Love this year's logo, I assume Stacy does the artwork-awesome! Photo by Tom Marek
In Ironman training, this was a recovery week, so nothing too interesting, except- just 17 weeks to go!
Jack's Generic Triathlon is the 3rd race in the the Texas Tri Series and my 4th race of the year. It's a sprint distance at the Texas Ski Ranch. Goals for this one: to go faster in each discipline than last year, although my swim time wasn't properly recorded last year and it was a very cool day in August last year (how in the world did that happen??) so I knew beating last year's run would be really tough. Race morning Logan announced the high for the day would be 103, and I decided I'd be happy with a good swim, improvment on the bike and just surviving the run.
Sandra and me at the Ski Ranch way before sun rise! Photo by Amy BushSunrise at the Ski Ranch, the water doesn't even look that disgusting at sunrise! Photo by Amy Bush
Julie and Sandra picked me up at 5am and we got to the Ski Ranch in time to get a great parking spot and good transition spots. I got transition set up and had lots of time to hang out with the other Tri Zoners and say hi to other friends- Amy (although I think she counts as a Tri Zoner under the "once a Tri Zoner, always a Tri Zoner" rule), Ron & Roger, Kathleen, etc. I always do a pre-race warm up swim, I feel like it helps even when I'm in a later wave, but I was in the bathroom line and missed my opportunity. I was a little bummed about it but I must have looked really bummed. Tom came over to say hi to us and asked "what's wrong Heather?" "I'm sad becuase I didn't get to do my warm up swim" Pretty pitiful that I was sad I didn't get to get in the goat poo water early!Julie, me, Sandra, Eva, and Teri pre-race. Photo by Tom Marek
The race started and most of us had 30+ minutes to wait for our waves to start. I don't usually worry about sunscreen especially for short races, but with the sun already beating down on us at 8am, I was thinking that might be a mistake, I mentioned that to Eva who then ran and got me some sunscreen right before my start- thanks Eva! I lined up by the water and all of a sudden I was super happy and excited to be racing! I met Sara from the NXNW team who started right next to me.NXNW Sara and me just before our start. Photo by Tom Marek
I started at the very front of my wave and went out pretty fast, immediately I had a tough time catching my breath and figured it was because I hadn't done my warm up swim. I slowed down a little and concentrated on reaching and rotating and felt much better. I had very little contact on the swim and I didn't get hit or kicked hard at all. Sara and I were swimming side by side for awhile, so I tucked in behind her to draft. I stayed behind her well, and with about 200 meters to go I thought I'd pass her and give her a chance to draft. I hoped she would realize it was me and what I was doing, but I'm not sure if she did, I never felt her drafting, but she was out of the water just a few seconds behind me. Swim time was 11:16. T1 3:09. Last year my swim and T1 were recorded together at 14:43, so I had an 18 second improvement over last year.
The Ski Ranch water is pretty disgusting, a combination of goat poo (goats live on the island in the middle of the pond), oil, and silty mud. They have to do water quality tests, so technically it's safe, but it doesn't always look, smell or feel good. Goats that live on the island. Photo by Amy Bush
It's not too bad if you're in an early wave, but after a few hundred people get the muck all stirred up it's gross! The muck sticks to your face and makes it look like you have a dirty mustache & beard! As I came out of the water a volunteer handed me a face wipe- awesome! I was so happy to be able to get that crud off my face! I also got a cup of water to rinse any residual muck out of my mouth. The rest of T1 went smoothly and I saw Bob H. as I was getting on my bike.
I saw Sara (she had a faster T1 than me) and we played tag up and down a few of the first hills. I was feeling great through the first few miles and my avg speed was 16.5 mph- awesome! I saw Nydia volunteering on the course and said hi, and I thanked lots of the other volunteers. I knew we'd come to a section of chip sealed road, but I remembered it being pretty short. I got to the chip seal and as always it slowed me down some. We got back on the smoother road and I think I actually yelled out "woohoo! Smooth road!!" But it was too soon, apparently they chip sealed most of the rest of the course within the last year and it was super rough- YUCK! It was so bumpy that it jolted my Garmin and made it turn off, just like at Couples, so I lost some of my data and didn't have accurate avg. speed or time data the rest of the ride. The chip seal slowed me down a lot but I was still passing quite a few people and it didn't seem like that many people were passing me, so I guess the nasty road slowed most people down. Photo by Tom Marek
I expected Julie, Kim and maybe Eva & Sandra to pass me on the bike but none of them did. The last 3 or so miles was back on smooth roads, I really tried to speed up as much as I could until I saw a woman laying on the side of the road with bloody road rash on her shoulder, there were already people there to help her so I kept going, but that's just not something anyone wants to see during a race (or ever). I heard later that she was ok. I came in to T2 feeling decent about my bike even though the course was a little tougher with all that nasty new chip seal. Last year's bike pace was 14.2 this year's 14.9, so I got some good improvement there!
Almost finished with the bike. Photo by Tom Marek
I got into T2 and immediately turned on my Garmin for the run. I took care of everything else, and put the Garmin on but it hadn't acquired its satellites yet. I know from experience that the faster you move the longer it takes, so I started to walk slowly out of transition, hoping it would be ready by the time I hit the mat, it wasn't but I started running anyway and a minute or so later it was finally ready. T2 was 2:02 this year, last year's was 1:47.
I love the run course at the Ski Ranch! It's out and back, uphill on the way out and downhill on the way back. Since it's out and back you get to see other racers and high-five all the other Tri Zoners- fun! Yeah, it was HOT, but I do pretty decent in the heat, I couldn't run quite as fast as I would have liked, but I expected that. Julie finally passed me at the beginning of the run and we talked for a minute before she got too far ahead of me. As I got close to the turnaround I saw Vanessa, Kathleen, and Julie again. At the turn around aid station I said hi to Gayla and grabbed a water from Kendra as I turned around. I started running and heard Kendra yelling something, then it registered that she was yelling at me "Heather the turn around is WAY up there!!" Oh CRAP! I turned around too soon, that aid station was at the turn around last year but I guess not this year. I turned back around ran back to Kendra and realized the turn around cone was about 2 feet behind her! Oh geez! I turned back around for just 2 feet! Oh well, I ran all the way around the cone while Kendra and Gayla laughed at me. On the way back I got to see and high five almost all the Tri Zoners (most of them started a wave or 2 behind me). As I came back into the Ski Ranch and around the water, Bob H. was cheering near the finish and said something about me smiling and I could pick it up and pass someone if I wanted. He made me laugh, but I did pick it up and pass the girl in front of me- so thanks Bob! I felt good on the run, but I know I ran a little slower than last year because of the heat. This year's run pace was 11:20 last year's was 10:12.
Overall time this year 1:45:51 last year it was 1:45:39, so I missed a PR by just 12 seconds! That's a little annoying because of course I can think of about 10 places where I could have made up 12 seconds- the cone at the run turnaround, messing with my Garmin in T2, slowing down going around the rider down toward the end of the bike, etc. But honestly, conditions were much tougher this year than last so I can't complain about 12 seconds slower!
I got to see most of the Tri Zoners finish and we had a great time hanging out post race (and comiserating about the heat and the chip seal!) and watching Julie and Kim get their awards.
Nydia, Sandra, Kim, Judy, Eva, and I found a tiny spot of shade post-race. Photo by Tom Marek