Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kerrville Half Iron Race Report 2014

I love going out to Kerrville for the Tri Festival every year! Jeff and I took Friday off and stopped in Fredricksburg at the new Jack & Adams, it was the perfect beginning to our fun and relaxing long weekend. We had lunch at Grapejuice with Julie and Richard and then checked in to our mini cabin at the state park, complete with rock ledge picnic area on the river.

Saturday we spectated at the sprint race in the rain and had dinner and marshmallow toasting at the campground with Julie and Richard and Betsy and David.
having fun spectating in the rain. Photo by Tom Marek
This was my 9th half ironman, but I hadn't done a half in 2 years and I was less confident about this race than I wanted to be. I had prepared myself for this being my slowest half ever, being out on the course 8+ hours, and having almost no one left to cheer at the end. My only real goals were to have fun and finish.

We got to the race start early and Melissa body marked me. Then I felt like I just stood around and waited and chatted with friends forever! My wave was the 2nd to last half wave to start, Jeff said I was bitter about starting so late, and maybe I was, I did talk about it a lot before the race. But I watched most of my friends start and finally got in line to swim. I was not wearing a wetsuit and I was cold in the morning air, so the 77 degree water actually felt good. I was afraid the swim would seem long since I had only done 1 long open water swim this season, but once I got in the water I got into a rhythm and felt good. I always liked mass swim starts and didn't think I'd like the TT start, but all 3 times I've done it, I've had good swims, so I'm cool with the new TT starts. I watched for David in a kayak and finally saw him around the 2nd turn. The water temp was perfect without a wetsuit and the sun coming up over the water was beautiful, I tried to swim at a decent pace, but I mostly just enjoyed the swim. Swim time was 46:34, not my fasted, but I did have fun :)
Ed caught me not smiling!! I was trying to figure out why they were telling me "go LEFT", they just meant to the left of the wetsuit strippers, not left back to the swim start :) Photo by Ed Sparks
I jogged up the big hill to T1 and carefully cleaned all the mud off my feet, I'd rather have a slow T time than have dirt & mud bothering my feet the rest of the day. Finally got out of transition and on my bike in 4:36.

Jeff and Adam were there cheering me on as I got on my bike and I took off. I felt fast and happy has I cruised down 27, my average speed was 17.5, crazy fast for me, when I turned off to Centerpoint, that 2 miles is the worst chip seal in the entire world! Yuck!! I just tried to get through it knowing it would get a little better after the next turn. Jayna rode up beside me on that nasty stretch and complained about the chip seal too. Then the low water crossings, the U-turn and the the big hill, I actually passed a few people on this section which is harder for me, so I was feeling pretty good when I turned onto 173, as I rode by the campground Richard and Jeff cheered! There was a ton of traffic backed up (which I don't remember happening in years past) so Jeff said "I'm stuck out here!" I rode back into town feeling great about my first loop and as I hit the hot corner there were tons of people cheering and screaming for me and Kellen in his Moxie speedo and a huge skull mask. It was awesome, I was having a great ride and I just felt pure joy bubbling up inside me, I thought "this is why I do triathlons, this is so awesome!" that feeling carried me all the way back down 27 to Centerpoint, that chip seal really kind of hurt the second time around. In 2012 I felt like I was the only person left on the bike course on my second loop, this time there were always 3 or 4 people in sight for me to try to catch, and I even caught a few of them! I had a better bike than I expected and a lot more fun! Bike time was 3:37 my second fastest half iron bike ever (I thought it was my fastest until I went back and checked past results).
very happy on the bike (and bonus dimples for Kim Burkhart :) Photo by Kristen Carey
I got to the dismount line and actually grabbed the "bike dismount" sign for stability as I swung my leg over my bike and CRASH! I completely forgot I had bottles behind my seat! Oops! My bike fell to the ground and the only reason I didn't go with it was that I'd held onto the sign. It hurt at the time and I ended up with a pretty big bruise on my inner leg. Ouch! I finally got into transition and my spot was all the way at the run out. T2 was 4:13, pretty slow, so I bet that includes my little "crash".

I got onto the run course and almost immediately saw Ron, one of my "goals" was to start the run before Ron finished the entire race, so of course I waved to him and said something about that. I know many people don't like looped courses, but I love the 4 loop run course at Kerrville, I get to see everyone spectating 8 times, and I get to see other athletes, even the really fast ones! My running has been slower this year after having a labral tear last winter, I haven't had any pain in quite awhile, but I'm still being careful to not run too much too soon, so I expected a slower run this year.
Had to give Tom a non-smiley pic, so tongue out instead. Photo by Tom Marek
I wasn't really planning on that silly bruise hurting or on having some mild tummy issues, so my run was definitely slower. But I loved seeing everyone, I even "met" Kendra's parents on the course :) I walked more than I had planned but some of that was just because if I walked I got to hang out with Carol and hear about events of the day I had missed. My run was actually my slowest half iron run ever at 3:09:21, maybe Carol shouldn't have been such good company ;) As I came to the finish line, Logan called me "lovely" thanks Logan! And I got congratulated by Jeff and Tri Zones and TriCynergy teammates.
Happy on the run, Photo by Ed Sparks
 Overall this was my 5th fastest half at 7:41:51, I'm really happy with my race overall especially given that I didn't feel very confident going in and that I'd taken a year off and been injured the year before this race. Next up for me is the Austin Marathon! Thanks so much to everyone who volunteered, raced, spectated, and supported me (in person or virtually) at the Kerrville Tri. A huge part of why I'm always smiling and happy when I race is the awesome tri community I get to be a part of, seriously, it's pretty awe inspiring, so thanks to all of you for that!!

Jack's Generic Tri Race Report

Monday, July 14, 2014

Couples Tri 2014 Race Report

I hadn't done a tri since Couples last year and Connie, my partner for the last couple of years just had knee surgery. But I love this race and I haven't missed it since I moved to Austin. So Vanessa partnered with me. And Connie, Vanessa and I had a "good luck" lunch at Blue Dahlia on Saturday after packet pickup. I was nervous since I hadn't raced in so long and I took extra time to get everything together Saturday night.

But race morning came and I felt more excited than nervous. I got out to Decker early, set up transition and hung out with friends, who all seemed happy to see that I was racing.
Vanessa and I pre-race. Photo by Tom Marek
The swim was a time trial start for the first time, so most of the Peak Tri Zones crew had decided we were going to try and set up a swim draft train, without planning we had done this at the last Splash & Dash, so with a little planning it should work even better. The idea was to start slower swimmers first and fastest swimmers last, that way as the faster swimmers caught up, and passed, the slower swimmer would be able to draft. Since many of us are close in swim speed, we can draft efficiently for a long time. Vanessa and I started the swim, and I drafted off her, after a while I looked up and realized I had followed her off course! I veered back toward the buoys and drafted off Julie for a few strokes. I drafted off a couple other Tri Zoners and eventually got on Vanessa's feet again. I was definitely able to draft more on this swim than probably ever before. So I guess our "train" worked well for me. I really enjoyed the swim and had my fastest swim ever at Decker- 16:06!

I really liked the time trial start more than I thought I would, it really did make for a MUCH less congested swim start and I think the bike course was less crowded too.

The run up to T1 was set up a little different, so I had to run longer to get to my bike and after years of racing at Decker and being lucky enough to avoid the sticker burrs, I got them this time! I couldn't get them off my feet and I was afraid they'd get embedded, I walked on my heels the rest of the way to my bike. Luckily when I wiped my feet with my towel the burrs seemed to come off. I got my bike stuff on and headed out. T1 was 4:28, slow, but not as slow as last year.

I generally dislike the mount line, it's crowded and I worry about crashes there, so I usually get off to the side and go from there, but there was a guy in front of me, I figured I'd just wait a second and get going once he took off, so I waited, and waited...and waited. He had a tough time clipping in and took forever, I should have gone around him, but I didn't. I finally got on my bike and got moving! I hadn't ridden any hills in a long time, so I was worried about this hilly bike course. But as I started riding, I remembered how much fun this bike course is and how much I enjoy it, even though it's challenging for me! I was really nervous as I turned the corner onto "little tard", but as I started climbing I felt like I could do it, and I even passed a few people! I knew if I could do that hill then I'd be fine for the rest of the course, so I just enjoyed the ride. Not my fastest bike at Decker, but faster than last year. 46:40 which is actually my second fastest Decker bike.

T2 went smoothly and I started running- 2:18. I had forgotten that the entire run at Decker is trail (real trail not crushed granite), the uneven ground slowed me down and made my ankles feel a little wobbly. I guess I should run on some trails again! It was also getting hot, even for me! I walked a little more than I had hoped, but I had a good time and really had fun cheering for those on the bike course! I was able to run 1 min. and walk 1 min. up Quadzilla, and then it was just a little ways to the finish line! Run time was a little slower than last year, but since I'm coming back from an injury, I'm ok with that. Run was 37:51, a minute and a half slower than last year.

This was my 6th Couples and actually my 2nd fastest at 1:47:26! Still 6 minutes slower than my PR, but not bad after a year and a half off and coming back from injury.

After finishing, I had a great time hanging out with everyone and even had lunch with Jayna and T Jay. Over all I'm really happy with my race and now I can't wait for Jack's Generic Tri!!