately I can set up transition quickly, and I had no problem getting out of there before it closed. After that, I had a lot of time to hang out since I was in the last wave, starting at 7:27. There were plenty of people to keep me occupied. We had a ton of BAM people out there, and I also got to hang out with 4 of my Texas Independence Relay teammates! Katy was psyching herself up for her first tri, Cassie was, like me, doing a tri after being sick all week, and Jon (and Waverly), Edwin and Manny were there to spectate.
Finally, it was time for those of us in the last wave to begin! I hate being in the last wave, but I’ve gotten used to it, since that’s where they tend to put the Athenas. As a positive, it always means that the course is less crowded, so I guess that’s something. The water was 74 degrees, so there were a few people taking advantage of it being wetsuit-legal. But I went without, and the water actually felt fantastic. My goggles fogged up a bit, but soon enough I had completed the V-shaped course and was running through the grass towards my bike. My position in transition sort of sucked because I was at the complete opposite end from the bike out, but nothing I can do about that. It was a long run from transition to the exit, and more running across a small parking lot to get to the bike mount line, but finally I was there and off.
The bike course for this tri is a little unorthodox, with two sections that involve a lot of 90 degree turns in quick succession through the subdivision, as well as a u-turn halfway through the course. It forces you to slow down more often than you’d like, but I actually think the twists and turns are kinda fun to ride. I came out of the water behind my friend Cathy, as well as Katy and Cassie since they’d started in waves ahead of me, but I passed them all on the bike. Did I mention that my new bike rocks? 🙂
I came roaring back into transition and racked my bike on the empty Athena rack. I’ll have to post my splits once the results are online, but I averaged right at 19 mph for the short 10-mile ride. Just about the same as last year. I headed out for the run and felt pretty good. The weather this morning was absolutely perfect — cool at the start, and the sun didn’t really come out until I’d finished, which meant it was also cool for the run. And no humidity! I’m loving these late-season “cold” fronts right now.
Again, I had no watch, so I had no idea how I was doing but I felt strong and knew that I was definitely under 11:00 pace. I knew Katy and Cassie would be catching back up to me, and sure enough, Katy passed me just before mile 1, just before I saw Jon cheering on the sidelines. I kept going though, and feeling good. Cassie caught up to me with less than a half mile to go, and we stayed close through the end. She was running a little faster, so I used her as motivation to finish strong! We saw Jon, Waverly and Edwin again just before the finish. My final run time was under 31:00 for an average pace of about 10:20! I can’t be too upset about losing 1st and 2nd on the run because that is still a dang good run for me.
Afterwards I hung out for a while chatting with all my friends and waiting on awards. The timing company made an error that put all the Athenas in the first wave — which meant that the results showed our swim times as 32-38 minutes. Obviously wrong. Subtract the 27 minutes between the first wave and the last wave and you get our true time! They still hadn’t fixed the error when I left, but I did alert the timing guy to the issue. They’d figured it out already for the 40-44 women, but hadn’t realized they’d done it to the Athenas as well. So my posted time (and the one announced during awards) was my gun time of 1:41:xx but like I said, subtract 27 minutes from that for my chip time.
All in all, it was a beautiful day for a race and I had a great time. I can’t wait for the Combat Tri next Saturday!
Update: Finally found the results online.
Swim: 9:02 (last year 8:25)
T1: 1:35 (1:33)
Bike: 31:33 (31:21)
T2: 1:12 (1:07)
Run: 30:56 (32:48)
Total: 1:14:15 (1:15:11)
I’m a little bummed to see that all of my splits were slower than last year except the run, but then again, I’d been sick all week. And I was only seconds slower on each part, but my run was a solid 2 minutes faster. The seconds in T1, T2 and on the bike are a wash, and the swim course was different this year so who knows — it may have been slightly longer, since they’re usually pretty hard to measure. I’ll take it. And it just goes to show you never know how you might place. Last year I was 2nd Athena with a time that was a minute slower! It’s possible that the run course was a tenth shorter than last year. I’m not sure though, since I didn’t wear my Garmin.