Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Austin Triathlon Race Report

It was somewhere along the second loop of the run course as I turned off the path from Butler Park and back onto Barton Springs when this thought occurred to me: Thank goodness U2 has been around for about 30 years! I could hear the U2 cover band, Mysterious Ways, playing at the finish line carnival. I knew they had at least 10 albums worth of music to play before running out of material- and with my run pace, I would need them to make it through at least "Achtung Baby" before I rolled in.

It took me 3 hours and 48 minutes to complete my first Olympic distance triathlon. Yes, that's a long time- but when I break the race up into its separate components, I was actually quite close to my expected times for each event.

Swim goal time under 40 minutes
Swim actual time 42 minutes

The water felt great and I only occasionally thought about all the turtles who were in for a rude awakening. The course didn't require me to sight every 3-5 strokes. Instead I could work on keeping my head down and sight less frequently. That is, until I tried to find the last buoy. The sun was right behind the last buoy making it nearly impossible to see. Fortunately the kayak volunteers pointed me in the right direction and I continued on my way. I realized on my way in to the swim exit that I could have given just a little more but no time to fret about that now- it was on to the bike!

I allowed myself some extra time in transition to grab a few SHOTBLOKS and water. My legs were still a little wobbly from the swim and weren't fully cooperative when I attempted to put on my shoes, but I finally got it. Then I trotted my by out to the mount line.

Bike goal time under 90 minutes
Bike actual time 94 minutes

As I pedaled away I could hear Lindsey C. yell my name over the bull horn, "Go Carol!"
The Congress Ave hill up to Mary Street came a little too early for my legs. Its not even a real hill-hill. Its more like a long bump but I was already feeling it. I knew, however, that between the return trip downhill and the flat route out to Austin High School, I'd find my groove. And I'll share a little secret with you: I hate being passed by anyone on a mountain bike. The way they sit upright and pedal along in too low a gear, elbows cocked out to the sides. Who do they think they are with their knobby tires? Find a single track, will ya?

I stayed a little conservative on the bike because I was concerned about my run. I've only run over 5 miles 3 times before this race. I've never run a 10k race so my first timed 10k would be this tri.

Run goal time: not last
Run actual time 1:23

It turns out that my 10k pace for this races was a full minute faster than my 5k pace at both the Danskin and Sweet & Twisted this year. Hmm. The first two miles were tough, really tough. Partly because it started on a dirt path, but more likely because I have not been incorporating enough brick workouts into my training. MUST ADD MORE BIKE-RUN bricks.
Then I heard Amy and Brnadon yelling my name and I knew I had to step it up. There was only one way to get to he end, and the faster I went, the sooner I'd be able to rest.

One of my favorite parts of the run is you can really see how hard people are working. You can give them an "atta girl" or a "looking good" and watch their stride pick up just a little. Second best part about the run: cold sponges! These dreamy foam squares were a key to keeping me comfortable during the run. Unlike Sweet & Twisted, I never felt dehydrated or overheated.

This run was a heartbreaker because I had to run PAST the finish line carnival and run for three more miles before I was done! I could hear the names of other racers being called, the music of U2 in the background and I beers being poured. Yes, really. I could hear that. Each frothy amber drop.

So around I went again, squeezing sponges over my head at the J&A rest stop, clomping over the dirt paths to Barton Springs Drive and ever so slightly picking up my pace. I wish I had timed the laps because I know my second lap was faster than my first. I hit the gas as soon as I turned back onto Barton Springs from S. 1st street. And the best part- truly, was breaking the finish line ribbon at the end of the race. I've never done that before and it was as good as I imagined it.

Despite what they say, triathlon for me is not an individual sport because it it weren't for these people (and many others) I would not have had the great experience I did:

Thanks to my Rogue coaches and Amy Marsh for preparing me for this race and cheering me on!
Ruth, Jen HB, Laura and Brandon

To my Red Licorice teammates and training buddies for cheering me on and witnessing my biggest race to date!
Stacey, Jen R., Jennie, Amber, Rebecca, Ron, Penny, Rachel, Leilani, Lindsey, Ron (I still do my side lying leg lifts!), Erin and Michele

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