“Desire” (the bike name) made her official debut today at the 1st Annual Skeese Greets Women’s Sprint Triathlon being held at the Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas. I was excited when I signed up for this race over a month ago. It’s a small, women’s only tri capped at 300 athletes. It’s certainly a far cry from the 3000+ women who take to the Danskin course every year. That race has gotten slightly out of hand and it’s great to see a new handful of “Danskin Jr” races popping up that are introducing females to the sport of triathlon.
Honestly, I didn’t have any high expectations for this race after the past week of training. Between Friday’s long run/bike and Saturday’s 71 mile bike ride, it was all I could do to muster the energy to get out of bed this morning and head to the site. Luckily, Shawn drove down while I ate my kashi and thanked God that it was only a Sprint distance course.
Oddly enough, this 500m swim was one of the hardest physical swims I’ve ever done, including co-ed races! There was a ton of thrashing and kicking and I’ll admit, I was doing my fair share of both while attempting to stay with the pack. The water in the ski ranch was warm and I seemed to make my way around the pond a lot faster than I thought I would. You know how swims ALWAYS seem much longer with the buoys strewn out? Today was no exception. I know my form was horrific and my breathing was atrocious. It really did feel like more of a scrappy battle than a swim. I guess that’s good because it meant I was somewhere in the middle of the action…a far cry from where I usually am.
I exited the water: 11:17 for the swim
certainly not great, but I’ll take it. I definitely wasn’t the last white cap out and that’s all that mattered.
91st place out of 252 overall on swim
Now, it was time to give “Desire” her first race! T2 was disappointing because I couldn’t find my helmet which was placed securely on my bike prior to the race. A volunteer was standing there and she said, “This rack fell earlier and several items went flying.”
“Great,” I thought. “My helmet is gone.” After searching with the aid of the volunteer, we found it two towels down from mine.
The bike course was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. Let me say it a different way. My legs were SHOT this morning and I had to work every minute on this course. Every uphill seemed to seize my quads, so I would immediately have to either stand or drop it down to easier gears. Plus, the Race Director pointed out that they had recently chip-sealed about a mile of the course. He said that it wasn’t loose gravel. What a load of crap! It was incredibly loose gravel and, even as a semi-experienced cyclist, I was nervous through that whole stretch. I thought for sure I’d flat out right there. Because it was a Sprint Distance, I had already made the call that I would DNF if I did get a flat tire. Thankfully, Desire was on it and kept forging ahead despite her Mother’s stiff legs. The backside of the course was one rolling hill after another and I watched my overall pace go from about 19mph to about 18.5mph during this stretch. It’s also where I proceeded to get passed by some serious bad-ass women who were smokin’ in the age group behind me, including fellow Gazelle Julie Wittenberg. I had no idea where I was in the grand scheme of the race. I was passing lots of women on the bike, but I wasn’t really paying attention to age groups today. Finally, we made the turn to the frontage of I-35 for the final stretch and I was able to pick it up again except for one nasty little hill with a mile or so to go. I pulled into T2 and saw Shawn immediately. The bike was AMAZING!! My legs were not doing well and I was a little unsure of the run.
Bike: 14.8 Miles in 46:08
Overall pace of 19.2 mph
18th place out of 252 overall on bike
The 3.1 Mile run course was an out and back with a couple of small climbs. I’m not usually a fan of out and back courses, but this would give me a chance to check out the leaders and see where I was in the overall race contention. It wasn’t until about a mile into the run that I saw who I assumed to be the leader. I wasn’t that far back!Imean, I knew I wasn’t anywhere near the overall leader, but I had some confidence that I would place well in my age group. I immediately passed about 4 women on the run course and others were farther ahead. The sun had made it’s arrival and it felt unbearably hot. At the turnaround, I passed another two women and started heading for home. Another Gazelle, Caroline, was not far behind me and she was turning on the afterburners. She finally caught and passed me with about 1/2 mile to go, but not before I caught 3 more women on the way back. The last 1/2 mile was a haze of exhaustion and pre-bonking and I knew I was fading. Thank Goodness it was only a sprint distance of 3.1 miles. I turned the corner and headed for the glorious finish line; of course, somewhere summoning the energy to pick it up for one last sprint across the line.
5k Run in 21:56
7:05 overall pace
9th place out of 252 overall in the run
My Finish Stats:
#2 in my age group
#13 overall out of 252 women
Again, I’m thrilled with the results after this 17 hour training week topped off with a 71 mile bike ride yesterday.
My swim continues to be my weakness. There’s no reason I should be 91st overall on swim/18th on bike/9th on run. I know I’m doing the right thing with the training and it will kick in soon. I know it.
P.S. Yes, apparently the rack my bike was on did fall prior to the race and Desire received her first paint gash. I felt sick just looking at it and will see what I can do about it this week. You know what though? I was talking to some other women after the race as we were oogling over each other’s bikes and we all agreed that these things are made to be ridden and used hard. It’s going to get scratched. I just wish it wouldn’t have happened so soon.