Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lake Pflugerville Tri- Race Report

        One thing I have learned this season is that sprint triathlons are a runner's game!  I have competed for the last three years in Olympic, half, and full distance races. 2015 is the first time I've tried sprints, and let me tell you, 16 hours on a race course is hard, but so is 1:28!
        This past Sunday I competed in the Lake Pflugerville Triathlon as part of the Texas Tri Series. I was one of 35 Female 25-29 age groupers to race, which is a deeper field than I'm used to, since I've mostly raced in smaller races around Austin instead of the Austin institutions.
        We arrived early to brace for the soggy parking situation (it poured rain the night before!) and I racked my bike close to the first bike out option. I was grateful to see that there was a mat down between the beach area and the parking lot where transition was located- normally it's rocky there and hard to walk on barefoot!
       The swim waves went from oldest men all the way down to youngest women, making my wave the last to go. I thought this was really strange- why have ALL the women go after ALL the men went? Normally it's by age group, men, then women, then next age group. Whatever. 

Women's 10-29 wave start. For the first time, I stood front and center!

        I'm really familiar with Lake Pflugerville since it's where I've done a lot of open-water training, so for the first time, I stood at the front of the wave to wait on the horn to go off. I'm by no means the fastest swimmer out there, but I'm comfortable in the water and didn't want to do the swimming-over for once. I started off strong on a quick and steady 1:55/100m pace and made great time until the turn-around. Then, the natural seal over my right ear broke and I felt a huge rush of lake water go deep in my ear. This drives me nuts when it happens! I sacrificed time to pause and shake it out, dunking my head straight down until my ear re-sealed. I ended up finishing the 500m swim in 11:17, 11th in my Age Group. 

Focusing hard on not falling down!
            Transition was quick for me- I ran across the parking lot, threw on my helmet and sunglasses, and took off with my bike. I had clipped my shoes in by hand and rubber-banded them, so I was all ready for another awesome flying mount. Well, being wet, rainy, and tired, I apparently didn't secure my right shoe all the way. I nailed the mount, but when I began to pedal, my shoe flew off! I just laughed, thankful I didn't skin my calf in the process, and stopped to put my shoe on. I lost a minute or so on this, I know, but it could have been worse.
      The bike course itself is on the crappy roads surrounding Pflugerville, but it's what the race has to work with! The course is rolling hills the whole way, but nothing super steep like at Decker Lake. I was flying the whole way! I love cycling, and it's most definitely my strongest leg. I PRed my sprint bike pace by over a mile and a half! According to race time, my average was 19.3mph (3rd in my age group!) but my watch read 19.7 since it didn't record my shoe mishap. My bike time for 14 miles was 43:25. I am really happy with this! My legs felt strong the whole time and never felt blown up, even when I began the run. All those long hours training for the Ironman paid off, and considering this is the leg I've seen the most gains in, it's obvious I favor it.
     The run. Ah, the run. This is a whole other story. I flew back off my bike (yelling, once again, at ladies in front of me to NOT, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DISMOUNT LINE!) and got to transition, slipping on my shoes, grabbing my visor and going. I knew the run was going to be slow. I worked 20 hours the Friday before and was absolutely exhausted to start the race, and running is my least favorite. However, I knew I only had 3 miles, so it wouldn't be forever. I was at about an 11min/mile pace, and decided taking a walk for a minute after the first mile would be good. I was right- when I started running again, I was down to a 9:30min/mile pace, much better!
       I realized I wasn't going to podium when I saw three ladies from my age group pass me. but I decided there was no reason I couldn't try to get as close as possible. The winner of my AG ran 6:32min/miles, for Pete's sake! There's just no way, at this point, that I can cover ground that quickly. I know running is my weakest and need to focus on sprint drills. I'm going to begin making that the focus of my Friday workouts. I kept my slow and steady pace until the last half mile, when I saw two of the several girls who had passed me just up ahead. "I can pass them back up, at least," I said to myself. I took off, speeding up to an 8min/mile pace I knew I could sustain for that short spurt, and passed them both! I finished the 3 mile run in 30:17, about 20th in my Age Group. 
My overall stats- click to view larger!

        Overall, I ended up 7th. No podium, but no small potatoes considering I was up against 35 stellar ladies! I've tasted the podium a few times and am wanting so badly to be there again, but know that I'll have to get MUCH better at running before I can, at least at the sprint distance. I'm looking forward to seeing the difference the Olympic and half distance races make when it comes to where I stand!
My time compared to the rest of the field overall. I was 65th out of 304 women!! 

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