Where to start?
How about the location. Here! In Clear Lake! A five minute drive from my apartment! I can’t tell you how excited I am that a good local race director (Greg Pennington, who also does the Tejas Tri in Sugar Land and Ironstar in Conroe) has finally brought a great triathlon to this area. I usually have to leave home by 5:30 a.m. or earlier to make it to a given race; today I didn’t even have to wake up until then! And it was great fun to bike and run on streets and through neighborhoods that I know so well. I didn’t even have to think about watching out for signs or turns, because I knew exactly where the course went. The bike route is one I ride on a regular basis. The run route went back into the Nassau Bay neighborhoods I’ve always liked to run.
Jose came along to spectate so it was fun to have him around during the leadup to the start. We even found someone for him to talk flying with — another guy in my triathlon club is a pilot. 😉 I laid out my transition area and had plenty of time to chill out before the start of the race.
I transitioned to the bike quickly. Today I did take the time to pull on some socks, after getting two pretty ugly blisters on my toes last week at Ironbabe. I was in and out in 1:42 and off for the bike. I loved the bike. We made one big 16.5-mile loop around Clear Lake — Nasa Parkway to 146, over the Kemah bridge to 96, east to 270, north to Nasa Parkway, and back to transition in Clear Lake Park.
Last night I stopped by Webster Bike and picked up a water bottle for between my aerobars, which let me drink more than I usually do. After I got home, I gave my bike chain a good cleaning and today it felt like butter. Awesome. The miles flew by in a flash. A couple people passed me in the first few miles, but I passed them on the bridge climb and never saw them again. I’m also happy to announce that for the first time ever, I rode down the bridge without touching my brakes. I hit 35 mph! That was fun. I got back to transition in 51:25 for the 16.5 miles, or about 19.5 mph. I didn’t expect to be able to hit the elusive 20 mph average today, but I’m glad I came close. I felt good on the ride. I didn’t push quite as hard as I did at Ironbabe last weekend, but I felt strong and solid.
I got in and out of T2 in 59 seconds and headed out for the run. I was nervous before the race because I was dreading the run. Yeah — it’s not a good sign if you’re dreading the run before the race even begins! The first 3 miles went ok, but I fell apart for the second half. It took me — avert your eyes — 1:18:03 to cover the 10K distance. I’m embarassed to even post that here. It is my worst 10K time ever. After the turnaround, I was ready to be done. By mile 4.5, I was just so over the whole thing that I didn’t even care anymore. It was half physical, but half mental. I totally psyched myself out in the days leading up to this race.
As far as I’m concerned, this is the run-that-shall-not-be-named. Run? What run?
I crossed the finish line in 2:35:18. My goal going in (when I thought the bike was 18 miles) was sub-2:30. With the slightly shorter bike, a good goal should have been sub-2:26. Obviously I missed that. I will be more prepared next year.
All that said, I did have a great swim and bike, along with good transitions, and I managed to hang onto 3rd place Athena. First place did 2:19, which is close to unattainable for me at the moment. Second place did just under 2:28, which I should have been able to beat on a better day. C’est la vie.
I’m already planning my redemption on the run for the Hi-Fi Tri in two months.