As I mentioned before, I didn't get to sleep/eat the way I wanted leading up to the race, but I managed to stay hydrated, and didn't overdo it on the drinking (big pat on the back.) On Sunday I met up with a training friend at the Expo/Bike Check-In, and then promptly packed my race bag as soon as I got home. It can be stressful making sure you have everything you need, so I didn't want to put that off until the last minute. My parents grilled out on Sunday evening, so I joined them for dinner (flank steak and pasta salad) and got to bed at a decent time. For once I actually slept well (I rarely do before race night) and woke up with enough time to fix breakfast, shave my legs, and finish up any last minute getting ready tasks.
I made it to the transition area with plenty of time to get set-up (and then pout over the stupid girl who moved my bike from it's prime spot. I hate it when people do that.) And then the waiting began. I had dealt with a slight upset stomach the day before, and I could feel my nerves getting the best of me just standing around. So I found a grassy spot to sit down and stretch, and just happened to be on the other side of the fence from where the volunteers remove the wetsuits of the swimmers. I had never actually seen that before, and it was highly entertaining. Definitely kept my mind off things until it was time to line up for my start.
Swim: Time- 34:12 Pace- 2:16
Once again, I was one of few who were not wearing a wetsuit for the swim. The water temp is not an issue for me as I train at Barton Springs Pool, always a cool 68 degrees. Looking ahead though, I might give one a shot just from a buoyancy advantage. However, I was really pleased with my overall swim. My pace was consistent with my last two races. I wasn't super fast, but I didn't get out of the water totally exhausted, either. I maintained a steady freestyle stroke, and noticed that the bilateral breathing really did help keep me on a straight path. I didn't have to spot as much once I got out of the mixmaster at the beginning. I only had to switch up my stroke a few times when the wind started creating some waves that were messing up my breathing. I came out of the water running, and thought I was making a quick transition. But I ended up walking my bike up the hill to the mount line as I was cramming in an energy bar, resulting in a longer than necessary transition.
Bike: Time- 1:40:03 Pace- 14.9 mph (pitiful, considering I have averaged 16.6 in previous races)
This is where it got ugly. I was intentionally slow on the first straight just so that I could warm-up my legs and hydrate a little before reaching the first two hills. My first lap was probably my fastest though, as after that the wind really started to pick up. It was coming in gusts, some so strong that I actually worried I was going to get knocked off my bike a few times. Luckily my legs felt great the whole time, but I knew I was not going nearly as fast as I should have been. And every time I tried to make up ground on the downhills, the wind just kept it from happening. I think all of my training on hills has put me in a good spot strength-wise, but going forward, I definitely need to start doing some speed work. I had just enough water (one with Endurance powder, one plain), and ate a Gu just before the last lap, so at least I was able to maintain my energy level for most of the ride.
Run: Time- 1:05:52 Pace- 10:36 (downright embarrassing)
Another long transition, but as soon as I started running, my legs felt good. I popped a few PowerBar Energy Gels and figured I could hang in there as long as I was getting water on a regular basis. When I turned the corner onto the street, I saw my parents, my brother, and one of his good friends in town for the wedding. Just what I needed to get me motivated for the long hour ahead. And then who did I see just a few feet after that? Stupid Frans, and his two kids. It was fine though. I heard him cheer my name, but I didn't acknowledge it. As soon as I passed a water station, I grabbed a cup to drink, and a cup to pour down my back. The first two miles went alright, but then I hit some headwind, and an uphill, and broke down and walked a little. I know better than that. It wasn't that my legs were hurting that bad, but I was tired, and the wind was making me work so much harder. I should have just slowed down some, as that decision set the precedence for the rest of the run. Had I not walked, I probably could have maintained my 9:00-9:30 min pace that I started with. Oh well. I finished, and overall am happy with what I accomplished.
Now that I know what an Olympic feels like, I would definitely like to give it another shot. Next paycheck, I'll sign up for the AVIA Austin Triathlon, held on Labor Day. I did it last year and it was a great race. I think with another 3 months of training (and a few sprint-distance triathlons mixed in) I will be more than ready to tackle another Olympic.
The positives from the race: solid, steady swim, and just the right combo of nutrition and hydration.
The negatives: didn't hang in there mentally when I should have talked myself through the run. I can't control the weather elements, but I need to be prepared to handle them a little better.
|Just getting started on the run. The smile only lasted about 3 miles.|
|Finally....the finish line!|
|My race age (however old you are on the last day of the year) and my grandfather's initials in honor of Memorial Day and his service.|