So it was a pretty good morning overall. Managed to get a good nights sleep despite the early start time of 4:30am, and I actually managed to wake up in a good mood (not grumpy like I was last night - sorry Gordon and sorry Mum who had to put up with me on the phone!). I'd been feeling pretty tired all week and although I did ramp down the workouts (only did 1 swim, 1 bike and 1 run) my legs still felt tired and overall I didn't have the same energy as usual. I also had a busier week at work so that probably made me feel a little bit more tired.
Anyway, so I had no expectations going into this race, I just wanted to enjoy doing a shorter race for a change! My "kind of" goal was to come in under 2 hours, and that's all.
We made it to Blanco around 6am and headed over to the chaos of the transition area. Probably the most dis-organised race I've done! Because the race organisers are based in San Antonio, they only had race packet pick-up in San Antonio and not Austin. The end result: there was a huge line of people that needed to pick up their race packet the morning of the race. At about 6:30am I finally had my number... only 30 minutes until the start! I went and claimed a spot in the transition area and setup my gear. Then I did my usual walk around transition to check out the swim finish, bike out, bike in, and run out exits/entrances to the transition area. It was then that I realised just how long and narrow the transition area was! I walked for a good 100m before I saw the bike in/out... which meant that I would need to run with my bike for over 100m before being able to exit the transition area. Not good. So I found a spot on a rack closer to the bike in/out, ran back to get my gear, scooped everything up and made my way to the new transition area as quickly as possible, re-set everything up, then looked at my watch - 6:50, only 10 minutes to the start and I still had another 300m to walk to get to the swim start, as well as make sure my timing chip was registered... finally got my chip checked and made it down to the swim start a little after 7am. I needn't have rushed. There was no way they were starting at 7am! They ended up starting the Mini Gator racers (400m swim / 10mi bike / 3k run) first, and gave them a good 10 minutes before they sent the El Grande racers - the race I was doing - (800m swim / 20mi bike / 6k run) off.
The swim course was kind of strange due to low water in the Blanco River (it has been a dry summer here in Austin). So we did a funky zigzag course to make up the 800m (well, actually a little less). But swimming in the river was nice! I enjoyed swimming by the river bank and the water was a good temperature. The last 100 yards of the swim was very shallow and rocky - impossible to keep swimming in, so we had to run/walk the rest of the way in. It wasn't too bad, except that I kept expecting the rocks to be sharp so I was pretty careful coming in and could have actually gone a bit quicker.
The bike course was really pretty, very scenic, and hilly! It was uphill all of the way out to the 10 mile turnaround point, so it was a little slow going and quite tiring. But on the way back I was able to really push the pace and ended up with an average of 18mph. I'm pretty happy with that. I saw Gordon near the end of the bike course taking pictures and I gave him a big grin.
I felt pretty strong starting the run, and knowing that I only had to run 3.7 miles (instead of 13.1 miles like at Lubbock!) made things a little easier. I knew that it would only be another 30 minutes of hard work. At all the run turnaround points I kept seeing another woman behind me, slowly creeping up on me, but I'm very pleased to say that she never caught me! I managed to hold her off, which for me was a big achievement for the day. About halfway during the run I started to feel like I didn't want to run anymore, but after checking how I was feeling I realised it was all mental and that I felt strong and smooth and so I kept going and held a good pace. Ended up running 8:14 pace for the 6k run, which I was very pleased with. I still have a lot of work to do on my run, but it's getting there...
I finished in 1:54:47, 2nd in my age group and 3rd overall woman! I was very chuffed. We stayed for the awards ceremony where I received my medal. I was hoping for a bottle of wine, but only the 1st overall woman got that, they're not big spenders on the prizes unfortunately! Oh well, I can add the medal to my ceramic bowl that I won at the Rookie triathlon earlier this year :)
The next big race is Jack's Generic triathlon on Labour Day (September 4th). Gordon and I are racing each other for bragging rights, it should be a close race so stay tuned!
PS Gordon took some great photos, I'll post the link when they're up!