Archive for the ‘ triathlon ’ Category

Kerrville Triathlon – Race Recap

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.

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Ironman 70.3 Austin Recap

I have had lots of thoughts swirling in my head following the 70.3 Ironman Austin race on Sunday. But due to the lactate still swirling through my veins and lack of sleep I’m having trouble actually getting them out in a coherent fashion. So bear with me as I’ve taken all week to collectively finish this post and recap!

Pre-Race

While it was nice being local for a big race, it also meant still getting up at 4am to get some breakfast, prep and drive down to the race site. We had dropped off our kids with my parents the night before so Jillian could join me for the day. We were out the door shortly after 5 on our way to Decker Lake. As we arrived there was already a large number of athletes, spectators and volunteers at the site. We got parked and found Matt & Nikki right away. We made our way to T-2 in order to drop off my run gear bag. We loaded on shuttles and headed towards the lake. I got my body markings and was off to T-1 to finalize my preparations for the day. I borrowed an air pump, mixed my bottle of Perpetuem, applied sunscreen, and made sure everything was in order. Restrooms were definitely an issue on race morning as every set had long lines. Being a guy I was able to venture off on a warm-up run and take care of things pretty easily. We met up with Troy and Corbin who were also racing. The wives picked out a good spot to spend for the swim portion.

Swim

I was very unimpressed with how the swim waves were scheduled for this race. Normally they lead with pro’s and go in age group order after that. I have also seen where they seed ‘faster’ age groups towards the end in order to give everyone the most time on course. I couldn’t really make out how they decided on waves for this race because I was one of the last, yet the 30’s males were mid-way through the waves. I had been telling myself for several days not to worry about it, because there wasn’t anything I could do about my 8:25 start, it just meant I would have to pay extra close attention to electrolytes and fluids. It was cool having the canon send off the pro’s then seeing Michael Raelert lead the men out of the water. One by one the waves kept going, and it wasn’t long before I was on deck. I hugged and kissed my wife one last time and got set. I spent a minute of prayer and quiet reflection before heading in the water. I’m notoriously slow in the water, so I did my usual count to three after the gun before swimming. Depending on the course, I like to stay a little towards the outside as to avoid uber chaotic swims. It worked pretty well this time as I didn’t have to battle with a lot of folks. It felt like forever before we finally hit the first turn in our giant triangular swim. The back side of the course seemed to move a bit quicker. I felt like I was holding a pretty steady pace and could tell there were still some of my age group around me although I could see the caps of the wave behind me already. I didn’t go so great on spotting for some reason and really did some nasty zig zags almost the whole course. There was a couple of times that a kayaker pointed me back on course. As I got close to the end, there was noticeably more traffic as we were squeezed in a smaller place to exit the water.

T-1

I was on dry land! What relief! As I ran up towards the wetsuit strippers (which was freaking awesome by the way) I scanned the crowd for the pink shirt of my wife and spotter her near where I got my wetsuit yanked off. I continued on into transition, applied some additional sunscreen, put my bike shoes and helmet on, and I was off.

Bike

As I crossed the mount line and got on my bike, I knew something was wrong immediately. There was mud in my cleats preventing me from clipping in. Not again I thought! We had the same problem last weekend during the LIVESTRONG Challenge. I made it about a mile before stopping and grabbing a stick to get some of the dirt out of my right cleat. I got it clipped in and continued. My left foot however would still not clip in. I danced on the pedals and decided I would stop on the back side of the lake because I wanted to get out of some of the heavy traffic. I kept working my cleat, and it finally clipped in around mile 5. The first 5 miles had flown, most likely due to the fact I had to deal with my clipping in issue. I finally got settled in and played yo-yo around Decker Lake with a couple of other athletes. Before getting to the first major checkpoint, I looked at my stats and was fairly pleased averaging 17.1 mph. The plan was to take it easy for the first 30 minutes or so to settle in. Mission accomplished. I turned up the pace a bit after grabbing a Gatorade bottle from the Tough Cookies at the first aid station. I made quick work of the next section which had most of the ‘rollers’ for the course. When I checked my average next it was 19.2! I was feeling great and almost halfway done with the course. As I turned south suddenly things changed. Part of my accelerated time had been due to a solid south/southeast wind. I knew my average speed would suffer some from this point out. What I didn’t expect was how bad it would. I’m still not really sure what happened but from that point forward on the bike course I really suffered. I wasn’t able to pick up a quicker pace and it was a slow grind in, much more so than should have been. I kept on my nutrition and hydration plan and opted for a pit stop after about two hours to use a port-o-potti. I thought it would be better to take a quick break on the bike and recover than have to do it on the run. While there I popped some endurolytes and another racer asked if I had any extra as she had dropped her container on the course. Knowing it was a long day, and I had a separate container for the run I helped her out. The return section of the course was mostly flat and through our training rides determined it would be a great place to pick up some speed & time. However with the cross S/SW wind we had, it made it very difficult. I still managed to pass a few more riders on hills before heading into transition.

T-2

I shuffled my bike into transition and made the long jaunt to the other side of the racks where my assigned spot was. I had originally liked the spot, but after realizing I had to trek my bike all the way across, I was less enthused. I racked my bike and got my run gear out. I had made the decision several weeks ago that I would put on compression socks in T-2 in order to get a ‘fresh’ feeling in my legs for the run. They went on easy enough, along with my awesome Brooks PureProject Flow shoes, I grabbed my visor and was on my way.

Run

As I left transition I scanned the crowd desperately looking to get a glimpse of my wife. I didn’t see them in the turn-around where I thought they would be. Slightly deflated I continued up the hill where there were tons of spectators. Not long after cresting, I spy the pink shirts and hear some screams. I was elated to see the cheering squad! I gave them a big wave and a smile as I set out to complete the 13.1 mile run. I knew it would be a long afternoon because my quads were already feeling tweaky. I settled into a descent pace and hoped it was just the initial transition for the discomfort. After almost a mile my legs felt a little better. However the near 90 degree temperature did not. Aid stations were supposed to be every half mile, but during the first of three laps I discovered two stretches that were almost a mile before stations. At each stop I would get Gatorade, ice water and dump ice down my shirt. Let me tell you, ice down the shorts have NEVER felt better than I did on that run during the heat! There were cold sponges at some of the stops which I stuck in my top to hold some cold water. It was very apparent that the name of the game would be trying to keep my core temperature down as much as possible. I opted to get some coke at a couple of the stops for a quick pick me up as well. Although I took in a lot of fluids on the run yet still felt like I needed to drink more. I liked the 3 lap option because it let me spend some time with my wife more on the run. When I was completing the second lap she walked with me for a bit to check on me. I told her I was hot and my legs were cramping some. She said “it’s just hot out, you’re ok, only one more lap, you’ve got this!” I told her what my pacing was and she would see me inside the arena at the finish. The final lap was much harder than I had hoped. Before the race, my plan had been to try and hold 9-9:30 minutes for the first two laps and then see what I had left to open up on the third. That was not the kind of day I was having. It quickly became a game of finishing. Mile 11 was extremely tough. I had been taking walk brakes on the rest stops. But most of mile 11 saw me walking due to my calf cramping so bad that my toes curled in my shoes. I kept pressing on, just excited to finish the day. Nothing would get in the way now. There was quite a bit fewer people on the third lap and most were taking extended walk breaks. When I hit the mile 12 sign I decided it was time to finish strong. I picked up the pace and pressed on to the arena. It seemed like the longest mile of my life, but finally rounded the corner preparing to enter the arena. I could feel the cool breeze of the A/C pouring out of the opening and the dark shade approaching. Spectators were lined deep on the arena floor and the air was filled with cheering. I hear the announcer yell my name and I’m overwhelmed with emotions.

Post-Race

I cross the finish and darn near collapse in a volunteer’s arms as my legs wield one final big cramp. Another volunteer puts a finisher’s medal on me and hands me a hat. I see Matt, Troy & Corbin all cheering and hear my wife yelling my name. A volunteer asks if I need to go to medical. I decline and say that my legs were just cramping. The boys give me lots of smiles and congratulations and I get a big hug from my wife. Let’s just say that isn’t normal. I’ve been racing for almost 7 hours and soaked with sweat and water. Any wife will tell you it’s less than desirable to touch someone after that! They all ask what I need anything- water, medical, oxygen, etc. I get some water and slowly walk to the med tent to see if they’ll give me oxygen. They were pretty swamped so I opted out and got my name on the waiting list for massage. I find a picnic table and sit down with Jillian for a few minutes. I’m overcome with emotions. I had no idea what this kind of race would do to someone, both physically and emotionally. Everything finally settles down and we decide as a collective group to hit up Pappasito’s for post race recovery/celebration since it was Tanya’s birthday as well. Let me tell you I’ve never enjoyed it so much. I had to wrestle with internal conflict about finishing and the time it took me. I had expectations and planning on finishing about 45 minutes earlier than I did. Race day during long distance events is a horse of another color. You can plan, but there’s no telling what will really happen on race day. Playing back everything, I felt I gave it my all. And on that particular day, during that particular race, I did what I could and there wasn’t anywhere that I could have made up more time. I’m proud to have notched my belt with 70.3 and look forward to the next race.

By the numbers-

Total Time- 6:57:48
1.2 mile swim- 48:46
T1- 6:17
56 mile bike- 3:28:39
T2- 7:15
13.1 mile run- 2:26:52

Marble Falls Tri- Race Recap

It’s been 3 weeks since the race, but I haven’t been able to devote the time to sit down and finish writing my recap until now. Early this spring I signed up for the Marble Falls Tri as a challenge and break from the usual Austin area Triathlon venues. My best friend Matt & I were going to race, and decided to make it a long weekend of relaxation for the wives in Marble Falls. The distances were unusual and it was touted as a challenging race because it’s ‘the one with the hills.’ Having come off of finishing the Ride the Rockies, I was excited for a challenge on the bike. What I wasn’t ready for was the tough Texas heat and not logging enough swim/run hours due to my Colorado cycling experience. I also wasn’t really prepared for losing my job a month before the race, but it’s life and we play the hand we’re dealt.

We arrived in Marble Falls mid day Saturday, with enough time to get our packets, drive the bike course, relax and take in some poolside relaxation. All of which were awesome. When deciding on dinner, we stayed at the resort and opted for their dinner buffet which happened to be a fajita/Mexican buffet. So awesome. So much food. Slightly incorrect choice for pre-race meal. We got back to the hotel room to go through the normal evening before race rituals as my wife calls it. When inspecting my bike, I wasn’t comfortable with the state of my front tire. I had brought a spare, so I grabbed a tube, the new tire and proceeded to change it in the hotel room. Something wasn’t sitting just right, and I was a little nervous about it. I aired it up and left it in the room. Sleep was so-so, as is usual before a race. Then about 2am we here a POP!! As I had feared, the new tube blew in my tire. Now I would have to change the tube when I got up. Great, that’s just what I wanted to do on race morning.

Aside from changing the tube, it was a pretty usual morning. Got my nutrition in, water bottles filled with NUUN and car loaded to head to the start. It was a small field in the race, so that’s always nice not having to worry too much about rack space in transition etc. While getting everything set, the wives headed off to patron the local Starbucks, which much to their dismay didn’t open until 6:30 on Sundays. What gives? Matt was having some stomach issues, and didn’t really have an appetite. Since we were so close to the start, I told him to forget the bagel and just have a Gu.

We proceeded to the swim start, found the wives for kisses and approached the water. My group went off first, and I started towards the first buoy. It was a simple triangle swim of 1,000 meters, but the first buoy was against the current of Lake Marble Falls and seemed to be forever before I got there. I kept plugging along, and didn’t really have many issues with other swimmers until about half way through when I was caught by the group behind me. There was a fair amount of jockeying going on in the water and at one point a strong grab on my left arm. This is where I wear my Road ID bracelet, which I felt get ripped off. How does that happen? I  was really upset, but kept plugging along. Thankfully I had recently ordered the new slim version of Road ID. Finishing the swim with sighting was a little difficult due to the rising sun. I finally exit the water and run up the hill to transition to the cheers of my wife.

I get set and off I go on the bike. Out & back, 23 miles with some nice rolling hills. Interestingly enough, within the first mile we started a Category 5 climb. My legs felt money, and passed quite a few folks going up the first climb. I settled in at a solid but steady pace. I kept expecting to see the lead pack soon, but they didn’t pass me till a few miles from the turn around. Most athletes did well with following passing and drafting rules, but one chump tried to pass me on a hill and I called him out. I don’t want to be mean about it, but if you can’t make the pass, don’t try! I don’t want to get penalized either. About a mile before the turn, I saw Matt coming the other direction and yelled at him to keep it up! I hit the turn right at 40 minutes. I wanted a negative split and knew there was some nice downhill at the end, so just needed to keep the pace I had set. When I made the final turn a few miles out I knew I was in good position to make my goal. I kept pressing and finished the bike with a solid effort.

As I approached T2, I almost rear ended another rider who had stopped right before the dismount. I smiled at my wife cheering and was on to grab my running shoes. HEAVY LEGS. I immediately knew the 4.4 mile run was going to be a challenge. It was hot, and I could tell that the lack of time training was about to pay off. I set off, my new goal just to finish solid, regardless of run time. I decided that I would take 10-15 second walk breaks at the aid stations to help keep my HR down. By the time I hit mile one, my stomach was not my friend. I took my final Gu of the day, and just about sent it heaving out on the road. I saw Matt heading in for the finish and signaled to him that I was out. I continued on the not-so-fun-run and when I hit mile 2-3 finally felt like I should be out there. That feeling went away, and I was ready to finish the run. The run course was actually really nice as it stretched through some neighborhoods and offered quite a bit of shade. I made it through the park, and up the approach to the finish line. I could see my wife, Matt & his wife in my peripheral vision and hit what was left in the gas to make the finish. Exhausted and relieved the race was done, and I came in under my ‘realistic goal’ time. We regrouped and headed back to the hotel so that we could enjoy the rest of the day relaxing by the pool. As with every race these days, there were good points, not so good points and lots of lessons learned.

By the numbers-

1,000 meter swim- 26:16 (crazy slow!)
Transition 1- 2:04
23 mile bike- 1:15:48
Transition 2- 0:53
4.4 mile run- 42:12
Total Time- 2:27:15
Overall Place- 135/210

Is it 70.3 or Half?

It’s been on the horizon for quite some time. Probably since the first time I got in the water to compete in a triathlon… The desire to race in the ‘long distance’ courses. There are two distances 140.6 and 70.3. The longer is the traditional full ironman length distance. The latter has been called a half ironman, but is becoming more affectionately known as just 70.3 ironman. For perspective, it’s a 1.2 mile swim followed by a 56 mile bike ride and simply a 13.1 mile run at the end of that. Not much, just a swim bike & run. 🙂

Anyway, my best friend Matt & I have kicked around ideas of what 70.3 races we wanted to do first. I had thoughts of maybe doing 70.3 San Juan in March, but logistically would be really challenging. Living in the Austin metro area we’re blessed with an abundance of triathlons and just a generally active community. We have several friends who had signed up for the 70.3 Austin race in October. The more we looked at the calendar (and our wives) the more it began seeding itself in our minds as a great opportunity to race. So we’re both taking the plunge, literally. I was a little apprehensive about finally registering for a long distance course, especially remembering the pain of the two half (there’s that word again) or 13.1 marathons this spring. But after lots of support from my wife and knowing that pain is temporary and finishing times are posted online forever, I’m in.

A funny thing is actually reading the waiver you have to sign when registering. Lots of you have called me crazy, and this pretty much solidifies it, take a read-

“I understand and acknowledge the physical and mental rigors associated with triathlon, duathlon, or other multi-sport events, and realize that running, bicycling, swimming and other portions of such Events are inherently dangerous and represent an extreme test of a person’s physical and mental limits. I understand that participation involves risks and dangers which include, without limitation, the potential for serious bodily injury, permanent disability, paralysis and death; loss or damage to property; exposure to extreme conditions and circumstances; accidents, illness, contact or collision with other participants, spectators, vehicles or other natural or manmade objects; dangers arising from adverse weather conditions; imperfect course conditions; water, road and surface hazards; equipment failure; inadequate safety measures; participants of varying skill levels; situations beyond the immediate control of the Event Organizers; and other undefined harm or damage which may not be readily foreseeable, and other presently unknown risks and dangers (“Risks”). I understand that these Risks may be caused in whole or in part by my own actions or inactions, the actions or inactions of others participating in the Event, or the acts, inaction or negligence of the Released Parties defined below, and I hereby expressly assume all such Risks and responsibility for any damages, liabilities, losses or expenses which I incur as a result of my participation in the Event.”

Anyhow, here’s to ramping up my training during this unusually cold Texas summer… it was 105 yesterday.

 

Going Rogue

Yeah that’s right. I’ve gone Rogue. Rogue Running that is. An opportunity presented itself to me a couple of months back. Rogue Running was looking for a few good people to become program ambassadors. So why not I thought? To become a better athlete I’ve learned you should surround yourself with better athletes. I first became familiar with the quaint east 5th street running store during some local races this past year. I began to notice an awful lot of black shirts with a spiffy little crown logo. The more I learned about Rogue the more I liked. It’s an all in one package with these folks. The store itself is great, and fully staffed with knowledgable runners. They host awesome partys…errr I mean running events. And the training programs are second to none.

Some of the programs that have just started or are about to start include Basic Marathon/Half Marathon Training as well as an Online Training Program. These starting now are geared towards the fall marathon season. For my tri geek friends, there is also a Triathlon Training Program. Rogues go from just ‘finishing’ races to a season full of PR’s. Rogue can move you from the couch to pavement in ways you never imagined. You can leave behind the thoughts of “I’ll never be able to be a runner” because with Rogue everyone IS a runner. So if you’re looking to get started running; kick-start your running; learn from some masters; run with some great people; get some additional motivation… these programs are for you. As an added bonus by mentioning me (Andrew Collins) and using the special code ‘Amb0610’ you can receive $50 off. But hurry as this will expire soon and the programs are starting. So what are you waiting for? Get running, with Rogue.

Seeya on the pavement or trails.

Lake Pflugerville Tri Recap

So after the Rookie Tri, I thought I might be getting into the swing of things with Triathlons. So my buddies Matt, Luke and I registered for the Lake Pflugerville Tri. This was a no miss event for me seeing as the lake is only 8.5 miles from my house and the area where we do most of our usual training. The field was limited to 500 participants which was about half the size of the Rookie. The last month of training has been pretty solid, including some PR times on the swim and bike route for the race. I was also able to capitalize on the early daylight hours while in California for work last week. (more on that later)

We planned to meet at Matt’s house and ride the 1.5 miles from there to avoid traffic issues. BRILLIANT. It was an easy was to get in and a nice little warm up. We arrived just as the sun was beginning to rise and were able to pick some pretty descent spots in transition. My wife arrived with the kiddos in tow just before the pre-race meeting (this was father’s day afterall) and it was great to have them out there cheering me on.

The 8-year-old daughter of a friend who just returned from IronMan Kansas 70.3 sang the national anthem and the open division was off. The swim for me was pretty good. There was definitely much more bumping and kicking than I had experienced in the Rookie Tri, but that’s all part of the game. I tried to stick to my pace, sight the buoy’s and get as much oxygen as possible. All of these goals were met, and I in fact hit the first buoy square on. I made it to the beach and bolted to transition. I wanted to make sure and not ‘dottle’ my way to the bike. I’m pretty sure this may have been where my heart rate was indeed the highest through the race.

I made it to my bike, got my shoes on, helmet on and was ready to go. The only issue? I continued running past the mount line which was… silly. After a disappointing showing on my bike for the Rookie, I was out for revenge. I know the course by heart and was ready to go. I put my head down, eyes up and hands in the drops and I was gone. I began my assault and starting passing riders pretty quick. Once we turned past the Cele store, I knew the fun was about to begin, a series of rollers over a 4-5 mile stretch. And it was. Fun. Because I trained on it. And passed people on it. And owned. It. Average speed coming off was over 19mph. I was on target. The plan was to be able to turn up the pace after the rollers. I had a slight pause trying to get down some Hammer Gel before the final leg of the bike, but kept plugging away. The last leg of the bike was a little tougher for me than I had anticipated. It’s normally where the gas is able to be turned up quite a bit, but I was just maintaining. Before we turned I heard my buddy Matt yell behind me “come on Andrew, let’s do it.” Arg. Matt had finally caught up to me, which meant he was smoking his time. We stayed fairly close through the end of the bike route, but I geared down to spin up before the run.

In transition, I was really starting to not feel so hot. Well, yes hot, but not in the good way. I slipped into my running shoes, grabbed my visor & bib number and headed out. I could see the wife and kids as well as our friends at the top of the hill cheering. I managed to make it up the hill in good form, then hit the trail. Ouch. The run was going to hurt. Again. The first mile was ok. At least I thought the water station was at mile one, but it wasn’t! If you’ve never run around Lake Pflugerville, it’s a great trail. Minus the 2nd mile section on the backside of the lake that somehow doesn’t get any air movement, and is always a sweltering furnace of pain. And I mean it. The comfort I took was knowing that I wasn’t the only one struggling on that side. There were many quality athletes that felt the pain. After hitting the mile 2 marker, I began my mental countdown. I didn’t want to look at my watch, but felt pretty sure I was on target for my goal of 1:30 finishing time. But I didn’t want to ruin it. So I kept plugging along, and only had the wind knocked out of my sail from a few amazing female athletes who coasted by me. I finally make it to the finish, arms in the air, eyes on the clock at 1:30, then over to my amazing wife and kids! It was done, I had finished it, and I felt…ok. I layed on the grass with a cold towel, regained composure, drank my recoverite and began to bask in the glow of another successful triathlon completed. It was a great day. My friend Matt had smoked his swim and bike. Luke also threw down a great overall time. So yeah this triathlon thing? Totally addicting! And Fun.

By the numbers-
Overall time- 1:30:24
500m swim- 14:16
T1- 2:28
14m bike- 43:30
T2- 1:16
3m run- 28:53
http://results.active.com/pages/oneResult.jsp?pID=87098681&rsID=95130

the Rookie Tri Recap

Pre-Race

I spent as my wife would refer ‘all day’ Saturday in race prep mode. It was more of laying everything out; coming back later & working on transition settings; going and getting a transition backpack from VO2TC; checking my list; packing everything; etc. It wasn’t REALLY all day. I think. I made a good dinner at home that night and we retired early. Then my alarm went off at 4:30am and I got up and did what triathletes do, I ate and got ready. The race was held at the Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels which is about an hour away. We rolled down the highway, stopped at two Starbucks which were still closed and settled on McDonalds for a coffee fix. My wife took joy in passing all the tri-geeks with 10k bikes on the highway. There were smatterings of rain on the highway and a little drizzle when we got there. I’m sure there were about 1,000 extra prayers to avoid rain at that moment. I get everything set and we walk towards transition area in which I got my body markings on the way. I find a good spot on a rack about 4 rows back and close to the edge. I had to laugh because several of the guys around me had laid out full beach blankets for transition. LAME. I pull out my hand towel, lay it next to my bike and set out my running shoes, bike shoes, helmet, visor and running number. I ended up having to put my bag on the other side of my bike due to the yahoos with huge blankets. I had originally wanted to do a warm up swim and a little jog but after getting my bearings, checking the transition area, traffic flow and using the porta-potty once more there simply wasn’t time. They made an announcement that the water temp was 75 degrees. For being such a short race there were still several folks who opted for a wetsuit. I met up with Luke & Matt and we walked towards the start for the pre-race meeting. They make a few announcements while we stick our feet in the water. About that time we notice a huge dude with about 2% body fat and a tattoo on his left shoulder blade with the five little rings. Yup, that’s right an Olympian was about to swim with us, Brendan Hansen! He would go on to crush the swim in 4:10, yeah that was first. After the national anthem was sung it was show time.

Swim

The swim was pretty straight forward basically a U shaped 300m course at the Ski Ranch tank. The water was pretty calm and temperature was nice. It was definitely a spectacle to see the open division take off with an Olympian at the front. My was up next. We enter the water and since nobody else was I made my way towards the front. One of the best pieces of advice I got only a couple of days ago was to swim towards the inside. Most everyone takes the advice of going to the outside and it gets crowded. As soon as we go off, I join the crowd but quickly step back to the side and let the rush past. I was able to avoid most of the kicking and chaos this way. I got into my stroke almost immediately. My first sightings were off, but then I was able to follow the buoys great and even ran into one. I was amazed that there were swimmers hanging onto the ramps we past at about a 1/3 in. Just before I got to the turn I heard the announcer lead off the next wave. I was feeling really good because this was the pace I wanted. I wasn’t killing myself and was doing the stroke I trained. About half way down the home stretch I notice some different colored swim caps start to pass from the other wave, those guys were smoking. One thing I’ve notice with swimming is the end always seems so far. I kept sighting the finish, but it took a while to get there. I kept swimming once we got close to shore because the alga on the bottom was NASTY and deep. There were plenty of helpers to grab everyone out of the water and into transition it was… and a long run to the bikes.

Bike

I thought I might never make it to my bike rack. I always get pretty dizzy coming out of the water. In hind sight I should have sat on the ground to put on my helmet and shoes. Instead I stagger and almost trip several times. I slipped into my bike shoes but don’t fasten the tops. I grab my bike and run out of transition. One grave mistake that I would regret later was not strapping my shoes on yet. I was able to successfully tighten my right shoes, but I could never get my left shoe closed. I tried at least 10 times on the bike, but couldn’t feed Velcro through the eyelet. I slowed down tried, failed, repeat. Unfortunately I really let this error get in my mental game. I finally decided I could do without. The route was an 11.1 rectangle that started on the service road of I-35. I was never able to come pre-ride the route so it was all new to me. I heard a few riders concerned about a couple of the hills especially at the start. Fortunately for me I like to ride with Austin Cycle Camp. However it pains my legs, it’s always worth it when I come to an even like this. The hills were cake, and that’s where I made up the most ground. I passed up many riders going uphill after they bombed the downhill. The only riders that consistently passed me were the elite riding TT bikes with aero wheels. Whatever. I wasn’t riding as hard as I wanted too, and kept slipping into a comfortable pace rather than a Time Trial pace. I was conscious about not trying to kill it and leave some energy for the run. The final leg coming in was a nice downhill descent back to the Ski Ranch with lots of bystanders cheering. I hop off of my bike to run it into transition and could already feel my legs being heavy.

Run

I make it into transition, rack my bike pull off my helmet & shoes and slip right into my running shoes while grabbing my visor and bib number. I begin my ‘trot’ out of transition onto the run course. The legs were definitely heavy. I kept telling myself not to overdo it at the beginning. It was cool at the start of the run because all of the people cheering you on and they had a drum line playing some tunes. The run course was an out and back with a final lap around the lake to the finish line. I’m going to just say I’m not a fan of out and back on run, because you get to see the ridiculously fast people running the other way. Regardless I carried on with my slow pace. I knew that I could run faster in training, but just couldn’t muster the strength to pull that pace. When I finally rounded the corner to hit the home stretch around the lake I turned it up and came across the finish line strong.

Post-Race

Crossing the finish line I wanted to pass out lying on the ground. Which in my book was a goal. I didn’t want to cross and feel like I could have given a little more but didn’t. Not long after I crossed I was joined by my friends Matt & Luke. It was an awesome feeling that we all finished the event with respectable times. We were greeted at the finish with lots of cheering by spouses and bystanders, recovery drinks, food, etc. The best part may have been when we found the Advanced Rehab tent offering ART and massages. My IT band/quads were abnormally sore, so I immediately felt the benefits of these great people. All in all it was a fabulous event put on by Jack & Adams and High Five Events. It was so cool seeing folks from Monkey Wipes, and Red Licorice Events supporting as well. The more events I do the more faces I recognize and the more fun I have! Next up, the Lake Pflugerville Triathlon on June 20th.

By the Numbers:

Chip Time: 01:10:23
300m swim: 10:28
T1: 2:10
11.1m bike: 37:28
T2: 1:30
2m run: 18:45

see more photos here