Thursday, July 16, 2015

Better Two-gether: Couple's Tri Race Report

Team T3 at the 2015 Couple's Tri

This past weekend was the Couple's Tri in Austin. This was race number 3 for me in the Texas Tri Series, but was different in several fun ways for me! 

The premise of the Couple's Tri is for teams of 2 to compete for a place among lots of different age and classification categories. We were Friends: Female, under 70 (our combined total ages!). There are also categories for Married, Friends- mixed, Family, and even the random "pair me up!" My partner was a friend I had made back in May during the Cyclofemme women's ride day. We registered together as "Team Blistered Sisters," and met up at her team tent before the race. 

I've never trained or raced with a team before, so it was fun having a place to hang out and people to talk to before the race. Generally, I get my transition area set up, then just kind of piddle around, stretch, or talk to Bryce before a race starts. Bryce couldn't make it to this event, but that was OK since I wasn't left just standing around alone! 

Blistered Sisters ready to race!
Post-race, flip flops on!
 We made our way down to the water together and each team started together in a time-trail swim start. I hadn't swam since the Lake Pflugerville Tri back in June, so I knew it might be interesting. The swim had the one big challenge of being directly oriented to the rising sun, so for the first half of the course it was really hard to see. However, the buoys were really big, so even though I have no idea what color they were, I could still find them.  I didn't go all-out on the swim, and ended the swim in 11:33- slower than my last race, but not bad for zero swim training!

The bike is where I made my big mistake. As I wrote previously, I've been commuting to work 24 miles one-way twice a week as a way to add more endurance to my cycling and to save money on gas. I've enjoyed it, but have figured out it's not the best idea the few days before a sprint race! My legs were whipped from riding 150 miles in the three days leading to the race, and I could tell as soon as I hit the first hill. Now, the course is only 11.2 miles, but Decker Lake in Austin is NOT flat! There are lots of short, very steep climbs that can catch you by surprise if you don't shift correctly. When I raced the course at Rookie I averaged about 18mph. This time, I was lucky to get 17.7. I never felt like I had my breath! My bike leg was 37:59- disappointing, considering how fast I'd gone at Pflugerville! 

The run is where I need to get. It. Together. I am the first to admit that running is my least favorite. I do it, but haven't pushed myself hard since the Ironman, and it's just so damn hot. (Whine. Whine. Whine!) The course at Decker is all off-road, and this time the grass was kind of tall, which was tripping a lot of people up. I started off strong enough, but soon took a few short walk breaks. For a 5k course this is NOT ok for me to do! I finished in  34:21. Ugh.

My overall time was 1:28:01. What was really fun was that my partner finished 20 seconds behind me- we were a perfectly matched pair! We didn't place in our category, but that's all right. It was still fun having another person to root for.

I've got competition going! I'm leading the Tri Series in my age group right now, and would be leading by a considerable amount if I'd just keep it together for the runs. I'm faster on the swim and bike on average than the other three competing for overall time. If I'd STOP WALKING, I'd be competitive on the run, too! These races aren't being won on the run- I'm still leading after all three- but I can for sure loose my spot if I don't at least push harder to allow my bigger leads on swim and bike to make a difference. I'm still in the lead, but only by 5 minutes. Wake up call? I hear ya, and I'm answering! I've already sought out one of the best tri coaches in Austin, and she's going to allow me to drop-in on her running sessions for a drop-in fee, since between a wedding and house savings, I can't afford full-time coaching right now. I'm really looking forward to her assessment, and am trying to change my overall attitude about running and learn to love it again.

It's hard though, when the humidity is about 1,000,000% and cycling is just way more fun.

Although I was frustrated for myself on the run, I still had a blast with the race overall. I hung out with my partner and one of her teammates, who also finished IMTX this year as her first (faster than I did!) I do wish I could join a team for the community and structure, but with most monthly fees at $100/month+, I just can't responsibly spend that kind of money right now. Unfortunately as well, T3 trains in South Austin- a good piece away from me in Leander! Hopefully they still let me hang out at races when I see them. :)

Next up, Nicaragua! Then, Jack's Generic, TriRock Austin, and Kerrville Tri to end the series. Thanks for racing with me, ladies!

Me, with Lauren and AJ of T3! Lauren is actually an NBC TV Star thanks to IMTX. ;) 

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