I headed over to Pearland this morning for the Silverlake Tri. This was my first tri of the year, believe it or not, and the first I’ve done in 11 (!) months. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but the weather was beautiful and it felt awesome to be back out there. On top of that, I felt good and strong and reclaimed the 1st place Athena spot after getting beaten by less than a minute last year. (Even better, I held on for 1st place with 3 other Athenas right on my tail — the 4th place finisher was only 1:15 behind me.)
The results are a little whacked out, but my total time was 1:17:40. That’s the slowest I’ve ever finished this race and at first I was pretty confused — I knew I probably wouldn’t match my 1:11 from last year but I didn’t expect to be THAT much slower, especially because I felt like I had a solid race. It turns out that the bike course changed again this year and was 11.2 miles. (In the past, it’s never been more than 10.) It’s frustrating when courses change because it means you can’t compare results, but that’s how it goes.
First, the race results don’t have transition times recorded for anyone. They just list swim, bike, and run times, which means transition times are lumped into those somehow. I don’t know whether T1 is lumped into the swim or the bike, and whether T2 is lumped into the bike or the run. That’s pretty strange and I don’t understand what’s going on there. The other weird thing is that for everyone in my wave, our swim time is listed as 0:00. That means the time got lumped into the bike time, therefore making my bike time look unusually slow. I’m hoping they’ll figure out their issues, and I’d really like to know if that run time includes T2 or not. Here’s what got recorded for me:
400m Swim + T1 + 11.2 mi Bike: 46:29
T2? + 2.9 mi Run: 31:11
Update: The results got updated! The swim time apparently didn’t record, but my swim+T1 was 10:27, bike was 36:02 (18.6 mph), T2 was 1:13 and my run was 29:58! LOVE that run time!
I would have known about the longer bike course and I’d have some info on my transition times if 1) I had remembered to pick up my packet and 2) my Garmin hadn’t died pre-race. I swear, between those two things plus a rather hilarious incident on the swim, I felt like the universe was telling me not to race!
So I forgot to pick up my race packet. This is a BIG DEAL in triathlons, where most races do not have race day packet pickup. Despite thinking about this race all week, it never occurred to me that I needed to go get my packet (with numbers and other info) on either Friday or Saturday. Yesterday as Jose and I were driving home from HEB, I started thinking about when I needed to get up this morning. “What time should I get up?” I wondered. “Well that depends on what time my wave starts. What wave am I in? Um….CRAP!!!” Fortunately, a buddy from my tri club had the race director’s cell number and I called her directly to try to explain my massive brain fart. She took pity on me and allowed me to get my packet this morning. WHEW! Crisis averted.
You know, I’ve overslept to the point where I’ve arrived at races minutes before the start. I’ve overslept so much that I’ve missed a race entirely. I’ve forgotten to pick up my timing chip on multiple occasions and realized only when the race was moments from starting. But I’ve never forgotten to pick up a tri packet. That’s a first.
You may remember that my Garmin Forerunner GPS watch literally fell apart on a run back in January. I reattached the front panel with superglue and the watch continued to work just fine. I even used it on a 4 mile run yesterday without incident, so I was surprised to find that morning that it just plain would not turn on. The power button seems broken — I don’t feel it clicking anything, so I suspect something else has broken inside. Alas, I don’t think superglue will work this time so I guess I’ll finally buy a new one.
The bigger issue with not having it this morning was that I never knew how fast I was going or how far I’d gone. (Except once, when the bike course passed one of those traffic signs that shows your speed and it said “Your speed is 19 mph.” Woo!) I had to race entirely on perceived effort — which actually turned out to be kind of nice. I’m annoyed that I don’t have my Garmin data only because the race results are messed up.
I was in the last wave with yellow swim caps. The turnaround buoy for the swim was also yellow. On the outbound leg, every time I tried to sight, I saw at least half a dozen yellow things bobbing in the water. Until I got closer to the buoy, it was almost impossible to tell from a quick sighting which yellow things were other swimmers’ heads bobbing in the water and which yellow thing was the buoy! I’m pretty sure I ended up aiming for another swimmer at least a couple times. Fortunately the swim is short and the lake is small so it’s hard to get TOO far off course.
Whew. Ok, this race report is already getting long and I’ve barely touched on the race itself yet!
The weather today was IDEAL. If the tradeoff for the lack of rain is a continued string of nice weekends…I just might take that tradeoff. It was chilly enough that I needed a light sweatshirt on my way over, and even wore it later in the day as you can see in my award photo. I arrived shortly after 5:30 — I needed to be there super early to make sure I could get my packet. That meant I had plenty of time to set up my transition area, visit the port-o-potties, and hang out with my tri club buddies. Transition closed at 6:30, the race started at 7, and my wave — the last wave — didn’t start until 7:27 so I had lots of down time. I thought I’d be bored, but there were a lot of BAM folks there to chat with.
It was chilly enough standing around that the 74-degree water actually felt good. The lake level was low this year due to the drought, but the water was fairly clear (as clear as lakes around here get, anyway) and calm. It was a quick and easy swim. If/when I get updated results on what my time actually was, I’ll post them. I suspect it wasn’t that great, but I felt good enough. I haven’t been swimming in a LONG time so I didn’t expect greatness.
The first bit of the bike was pretty chilly and my feet even went a little numb from the combination of cooler temperatures, wet, and wind. But I settled into a good rhythm and felt strong the whole time. I passed a handful of people and only a couple passed me. There weren’t many people left on the course since I was in the last wave, but that meant I had plenty of room to maneuver — there are a lot of turns on this course, so having some space is nice. A few miles from the ends, I passed a girl with an “A” on her leg. An Athena! My competitive juices kicked in and I turned it up a notch as I passed her.
I took time in transition to pull on a pair of socks before the run just to be careful — the last time I ran without socks I ended up with a couple blisters. I headed onto the run course and within a quarter mile, the other Athena passed me. She got about 30 feet ahead of me but then either she slowed or I sped up, because I was able to hang out behind her for a bit. “Ok, this could work…if I can keep her close, maybe I can pass her at the end,” I thought. Just shy of the 1 mile mark though — she walked! Woohoo! I was able to pass her, and I knew there would be NO WALKING from me, no matter what. I didn’t want to look behind me so I kept my pace steady. The course finally took a left turn, which gave me a chance to glance to my left after I turned. I spotted her about 200 feet behind me, so I just kept plugging along. At the next turn, I glanced over again and didn’t see her at all. “Yes!” I said to myself.
I kept up my pace and felt good. I’d really like to know whether my T2 time is included in my run split or not — if it’s not, I had a very solid run at about 10:30 pace and if that DOES include T2 time, I had a fantastic run. It’s a good thing I kept up my pace, because the other girl ended up finishing behind me by about 40 seconds. This year it was me taking 1st by seconds, instead of losing it! That’s a good feeling.
All in all: fantastic weather, fun races, fun times!