The Rookie is a super sprint and the first race of the Texas Tri Series. I had a hard time getting excited about The Rookie this year. At the Tri Zones open water swim Nick yelled "See you tomorrow Heather" while I was out in the water and I thought, how am I going to see Nick tomorrow, he's racing. It took me a minute to remember oh yea, I'm racing too! Geez! Jeff and I had Torchy's Tacos for dinner- yummy but terrible pre-race dinner! I did manage to get to bed early and sleep well which was good since Red picked me up at 4am- thanks again for the ride Red! We were the first people to get to the Ski Ranch besides the crew and Red took off for her volunteer parking duties. I got my transition area set up, said Hi to Katherine volunteering in transition, and hung out with Ron & Roger for awhile, Ron would be doing his first tri today-awesome! Roger helped me set up the Tri Zones tent and then the other Tri Zoners started arriving. I knew I wanted to do a swim warm up, but I knew I would get cold getting out of the water and waiting for my start so I brought my sleeping bag to use as a blanket. And I'm glad I did! I was freezing when I got out of the water and I still had 40 minutes until my start! The water was chilly but not bad and it didn't seem too dirty, although I did smell something gross a few times while I was swimming, was that smell from the goats?? I'm not sure but it wasn't good.
Goals for this race1. beat my Skeese Greets (same course) time from last year2. beat my Skeese Greets swim time from last year
3. beat my Jack's Generic (fastest bike pace at the Ski Ranch) bike pace from last year4. beat my Skeese Greets run time from last year
I started fairly close to the front of my swim wave, about 3 rows of people back, but as soon as I started I was blocked in and stuck behind slower people. I should have known to start right at the front, the best swim I've had at the ski ranch I started at the very front of my wave right next to Desiree Ficker, so I should have known better. Kendra was volunteering at the swim start and said later "yeah you should have started at the front, I could see you got stuck behind people right away". I finally pushed my way through the slower girls and just a couple of strokes later I felt my watch fall off (don't feel bad for me, it's a crappy $5 watch that I've had for 2 years) I tried to grab for it but it was gone, oh well. I really noticed how much nastier the water was since I did my warm up, all those guys before my wave really stirred up the muck from the bottom- yuck! I got around the buoy and was heading back toward shore when the girl beside me decided to breaststroke, she kicked me hard right in the kidney and it really hurt! Ugh! The swim was not going as well as I had hoped. I finally got out of the water and they had a volunteer telling us "stand up and wipe off your face" I really appreciate that because it's not cool to do the rest of the race looking like you have a beard and mustache from all the muck and gunk in the water! I didn't know until after the race, but my swim was 8:04 compared to 8:02 at Skeese last year, I guess that's not so bad considering I had a pretty bad swim this year and a great swim last year.Side note about the swim
The ski ranch water is pretty dirty but it's no where near as bad as the old Cinco Ranch venue or from what I hear Tri Andy's (I've never done Tri Andy's). And the ski ranch water is WAY better at Skeese than at Rookie just because it's a smaller race and the muck doesn't get stirred up as much at Skeese.
I got out of the water just ahead of Southie Bonnie and she said something about drafting off me on the swim. As I was leaving transition, Shelley came in looking like she had had a great swim. T1 was 3:12 compared to 3:43 last year.
I got out on the bike and had to pass quite a few people right away. Amy flew by me around mile 3 or 4. I remembered this course being pretty hilly, but it didn't seem too hilly today (maybe that's from all those hills with Coach Jen last year!). I had some trouble getting into my big gear so I ended up just using my small front gear, I'm sure I could have gone a little faster over the first half of the course if had been in my big gear. Shelley and I played tag quite a bit. I really enjoyed the bike today, the second half was hillier but still fun. Amy flew by me again around mile 8 or 9 and said "I rode 105 miles yesterday without a flat and now at the RACE I flat!" That sucks! But it sure didn't seem to slow her down much! I was really wondering where Eva, Julie, Sandra, and Kim were, they started after me, but are much stronger cyclists so I expected them to pass me between miles 6 and 9. Finally on the I35 frontage road with less than 1 mile to go Eva passed me. At the dismount line Julie passed me. I was happy with my ride and knew I had beaten my goal. My Jack's pace last year was 14.2 and my official pace today was 14.8, although my Garmin says 15.1 and 11.4 instead of 11.1 miles, so I'm going to go with that :)T2
I got into T2 and someone had racked their bike right in my spot! That has never happened to me before, I quickly asked the volunteer what to do and he said "just rack right on top of them" so I did, then changed shoes, grabbed my stuff and got going. T2 was 1:40 compared to 1:33 last year, I'm going to blame that on taking time to ask what to do about my stolen spot.
I knew I would have to work really hard to beat my Skeese run pace from last year so I tried to keep my pace up and my feet fast from the start, my legs felt really good. I saw Katherine as I headed out onto the road. I had forgotten how much fun this run is since you get to see everyone on the way to the finish on your way to the turn around and everyone heading to the turnaround on your way to the finish. I high fived Southies Bonnie & Jessica, Julie, Eva, Sandra, Kim, Shelley, and a few other Tri Zoners on the run. I remembered the hill on the run being worse than it felt today. There must be something to all this hill work with Coach Jen! I was working pretty hard, but still having fun. I came around the lake knowing I would hit my goal. I high fived Cheryl and Anna, Annette, Red and Kendra and crossed the finish. Wow that was fun! Run pace was 9:18 compared to 10:02 at Skeese- cool!My over all time was 1:16:51 compared to 1:20:53 at Skeese last year so a 4 minute PR for this course! We hung out post-race and it seems like everyone had a great race! I decided to go get my transition stuff and missed Julie and Kim getting their awards. We headed over to help Eva and her brother take down the tent, but I saw Ron & Roger and stopped to see how Ron's first race had gone- he did awesome! I headed over to the tent area and everything was gone- thanks for taking care of all my stuff Red, Kendra and anyone else who helped!
What a fun morning!! And now I can't wait to go cheer everyone on at Skeese next weekend!