Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Austin Tri

Photo by Tom Marek

Race morning everyone woke up on time and Sandra showed up at my house at 5:00, 10 minutes early. We picked Julie up at 5:25- she said it was 5:26, but close enough :) Jon dropped us off close to transition, it was nice to not have to worry about finding a parking spot and then carrying all our stuff a long way to transition!
I got my transition area set up and Bonnie was racked just a few bikes down from me. Richard came over to say hi and good luck. Since my Garmin attachment is slightly broken from Hell Ain't This Hot, I have been taping it to my bike until it gets fixed. Not a big deal, except I didn't want to leave my Garmin on my bike in transition all night which meant I needed the tape gun in the morning. What a dumb thing to take to a triathlon! Someone asked for tape at the Tri Zones tent later and I pulled out the big tape gun and of course everyone laughed and asked why in the world I had a tape gun.
Pulling out the tape gun Photo by Shayla Neris. I think this is also the only picture where you can see my new tri top- no more old faded pink tri top!

We had lots of time to wait around at the tent since transition closed at 6:40 and aside from Andrew none of us started until 7:50.
Coach Jen laughing at us all putting on wetsuits Photo by Tom Marek
Photo by Tom Marek

My goals for the Austin Tri this year were to go faster in each sport than last year and to go below 3:30 overall.
Cool new Tri Zones flags! Photo by Tom Marek

Finally it was time to head down to the start and get ready to race! I got in the water and was SO glad I had decided to wear the wetsuit- it felt colder than 75 to me. I started right at the front of my wave and tried to go out fast, but immediately I felt out of breath. At first I was worried about having a bad swim, but then I remembered they didn't let us do a warm up swim, so I slowed down for a couple minutes, then I started feeling good and could speed up again. I didn't have much contact the entire swim, which was kind of surprising, I think I was in between the fast swimmers and the slow swimmers, there just weren't many people around me. I tried to do some Sheila T. swimming and really get a hold of the water, I was definitely going faster when I did it, but it made me tired quickly so I had to alternate going hard and backing off. I was surprised to pass so many pink capped girls from the wave ahead of me. As I turned the last corner and was sighting the finish I noticed it was raining. This did NOT make me happy, but as I got out of the water I saw that my watch said 32:xx- that made me happy! This year's swim time- 32:22, last year's 35:51!

The Austin Tri has a fairly long run up to transition and I took it slow. I was not happy about the rain and it was raining pretty hard. I got to my transition area and pulled my wetsuit off, it caught on the huge new timing chip and scraped my ankle, but I knew to expect that since Ingrid and I had practiced after seeing how HUGE the new timing chips were! My socks were wet and hard to put on. I put my sunglasses on but couldn't see through the water spots and decided to go without them. I have never raced in the rain before and I'm not a huge fan of riding in the rain, especially trying to ride fast with 2000 other people! As I was leaving the transition area I saw Kristen and she yelled "great swim Heather! You're the first Tri Zoner out of the water!" For whatever reason that made me really happy- so thanks Kristen! T1 this year was 5:57 compared to 5:31 last year, I'm ok with that considering I had a wetsuit to get off and rain to deal with.

I got on my bike figured my goal of beating last year's 16 mph average was just not going to happen and my new goal was just to stay safe. I rode conservatively up Congress to the first U-turn then as I was going down the hill on Congress I started to feel better and let myself go a little faster, I rode toward the Capitol faster and was feeling pretty decent even in the rain after the first 3 or 4 miles. Toward the end of my first loop it had mostly stopped raining but the roads were still wet and slick. The volunteers were yelling at everyone to take the turns slowly and Bob H. told me he saw a lot of crashes because people were taking turns too fast. I took all the turns slow (ok, I take the turns pretty slow anyway), but I rode the straights pretty hard, maybe not quite Mopac TT hard, but pretty close. Loops 2 and 3 went great and I loved seeing most of the Tri Zoners and Ingrid on the course! I just put the name license plate Julie gave me on my bike before Hell Ain't This Hot, so this was my first real race with it and tons of people I didn't know said "Hi Heather" to me on the course. It was also fun to see Lynn cheering us up the hill on Atlanta on every loop! By loop 2 I was having a great ride and thinking the Austin Tri is one of my favorite races! By loop 3 I knew I would be really close to beating my 16 mph goal, so I pushed really hard to the end and got a 16.3 mph bike pace compared to 16.0 last year! I'm super happy with that, especially considering the rain! I'm actually kind of happy it rained, I have always been afraid of racing in the rain and now that I've done it, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

I got to T2 and I wished I had left a second pair of socks, although now that I think about it they probably would have been just as wet as the socks on my feet! My socks were so wet I could have wrung them out and I think there were puddles in my bike shoes- yuck! T2 this year was 3:25 compared to 3:24 last year.

Heading out on the run course I knew all I had to do was match my run time from last year to get my sub 3:30! I felt great starting the run and I looked at my pace on my Garmin, it said 9:35- ahh yeah, I never run 9:35 for anything over 3 miles so I slowed down to a very comfortable pace and the Garmin still said 10:20, still way faster than 10K pace for me, but I figured I'd just slow down when I started to feel it. About half a mile into the run, a group had an unofficial rest stop set up with icee pops! I love icee pops and that might have been the best icee pop ever! Blonde Pam caught me near Jack & Adam's and we ran together for awhile. Near the end of loop 1 I passed the Tri Zones More Cowbell Corps and high fived everyone, I was having so much fun!
High fiving the More Cowbell Corps! Photo by Tom Marek
Waving to Tom and Nydia, I really was having a blast! Photo by Tom Marek
I expected loop 2 to be harder than the first loop but this year it really wasn't. I walked the aid stations, but otherwise my pace stayed around 10:20-10:30, I kept thinking maybe my Garmin was messed up, but according to the mile markers I was going even faster (I think the mile markers were a little off). One of many reasons I love the Austin Tri is the awesome crowd support on the entire run course, I felt like there were people cheering for me everywhere and it was just so much fun! I got a second icee pop on loop 2, this time they gave me a lei too, and before I knew it I was running by the More Cowbell Corp again and about to finish!Photo by Tom Marek

My run time this year was 1:06:17 for a 10:41 pace- which is really fast for me! Last year's run was 1:15:15 (a 12:08 pace).

Last year's overall time was 3:32:53 this year's was 3:19:30 for a PR by 13:23! I have definitely been training hard this year, and the weather was cooler than last year, but I definitely didn't expect a 13 minute PR, so I was (and still am!) super excited about it!
Post race, I had fun cheering in the other Tri Zoners Photo by Tom Marek

After cheering in all the Tri Zoners, Ingrid decided that since she, Sandra, and I all had big PRs we needed to celebrate with Gordough's!


Richard said...

You did great, Heather, but I am always impressed at how you have so much fun while you do these events.
You so totally rocked this race!!!

shubbe said...

Yay, Heather! Great job with a PR in every sport and overall! Whee!

Theia said...

Great report! Your pictures are awesome! You really look like you were having fun out there.

Alili said...

You look fit and fresh - like an IM to be. :)

Nice job Heather!

Hassan said...

hey!!! i stumbled across your blog and saw you are doing Cozumel this year! So am I! are you a member of iamtri.com? its the official Ironman social website. Any who, I am excited to have found your blog! Congrats on your race! feel free to check out my blog. See you in Coz. Here is the direct link to the group http://iamtri.com/group/cozumel2010?xg_source=activity