Cassie and I showing off our Tri Zones tatoos. Photo by Tom Marek
I had so much fun at Couples last year and was really looking forward to it this year! Cassie and Del came to Austin and we hung out on Saturday. Last year Cassie and I were Sweet & Twisted so this year we decided to be Straight & Sour! Leilani from Red Licorice liked our shirts so much (or maybe not!) that she messed up my bodymarking, 113, 114, 11... hang on Leilani, I'm #113! Oh NO! hahaha! I got into transition and realized I forgot a towel, Decker is usually really dusty and my feet are muddy when I get to T1 so I like to wipe them off before putting on shoes. Thanks for letting me borrow your extra towel Julie W.!
My goals for this race- to improve my swim, bike and run over last year, even if it's just by a little and of course to have fun! The fun started early since there were lots of Tri Zoners racing and volunteering so Cassie and I hung out with them pre-race. We did a very short swim warm up and I reconfirmed that I really love swimming in Decker Lake.
Cassie and I pre-swim photo by Del Gutierrez
Last year's Couples swim was really rough with lots of kicking, scratching, and craziness and I had a pretty terrible swim at The Rookie in May so I decided to start very close to the front of my wave this time. When I saw Coach Jen was only 1 row in front of me, I started to doubt my positioning, but the gun was about to go off, so no time to move back. I took off and surprisingly had almost no contact! No breaststrokers kicking me, no one swimming over me, I think I maybe got touched 2 times in the first 100 meters- cool! Before I knew it I was at the first turn buoy, I turned and saw the power plant, Red had told us the second turn buoy was in perfect line with the power plant, so I never even looked for the buoy just sighted of the power plant and it worked perfectly- thanks Red! Then the final stretch and out of the water in 18:10 compared to 19:46 last year. Easily my best triathlon swim this season and probably one of my best swims ever, I felt great the entire time!
T1 was 3:50 compared to 4:28 last year. I grabbed a cup of water from Katherine and realized it was more grassy than dusty in transition this year. Cassie came into to transition just as I was leaving.
The Decker bike loop is hilly, I did well on the hills and had fun last year, but my new bike has a standard double instead of a compact double crankset, so I'd been worried about a couple of the steeper hills, especially since I hadn't ridden this course since Longhorn last year (on my old bike). I got out on Decker Lake Rd and felt great up and down the first couple of hills. Then I turned onto Decker Lane and felt like I was flying (this is why my bike's name is Spinnaker)! I barely had to work going up the hills and just flew down them, thanks to a serious tailwind- I knew I'd have to pay for that later but it was fun! Cassie and Sandra- on her super cool race wheels- flew by me on Decker Lane. Cassie flew by me on Decker Lane! Photo by Tom Marek
When I turned onto Lindell, my average speed was 16.3 mph- amazing for me! I was nervous about Little Tard, but I made the turn and started up it and it was no big deal at all- cool! I was starting up the next hill when my Garmin turned off! I've only had my Garmin Edge for about 6 months but I'm completely addicted to it! I know I slowed down while I was messing with it and finally got it to turn back on, it had kept my data, so I just had to start the timer again. I knew my time and average speed wouldn't be accurate now, but at least I had all my other info. The headwind was worst on a long uphill section but I knew I had that coming after the awesome tailwind on Decker Lane. I think there was more wind today than any other time I've ridden Decker, but still nothing like Parmer or P-ville. Then down the big hill and up Quadzilla (aka Big Tard) and it was no big deal either! Awesome! I guess all those crazy hills with Coach Jen are starting to pay off!! I was super happy and had so much fun on the ride! Near the end of the bike and having lots of fun! Photo by Tom Marek
Tom was taking pictures just before the park entrance and I waved and said hi to him as I rode by, he laughed and said "I could see your huge smile a mile away!" Bike pace was 14.0 compared to 13.7 last year, not super fast, but not bad for me on a hilly course, especially considering the time spent messing with my Garmin and the headwind on the second half.
T2 was 1:51 compared to 2:03 last year.
I felt great starting the run, maybe started out a little too fast. I've noticed lately that my brick runs are usually faster than my regular runs- weird. The course was really muddy, it's mostly a trail run and it's been raining a lot lately, I'm really glad Cindy & Kristen had warned us about the mud ahead of time! But I don't think it slowed me down too much. About halfway through the run I was having trouble catching my breath, even if I walked for a minute. I didn't realize at the time that it might be an asthma issue. I got to Mofo and decided I was going to run/walk it and walk the last steepest section. I got to the steepest section and Don T. Bonk came over and said "I'll run with you to the top" (you've all seen him right? I've seen him at a lot of races but this is the first time he's chosen me out of the crowd to run me up the hill) ok, guess I'm not walking the last section! I got to the top and could barely breathe at all, I walked a few steps then ran toward the finish. Cassie had already finished but came back and ran with me to the finish and hopefully we got a cool finish shot together. I started wheezing pretty bad while I was running to the finish with Cassie, but I was so close that I just kept going knowing that I'd feel better when I stopped and I had an inhaler in transition, not sure why I had asthma issues today when I haven't for so long, it definitely slowed me down in the second half of the run but I still ran a 12:03 pace this year compared to 12:11 last year.
Final time was 1:49:14 compared to 1:53:09 for a PR by almost 4 minutes. Cassie had a HUGE 11 minute PR over last year so our combined time was 15 minutes faster than last year!
Cassie and I post-race. Photo by Tom Marek
After the race it took me a couple of minutes to catch my breath, but then I had a great time hanging out with everyone! A few Tri Zoners won awards and Kristen won the Volunteer of the Day! I think almost everyone had a great race, and Cassie said later that Couples is one of the most fun races! I definitely agree.