Saturday, September 26, 2015

TX Marathon Relay / Kerrville Tri

In what will likely stand as the most decorated week of racing of my life, in one week's time I finished first, second, and third in my category at two different races. The first and second were as part of two teams for the car2go Marathon Relay in downtown Austin, and the third place was for the sprint distance triathlon at the Kerrville Triathlon Festival. Specifically, first in the corporate engineering division for my company team, second in the open mixed division for my race team, and third in the men 35-39 age group.

On Sunday, 9/20, I ran two legs of the marathon relay for two different teams. After Hood-to-Coast, I just figured all relays include multiple ~4-mile legs. Kidding, of course, I've done this race previously and was familiar with its 6x4.3-mile format. I ran leg two for Big Pistachio, my race team, at about a 7:30 pace (it turns out each of us did pretty close to the same pace) and leg six for my company team at about a 8:20 pace (the pacing was much less even, but someone assembled a "fast team" with the exception of leg 5, a new runner). Collectively we put in marathon times of 3:15 and 3:31, respectively, far quicker than my solo marathon PR. I was kind of surprised for both medals, I had no idea what the divisions were going in, and I hadn't looked up the final results to see how we placed. I was kind of hanging around the finish area when I heard my race team being called second, and rushed over to get my medal with the team. Then I met up with my coworkers who were waiting for that division to be called. When I went up for the second time, my friend the announcer was like "What are you doing back here?" I think he noticed I ran twice, but maybe didn't realize it was for two teams, and that they both placed.

The work week between races was pretty typical, normal workouts, etc. I could feel the 8.6 fairly hard miles in my legs, and a bit of hard running Tuesday didn't help, nor did 15 solid miles on the bike Wednesday. I left work a little early Friday 9/25 to drive to Kerrville to get my race packet and check my gear into transition. Because the paved trail along the river has been completed since last year's race, the course has shifted so that transition is down at the water level and the run course is on the concrete trail. So T2 was different than previous races and I had to orient myself to it. A bit of food, a bit of socializing, and then to bed.

The weather was much more favorable this year than last year's rainfest. In fact, it was actually on the cool side. My time improved from 1:19:12 to 1:15:29, and it was entirely due to the bike course not being soaked. My swim time was 12 seconds quicker, my run time was 15 seconds slower, my transitions were about the same. The bike course was slightly different with the run course and transition moved, but it was still two loops with plenty of chip-seal, an uphill followed by a downhill squandered by a hard right turn at the bottom. The kind of ironic part is that last year this was my first race with my fancy new race bike and this year I had to use my "old" bike and my second-tier race wheels because my "A" bike is en route to Ironman Maryland, and I was a lot faster this time. That really only comes down to the weather as I have proven that my new bike is ever-so-slightly faster. When I checked the results and saw I was third in my age group, I refused to believe it since there were only 5 recorded times for the category. When I checked later and I was still third out of 33, I started to believe, but it wasn't until my name was actually called that I really believed, because this is the first time I've ever been on the podium for a Texas Tri Series race. The other "feather in the cap" was that I finished ahead of professional triathlete Kelly Williamson, never mind that she started 15 minutes after I did.
The award itself is a boot-shaped drinking glass, so in the evening I took it to a local establishment for some libations. Normally I refrain from alcohol so close to an Ironman, for no particular reason, but I did have this celebratory vessel, and this particular establishment is one of only two in the US I have been to that carries my favorite English Ale, Fuller's London Pride.

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