It’s not as easy as it sounds, but sometimes it’s gotta be done.
Last week I crossed over into Texas….First stop was The Woodlands to pay a visit to my parents as well as my brother and his family. Later, we went a bit further west to San Marcos (about 30 miles outside of Austin) to get some pacing practice under our belts.
If training and racing is hard, throw vacationing into the mix and it might be downright impossible to do 100%.
Kuddos to you folks who race in Cabo, Cozumel, Switzerland, and Hawaii. I have no idea how you do it!
Once I got to TX, it was a constant struggle to stay on task with so many other things to do!! My coach was kind enough to back down the weekly workload to between 8-9 hours for the week and it helped to make things very manageable.
Traveling is just hard on the body…no way around it! So are all the other things that do and DO NOT occur while away from home and the normal routines. ouch!
Training was pretty much status quo, so I’m going to re-cap the race real quick since it was the most exciting thing that happened this week!
A little background….
I have not had good experiences racing in July in Texas. The most recent was a few years ago. During that short race I swore to myself:
- I was going to die, that moment, on TX soil and
- once I didn’t die, I was never racing in Texas, in July, EVER again!
Time has a way of dulling the pain I suppose.
I also don’t have very fond memories of the whole Olympic distance race itself. In fact, I didn’t even do a write-up, after the NOLA 5150 last summer, because my experience was so miserable I couldn’t think of one positive thing to say…
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t day it all…..right??
Again, that time and pain dulling thing must’ve been happening big-time this past year because once I saw this “fast and flat” Oly race advertised the same time we’d be visiting Texas….
I wasted no time signing up!
And just let me pass along….
Mississippi “flat” is night and day different from Austin, Texas “flat”….
The last bit of information to have is that not only was the Oly event going on, but there was also a sprint, Oly aquathon, sprint aquathon, and duathlons of varying distances happening as well. Basically there were hundreds of people racing and there was no way to distinguish who was racing which event….That 42 on the back of my calf meant absolutely nothing….
This day was all about personal time, which is how it should be….
But sometimes that gets lost in the heat of the moment, ya’ know how it goes!
This was a 1500 meter (or 1 mile) swim in a residential ski lake. It was a time trial, jump off the dock kinnda start and the Olympic Triathlon folks got to go before anyone else. The water was hot, like everything else in Texas. The plan was to swim a sprint pace. Well about 500 meters into that “plan” I felt like my head was going to erupt into flames. Thankfully my breaststroke pace is about the same as my free-style because I needed it. I had to get my head out of that hot tub for a minute. I quickly told myself to slow the f*%k down and returned to nice long, gliding strokes. All was fine until about 1000 meters when I ran into the herd of sprint swimmers who appeared, for the most part, to not be moving. It became a swimming obstacle course and for the first time in my triathlon career, I swam OVER several men. My apologies, it was not intentional…there were just so many people in the water not moving anywhere…I finally made my way to the slippery ramp and decided to exit to the right, in the mud instead, because people were…well, slipping. It was a good call. There was the little business of a 400 yrd run to the timing mat (whats up with this???) outside of transition….hearing the “beep” the swim was done….
Official Time: 31:25, out of the water in 29:42 though so I need to hustle to T1 a bit quicker
I thought it was flat, it wasn’t. I’m sure for some of you it would be, but for those of us who struggle to find ANY elevation it was like riding the Alps. I can handle climbing, I don’t, however; descend very well. And descending into 90 degree turns, loaded with gravel, makes me really uncomfortable. ALMOST as uncomfortable as racing on 24 miles of fresh chip seal. The roads were, by far, the worse I’ve ever ridden on to date…..and we have some shitty roads here in South Mississippi! Despite the days obstacles, the work got done. I was a little disappointed in my power profile as it hung right at my HIM wattage the entire time, but I was gently reminded of the fact that I was training for an Ironman not an Olympic distance event…..very different systems being utilized so in actuality the numbers were quite good! Well then….go me!
Official TIme: 1:16:15/18.7 mph
The sun was shining, the temperature had climbed close to 96F and all that was left were 2 loops through a new residential development…..with fresh black top (where was THAT on the bike??) and not a tree in sight! There were aid stations with half-full shot sized cups of lukewarm water or some electrolyte mix every 1.5-2 miles. At one point I did stick my sweaty hand in the Igloo and grab some ice….Sorry folks, it was hotter than the gates of hell! This race was really about the run…..had I done enough training in the heat to survive? Can I pace the 1st two legs correctly, given the conditions, so I have enough to run the entire thing? The goal was simple: don’t think, just GO! So I did….there was a bit of walking, especially when I retrieved aid, but for the most part I slowly inched my way to the finish line. At around 4.5-5 miles I started to get cold and even got the chills. I knew the heat was catching up with me and I needed to wrap up the days festivities. The finish was 1/2 mile trail run down by the river, under a nice canopy of trees. Finally some shade….
Official Time: 1:00:39/9:48 min/mi
I still look a little swollen from the effects of the heat. My face was puffy for quite a while!
- Total Time: 2:51:55
- 2nd 40-44 AG (the husband got 3rd in his 40-44 AG)
- 13th women
- 50th overall
All in all, it ended up a good day at the races. No doubt, this is fun stuff…. but it’s a rare treat when the hard work pays off in a tangible reward. Most importantly, I’ve gotten a good grip on my pacing. I tend to be more than a little greedy when it comes to swimming and cycling because I don’t “trust” myself as a runner. Over the past year, I’ve had to let that go and really learn the skill of racing. It’s nice to see it working as it should….
Never stop learning!
Run Happy, My Friends!