Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Avia Austin Tri

Race report only a little more than a month after the fact!

The Austin Tri was on Labor Day in downtown Austin. It really is a lot of fun getting to race in downtown Austin. The quick low down on it was that it was a great race for me with a few hiccups. I bettered last year’s time by 17 minutes and bettered my 10k PR by a little over 30 seconds.

On the Friday before the race, I decided to play golf with my friend Nick after work. This is all well and good, but I decided that I would carry my bag and walk the course instead of getting a cart. I’m in decent shape so this should not have been a big ordeal. But, I woke up on Saturday with an incredibly sore neck and shoulder. It only got worse throughout the day and by Sunday morning, it hurt to breathe everything had become so tight and sore. I managed to get a few laps in at my pool and a tiny run in and it seemed to loosen up a little bit.

I started off the swim feeling OK, but after about 100m or so, my chest got really tight and I couldn’t breathe. Not sure if it was the cold water, the soreness I had been suffering from, the apprehension of what the race would be like, or most likely, a combination of all of the above. Well, I have had bad swims before, so I didn’t freak out, I just breast and side stroked trying to not kick anyone and keep my head out of the water. After about another 200-300m, my chest opened up and I could go back to free style. The rest of the swim, with the exception of being incredibly pissed off at myself, went really well and I made up some ground.

Once I got on my bike I became very grateful for the loaner pair of sun glasses I got from my buddy, Jimmy. I wear contacts so I have to wear sunglasses on the bike to keep them from drying out. This day was very overcast and had a good chance of rain. Jimmy lent a pair of glasses to me with yellow lenses as all of mine are dark gray. This was a tremendous help! For me, I felt like I was flying on the bike and making good time. I even caught up to Tenille (she was on her second or third lap by this time - I was on my first) and said hi. She didn’t recognize me at the time, but apparently this was inspiring to her as she quickly passed me back and that was the last of her I would see during the race. (She totally rocked the race and came in 3rd Overall for the women! Right after winning the San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz the weekend before.) On my third lap I became infinitely more appreciative of my yellow sunglasses; the skies opened up and we had a nice little down pour for a good part of the lap. I am not the most confident rider so I slowed WAY down at first to ensure I didn’t crash and see how Beva (my bike) would handle the slick roads. Luckily we made it through with no crashes!

The rain stopped just as I was getting off the bike and it started to get quite muggy. Oh well. It beats running in 105* weather. This was the first time I decided to run without socks, so the wet shoes were not too comfortable right off the bat. However, had I had socks, they too would have started off wet. As I passed the first mile of the run I saw Kelly and Steven from my running group which gave me a nice little perk. A little before mile two, I saw Roger, my first running coach. handing out water bottles and gels. Despite the inspiration I started to fade a little bit, but then one of the nicest things happened to me. The pro that I had been right behind since the start of my lap called back to me, “Come on! Pick it up. Do it now while it is easy and help bring me in.” Somehow I found another gear and managed to pull ahead of him and hopefully be a little bit of a rabbit. Even with the increased pace, I still never felt like I was really managing all that great of a pace, or form, and my stomach was just screaming at me to stop eating sugar. When I finally came to the finish line I looked at my watch and saw a time of 42:45 for the 10k portion. This was much faster than it felt like I ran so I was ecstatic. Later when I looked at the results, I discovered I missed starting the watch after transition, and that my actual run time was 40:58! Overall time was 2:21:20.

Now there is just one more race - Ironman 70.3 Austin (formerly Longhorn). That is this Sunday and I am more than a little nervous about it. I feel ready and know that I am prepared for it, but for some reason that isn’t instilling me with a sense of calm. But I am certainly looking forward to it. I promise to be much, much more punctual on posting that race report. Until then, run friendly!