So I was going through my old journal from last year and I found my Longhorn 70.3 race report! I thought that it’d be nice to put it here on the blog and then in a month, when I do the same race again, compare my experiences. So…here goes! (Warning: LONG POST)
Saturday, October 25, 2014:
Set the alarm for 5:00am. Packed up whatever was left and we met up with Jeremy and Cristina at a gas station. Jeremy had typed up a very detailed itinerary, and we dropped a copy off at my parent’s house before we hit the road. Mike and I listened to Joel Osteen radio and talked all morning. We only stopped twice for potty breaks and arrived at the convention center packet pickup a little before noon.
So happy to be out of the car and in Austin, TX!
We went inside and got in line for packet pickup. There were so many vendors all around with all you could imagine you’d want or need for a triathlon. The check-in went smoothly and they gave us all we needed. We decided to go drop our bikes off at T1 and then come back and look around. We drove over to the T1 site which was the same spot it was when I did Iron Girl in 2012.
We found our rack spot (my number was 1813) and racked our bikes. We had to be careful not to roll our tires on the grass because there were stickers. After we got those all set up we went back to the expo and looked around. I got the white dry-fit long-sleeved race shirt with all the athletes’ names on the back. We had “lunch” off of all the Bonk Breakers and beef jerky samples, which was kinda funny.
Jeremy, Cristina, and I made our way to the athlete race meeting at 3:00pm. It was held in the same arena where we would be running through the finish line. As I sat, I stared at the finish line imagining if and when I would be running through it the next day.
The meeting was pretty thorough in explaining everything we needed to know and expect. The race official got up to speak and warned us about breaking the rules (especially on the bike) and being given a penalty card, which would result in having to sit in the penalty box. After all his explaining he made me a little nervous, but Jeremy told me not to worry about it too much.
After the meeting was over, we got in the car to head to the hotel, but made a quick stop at HEB for breakfast foods. We decided to get what we always eat before a race: bagels, almond butter, and bananas. Then we finally went and checked into the hotel. As soon as we got there we organized the 3 tri bags they had given us.
(Not my photo)
We had a “Morning Clothes Bag” that we put all our swim stuff in, a “Bike Gear Bag” and a “Run Gear Bag”. It took a lot of thought and concentration to make sure everything we needed was in each bag. But I’m glad we got it done then.
Luckily, there was a really nice little restaurant right next to our hotel. So my parents, Jeremy’s mom and sister, and Mike met us there. (My husband wasn’t staying in the same hotel with me because he wasn’t racing. He stayed at his buddy’s house.) They all ordered beers while Crisitna, Jeremy, and I put strawberry lemonade Nuuns in our waters ;). Dinner was really good, I ordered chicken tacos and they were delicious. My mom had made me this awesome bracelet with 13.1 tags that had an inspirational quote from all of my closest friends. This was for me to wear during the run portion, and read a tag at every mile. It was perfect and made me cry.
We all said goodnight and went back to the hotel. I took a quick shower and we were all in bed by 8:15. I took my ipod to help me fall asleep. Surprisingly, my stomach wasn’t super nervous and I had a pretty decent sleep.
Sunday, October 26, 2014:
RACE MORNING! Alarm went off at 4:00am. Jeremy wanted us to leave by 4:45. He got up and showered while Cristina and I tried to get around. I slathered on the Chamois Butter…(all up in there), haha. Jeremy started packing up the car while Cris and I mixed our water bottles and made the bagel breakfasts. We left a little after 4:45 and took our breakfast with us in the car. I tried to remain as calm as I could, but I could only get about 1/4 of the breakfast eaten.
Obviously it was still pitch dark when we got there. We took out all our 3 bags and walked to T2 to leave off our run bag (this race has two different transition locations). We were to tie the run bag to the bike rack with our race number. I made a mental note of a tree that was behind a gate to mark where my spot was. I had to go to the bathroom from nerves, so we did a quick port-o-potty stop, then headed to the school bus that would take us to T1. The bus was really quiet; you could feel the nervous energy of everyone around. The bus dropped us off quite a ways from T1 and we had to walk across a field in the dark. I made sure to watch every step, didn’t want to twist my ankle before I even began!
We got into T1, got body-marked and went to our bikes. There was another girl in front of me that I started a conversation with. I never caught her name, but it turns out she was from Ireland and this was also her first 70.3. As we were setting up, another girl a couple of bikes down from us started making a big scene about not being able to clip her bike shoes in beforehand (they weren’t allowing us to, not that I even know how to do that!) But it was kinda ridiculous that she was trying to show off she had a “pro card” and didn’t bring it for this race, blah, blah, blah. Thank God she left shortly after that. Jeremy came over and pumped my tires (he’s always taking care of us girls at every race).
It was pretty chilly and we found a log to sit on. We still had about an hour until the race was going to start. Jeremy’s mom and sister came and met with us. The sun started coming up and the sky and water were a beautiful pink color. I was shivering because I was so cold, but also probably from nerves. I tried not to look at the water because I didn’t want to get too freaked out. My wave was to begin at 8:30am (the first out of our little group) and it was already 8:00 and Mike still wasn’t there. I really wanted to see him before I started. Luckily he got there around 8:10. I gave him my morning clothes bag and put on my wetsuit. Amazingly, my stomach was way calmer than I expected.
It’s go time girls!
SWIM- I made my way down to my swim wave. I had a neon yellow swim cap. I said bye to everyone and went to stand in my crowd. I slipped off my cheapie flip flops and left them in the grass (everyone did that). I tried to pump myself up by talking to girls around me. I was freezing and had to pee so bad. But as soon as we waded into the lake, three good things happened: 1) the water was warm, 2) my wetsuit had me buoyant so I barely had to do anything to tread water, and 3) I got to pee…A LOT! And it felt great! We were only treading water for about 4 minutes before they blew the foghorn and off we went.
I had positioned myself near the back of my wave, which I think was good because I wasn’t overwhelmed and was never smacked or kicked. I had brand new goggles that I had never used and they never fogged up on me which was perfect. The awesome thing about the swim was it was marked with a buoy every 100m which really kept my spirits up because I could feel my progress. I passed up a few swimmers, but I wasn’t too worried about that. I just wanted to feel good and keep moving forward. Before I knew it I had passed the last buoy and was on my way out of the water. As I was running out and started taking off my wetsuit, I spotted my parents and Mike right away. It was great to see them.
T1- The run from the lake to T1 was pretty long, and when I got to my bike, I finished taking off my wetsuit and sat in the grass to towel my feet and peed right there in the grass…haha. Got my bike shoes on, helmet, sunglasses, threw my swim stuff in my transition bag and ate half a Honey Stinger. I had to carry my bike all the way to the mount line (which, lucky for me, wasn’t too far). My parents had made their way to the mount line and were cheering me on as I clipped in and took off.
BIKE- I embarked on my 56 mile bike ride! The first thing I noticed was that the road was extremely bumpy at certain spots and other people were starting to get flats right and left. This was my out-loud prayer while going over all of those dangerous bumpy patches, “God keep me smooth and keep my safe.” Somehow that made sense to me. I was just praying for God to guide me on the path that would lead me to no flats.
There were signs marking every 5 miles or so, and I had also had my Garmin clipped to my bike so I could keep track of miles. I wanted to be sure to eat something every 30 minutes or so. I passed the first aid station (Mile 15, I think) because I still felt pretty good. But then around Mile 17, there was this crazy steep short climb that was so tough! When I reached the top of it, I unclipped, parked, drank water and refreshed my back with a stretch. I didn’t stay for long, I just needed that quick break. Felt good and went back at it. I passed quite a few people (and quite a few people passed me) and I never saw the race officials there to enforce the drafting (which was one less worry).
At about Mile 22 there was another aid station. This time I pulled over, ate a Gu, filled my water bottle with fresh water and stretched. It probably took about 3 minutes, but I needed it. Once we hit the 30 milers the course got a little crazy. Lots of bumpy FAST downhills and lots of climbs. I stopped once more at the next aid station and ate another Gu, drank, and ate a bag of chomps they had handed me. I knew I was getting near the end and kept thanking God for keeping me safe and from getting a flat. At one point I freaked out because I heard the sound of air escaping quickly, and I could’ve sworn I got a flat, but I looked up and saw someone on the side of the road changing their own flat and using their CO2 cartridge. That was the biggest moment of relief when I realized I had a false alarm.
I finally approached Mile 50 and was so excited to finish…except it was a super rolling uphill. I had to get out of my saddle a lot. There had been this girl going back and forth with me for awhile, and when we got into the 50 Milers I came upon her and said, “We’re almost done!” and she goes, “Tell me that at mile 10.” all rude! So I just passed her up. Finally I made the turn into T2. By looking at my watch, I had decided I wanted to start my run around 1:00pm, and I was very close to that.
T2- T2 got me very confused. For some reason, I couldn’t figure out how to rack my bike facing the right way (now I know it wouldn’t have mattered). So I wasted some minutes running around with my bike. I sat down to change my shoes, drink some water, throw on my visor and took off.
RUN- What was awesome about the run was that it was 3 loops. So as I began my first one, I spotted my cheer crew. That really pepped me up! It was HOT at that point! As we made our way out the gate and turned left, it was an uphill! Turns out there were quite a few hills on this run as well. Luckily, there were about 5 water stations on the loop. So I stopped and walked at each one. I saw Jeremy halfway through my first loop (he was finishing his second!). As I rounded back into my second loop I finally saw Cristina. We hugged and encouraged each other.
At about Mile 7 I felt my feet starting to ache. A weird feeling I hadn’t felt before. It felt better when I walked, but I was really trying to keep my pattern of only walking at the rest stops. I had a little bit of everything from the aid stations: pretzels, orange slices, cola, water, and ice that I would pour down the front and back of my top. I couldn’t wait to start my 3rd and final loop, but this time I walked a bit more. I walked on a couple of the uphills. My feet were still aching but I knew I was almost done.
Finally, I made my way towards the finish! I had imagined the finisher’s chute so much during my training and I was finally heading towards it. We went from outside to inside, so I took my sunglasses off and sped towards the finish.
I couldn’t believe it, I started crying tears of joy! The lady who gave me my medal said, “Don’t cry, you’re making me cry!”
I spotted my crew and was so happy! My feet ached so bad, so as we were waiting for Cristina to come in, I sat on the floor. I was so happy to be done and was surprised that I didn’t feel so bad!
So that’s it! I had a great first 70.3 experience and I’m praying that this year will be just as enjoyable! Longhorn 70.3 2015 here I come!
TRI WITH JOY!