The guy who marked my age on the back of my leg got a little creative yesterday. I didn’t even know it was there. Jose noticed it when I got home, and it made me laugh.
After the huge storms that rolled through last night, it was actually a fairly nice morning for a tri. Nice for June anyway. Humid, but not too hot. I signed up for the Sugarland Women’s Tri about a week and a half ago on a whim. And though I hate driving to Sugar Land, this was a great race for which to make that sacrifice. I did this race 4 years ago in its previous incarnation as the Speedo Women’s Tri, so it was fun to return to a course that I only vaguely remembered.
I arrived with just enough time to set up my transition area without being rushed, then head over to get my chip, make a stop by the bathroom, and walk over to the pool deck. This race is held at a really nice aquatic center, and the pool was the nicest I’ve ever been in with the exception of the pool at Georgia Tech (which was built for the 1996 Olympics). I was one of only 5 BAMmers doing this race, and the only one wearing a spiffy BAM jersey, so I wasn’t sure if I’d find the other girls or not. But I met Kathy while in the bathroom line, and saw Stephanie on the pool deck later. I saw Cathy (a different Cathy) after the race as well.
The swim was once again seeded by estimated 300 meter swim time. I’d estimated 6:10 which put me at #85. This was a 50 meter pool, so it was big enough to start two people at once, one on either side of the pool with the exit in the middle. I lined up with the odd numbers. As the race began, there was a girl (#90-something) who was standing between me and the girl in front of me. She was making all sorts of crazy comments about the people in the water — saying things like “oh that person’s gonna get caught,” and “look at her form, it’s crap!” I thought it was pretty presumptious of her to critique the form of the women in the pool who were obvious faster than her (given her race seeding), but whatever.
I hopped in the water and was off. I haven’t been in a 50 meter pool since last year at the Y Tri, and though my brain knows that it’s twice the distance of my normal pool, it still feels like it takes forever to get across the pool. Where was that wall?? I passed two girls in front of me — one who had stopped because she was having a problem with her goggles, and another who was just going slow. Three laps later I was done in 6:11!
Did I seed myself correctly or what?
(As a side note, I looked through the results and there were only 2 people — myself and another girl — within plus/minus 15 bib numbers that swam anywhere close to a 6:10. This is the part of pool swims that I hate. My bib number was 85, I swam within 1 second of what I predicted, but 6:11 turned out to be the 38th fastest time overall. That’s almost 50 people who seeded themselves too fast! People just do not seed themselves correctly! Pet peeve!)
The volunteers at the end of the swim were a little overzealous in dragging me out of the pool, and I ended up with a couple minor scrapes on my knees. No matter. I was on my way into transition in no time. Shoes on feet, helmet on head and I was off while the girl who’d started the swim just ahead of me was still putting her stuff together. T1 time 50 seconds.
I got on the bike and started pedaling. I’d like to average 20 mph in a race sometime this year, and I was determined to give it my best effort. My run is always slow, so I don’t see much point in holding back on the bike. I might as well go hard. I whizzed down the road, passing a lot of girls in the process. I probably passed 20-25 people over the short course, and no one passed me. I rolled back into transition in 29:05. The race was advertised as a 10-mile ride, but my Garmin read 9.5 miles — so I was either just over or just under a 20 mph average.
Either way, that is my fastest bike split ever in a race, so I was very excited about that. And as I came into T2, I was greeted with a bunch of empty racks. The racks were laid out in order, so the first couple racks were full since the people who’d started the swim far ahead of me had already headed out for the run. But there was still a lot of empty space in the 40-80 bib number range. I was #85, but I beat the majority of the 50s, 60s, and 70s back into T2. That was a good feeling.
I got through T2 in 58 seconds. It was a little slower than T1 because I had to run farther in my bike shoes (slow) and I had to pause at the rack for a couple seconds to keep from falling over as I reached down to change shoes. Yep, I rode hard on the bike.
As I ran out of T2, a girl ran up beside me and said something like “wow, #85, you’re amazing!” (I wish I could remember what she actually said, because it was better.) She was #42, so I must have passed her on the bike. I couldn’t help but laugh as I said “I may be a pretty good swimmer and biker, but you haven’t seen me run yet. 11:00 miles, oh yeah.” But it turns out that she was a lot like me and runs the same pace. “Who cares,” she said, “you just smoked all of us on the bike!” That was definitely a confidence booster. I pulled ahead of her on the run, but I looked at her results and she must have finished just a few seconds behind me real-time (a few minutes chip time). I saw her again after the race and we congratulated each other.
The run was, as usual, sucky. Yet again, I am forced to admit that, without question, the run is where I have the most room to improve — by leaps and bounds. Each mile felt like an eternity. But I managed to keep it steady and ended up finishing the 3 miles in 33:50. I had hoped to get 11:00 pace, but it was not to be.
My final time was 1:10:54. The race had no Athena category so it wasn’t a hardware day for me, but I did finish 13th (out of 32) in the 30-34 age group. In my age group I was 6th in swim, 4th in T1, 4th on the bike, 4th in T2 (if it had been an aquabike, I would’ve placed 5th!)…and 21st on the run. Sigh.
Overall it was a very fun race and I’m pleased with my results. Maybe next year at Lonestar I’ll enter the aquabike and go for my first piece of “legitimate” hardware…