Race Report: Capital of Texas Triathlon (Olympic Distance)

CapTex Triathlon
Monday May 29, 2017
Austin, TX
Olympic Distance

Forgot to grab the actual temps/humidity.  But when I woke up at 4:45 AM CDT, it was in the low 70s with cloud cover and humidity was in the 80% range.

Pre-Race Nutrition (5:00 AM)

1.     Hotel Room
        One Muscle Milk Pro (14 FL oz // 200 cal)
        Muscle Milk 100 (12 FL oz // 100 cal)

2.     Setting Up Transition (between 6:15 AM CDT and 6:30 AM CDT)
        Carried 16 oz. water bottle and sipped from it until right before I got in the water.  Also
        dosed 2 salts right as transition closed at 6:30 AM CDT entered the water at 7:20 AM CDT

0.93 miles
3:00/100 y

I honestly have no idea why I swam so slow.  I don’t think I’ve ever swam this slow in a race.  I didn’t swim with a wetsuit.  The water temp was 72.  We had a jump from the pier start and for the first 100 or so meters, I had to calm myself down because I was cold but when I got moving, I felt fine.  I didn’t feel any distress and I didn’t feel fatigue.  I didn’t go off course. I hugged the buoy line.  Thinking through it, I can’t account for the turtle slow swim…although pretty sure turtles swim faster than I did today. 

There were a couple of times when I realized I wasn’t in my regular rhythm, let alone pulling with any kind of commitment and I remember telling myself both times: “I’ve got a good idea, why don’t we pretend like this is a race and actually SWIM like it.”  Granted, I’ve only been in the open water once since August, but that shouldn’t’ve slowed me down THAT much.  Being honest with myself, this swim will go down as one big shoulder shrug, “what the what???”.

There was only one unsettling thing about the swim and that was the leaves and small twigs and general “landscaping” debris that we had to swim through (and that I left in the shower at the Hyatt) when we were on the side where we swam parallel to Auditorium Shores.  

Jogged from swim to my bike and dried off feet and got my socks and shoes on and headed out on the bike.

24.3 miles
Average HR 146
Watch Time 1:21:52 (I forgot to turn on my HR until I was into the first half mile)
Clock Time 1:22:37
18.05 m/hr

First Loop          20:3117.78 m/hr
Second Loop     19:32  18.66 m/hr
Third Loop        20:35  17.72 m/hr
Fourth Loop      21:05  17.12 m/hr

Fueled at the top of the bike then every time I hit the split mat (turn around) which was four times.  Then I fueled again as I was walking my bike into transition.

Used EFS Liquid Shot and dosed a shot every time I fueled. It worked great.

I carried 24 ozs. of water with 2 Nuun and a Crystal Light packet with me and drank every time I hit the downhill on Congress and the other downhill on Lamar.  I came back into transition with 5 ozs. left in the bottle.

I knew the course but wasn’t sure how to attack it intelligently. I had some issues after the second lap with my butt nerve making my left leg tingle, but I spent some time out of the saddle stretching during downhills to shake it and it helped.

I don’t have much to say about the bike. It was fun and fast. However, I did pinpoint a few things I need work on:

  1. Bike handling – I don’t turn corners with confidence and slow waaaaaaay down when I take corners. While that’s probably the safe thing to do, I’m a little too safe and I lose a lot of time.  This isn’t something that’s new, it’s just something that was uberly glaring due to all the turns this course had.
  2. Still don’t know how to climb hills wisely/efficiently – there were only two hills of note. I’m not counting Congress because it wasn’t a “true hill.”  Both of which I lost time on even when I tried to be strategic about it.
  3. I NEED MORE CORE WORK – this is actually something I realized when I was riding my new bike earlier this week. My upper body strength to maintain aero over an extended period has always sucked and nothing has changed.  Even though I’ve become a push-up princess (not quite queen yet) at the gym, that push-up strength needs some company so I don’t feel like I need to sit up and stretch after every four or five miles.  Or I’m not slouching into aero.  I didn’t spend a lot of time in aero, but when I did, it was a crap shoot!

I mayhaps could’ve run through this transition.  But I wanted to take my time and calm myself/wrap my head around the run because the run is always where I fall apart and I was expecting to fall apart today, because that’s my modus operandi.

6.2 miles
Average HR 156 bpm

I did not fuel on the run.  I did dose two servings of salt (BASE salt) each at miles 1, 3 & 5 and carried a water bottle with 16 ozs of water with 2 Nuun tablets and a Crystal Light.  I didn’t feel the effects of choosing not to fuel on the run.  Around mile 4, I felt hungry, but it wasn’t an “I need fuel to continue” hunger.  It was more like, regular “it’d be nice to have some food” hunger.  I felt good about my fueling on the bike, and had the run/bike been longer, I would’ve fueled on the run but 10K and under I feel fine not fueling on the run as long as I’m diligent to make the bike my dinner table.

Really REALLY proud of this run.  Coming out of transition, my legs were tired/heavy and I was concerned it was going to be a crap fest.  However, after the first ¾ of a mile, that heaviness shook out, and I fell into a rhythm and my legs felt sure and strong.  It was the best thing EVER!!  The course was relatively flat and the overcast skies helped out a lot.

The smartest thing I did on the run was to carry my own fluid.  I’ve never carried my own fluid on the run in a race, I’ve always relied on the presence of aide stations.  This was a first time thing, and proved to be an extremely wise decision.  I chose to carry the fluid because I knew it would be muggy and I wanted to make sure to give myself every advantage I could on the run.  Making that choice meant, I didn’t have to think about when the next water stations would pop up (even though the race had great coverage as the aide stations were every mile).  Because I didn’t have to think about that, all I had to do was put one foot in front of the other, drink as I needed and focus on the run.  It’s amazing the difference of thinking: “I’ve got to make it to the next aide station” and not having to think about how thirsty I was, and how I was going to die beause I was so thirsty and trying to remember where the aide stations would fall.  It was liberating.

Stayed in Z2 for the first 5 miles.  There were a couple of times when I hit 160 and had to pull back so as not to cross into Z3 (161).  When I hit mile 5, I began a slow pickup and quit watching my HR and just ran.  It was sweet.  It was sweet that I had the strength left to kick, it was sweet that I had the endurance to kick, it was sweet that after a long absence from racing in triathlon, my body is stronger now than it has ever been.  It was sweet to feel and settle into the strength/confidence in my legs and to know that if I hunker down and do what my coach tells me (which I will), I’m going to blow every “I can’t” I’ve ever uttered (or thought), to kingdom come this season and in future seasons.

General Comments
Overall, this race for me was wonderful.  I went in with no expectations, even though I was afraid of shriveling/quitting in the humidity, afraid that I’d have to come up with excuses to myself to justify a crappy performance. But none of that happened. It was stronger than I thought it’d be and in my mind this was a glorious way to return to triathlon. I am GRATEFUL for my new coach's guidance over the last couple of months. I never doubted him, even though some workouts were a bit odd to me.  However, he's made me a devout disciple of his coaching techniques. He's done more for me (physically and mentally) in two months than any coach has in my six years of multi-sport.  The future looks awesome and I fell that going forward, my confidence is not something I’m going to have to muster up/fake-it-till-ya-make-it and I’m grateful for that!

The biggest win here was the strength in my legs during the run.  I’ve accepted being mid-pack/back-of-the-pack for as long as I’ve done triathlon and prior to that, the ten years I ran ½ marathons.  But Coach has shown me that being a contender isn’t a fluke/a dream, it’s attainable.  Will I ever go pro or be on someone’s elite team?  Nope, but I will get faster, stronger and the stupid negative talk I’ve happily settled into during races is a thing of the past, because at CapTex, I proved it all to be a lie.