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Friday, July 17, 2009

Couples Triathlon - Full Circle

(Photo by Kevin Saunders)

Couples Sprint Triathlon Race Report - Quick 'n' Dirty from the Triathlon Trucker

So I wrote a race report and I honestly don't know what happened to it. So, until I find it, I will post a truncated-this-should suffice report for the sake of keeping track of all this triathlon jazz.

Woke up 4:45 a.m. Had tire pumping up issues on bike(s). Decided it was a wash to try to fix these issues by myself and so I just loaded up the bikes and headed to the tri after eating a yummy breakfast of organic coffee and steel cut oats.

Arrived at Walter E. Long Park at approx 6:05 a.m. I'm quite proud of myself because I did not get lost going out there this time. I think it was a combination of the fact that I was following someone with tri bikes on their car and I've been riding out there at Decker Lake a lot more often and so things are starting to look more and more familiar to me. I can't explain why that area still alludes me after a year of racing and riding out there. Very strange. Hopefully this triathlon marks that day that my penchant to getting lost in this area is through. We'll see.

6:45 a.m. Grab an awesome spot at the end of the line for transition and set most of it up. Then I proceed to plead with the wonderful Sam, a Jack and Adam's mechanic and bike-angel to 1.) recommend a better pump 2.) fix my chain which I had somehow pulled off the previous night while cleaning it 3.) fix a tire for me. And he did. And I probably owe him cookies or something for this great work.

7:15 a.m. Everything is set and my bike got a mini-tuneup thanks to Sam. I'm a little perplexed that my partner is still not there. Transition will soon be closing. I try not to worry and chat with my many wonderful, beautiful, fast and awesome friends who were accompanying me in this tri. Jess A., Becky, Rebecca, Jodi, Jennifer, Sylvia, Jason, Mike P., Joe, Dan M., Lisa S... it was great to see everybody.

7:25 a.m. My partner arrives in the nick of time. I'm quite relieved to hand over the extra cap, goggles and timing chip I had been carrying around. We head down to the swim start to check it out.

We all head down to the start. There is a warmth and an excitement in the air. I keep looking for my girls but I can't find them. My right quad keeps seizing up, I remember thinking it was probably due to the mileage I ran the previous day. I do some drills while standing in place and the warmth helps the soreness/seizing go away.

The gun sounds and a mess of hundreds of women's bodies bubble up around me. This was by far my worst swim start yet, but I remained ever-calm and just kept trucking through the water. It was so crowded. And so warm! I suppose I got used to swimming in the chilly 68 degrees of Barton Springs and so the nuclear-warm waters of Decker were not comfortable for me at all. I could feel myself sweating. Girls were pumping into me left and right. Usually in a tri swim I find my own space and get ahead of the pack. That never happened on this swim. There were girls grabbing all parts of my body - my quads, my butt, my shoulders. I was suffering through the swim but I made it out of the water in a good time. 16:52 or something.

As I slog up the hill to transition I see my buddy David volunteering and cheering. It helps me run faster. I think I see Jennifer's parents. I'm feeling good and ready for the bike.

I make a game-time decision not to put on my bike gloves. It didn't seem necessary on a 11 mile bike. I honestly did not miss them.

I get out near Decker Lane and my newly installed bike computer pops off. I freak out a bit, wondering at first what fell and then seeing the computer missing a little bit too late to stop. I note the surroundings and figure I'll come back after the tri to see if it's still intact. (SIDE NOTE: Fortunately after 20 minutes or so of looking the lovely Liz finds my bike computer on the side of the road after the tri. I was very grateful. And yeh it still works!)

I push the hills on the bike. They are familiar and I felt good throughout the bike. This is a first for me. Usually I feel good on the swim and the run, never the bike. So I know I've been putting in good hours on the bike and it's paying off. My legs were happy. I kept thinking my cycling mentor Rebecca C. would come up on me and push me toward the second half, but that never happened. I came up on Jennifer P. on the big hill near FM 973. I cheer her on as best as I could on the hill. My happy my legs still have it despite me training through this tri.

Transition is smooth. Note to self: get those quick tie laces already. I run out of transition only taking a slight wrong turn and see Carrie B. She cheers me on and I greatly appreciate it. I start out too fast on the run like I always do in tris. Somehow this is never a problem for me in running races but in tris I just get so excited (at first) to run. Somehow I end up with stomach pains during the run. Maybe it was the goo I took at the start of the run, not sure. I am in pain. I feel like the run is a death march. I catch myself in some negative thinking about how hard the 1/2 Ironman is going to be here at this same location. I catch myself thinking "its ok to slow down a little, you're tired." Bad thoughts. I am a fast runner. I know this. But I'm not thinking that way. Not that day. Somehow I find it in myself to push, but I'm in pain. I want to walk on the hills, but I don't. I feel like a tired bull dog. Don't ask me why. I always feel like I run like a bull dog when I'm tired. The sun is beating down on me yet I'm getting chills. Not sure what that means. I try to think positive but there is no positive thing in my head aside from the finish. I try to feed on that and just keep looking ahead. I pull my tired legs up the last mile long hill to the finish. Immediately at the end I feel like I could have put more in. I guess that's what training hard through a tri will feel like at the end.

I turn and see Jennifer P. finishing right behind me. It's nice to have someone there at the finish right when I finish. I love that girl. She's so tough and so motivating to me. I get some Pure Sport for us both and I also see my buddy Mike P. and go chat with him. I ask him what he did the previous day...he says "70" (referring to his bike mileage) but I thought he said "7" (referring to running mileage) I gleefully joke "I beat ya" and hold up eight fingers. He takes this to mean 80 miles on the bike. Cha...I wish!! I figure out my mistake and I congratulate him for his amazing 70 mile ride. I know WILL get there someday. I start to feel better about the tri overall. I know I got a course PR and that alone starts to make me happy. I forget the tough time I had on the run and bask in the joy of the finish.

I cheer in all of my friends and partner into the finish with a huge smile on my face. I drink a Coke (shocker) after all friends were finished and enjoy half of it along with some other bad-for-ya food. I never drink pop so the craving was new to me. I'm going to roll with it. A treat like that once in a while is ok. I get some ART work done and the Dr says I need to be trigger point rolling daily. I cringe at the thought. He says that if I'm truckin', training and racing as much as I am I really need to be on top of the trigger point. I told him I'm a trucker, yes, and I might consider getting on the trigger point regimen. Ack...another thing I need to buy.

Next tri is August 2. I'm ready to truck through that swim, enjoy the bike again and kick some major on the run! Wish this little tri trucker some good luck!

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I am a marathoner. That means I have a tummy that could sieze a spider.