Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Austin 70.3 Race Report

Austin was my final half ironman race in the build for Ironman Arizona. I knew it might not be an amazing race based on the training and small taper we had leading in. However, I do believe sometimes when you think you might not race amazing, great things can still happen....so I went into the race optimistic.

Photo Mario Cantu, Triathlete.com

The day dawned clear and cold - 43° of brrrrrrr.

Photo Mario Cantu, Triathlete.com
The pros got a short warmup and as soon as I hit the water it felt great - so much warmer than the air. You can see the pro men ready to start off in the distance between the buoys. The women started two minutes later.

Photo Mario Cantu, Triathlete.com
The first five minutes seemed like a massive cluster-F of pro women all on top of each other. (Usually it feels like 30 seconds). Maybe I just hung on better this time before half the field swam away! Whatever the case, after a bit we strung out into two packs and I ended up in the front of the B-pack. After making two turns I was second position on some feet that felt like they were slowing down. Some age group men came flying past and I took a risk by jumping off my feet, hoping possibly I could hang - even if for a little bit - with the much faster men. I fell off the first guy's feet, but stuck to the second and was towed to shore. I suppose this is a small (and unfair) benefit of being a slower swimmer at races where the age group men start soon after the pro women.

SWIM = 29:37

Transition was great - I did not fall down or face plant. I got my wetsuit off. I put on a jacket.

I left transition with two other girls - we were in 10th, 11th, 12th position. Not great. But workable. For the first ten or so miles my legs were completely numb. I was not cold or shivering, they were just frozen extensions from my body. A few girls passed me, I tried to chase. I failed.

Photo Mario Cantu, Triathlete.com
But then I got warmed up and I felt good. My watts were where they should be. It was windy. I was riding hard. I passed some people. I was having fun. It was a beautiful day for a ride in the Texas countryside. Other than getting chased by two packs of dogs, I spent most of the entire ride alone. 

Photo Mario Cantu, Triathlete.com
BIKE = 2:37

I got off the bike and honestly felt I had put in a solid effort on a windy day. I was happy with my ride. Not until after the race when I saw my bike split of 2:37 and saw just how much the other girls handed it to me on the bike was I frustrated. I think it almost makes it worse when you realize you rode with good watts and felt you rode really hard, but then later learn your ride basically sucked compared to the other girls in the pro field that you think "Well, back to work we go - I am still not an amazing cyclist by any means!" 

In many ways racing in the pro field is constantly a reminder that progress is awesome, and oh, by the way, I still have a TON of hard work to do in order to get to the top!

I set out on my favorite part of the race to hunt some girls down. My legs felt as if I had run a double marathon the day before. I kept thinking they would come around and be good after a few miles. I passed a few girls, tried to go with some age group guys, and mostly just ran on legs that were miserable. By the third loop I had mentally quit the race multiple times and checked out, only to drag myself back into the race and remind myself that I not only race for myself, but my sponsors, and knowing I would not be happy if I didn't give anything but 110% on the day.

There was no finish line smile - I think I was actually crying when I finished. Not because I was upset about having a bad race, but because my legs were absolutely hating me on this day.

RUN = 1:28

FINISH = 11th in 4:38

It was my first finish all year outside of the top 10. I'm not going to spend time trying to give excuses for the day - sometimes racing goes the way we plan, other times we fall short. I am looking forward to one final race of the season in a few weeks at Ironman Arizona and then I have some off-season fun travels planned.

A huge thank you to my sponsors for supporting me on the good, bad and ugly days. I appreciate all you do for me.
  • Coach Elliot - thanks for all the guidance - through the good and oops-not-so-good races!
  • Zoot -Wetsuit was perfect, shoes were comfy, and the jacket - oh I Loved the jacket!
  • Profile - fast Altair 80 wheels, great aero bars and hydration!
  • Cannondale - my Slice is NICE!!
  • Extreme Endurance -best way to recover! And thanks for the cheers on course!
  • Tribe Multisport - It is great to have a supportive bike shop on my team!
  • Powerbar - scientifically tested fueling that tastes great and I do not have to worry about nutrition.
  • Rudy Project - Love my helmet & sunglasses. Especially the green ones!
  • MicroscopeWorld.com -Thanks for the flexibility in work schedules.