Monday, October 18, 2010

Longhorn 70.3 Race Report

Photo by Tom Marek

This was my third year in a row to do Longhorn 70.3. Goals for this year: 1. to have fun and not get hurt, Ironman Cozumel is just 6 weeks away! 2. maybe a PR 3. if conditions are perfect and I feel great, maybe a sub 7:00. I knew 2 and 3 were both stretches especially since I didn't taper for this race. But they were still in the back of my head.

Even though we were staying in the coach at Decker we still got up early on race morning since Kristen was coming over to set up the Tri Zones tent, we still had to put stuff in T2 and I knew if we didn't get on the buses early, we'd have to wait in line forever. Julie, Sandra, & Kendra also stopped by the coach early and we all bussed over to the lake together. I was disappointed that nothing says "Longhorn" this year, it's all "IM 70.3 Austin", when I saw Julie had a Longhorn temp tatoo from last year I remembered I had some too, so Sandra and I put them on our faces. I love temporary tatoos! I got my T1 set up and had 2 hours to wait... sigh, I was in the 15th of 17 swim waves. It wasn't as cold as last year, or maybe I was just better prepared, but we found a picnic table and hung out. Coach Gina showed up fully prepared to be spectator extraordinaire! She had Tri Zones temp tatoos so Bonnie, Jess, and I (the only ones left to start) put those on too. Finally it was time to head down to the water.swim courseswim start photo by Shayla Neris

I knew the first few minutes of the swim wouldn't be great since I didn't do a swim warm up, but after just a couple of minutes I started to feel good and pass people. The entire swim seemed fairly crowded, I guess we had a big wave. I think the only really annoying thing that happened was someone kicked me hard in the calf, I actually have a bruise from it today. Otherwise I felt really good on the swim. Swim time- 41:45. I never saw Shayla when I got out of the water, but she obviously saw me and shot a great series of pictures of me getting wetsuit stripped!Photo by Shayla Neris
Photo by Shayla Neris
Photo by Shayla Neris
Photo by Shayla Neris
I ran up to the wetsuit strippers, didn't see E-beth H. so just laid down in front of some guy. Then as I was running off with my wetsuit in my hands, E-beth yelled and waved at me! Saw Jeff as I was running up the hill too and he got this picture. Into the T area and I realized my feet were a muddy mess so I took the extra time to try to wipe off at least some of the mud before I put my shoes and bike stuff on and headed out, got to see Jeff again as I was leaving. T1- 5:17Bike course, photo by Shayla Neris
The first part of the bike course is the hilly loop around Decker lake, I've ridden it quite a bit and know what to expect. The only part I was worried about was the steep little hill after the turn off Lindell (aka Little Tard) It seems like there are always people walking, crashing, and weaving up that hill, but there are advantages to being one of the last waves to start! There were only a few people on the hill when I rode up it and no one was doing anything crazy- nice! By the end of the Decker loop I was happy with my pace and confident I could PR the bike if all continued to go well. My legs started to feel a little tired on the hills on Taylor, but I wasn't surprised since I did a 100 mile ride last weekend, and I still felt good knowing I had some good flat sections coming up. Unfortunately, it ended up being one of those days where the wind picked up about halfway through my ride, so I got a very slight tailwind for the majority of the first half of the ride and then a much stronger headwind for most of the second half. By the time I turned on to Webberville Road and felt the headwind there I knew I wasn't going to PR the bike course, but I also knew I wasn't too far off and if I kept pushing on the bike and had a good run I could still PR the race. So I pushed pretty hard and passed quite a few people in the last 15 miles. Bike time- 3:44:11, 4 minutes slower than last year (when I had pretty favorable winds).

Nutrition note- I drank 3 full bottles of Infinit, which really surprised me, I thought it would be hard to drink enough since it wasn't very hot, but with the wind and drier air I was really thirsty.
Photo by Shayla Neris
While I was on the bike course all our awesome Tri Zones volunteers and spectators headed over to the Team Tailgating area.

I tried to hurry through T2, still hoping for a good run and a PR, I did have to put on compression socks so 4:35 isn't too bad. As I ran out of T2 I saw Jeff and told him my bike was "just ok" Actually I had a good ride and I had fun, I was just a little disappointed to have not beaten last year's time.

The run this year was only 2 loops and would include the grassy trail section that was left out last year. I loved the 3 loop course last year because I got to run through the team tailgating area 3 times. The team tailgating area was just after the run start.
Photo by Tom Marek
I LOVE the Tri Zones team tailgating area! Best part of the entire race was running through, high fiving everyone and feeling like a total rock star! That's definitely the Spirit of Tri Zones right there!!
I'm actually laughing as I run just past the team tailgating area! Photo by Tom MarekPhoto by Tom Marek
Who wouldn't laugh after running through that!?! Thanks SO much to everyone who came out to spectate, you all seriously made my day!
Photo by Tom Marek
One more of the Team Tailgating area. It wasn't just Tri Zone out there, Kathleen and some of the other T3ers and lots of strangers cheered for me too. Then I ran out of the Expo area toward the park, got to see Julie and Sandra on my first lap. I also saw Bonnie and Jess finishing the bike and cheered like crazy for them- so much that a few other runners looked at me like I was crazy! I really just concentrated on running aid station to aid station, there weren't many spectators by the park so it was great when the volunteers cheered and encouraged us! The grassy trail section was tougher for me, it's a nice change of surface, but it slows me down a little and especially this year I was worried about twisting an ankle. I was happy to get back on the pavement and be heading back toward the team tailgating area!
Photo by Tom Marek
Photo by Tom Marek
While I was out running some of the Tri Zones spectators/volunteers needed a well deserved break. Most of them were out there all day Saturday for bike check-in and back out by 5:00am to volunteer in T1 on race morning! Thanks so much! You guys are all AWESOME!!!

As I finished my first lap I knew that if I could even split the 2 laps, I would PR the race, but I also knew that would be really tough to do.
Photo by Emmie Carrigan
Back through the team tailgating area for lap 2 and high fives with Coach Jen and Kristen!
Shayla even took a video as I was running by on lap 2!
Photo by Emmie Carrigan
Adrian came out on the course to cheer for me on lap 2. He was insanely loud and crazy! I'm pretty sure that guy in front of me is looking back wondering "Did that obnoxiously loud noise actually come from a human??"Photo by Tom Marek

I ran pretty hard on lap 2 hoping I could make the PR. I saw Kendra almost finished and Bonnie and Jess finishing lap 1. I even tried to keep up my pace through the grassy trail section. By mile 11 I knew it was going to be really close. Near mile 12 Coach Gina came out on the course and ran with me up a big hill, I SO appreciated that- perfect timing Coach Gina! Thanks! I told her I was so close to my PR, it could go 1 minute either way.

As I ran into the arena I knew I was going to miss my PR by a few seconds, but it was still so much fun crossing the finish line! At the finish I knew I had really given everything I had, I couldn't talk, I couldn't reach down and pull off my timing chip or anything! Jeff was waiting for me at the finish, I told him I just missed a PR and then I started having a little bit of an asthma attack, luckily I had my inhaler in my Fuel Belt so not a big deal.

Run time was 2:39:57 and overall time was 7:15:45- just 49 seconds slower than last year!

At first I was a little disappointed about just missing my PR, but first Jeff and then everyone at the team tent was super impressed that I was so close since I didn't taper for this race, there was more wind on the bike, and the run was a little tougher with the trail section. I quickly decided they were right!
rehashing the race with Coach Jen, I think this is when she was telling me I'm a bad ass! Photo by Emmie Carrigan
Happy with my medal! Photo by Emmie Carrigan

I really love Longhorn, it might be my favorite race! Post race I cheered for the rest of the Tri Zoners, drank Kristen's sangria, and enjoyed hanging out with everyone. Later, Kendra, Del, Adrian, Jeff and I ate LOTS of pizza and Dr. Pepper at my house! Every single Tri Zoner had a great race this year- congrats to all of you! And again THANK YOU so much to everyone who came out to spectate!


Richard said...

Awesome job, Heather!

There's no doubt to me that your PR was there if this was a target race for you (i.e. no massive workouts like a 100 mile bike ride the week prior!).

I can't wait to see you finish Ironman Cozumel!

Alili said...

Way to go Heather! I can't wait to see what Cozumel has in store for you - nothing but goodness! :)

(and on a personal note - thanks for all of the support as I try to rebuild after baby!!!)

Hassan said...

Wow! You are in good form! 49 seconds last year but no taper this year and a 100 miler the week before! You are in beast mode! Stay healthy! Stay upright (on the bike) and go fast!!! Coz is right aroung the corner!!!1

shubbe said...

Just now finding time to read this. Awesome job, Heather! Yeah, perhaps while training for an Ironman with no taper.. not the ideal time to get a PR. So to get so close is fantastic! Congratulations!