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!!

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