This weekend was the Houston TX3 Olympic triathlon. I got invited to this race so I was excited at the possibilities of walking away with net$ gain. At first I was hesitant to do this race with it being a week away from my focus race, but then I figured it would be a good intense workout to feel how I should feel at Dallas. I looked at the roster of "invitees" weeks in advance and knew that this race was going to have some top notch competition. I tried to throw that out of my mind and just focus on how I feel during the race.
The morning was insanely hot and humid. The day before it was beautiful, so of course we would race on the day it was not! The winds were also pretty bad too! I woke up race morning around 5am and had my typically pre-race meal- cereal, banana, and coffee. I had two shot blocks before the start of the race just for the little extra boost of caffeine.
The Swim: The swim was an ITU style, 2 lap course. You had to get out of the water and jump back in for the second lap. The first lap was going pretty smooth. I couldn't believe we were already at the turnaround buoy and I noticed who the competitors were around me and figured I had to be swimming pretty good. Second Lap, up out of the water, and back in. This is tough. The response of your heart race to getting out and running and then swimming again is very exhausting. Something I have never practiced before so I immediately tried to slow down a little, catch my breath and control my swim stroke. This worked and I was back at it again. Only this time, the waves after us had already begun and there were people EVERYWHERE and the water was way more choppy. This either made me feel like it was harder or really did slow us down. All the swim times were slow (fastest person was even a 22 minute mile swim), I finished with 25 minutes, However I came out of the water with one of the top girls so I knew this race was still on.
We had a 1/2 mile run back to transition. It was ridiculous. But I made it, got my bike and headed out to the course. The bike: Immediately I felt tired and could feel the wind in my face. I knew this was gonna be tough but mentally just kept telling myself to work through it and get into motion. We turned the corner around 2miles and the wind was at our back. Woo, flying! I took advantage of this to take a shot block and drink some water which helped my energy come back. The bike course was mainly flat, but had some crazy turnarounds that made you come to almost a complete stop. It was a 2 loop course so I took note of where the wind was, where the hills were, and what kind of gears I could pull on each section of the course. Lap 2 was much more crowded with the AGer's coming out. It was so hard to pass (particularly because men cannot stand when I pass them), and it was hard to not get stuck in a drafting pack. I didnt want to risk anything so I tried to surge to the top of the group every time I came up on a pack. By the second lap I had regained the 3rd position female ( I was 4th out of the water), and that really boosted my confidence. The bike course was slightly short, but I finished with a PR bike split somewhere around 1:03! I knew my split was around this time so this meant I was on my way to a PR overall time which boosted my spirits as I headed out on the run. On the way out of T2 a volunteer smacked me in the face and I could have sworn my nose was bleeding. WTF mate? The run: I didnt have any cramps on the bike, so I thought I was in the clear for the run. Nope, wrong again. My stomach became a slush mess within a 1/2 mile of the run. I felt like my intestines and organs were all over the place, and it was not a comfortable feelings. Argh. I slowed down a bit to try and get normal stomach feelings but it wasnt going away. I saw the 2 girls in front of me on the course and reminded myself I was still in the race, But I just couldnt fight the feeling. I was so mad, because this time it wasnt cramps slowing me down which I can usually fight through, it was the total opposite of it in which I could barely move! When will I get my nutrition right!?? I wanted to stop SO bad. Every 10 seconds I battled myself. Ok Yeah I am gonna stop. NO LIZ you never stop!! I kept going....Looked at my watch, 12 minutes? Crap, this is gonna be a longggg 10k. Then I started feeling the obsessive nature of the sun beaming down on me and it was HOT. I took my top down and threw some water on myself at an aid station. This must of helped, because somewhere between mile 3 and 4, my stomach was settling down. Not perfect, but better- To the point that I could pick up my pace a little bit. The thing that really sucked about this run, was that it was not my legs that hurt, it was just the pure fact that my stomach hurt so bad I couldnt go any faster. I swear this was the longest run of my life but I made it to the finish line in 44 minutes. Not too bad actually. Finished the race with a 2:17 overall time, and a 3rd place female elite finish.
Post race: I chugged a bottle of water and walked straight to the ice baths and jumped in. It felt WONDERFUL! They also had honey milk, which is one of my favorite things so I grabbed a coffee one and went to watch the rest of the race and cheer on my Aggie teammates. I thought about my race a little bit and was proud of my bike split, glad to have finished the run, and figured if the swim didnt have a 3 minute transition after it, I may have PR'd. Every race is different so you cant think about times too much. Considering I finished 3rd with 2 pro females beating me, there is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact I didnt even think I was gonna make the top 5, so I exceeded my expectations. I even got one of those huge fake checks that everyone wishes they could get!! So cool. Once we got our awards they let us know that if we were in the top 3, we got to also take home a box of honey milk. SCORE! Then, as I was getting my "real" check written out, they told me to stay up there because I finished in the "series". I didnt even know about this!? Apparently, this race was apart of a 3-race series and the top 5 finishers also got prizes. This race was a double point race so if you did well you had a chance of placing in the series. I ended up placing 4th in the series so got an additional 100$ cash prize. Awesome! It is a GREAT feeling to see hard work pay off. I have worked extremely hard in the last year to get the point that I have gotten to, and not to mention spent a hell of alot of money on gear. A cash prize will certainly help subsidize any doubt I had in my mind as to whether I was "wasting" my money when I got into this. Triathlon has brought me to a new side of happiness and lifestyle.