"Gee, imagine if I would have trained."
The above thought seems to have echoed countlessly this season: Austin Half Marathon; PlayTri Half-Iron; yesterday's Stonebridge Ranch Olympic tri. In Austin, I set a new PB for half marathon (94 minutes & change), while at SBR, I finished 27th OA and 3rd in my age group. I suppose it's not a bad exit for someone leaving the uber-competitive 30-34 AG and entering the soon-to-be-uber-competitive 35-39. But, I digress. Here's the break-down of the race.
Swim - 34:26.2
Despite getting conked on the head half-way through the first loop (2-loop course of 750m/loop), I felt fine through the swim. Perhaps because I was just happy to swim in a lake, again, but considering I've not done regular swim workouts in better than a month, I suppose my finishing 8th in my AG wasn't too shabby; I'm not sure how I finished in my wave, as all males, 49 and under, began together. I just don't feel the need to compare my swim time to everyone else's. Bike times , on the other hand, are another story, but we'll get to that in a tic.
Once we exited the water, it was an awfully long haul to T1, and I was unsure of where to hit the watch. I guess it was supposed to be right out of the water; I hit my split once entering the transition area. Whatever. It was after I exited T1 that the real fun began, anyway.
Bike - 1:05:38
Boo-yah. The wind was a real bear for the whole course, and I really fought it on the crosswinds, courtesy of the Zipp 404's deep rim. However, the lightness of the rear wheel really made up for it, as the 6.something-mile course was particularly hilly...at least for Dallas standards. Still, the 404s gripped the road rather well, allowing me to soar my way to a 2nd best bike split for my AG; 10th for all Age Groupers.
T2 transition was hairy -- really hairy. Unable to remember how much space was available before the dismount line, I opted to leave my feet in my shoes, clipping out to swing over once I hit the line. However, my left foot felt a tad too slippery on the pedal, so I opted to just dismount a lot more casually. How was I to know I was in contention for a medal?
Run - 47:23.6
I was very leery about doing the race because of the run. I'd injured myself a couple of weeks prior, training for the SA Marathon. As such, I'd done very little running since, with most of my race preparations coming from stretching. Going into it, I felt a burning sensation in my lung for the first few miles, finally getting into my stride after the turn-around and getting passed by a couple of relayers. With less than two miles to go, my cramping was gone, so I kicked it into high gear, passing the aforementioned relayers. In the final stretch before the finish line, I heard N--- should it, "Kick it!"...and my right leg promptly cramped.
I more or less limped across the finish line, collected my consolation prize and found N--- and her family, as well as D--- and K---. (K--- had done the sprint [as had N---] and finished admirably in her AG; N--- just ruled in hers, especially in the run: she looked so fluid.)
Thus went my last scheduled race of the season. Running San Antonio is definitely out, though White Rock remains a possibility. If I can find a way to get over this whole injury thing and get back on an aggressive running schedule, I'm fairly certain I can be ready to run a pretty strong marathon -- possibly beating my foundation of 3:31:08. Qualifying, I know, is a pipe dream, but I still think it'd be fun to run a race where so many of my co-workers will be. Besides, I've my SportKilt to really break in on a long run, and, as someone mentioned in transition after yesterday's race, it'd be hilarious.
As usual, I've a whole slew of people to thank, but one in particular stands out, and that is N---. Without her, I don't think I'd have the proper focus and/or attitude in my life, so thank you. Naturally, a huge thanks to Bicycle Heaven for setting me up with the wheels for the race, as well as the bike, transition bag, and other tidbits that make me feel like a supported athlete (as opposed to...oh, just go watch 'Grease'). Special thanks, as well, to N---'s parents for the room & board during the whirlwind trip to Dallas; brunch was the least of ways I could have said 'thank you.' Finally, a special thanks to my own mom & dad, without whom I never would have known a bicycle can go that fast. That Raleigh Capri put me on the fast track all those years ago. I do not think I will ever forget that bike, even though it cost less than the pedals alone on my current rig.
The 2008 season will be pretty nonexistent, as I the present plan for my finances doesn't permit for it. Then again, I said the same thing about this time last year, so who knows. Regardless, look for my ramblings here and there, and, as always, thanks for reading.