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.

13 comments:

GoBigGreen said...

you have had a long season, I am not sure how you girls do it, but stay strong and soon you have some off season :) That is cold for Texas, boo. Hope you can rest up and recharge b4 IM!

Mandi Runs said...

You still rocked it woman & 11 is my lucky number so it shall bring you good luck onward :)

You freakin' got IMAZ!!

Beth said...

"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!" Couldn't have said it better myself!

Oh and I definitely got chased by those same dogs!!! HAHA! :)

Steve said...

Good Job Charisa. :)

Kiet said...

Per usual, great perspective on the race. It's IMAZ that is going to count, with I could have been there racing with all of you!

The Suffer Seeker said...

"By the third loop I had mentally quit the race multiple times and checked out" -- I've felt this way many times in many different sports. It's always a sign for me that I need to recharge a bit, I need some downtime or a distraction or a slightly different angle. Know that just like a great book, it's ok to put things on the back burner for a little bit and come back refreshed and hungry.

JC said...

You did FANTASTIC! Always so inspirational. So sorry your legs weren't giving it to you on the weekend - my guess is that they are saving themselves for BIG delivery in a few weeks!

Caroline said...

The fact that you were able to pull yourself back into the race after mentally checking out, and continue to work hard even though your legs weren't cooperating - those are signs that you are a STRONG athlete. And that means so much more than a finish time. Good luck in your last few weeks of IMAZ training! Looking forward to tracking you there!

Bob Almighty said...

Good job hanging tough in a cold race. Hope everything goes well in Arizona.

Bicycle Chef said...

So excited you will be at AZ! Sounds like you will be ready for it!

Get it girl!!

Snakebite said...

Sorry to read things didn't turn out as you'd hoped. We all have days like that. Stay positive and focus on the future.

ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

I am sorry I was under the weather and couldn't come push you along... that would have been good for 4 or 5 spots :)

Slater Fletcher said...

Consistent progress... So cool to see you improve year over year and most of the time with a big smile on your face. See you at Austin in a few weeks!