Tri For Old Glory, one of my favorite triathlons. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to sign up for it this year due to a conflicting schedule, but since I had been talking it up so much for the past 2 years to my friends, (and many of them had signed up for it), I figured out a way to make it work. Sure glad I did, because this “racecation” did not disappoint!
Saturday, July 8, 2017
Mike was unable to make it for the race (he was flying out to Florida for a training) so Jeremy & Cristina picked me up at around 7:00am. We hit the road early, and since packet pick up wasn’t until 4:00, we arrived in Gruene for lunch.
Had a delicious meal at one of my favorite restaurants The Gristmill. If you are ever in the New Braunfels area, you absolutely must eat here. Three of our other friends from Brownsville, Ernie, his wife Ruth, and Ryan met up with us to eat. The two guys had also signed up for the Olympic distance. We actually recorded a hilarious podcast at the restaurant while we waited for our food.
We all parted ways and drove into Canyon Lake where we would be staying with our friend and Big Sexy teammate Mike R. His family home was beautiful. Located in the beautiful central Texas hill country. He and his wife were beyond welcoming to let us stay. We got to sit and visit with them for awhile before we headed out to packet pick up.
Made our way into San Marcos River Ranch where the tri would be held. J & C got to see where we’d be swimming and running. We headed back to Mike’s house where he had grilled us a delicious dinner of fajitas, elk sausage, and Mexican rice. We continued to visit and trade stories for the rest of the evening. Was in bed by 9:30.
Sunday, July 9, 2017- Race Day
Woke up at 4:00am. Got all my stuff ready and headed downstairs. I had advised Cris to freeze a water bottle overnight because I knew it would be HOT during the run and there are only 2 water stations which are very far apart. We packed up the trip bags and bikes and hit the road.
Transition opened at 5:30am and by the time we arrived several racers were already there. We got our timer chips, and were body marked, then were able to enter Transition area and set up our stuff. Before we knew it, it was time for the pre-race briefing, Star Spangled Banner, and prayer.
We lined up by the lake and the Olympic swimmers would enter the water first, followed by the Sprint swimmers. Olympic distance is 1500m and Sprint is 500m. Right before we began, the race director announced that there would be a change of plans. Some of the lifeguard crew hadn’t shown up, and so he had to cut the Olympic swim down to a 500m. Many groans and not-so-nice words were heard in the crowd, but I put a positive spin on it and said, “At least we get to swim. Plus, we’d be out on the run earlier so it wouldn’t be so hot” (or so I thought).
The swim start was a time-trial start, meaning each swimmer would enter the water about 8 seconds apart. A much calmer swim start than Buffalo Springs had been. We self-seeded by our 100m swim times and before I knew it, I was in the water and swimming away.
Swim was pleasant; calm and quick. Each buoy came in no time and I was out of the water and into T1.
As I was running into T1 I saw Cristina right behind me. Turns out we had the exact same swim time, down to the second (God, I love that!) We were out and on our bikes together and I planned to try and stay with her the whole ride.
I have to say, I am grateful that I had just done Buffalo Springs 2 weeks ago. Just as New Orleans 70.3 had given me confidence in the swim, Buffalo Springs had given me confidence on the bike. There’s no up or down hill I can’t handle <- is what I tell myself ;).
The bike was very enjoyable and we stayed together the entire time. One big accomplishment I made personally was not getting out of aero on my downhills. I’ve always been such a chicken going down a hill and sit up out of aero with my hands on the breaks. Not today! I had re-read my race report from last year, and remembered saying that I wish I could stay in aero on the downhills. So, I was happy with my little accomplishment this time.
Bike was over soon and we were into T2 ready to head out on the run!
There was not a cloud in the sky. The run course goes through the neighborhood centered around the lake. Although the homes are beautiful, the neighborhood is still fairly new and there is absolutely no shade to keep us cool. That’s where the frozen water bottle came in handy. I used it to spray my head and neck throughout.
I had decided not to bring my watch to this race and so I had no idea of my pace. Although I didn’t feel fast, I felt steady. It’s a 2 loop, 3 mile run, and so I was able to see my friends out on the course. As I ran out to start, Jeremy was already starting his 2nd loop and he breezed right by me like a gazelle.
I saw Bob and Norma coming in on the bike, and saw Gracie as she was finishing her run. Cristina was just a few runners behind me and I was able to see her on the few turnarounds.
The first loop wasn’t too bad, the second loop felt like I was running on the surface of the sun. Hot AF. But I knew if I just kept moving forward the finish line would come, and it did.
I had no idea if I had placed at all, but I was happy to find out that I got 2nd in my age group! This race is fun no matter what, but placing on the podium made it even sweeter.
We cheered everyone else into the finish line and celebrated one another’s accomplishments. There are so many amazing people I have met and made friends with through triathlon and I’m so grateful for it!
Post Race- Party Time
After we got back to the house to shower and pack up, we headed into downtown San Antonio. Jeremy, Cristina, Gracie, and I would be sharing a hotel room. And our friends Manny, Natalie, Bob, and Norma also got a room at the same hotel.
We headed down to the Riverwalk for some fun. Had a blast at several different places including The Original Mexican Restaurant, Pat O’Brien’s, and Howl At the Moon. The night ensued with stories, laughter, singing, and dancing like fools.
All in all, a very successful & joyful weekend! Everyone says they’ll be back for it next year!
TRI WITH JOY!