It’s been a while that I’ve written a race report, and for a myriad of reasons. But after reading some of my friend’s recap of Kerrville, I thought I’d chime in.
The last few months were not how I had envisioned my Tri season wrapping up this year. Early in the season I had some great results, PR’s and personal course records. It was building up to be a great finish with the Olympic distance Tri-Rock Austin then the 70.3 Kerrville Tri.
As many athletes know, life can get in the way. Work became extremely busy with tons of projects in the queue. I also began traveling more, and irregularly for work. Once again I also hadn’t put to paper a solid training schedule. As I began building for the end of season races I found out that our office would be moving the weekend of Kerrville. Totally bummed. I tried to work it out with different scenarios, but there was no way I could make it work. So Tri-Rock Austin would be my season ender. Completely disappointed and mentally defeated I had a less than spectacular race.
Less than a week later we decided it was time for a life change. It had been way too hard on my wife and kids with my irregular travel and 12 hour days when I was at home. I had a couple of interviews and found a great job with a local company and no outside travel. My start day would be Sept 28th. That meant I could still race Kerrville. I hadn’t done the volume required for 70.3 but already had paid race fees and a hotel booked. So I downgraded my entry to the Quarter distance. This is a unique distance because it was a 1,000 meter swim, 29 mile bike, and 10 k run (I thought).
We packed up Saturday morning to head to Kerrville sans kids, picked up some rental wheels and enjoyed our drive to the hill country. Saturday was a bit hectic because you had to rack your bike after packet pickup as well as drop off a back for T2. The bag was really the challenging part. I wanted to have a bottle of cold NUUN and maybe my Trigger Point Cool Point, but that was impossible now.
I opted for a quick swim with my buddy Corris who had just purchased a wetsuit. I hadn’t been in the water very much lately, so it was good to warm up. Three families went out for dinner and we found a fabulous little local Italian restaurant. Let me tell you this place was great, and I’m sure they made their monthly number that night alone from all the tri geeks in town!
Matt & Corris were both racing the 70.3 so we decided to all ride together then allow the wives to come a bit later. My start time was about an hour after theirs. It was also odd because I was the absolute last wave to go out that day. My one thought was that I didn’t want to be the last person out of the water, and that I needed to make the swim cutoff. It was a very odd feeling for me, but after my swim time at Tri-Rock, it could be a reality.
There was some nasty drizzle while everyone was prepping T1. Knowing I had some racing wheels on my only thought was that I didn’t want the roads to be wet. I could handle the cold or the wind, but please no rain! I was shocked to find my bike moved in T1 when I arrived, and slammed between other bikes. But that’s how those things go…
It was kind of fun getting to watch all my friends start and finish their swim before I began. It also brought joy watching Andrea “Fish” and Jamie Cleveland exit so fast. Not just watching their expertise, but seeing the pain cave on their faces close up! It was time for my swim. I jump in, relax and the horn goes off. I stay to the outside these days as my speed sucks. First couple of buoys come and go, and I’m still mid to back of pack. Feeling good, but not wanting to force it. The pack slowly pulls away, but I notice a few racers still around me. Not too long later, I notice more kayaks than swimmers. Odd I thought… then I realized, I must be one of the final few swimmers. Crap. Reality sucked for a few minutes, but then I thought who cares if I’m last out? Enjoy the moment because it’s a blessing I’m able to be out there. Fortunately there were a few (maybe) swimmers behind me as I exited the water. It was a nice uphill climb to T1 and my bike. I had made it through the swim, so all that was left was some fun!
The kind gentlemen with bikes next to me had knocked my shoes off the clips that held them open, so it took a little longer to get strapped into my shoes. Then I was off. The first 10-15 miles came very quick, and at a nice pace. Ease into it I thought, you want to truly RUN after this. After making the turn outside of town, I realized the pace was due in part to a nice tail wind. We were now faced with a headwind, and horrible chip seal asphalt. I continued to press on and pass tons of riders. It was a moderately flat course, with one ‘bump’ in the road. When I arrived, it was the only time I shifted to my small chain ring. There were at least 5-6 people walking their bikes up! As we approached town, it started to drizzle some more. My only thoughts were staying upright, and not crashing. I was still able to pass a few more riders.
Once we arrived back in town, it was awesome riding downtown with the crowds. There was a spot where those who were doing the 70.3 looped back in, so it was tons of fun. I arrive into T2 and head for my shoes. I grab my bag off the rack, throw on my shoes and visor, grab my NUUN and off I go.
The run was a very odd format of an out and back U shaped course. Twice for the Quarter’s and 4 times for the 70.3’s. This meant lots of traffic and getting to see the other racers quite a bit. Awesomesauce. I started at a pretty good pace, and felt ok. As I round the U shape, I arrive at the ‘offroad’ section. This was going to be a bit tougher than I thought. I slow the pace a tad to protect the heart rate and make sure I had gas for the final lap. My friend Troy Clifton powers past me. He was holding a steady 6:30 pace on his way to top age group finisher for the 70.3. As I make my way back on the first loop, I start to see more faces I know coming in off the bike. As I get back on the pavement I also encounter that head wind again. Great, ¾’s of each lap aren’t fun. I see some of our support crew as I near the turn point and smile and wave. As I turn I hear the announcer call my name and Big Pistachio affiliation J
Time for lap two. One of my mini goals was to literally run the entire run. I know it sounds silly. But the Olympic distance is somewhat of a beast in disguise. My legs are starting to feel fatigue. I drop the pace a bit, and tell myself just to make the turnaround point in the woods. Then I could walk 30 seconds at the water stop. I had the pleasure of getting to see Andrea & Jamie many times on the loops as well. Let me just say this. As nice of a guy that Jamie is, I would not want to run down face to face with him. There are people who have hard core game faces, and he’s one of them. I hit the turn and walk while grabbing some water briefly. Okay this is it, time to finish strong. Only 1.5 miles left. The legs were feeling the pain, but I pressed on. As I got to the asphalt again I received warm comments from Adam and Matt about looking good and finishing strong. I get closer to the crowds and notice the 6 mile marker. Only .2 miles to go! I try to pick up the pace. Wow, that was a really really long .2 miles. I hit the finish and I’m done. Wow, what an event! I find my wife and several friends at the finish. Later on as the times get posted I notice the official run distance was 6.4. No wonder it felt so long after 6 miles!
All in all it was a great event. High Five and Jack & Adams continue to solidify who knows how to run a Triathlon. It was awesome to meet lots of athletes from Houston, Corpus and San Antonio who all came in for the race. I was able to meet several of my mini goals and have now ended tri season on a much happier and healthier reflective note. Now it’s time to get in full gear for the Houston Marathon.
Notes for the off-season- Swim. Get swim lessons from Fish. Run faster. Get a coach. Nut Up.