....and, we're back to Monday! Seriously, where do the weekends go? :)
This weekend, I had the Tres Burritos ride on Saturday, and the Marble Falls Triathlon on Sunday. I've been trying a new approach with racing this year with my rest day on Friday instead of Saturday for a Sunday race, and adding in a longer ride/short run on Saturday. I think this has ended up being a good change for me.
Saturday I ventured outside of my comfort zone and headed to Austin for the Tres Burritos ride put on by Bicycle Sport Shop. It was advertised as 42 miles of hills, and it did not disappoint. I got a little freaked out when I showed up and it was 97% dudes who all looked to be super serious riders. But, I held my own. We hit all the big hills on 360, Lost Creek & Barton Creek. This was definitely the hilliest ride I have ever done, but it was great training. I did a short 2 mile t-run afterwards then called it a day. Headed home to get some rest for Sunday. We ate at Cici's pre-race for dinner, which I hoped would not come back to bite me in the butt Sunday morning; luckily, it didn't and might be my go-to pre-race meal from now on.
Sunday, Dan and I got up at the wee hour of 4 am to drive to Marble Falls for the race. God bless my #1 sherpa who willingly gets up at ungodly hours to drive me all over the state to Texas to watch me race. I was really excited about this race. I'd done it once before in 2008, and it's extremely well set-up and organized. They offered a packet pick-up in Austin which was awesome, and you could rack your bike race morning, meaning we wouldn't have to spend the night and could drive in race morning. They group the women into two waves which meant less waiting around - the race started at 7 am, and my wave went at 7:06. Usually I'm waiting a good hour before my wave actually takes off.
I came to the race with a huge appetite. By all accounts, I was ready to race. Last time I did this race in 2008, I clocked a 2:25:08 for the 1,000m swim, 23 mile bike and 4.4 mile run. I felt like I've been putting in some good work lately, and I was hoping for a big improvement this time around.
Swim - I've been doing a lot more open water swimming this year than in years past, and so I am feeling stronger in the races. My sighting has improved and I am doing better about staying on course. I felt great heading out to the first buoy. I looked up at the turn and I was sitting comfortably at the middle of the pack of women in my wave. That is good for me. After the turn though we were swimming directly into the sun, and finding the buoys was pretty difficult. I then started to sight off of other swimmers (and hoping they weren't swimming off course). For some reason, I felt like I was swimming forever. Anyway, I came out of the water in 21:44, compared to 24:15 in 2008. I was pleased and ready to hit the bike.
Bike - Once on the bike I was really relaxed. I knew the course was full of long rolling hills, but I much prefer those compared to the extremely short & steep hills. I tried to attack the hills without losing momentum and just stay consistent. I was riding 'naked' since my bike computer doesn't work, so I had no idea what I was averaging. I think I actually prefer riding this way. I got passed by a few people, but also passed some people as well. I ended up with a 1:15:38 bike split, averaging 18.2 mph for the 23 miles. I was stoked. My 2008 split was 1:27:09, 15.8 mph.
Run - Got off the bike and headed out for the run. My legs were feeling good, and I knew I could catch some of the women ahead of me. My plan was to slowly chip away at them. The run was flat for the most part, with only one hill up to the finish line. I came to mile one in 6:51; I was hoping to hold that pace throughout. Somehow, I actually ended up negative splitting this run, which usually never happens to me in a triathlon. I accredit it to the pack of 3 women that came into my view about half way through the race. I made my surge and passed all of them, and in turn tried to keep up my pace so they wouldn't catch back up to me. Mission accomplished. My run split was 29:59/6:49 pace, compared to 31:06/7:04 pace in 2008.
My 2:10:01 was good enough for 10th place overall (women), 3rd in my age group and a 15 minute PR from 2008.
All in all it was a solid weekend of work and experience in racing. And at the end of the day, that’s all I can ask for.