Just Add Water

After cycling for over 12 years all over the country and even Europe, it’s hard to come up with new, exciting adventures on two wheels.  And challenges.  This year’s challenges included The (Double) Triple ByPass in Colorado–10,000 feet of climbing over three mountain passes over 120 miles.  And then repeat in the opposite direction the next day.  I also enjoyed another year raising money towards eliminating Multiple Sclerosis through my friend’s MS150 team.  We ride 100 miles on Day 1 and 65 on Day 2, and raise over $25,000 every year.

But this year also had the added twist of training for triathlons.  Not really knowing how to swim (or run) posed a roadblock to this sport for me.  Last November, I took lessons in the pool, then swam in the local lake with a local tri club. Experience breeding confidence, I was able to work my way up the triathlon ladder (Sprint, Duathlon, Olympic/X-50), culminating in the Ironman70.3 in Austin.  The only snag (and key lesson learned) was overtraining and not conducting strength training on my glutes and hips.  This lead to an IT Band injury that forced me to walk/run the second half of the 13.1 mile run.

Overall a great experience.  And there’s more to come.

Race report from Austin:

Got a good sleep for this. 8:30-2:00. Couldn’t fall back asleep so I got myself off to the start (needed to double check my T2 location again anyway, then take shuttle to T1).
It’s a pretty exciting event. Pro’s. College kids. Relays. And age-groupers.
I was 8th wave and we started in the water (briefing said waist deep–you’d have to be giant to be at the waist between the starter buoys). Boom. Off we went. Did a decent job staying out of trouble and on course (veered off once–still don’t know how, but corrected before the first turn). I was shooting for 42 minutes. So I’m plenty happy with 42:53. 72nd out of 188 or so Age-groupers. Only learned to swim a year ago today. I’ll take it.Austin water

Long run to T1 and muddy. Long T1 time (6:21) since I had to put on a vest, gloves, hat, and sleeves. It was a super windy morning and 50’s? Water was 69–blissful. By time I got to carry my bike through wet grassy mud, my cleats were barely clicking into pedals.

Started up a little slow on the bike, but had to pass hundreds of cyclists the whole way. Very windy and hillier than I expected. Me and some 40 year-old took turns once in a while pacing each other. I went “pretty” hard the whole way. Figured I wasn’t really saving anything for the run, knowing full well it was going to suck no matter what. Was shooting for 2:40, but with some really tough climbs in there and some strong gusts–I’m good with 2:47 (20.13mi/h). Not bad for a hairy-legged roadie. No aero helmet here, son. 18th in AG out of 188ish. Moved from 72nd to 36th by end of bike leg.

T2 was OK at 3:29. I had to peel off all the extra clothes. Forgot to take off my shades, but that’s OK.

austin finish So the run was what I expected (and I had had a chance to run it in late August, so no surprises either). The good news is I managed to squeak it to Mile 7 before the ITB got really bad. But was slow for the start to baby austin medalit. The left was fine (and maybe part of my getting through this). Walked and ran the second half of the course, on and off. The runs hurt. A bit demoralizing at first (when I was the only one on course walking). By second lap, more were walking. I did have an option at the end of the 2nd lap to bail.

I decided to finish albeit in serious pain. Not too shabby for limping the run. Wanted to hit 1:51 on this. Oh well. Better than the 3:15 I was predicting a few days before.

Not the vision when I signed up for this. But, it was a fun experience. Ended up 74th out of 188ish in Age Group with an official time of 6:08:08.

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