If I had to sum up this weekend in one word it would be FUN. When I got home my cheeks hurt from laughing, and smiling, we just had a lot of fun! I arrived in Austin on Friday. I was seated next to Steve and Andrea on the plane, totally by luck! Downtown Austin is 7 miles from the airport. I learned that there is no need to rent a car. Just catch a shuttle to downtown next time. I literally put 14 miles on the rental car in 4 days. Tyler, John, Beth and I were sharing a room at the Embassy Suites, and Tyler had already checked in for me. Once I rolled into town we threw my bike together in like 15 minutes, and headed off with Steve and Andrea for some grub. Hot, whoa, so hot. And humid, very very humid. I was really shocked, and really sweaty immediately. We walked down to Chuys, a sweet local spot that Lance Armstrong loves. Good New Mexican food. I had a margarita, we were all feeling festive! After grubbin' we headed to bed and got a few hours sleep before Beth and John arrived at 1am. Okay, honestly, I didn't even hear them come it, but Tyler said he got up and they partied for an hour before heading to bed. Man, I sleep through all the good stuff!
Saturday was all about reconnaissance. Tyler and I had mapped the bike and run courses, and we set of as a team to ride the course and get familiar. BUT...first we hit up the Austin Farmers Market (I am like a farmers market junkie, and love visiting markets in other cities). The ride recon went well, we were all VERY familiar with the course. After recon it was time to pick up our packets and drop our bikes into transition. It was wild. They didn't give you an individual spot in transition, it was a free for all by age group. So it behooved you to get there early to get the best spot. BUT, packet pickup opened at 1 and there were droves of people with the same idea. When the doors opened it was a mad rush. Very poorly planned but I am happy to say that the Practical Coaching folks made out quite well. Almost all of us were out of there within 5 minutes and got the primo end spot on the racks. It was funny that the 8 of us were probably in the first 20 people to rack a bike. Sharp elbows!
That evening we headed as a big group out to Casa De Luz. This place was awesome. Totally vegan, totally in season, totally Macrobiotic, totally yummy. We were there for hours, just chatting, and enjoying the company. If I lived in Austin, I would eat there weekly.
Sunday morning was game day. Our hotel was a 1 block walk to transition, so it was great to sleep in and wake up and walk over. Ahhhh. The 4 of us walked over to transition and then went our own ways. I had transition set up in like two pico seconds and was ready to get out of there. I headed to the portapotie several times, walked around, slept on a bench for a little while, and then things got going. Waves started going off and before I knew it my wet suit was on and I was waiting in line to jump off the pier into the water.
THE SWIM: It was a deep water start and I lined up close to the front, on the right. I should have gone on the left. When the gun went of I got pretty beat up. I was getting passed and then immediately getting stuck behind people. I was trying to work my way around them, and then getting hit, kicked, and thrashed. I just had a difficult time getting clear of people. The way out was down river, so you had a little push, which you didn't feel. The way back was up river and you felt that one big time. I was finally able to relax at the turn around and start pushing hard. I swam the last half as hard as I knew how. Rounding the last corner you then had to swim cross current. For some reason this wasn't a problem for me. Volunteers pulled me out of the water and I was off and running.
T1: Long run up to transition. No big issues here except the weight of the bikes on my rack had pushed the rack into the grass so deep that the 6 inches clearance my bike had was now a negative 3 inches. I had to finagle my bike around to release it from the grip of the rack. Helmet on, and off. It was a long long run out of transition and I stepped on lots of nasty gravel type rocks.
THE BIKE: I absolutely loved this bike course. It was a four loop course and it was through downtown Austin. You did this big loop around the capital building (taller than the Capital Building in Washington...everything is bigger in Texas). The loop around the Capital entailed two climbs and 6 high speed turns. It was like a bike course! I pushed as hard as I could through the entire four laps. I passed tons of people, I couldn't really keep track of who was in my age group. One girl in my age group passed me back and I just said "no way". I put it down and never looked back. Never saw her again. I ran into (not literally) most of my teamates at one point, especially the ladies who started in waves near me. It was great to have friends on the course. Beth kept me accountable. I passed her and a little while later she passed me back. I stepped on it harder, knowing Beth was giving me a kick in the butt. The turns were the best part of this entire race. I'm so glad I learned through Steve how to take 90 degree turns without breaking, I gained lots of time on people because I knew how to turn.
T2: I forgot to take my helmet off. Doh. Wasted 10 seconds correcting that error.
THE RUN: Ouch. Boy is it hot. The run was a two loop course and each loop seemed a little bit long. Immediately a lady in my age group FLEW by me, I mean FLEW. She was running so strong, I couldn't even go with her. Just flying. On the first little out and back section I saw two ladies (three if you include the one that just FLEW by) that looked like they were in my age group. I tried to pick it up but I was hot. There was Beth again, yelling at me to go get them. So I picked it up. I worked really hard that first loop to pick off the lady I saw ahead of me. When I got close to her she gave me a little battle and I prevailed. But I thought to myself that it would have been a good opportunity to practice some of my strategy. Usually the people I pass never go with me, but she did, and I should have used that fact as a chance to battle with her and wear her out. I started running for the next girl and taking all the water I could along the way to dump down my uniform. They had ice water on the course and it was great to dump that all over myself. The second loop I really tried to pick it up to pass the lady that was ahead of me that I was sighting on. I slowly reeled her in and found out that she wasn't in my age group. Doh. About half way into the second loop I heard the people cheering saying "Go ladies" and I wondered who was behind me. It was the first lady I had passed. She was sticking to me. I realized that I need to go hard and drop her immediately or she was going to give me a run at the finish. I put in a nice mile long surge and she disappeared for good. I rolled into the finish running strong, and having fun.
Ah, it was over. That evening I hung out with Steve and Andrea after I found them while I was taking an evening stroll. We had pizza, chatted it up, and explored South Congress Ave. Awesome spot if you are in Austin, not to be missed! We had cupcakes too, they were yummy.
Monday morning we all headed out for a run together and this was definitely the highlight of the entire trip. We started out running, but we ended up swimming, diving, running, turtle hunting, swimming, jumping, being silly, joking, running, being crazy, etc for about 3 hours. We had swimming contests, we learned how to do back flips. We ran all over the place, and just had a blast together. This was the water we swam in, ick, what were we thinking?:
Results - Highlights: John, Tyler, and Andrea all qualified for Nationals! I am so proud of them for putting up stellar performances and getting into "The Big Race"
Anthony raced to 2nd in his age group in the extremely talented mens 30-35 age group. Total Rock Star.
Steve is racing like we like him to and won his age group. We are such proud students and we all hope we can grow up to be just like Steve!
Beth is so back. She had an awesome race, and I can see that she will be right back on track by Nationals.
Julie, Barry, and Priscilla all had great performances, very clearly showing off the hard work they have done in the off season.
Results- Me: 15th woman overall 5th in F25-29 Swim: 30:09 T1: 2:23 Bike: 1:07:15 (22.1mph) T2: 2:00 Run: 47:31 (7:39 pace)