Tri For Old Glory was a blast! This was the first Olympic distance tri I’ve done in 2 years (my last one was the Gator Bait Tri in Boerne, TX). I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as my performance, but again, I had to remind myself that I signed up for this to have FUN.
Woke up Saturday morning and did an easy 1000m swim, just to stretch everything out. Came home and finished packing up. Mike & I hit the road (with our Sandie girl in tow) by about 11:00am.
Arrived at our hotel (which was REALLY nice and dog friendly!) by about 3:30pm. Met up with my parents and we all headed to the race site for packet pick-up. Man, it was HOT!
We walked around a bit and checked out the lake and showed my parents where the transition & finish line would be. Everything is really close together so it’s very spectator-friendly.
Headed back to the hotel & organized our tri gear, then met my parents downstairs for happy hour/dinner.
I was passed out asleep by 9:00pm, no joke.
Transition opened at 5:15, so Mike & I were up by 4:15. Got dressed and had a pb&j Bonkbreaker for breakfast. We left the hotel by 5:10 and were at the race site by about 5:20. Luckily we met up with Gracie in the parking area (which is quite a walk in the pitch dark, carrying your bike so you don’t roll it through stickers in the grass).
Got to transition site and set it all up. I was happy that my nerves were very calm. I was more excited than nervous to see how I would do that day. I expected the heat (especially during the run), but as the sun was rising we noticed a nice cloud cover which really kept things cool.
The race director held a quick pre-race briefing where he explained the swim route for the sprint and Olympic distances. Then he went over the bike route, which he told us to expect some crappy roads before we hit the farm roads. And finally the run route. He said to stay hydrated because this cloud cover would burn off by the time most of us were out on the run.
We met up with Team Healy and chatted around their tent set up. My parents showed up with Sandie girl & Bentley (their doggie). Before we knew it, we had sung the National Anthem, prayed, and were walking to the swim start!
Got to say a quick bye to Sandie girl and got in line. The Olympic distance athletes would enter the water first and follow a 7-buoy 1500m swim in a counterclockwise direction. We were to seed ourselves by 100m swim time and it was a time-trial start which means each athlete enters the water about 3-5 seconds apart. I love time-trials because they are much calmer than wave starts.
I jumped right in and was off! This lake is a man-made ski lake, and so it has a very shallow border all around. I couldn’t see anything through the muddy/murky water, but I felt my hand swiping the bottom of the lake a few times. I tried to swim more towards the center of the lake where it was a bit deeper, so I could feel more comfortable.
I felt good throughout my swim, but I wasn’t sure of my pace. Got out of the water and looked down at my watch to see I swam it in 30 min; not bad!
Ran into transition and got all my bike gear together. It was still nice and cloudy out, so it wasn’t too hot yet. My transition could have been faster, but oh well. Was out of there and on my bike in under 2 minutes.
Guess I was just so fast, mom couldn’t get a pic of my whole body, haha 😉
The beginning portion of the bike was the least pleasant because of those roads! Bumpyas all get-out! I saw a few water bottles that had been dropped along the way. About 1 mile into the bike we hit a steep and short uphill right after a right hand turn. Mike has just passed me up and yelled out, “Get ready for that hill coming up!” That was nice of him, haha.
Once we hit the farm roads it was chip-seal (ugh) and long rolling hills. Despite the bumpy, bumpy, bumpy ride, I really enjoyed the bike. I felt great with my uphill climbs, but I’m such a chicken on the downhills! One of my goals is to be able to stay in aero on the downhills. It was also surprisingly very windy! I guess I bring the wind with me to every race. When we finally hit Scull road (about 3 miles before the end) I was looking forward to flying down that hill. I shouted a “WOOOOHOOOOO!” as I rode down at 35 mph! What a rush! I was very surprised to see my average bike pace was 18mph, even with the wind and those climbs!
Was NOT looking forward to the run because, as the race director had predicted, the clouds had burned off and there was blazing sun. I changed into my visor, running shoes, and grabbed my mini hand-held water bottle for pouring on my head.
I’ll describe my run as a “shuffle trot”. I didn’t want to gas out too early, and my heart rate really spikes in the heat, so I just trotted along. It seemed to be working for me because I slowly but surely started passing people up. The run course is a 3 mile loop, so it’s hard to tell who is doing the sprint or who is doing the Olympic because you don’t know if they are running one or two loops.
There were only 2 water stations (which wasn’t enough for me with the heat!) but I had my hand-held bottle that I used to spray myself, and I was thankful I had it.
I kept an eye on the calves of my competitors (age group numbers, of course!) and handn’t seen anyone in my age group around me. I had no idea where I stood in the race, but as I was passing the last mile I felt someone right behind me. I could hear her every step and breath and was so tempted to turn around, but I never did. When we turned off to head into the finish line area (about .2 miles away from the finish) she yelled out to me, “Are you doing the Olympic?!” Me: “Yes! You?” Her: “Yes!”
And then I kicked it up and “ditched and dashed” (as we like to call it) through that finish line! Glad I did because I ended up placing 3rd in my age group, and if I would’ve pooped out and let her pass me I wouldn’t have podiumed! 😉
For the sake of embarrassment, I won’t post what my run pace was…hehehe.
Overall, I really enjoyed that race. And I PR’d 7 minutes faster overall since my last Olympic tri! I’ll definitely be doing it again, Redemption Racing always puts on the nicest tris!
After the race we cleaned up and headed to Gruene (our happy place) to celebrate. I was so happy to meet up with my dear friends Lexie & Kash (who are expecting a baby in October!)
A wonderful start to my birthday month!
TRI WITH JOY!