I lied to you. Remember when I told you that I was going to do my best in Austin? That wasn’t true. I didn’t do my best and never intended to. Before you get all hot and bothered, let me explain.

Popular triathlons always sell out. To get in, you have to be in a lottery or register a year in advance. I did the latter. I signed up for four races last year but didn’t pay attention to the dates of these events. Dumb. Fast forward to this summer when I looked at my schedule and discovered that my races weren’t spaced as they should be – at least four weeks apart. The Austin Avia Triathlon was on 9/5 and the Nations Triathlon was on 9/11. I signed up for two competitive races that were 6 days apart. Dumb. I consulted with Jenni, my higher power, and we decided that because Nations was more important to me, I would use Austin as a training race. Why? It would be hard to give 100% at both races; my body would feel tired. So the plan was laid out. I would push hard at Austin but not give it my best. I would race at 85-90% of my best. I didn’t know if I could stick to the plan. I didn’t know if I could go into a race with low expectations. I didn’t know how to prepare for all the things that would happen that day.

2011 Austin Avia Triathlon Race Report

Morning of: I am in the porta potty when I hear the announcer state that my age group is entering the water. I bolt out of the porta potty without washing my hands. [Note: My start time was listed as 755am on the website and 728am on the brochure. The website was wrong.]

The Swim: It is super windy, like “I know the wicked witch of the west is around here somewhere” windy. The water is choppy. There are a lot of people in my wave. The water is congested. Chaos is all around me. I get my face caught in seaweed and have to untangle myself. I collide with the people. I drink a lot of warm, brown lake water. Despite all of this, I’m relaxed. I’m just not enjoying myself. There are too many obstacles out here.

Swim to bike transition: The path from the swim exit to the transition entrance is long and paved with gravel. I wince as I run over tiny, hot rocks. I grab my bike and run to the transition exit. The path from the exit to the bike mount line will go down in triathlon history as the longest route ever! I run 1/4 mile before I am allowed to get on my bike. I’m irritated.

The Bike: I’m riding strong despite the many u-turns and 90-degree turns on the course. All of a sudden, my seat post starts to slide down into the frame. Noooooo! I pull over and fix the problem. I get back on my bike and hammer it as I try to regain what was lost. On Lap 2, I have another bike issue. You’ve got to be kidding me. By now, I have lost 4 minutes. My instinct is to retreat but I don’t. I get on my bike and pedal hard. I’m mad now.

The bike to run transition: It’s seamless.

The run: The run course is loopy so I get to cross paths with people who are ahead of me. (The downside to a loopy course is that it’s confusing: you could run more or less than you should. The upside is that you get to see who is in front of you.) I set a strong pace and commit to chase down every female in my eyesight. I am moving fast trying to make up for the time lost on the bike. Then I remember the plan, race at 90%.  I slow down to a 7-minute pace and cruise. I don’t want to do anything that will hurt my chances of getting a PR at my next race. I head to the finish line looking like so fresh and so clean. A rare sight.

Results: I placed 6th in my age group and 14th overall. I didn’t get the results I wanted but hey, things happen. This was a training race plus I had bike issues. So I won’t complain. I’m glad I competed. And I’m glad I gave someone else a chance to win. She better enjoy her 1st place award because next year I’m going back to Austin to claim what is mine, my precious.

Categories: Fitness