Saturday, May 30, 2009

CapTex Tri Race Report

Total Time = 2h 34m 21s
Overall Rank = 257/1342
Age Group = F25-29
Age Group Rank = 10/101

Pre-race routine: On Sunday, my friend Tia and I traveled down to the race expo, picked up our packets, ran into another friend, checked in our bikes (covering them with plastic bags to keep the forecasted rain off), and then linked up with our friends Anne and Tanya. We got checked into our hotel (yay for Priceline name your own price), and then headed to Whole Foods for dinner--great place to get something not too heavy, but with options for all! We headed back that evening, made sure our bags were good and actually turned the lights off in the room around 9PM...but I was in and out of sleep and in and out of the bathroom--I was well hydrated. We woke up at 0500, I ate breakfast, and then we body marked ourselves cause they told us too. I added something a little special for Memorial Day. Then we headed over to get to parking around 0545. Transition was supposed to open at 0600, but was obviously already open. I pumped up my tires, laid out my gear, and started putting on sun block and a guy was trying to hurry us up at 0635?? Really...come on now. Anyhow, got a little rushed out--which cause a minor problem later in the day. Made it down for the National Anthem and the intro of the Wounded Warriors who were racing as part of the Wounded Warrior Project--which is close to me because it's the charity I'm raising money for with Ironman. Then the waves started going off.
Event warmup: None. I wanted to run a little bit, but we got kicked out of, um, nothing...couldn't get in the water early either.
Started off strong, but let me tell you there were some aggressive girls in there, one that would be a pain in my side--literally--several kept trying to swim right into me, push me over, etc, but I had none of it, I mean seriously. I got a little bit of drafting, but once we got to the end of the first leg for the first right turn, there was a gap between me, the front of the pack, and the folks behind me. I was feeling decently strong, but once we turned to head East, even with my shaded goggles, the sun was GLARING--I had to sight much more than usual just because I wasn't quite sure WHAT i was sighting off of, and I had to keep a look at the pack in front of me. I then started catching some of the two waves before us, and that's always a little difficult. I wasn't feeling worn out, but I simply prefer to get done with this part...I tried to remember to kick, but I wasn't doing it as much as I should've, and I think my time shows it. Anyhow, once I made the last turn I was with a group again--I think I caught up to them, and with the group was swimsuit girl that again tried to swim into my side--argh, was driving me nuts. A little bit of a bottleneck at the out ramp and I had wiggle by a few folks.
What would I do differently?
Swim faster--which I think means kick more, I neglected my stroke a little in the middle, and when I regained it is when I caught some of the pack that had broken away from me earlier. I'd love to draft, but seriously, I always seem to be in this middle pocket where I don't have anyone to draft. I think I can do this at a 1:45...would like to do that at Waco in July and Austin in Sept. We'll see.
HOLY COW. WORST T1 EVER. It doesn't help that it was at least 250m from the swim exit, out and around and up to my transition spot while running through dirt that became mud on my feet. I ALWAYS run out of the swim, and I had no problem doing it, got my wetsuit to my waist, took off my cap and goggles and the cap ended up falling off to the right..I suppose I could've let it go, but I stopped to pick it up. 1st time waster moment. Then I get to my rack and have a horrible time getting the dumb wetsuit off. 2nd time waster moment. My feet are COVERED in mud, had to get some of that off before I put my shoes on--dusted a little off on my towel, but not much. 3rd time waster moment. Got my shoes, glasses, helmet on, grabbed my bike, and dang it if the person next to me had pushed their bag into my bike and it got stuck on my pedal. 4th time waster moment. I get that undone and start the at least 250m (maybe longer) run from my rack spot to the mount line--as I'm about half-way there my right quad cramps up--crap, what is this. I've had side stitches and calf cramps but NEVER a quad cramp, I had to slow down. 5th time waster moment. Then I realize since I got rushed out of transition I didn't move my chain ring from little/little, so I wasn't at the starting getar I wanted. 6th time waster moment--but not too bad. Crappy, crappy T1 26/101 ranking
What would you do differently? Work on wetsuit removal, let the cap go, not have a quad cramp. The wetsuit was really bad. This transition, for both bike and run, is one thing I dislike about CapTex and the Austin Tri--they are so HUGE that you are inevitably going to have long transitions (though mine here should've been faster) just so you can get from A-B...i'm much better at transitions than this.
Starting off was a little tough as my right quad was tight from the cramp. I took the first pass of the hills up past the Capital a little slower than I would the rest of the race, once I turned around and hit the downhills I was back into a groove and started pushing from there. The course was crowded, but not too bad. When I hit the flats/slight downhills headed out towards Lake Austin BLVD I was pushing 23-26. I was passing several folks. On the 3rd loop, after refilling the aero bottle, I started to put the bottle back and someone came up to pass (I was right) WAY closer than they needed too...and I dropped the bottle. Darn it...oh well, it was empty. I was pushing pretty hard and there weren't too many sprinters that hit the course till my last loop, and that last loop I really put the hammer down with what I had left knowing that I did have to run, so a little in reserve. My turns were "okay" but they were crowded and you simply had to slow to be safe. I don't particularly care for all the turns on this course...but overall, I feel like I did it pretty well.
What would you do differently? I would of liked to have started off a little stronger, but the quad cramp really slowed me down that first loop. I'd like to see a 22 avg. on an Olympic course one of these days. Still a good ride.
I'm kind of disappointed with this time, except for I remembered that it was, again, at least a 150m from the dismount line to my rack, and then another good 150-200m to the run course start. I got to my rack no problem and bike racked, got the shoes on--all the dirt came off in the bike shoes on, grabbed my hat, bottle, and race belt and took off. There is a HUGE (for my short legs) step that you have to go up to get to the run entrance. Not too bad of a time..can get better. 5/101 ranking
What would you do differently? Not sure, thought I did this well--but the time was long--get a rack closer to the center aisle? I got there pretty early for racking, but it seemed like most of the 98 girls in my AG did the same.
Okay, I have been running for roughly 2.5 to 3 weeks prior to this after having to take 6+ weeks off of running due to a stress fracture on the head of my right fibula. The furthest I had gone in my training for this, at one time, was 4 miles. I wasn't sure what to expect. I did know I wanted to negative split it...I wanted to keep steady for the first loop and then speed it up on the second loop. I did just that. I miss my sub 8's (except that last mile), but I am very happy that I was able to do this with no pain at all.
What would you do differently? Not get a stress fracture two months beforehand...lose some weight. I plan to do both before my next olympic (TriWaco 7/26) and I want to get back sub 2:30 (PR is 2:28)...I have a new goal to do a 45 min 10k in an Olympic. Can't complain too much here--goes to show how much bike fitness can help keep the run fitness.

What limited your ability to perform faster:
-Need better focus in the swim on my form, must remember to kick stronger.
-Must get better at removal of wetsuit on my own...or just do races with wetsuit strippers (I'm going with get better on my own)
-Quad cramp in T1
-Stress fracture recovery = minimal run time prior to race

Event comments: This is a good race--it is a BIG race. I liked the run course, not fond of the 4 loops on the bike, but not too bad. The swim is a good swim, except for swimming into the sun sucked, but no biggie. The thing I dislike about races on Auditorium Shores are the HUGE transitions and the LONG transition runs. Oh well--otherwise, it was good schwag, "okay" expo, and a beautiful day to race. This brings out a good, solid, competitive crowd, and they handled it all well. I'll be back, and I'll be faster! :)
I am happy to snag top 10 (just barely!) coming off of injury. There are definitely some things to work on, but I'll get there. One of the best things about the race was racing with some great friends!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a time to remember...a time to remember that freedom isn't free and that the cost is very real. It's not necessarily a time to mourn, but rather a time to reflect on the character, bravery, and courage of those who gave all. I don't know that I fully understood the meaning behind Memorial Day until after I graduated into a war-time Army. From some of the Soldiers I have served with, to my classmates, and other graduates I've known or events that were very real to me, this day means more than it did prior to 2002.
Today I remember: SSG Shank, CPL Roberson, SPC Kephart, CPL Hale, SGT McCoy, Todd, Mike, Jim, Kevin, Tim, Drew, Torre, Bryan, Laura, Andy, Leif, and will never be forgotten.

Today, as we remember those who gave all, I do want to ask, if you can, to remember those other Service Members who suffered traumatic injuries due to war. The Wounded Warrior Project supports, on a daily basis, those wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who are learning to cope with life through their injuries. Whether it's jobs, continued service in the military, dealing with PTSD, etc., the Wounded Warrior Project seeks to empower our countries wounded heroes. I'm seeking to raise as much money as possible for the WWP through the Janus Charity Challenge for Ironman. This is NOT about me!! I am not seeking out a "prize" for myself, but truly want to raise money to help out those that gave more than I have. Every single dollar counts and helps. I won't solicit here often, cause I don't want to nag...but I feel that today is an appropriate day to ask, if you can, to please give.
Just click the following link: WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT.
If you want to learn more about what the WWP does, to include the major bike rides they do in many states, go here: