Jose and me, pre-race! Mom took photos!
I did the Y Freedom Tri — a sprint distance race — over in Pearland this morning. This was the 4th year for this race, so I guess I’ve done it every year! In 2007, I had a pretty good race. In 2008, I totally rocked it. Last year was the run from hell. And this year? Well, my run wasn’t great, but my bike was pretty awesome. Jose and Mom came along to cheer me on, which was great! It’s always nice to have fans!
First, the numbers:
300m Swim – 6:30.3
T1 – 1:16.2
“12-mile” Bike – 34:01.5
T2 – 0:57.7
5k Run – 35:49.0
Total – 1:18:35.0
This matches my best time at this race, but I can’t call it a PR because they changed the bike course this year, and it was about a mile shorter than in previous years. That’s why I called it the “12-mile” bike. According to Gmap Pedometer, it was more like 11.1 miles. More on that in a minute.
I submitted the same 6:10 swim time that I always do, and was #171. More and more faster swimmers enter this race every year, I guess, since my number keeps getting higher and higher. I had to wait about 15 minutes before I started, but that was no big deal and it’s fun to watch the people ahead of me swim up and down the pool. I got out of the water and jogged over the timing mat, which accounts for the extra 20 seconds on my swim time from the 6:10 I submitted.
Once I got in the water and started swimming, I felt good — but the lanes quickly got clogged. It’s tough for everyone to get their swim time right for seeding purposes, and someone always ends up submitting a time that is too fast or too slow. I often hear complaints about those who submit times that are too fast, because they tend to lead to backlogs of people behind them. But I think people who submit times that are too slow are just as bad, because then they’re trying to pass everybody which causes just as much of a clog. Either way, I was just about right. I had to pass the two people in front of me, and one guy passed me. (The person who started immediately behind me was a girl, so the guy who passed me must have seeded himself too slow.)
Starting the bike
I had a quick transition from swim to bike, although I had to take some extra time to pull on socks. I usually go sockless, but the weirdest thing happened yesterday that made me change my mind today! I went on a 4-mile walk with Mom yesterday morning, and wore my normal running shoes and a pair of low cut socks that I’ve worn many times before. Somehow, I got minor blisters on the back of BOTH feet. Totally weird. But I wore socks today because I didn’t want them to get any worse on the run.
I felt really strong on the bike, and pushed hard. There were a couple people that I kept playing leap frog with, which was actually pretty annoying. One of them was a 23-year-old guy who would pass me, then slow down. I didn’t want to slow down, so I’d pass him again, only to have him speed up, pass me, and slow down yet again. I guess he didn’t want to get chicked! Like I mentioned above, the bike course changed this year. The first 8 miles were the same as always, but the last couple miles covered a different route. The pavement wasn’t as smooth over those last miles, which slowed me down slightly, but I thought I had juuuuust managed to average 20 mph.
Indeed, the results show me with an average of 21.2 mph! Wow! But alas, that’s based on a distance of 12 miles. And the bike course just wasn’t 12 miles, no matter how you measure it. It looks like the real distance was more like 11.3 miles, which gives me an average speed of 19.9 mph. Once you take in account the fact that I had my 34:01 bike time includes the time I needed to mount and dismount my bike, and run just a bit to the timing mat, I definitely averaged just over 20 mph. But alas, I can’t prove it. The elusive 20 mph average remains!
As for the distance? This is my biggest pet peeve about triathlons! It is not difficult to measure a course to a reasonable degree of accuracy with something as simple as online maps. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s very close. So if you know your bike course is 11.3 miles, why advertise it as 12??
Starting the run
As I started the run, I had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be a good running day for me. I felt SO tired and was breathing really hard, right from the start. I hoped that I would get my legs under me and settle in as I ran, but that didn’t really happen. I didn’t walk, but my “run” felt more like a shuffle, and I was lucky to finish with an 11:33/mile pace. (The run, advertised as 3 miles, is actually a full 5K. Again with the distances.) It was quite a difference from a couple of the great runs I had last month, and although the heat was certainly a factor, I don’t think it was the only one. Maybe I was tired, maybe I didn’t eat the right stuff yesterday, or maybe I just went too hard on the bike. I’m not sure.
Jose cheering for me as I approach the finish
I was really happy to see the finish line, and get the ice cold towel that the volunteers handed to me. One volunteer struggled to get my chip off my ankle, and I had to eventually do it for her because I really needed to keep moving. For a full 15-20 minutes after finishing, I felt a little light-headed every time I stood still. Maybe the heat DID get to me more than I thought.
With my 2nd place Athena award
I finished in 2nd place Athena, a mere 45 seconds out of 1st place. At first I was disappointed to miss winning the category by such a slim margin, but I got over it quickly because I honestly don’t think I could have gone 45 seconds faster anywhere on that course today. I pushed myself to the limit in all 3 disciplines — in fact I think I actually pushed TOO hard on the bike, and it hurt me on the run. And I DID push myself hard enough to just nip the two women who finished 3rd and 4th in Athena. I beat 3rd by a scant 3 seconds, and 4th by 13 seconds! Woo!
The July race calendar is empty except for the Lunar Rendezvous Run, which I’m going to miss this year because we’ll be in Florida with Jose’s entire family. I know there are a bunch of July 4 running races, so maybe I’ll head to one of those. Otherwise, next up for me is probably the Tri Girl Sprint in mid-August, and maybe the Clear Lake International Tri at the end of August.