I thought after Kona that my season was done, but when PIC told me that she was going to race Austin 70.3 I wanted to join in. I was in no way ready for this race specifically. I mean, I had more fruity drinks than workouts by the time I stepped on the line. It was a swan song. Just one more for fun.

PIC and I had way too much fun in Austin. We saw Punky in the airport before we left Denver, and we ate at this really good co-op on our first day there. We had burgers, and fries, and they were awesome. It was freezing outside and the weather seemed to get colder as the trip went on. We drove the course, partially in the dark, stopped for popsicles and junk food and ate it all. I had this chocolate banana mexican popsicle that was to die for, and slightly suspect.

We checked into our hotel and it was totally seedy. I think there was a fair amount of drugs being sold in the hallway that evening, and PIC and I spent the hours of 3-5am huddled together in bed thinking we were going to die. I can't imagine the quantity of drugs you can buy with 2 fully decked out Quintana Roo CD0.1s. Needless to say, we lived through it (barely) and we let out a huge sigh and awww when we checked into the Hilton the following day (you try fitting two built up bikes, two empty bike boxes, lots of luggage, and two women into a Nissan Altima...no easy task). Lunch with Brian was awesome, it's been years since the three of us have all been together and was great to catch up.

On race morning, which was so cold I had on every single piece of clothing I brought on top of one another, my main concern was thorns. My transition spot was a bed of those kinds of thorns that are multisided and evil. One step and my Uggs were loaded with them.

The transition was a "clean transition." That was said to us over and over. I knew my tires were good and that I would carry my bike to the mount line, it was my feet I was worried about. They wouldn't let me put a towel down. I asked, I begged, I gave sad eyes to the cute guy, nope, he was unyielding. I thought about getting an official but decided to not clip my shoes in my pedals and to just wear them through T1.

After setting up T1 we nestled ourselves into one of the cabs of the rented Rider trucks that Ironman had. Nobody ever knew, it was our secret hideaway. The water temp was like 30 degrees warmer than the air so the cold temps actually were fine during the swim.

I swam as best I could, tried to stay on feet, got a bit muddled at the end, but felt good about it. AND, I really enjoyed it. I was warm and it was a wave start so I didn't get beat to smithereens, which was so relaxing compared to Kona.

I ran to my bike, put a coat on, and started to put my shoes on. I had to wipe 20+ thorns out of each foot. They were in deep. I carried my bike out, mounted and got out of there.

I started in the next to last wave so I had a blast out there. I got to pass lots of people all day and I totally totally loved the course. It was cold when I started and my legs were quite chilly, but they warmed up about 10 miles in and I just had fun. I rode hard, but it felt good to ride hard. I just gave it what I had, and didn't worry about much else.

Into T2 I threw on the Newtons and went running. 1 mile in I pulled off my HR strap and shoved it down my pants. I just ran by feel, as hard as I could, but I enjoyed myself as well. I found a guy at one point that had a metronome. I asked him what it was set to and he said 89. I run a pretty natural 90, so I had a blast running with him and marching to the beat of his little beep. I'm not sure one of those things would make me any faster, but it was fun for a few miles.

At one point he said "I just did IM Louisville a few weeks ago" and I retorted "Oh yea, I just did Kona" and I felt immediately bad. I even said "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to rain on your parade." I didn't at all mean it to come off as arrogant, I just meant to imply that we had something in common. Total dumb bunny move there and I felt bad the rest of the day over that one.

I really liked the course. It was three loops, but not boring loops, they were exciting and I really enjoyed myself. But my feet hurt and I couldn't understand why. My heels and the balls of my feet were so sore and my Newtons never make me sore. Come to find out after the race it was the remnants of the 20+ thorns in my feet that made that pain. Talk about a prickly situation (bada-boom).

The Mile High Multisport crew was out there cheering and they made me feel like a queen the 6X I saw them out there. They cheered for me like Troy cheers for me, and I tried hard to smile every time I saw them.

The finish line was a total blast, it's inside the arena. I was glad to make it to the line, as I am every race. I had no idea what my placing or time or anything was, but I did know that I enjoyed the race and it reminded me of how I felt when I first got in the sport. Just happy to be able to race my heart out for the sheer reason of physical movement. Michelle and I have agreed that we can't ever race it again. They temps were in the 60s and this race is usually in the 90s. We had the perfect day, and don't dare temp fate. One and Done! This is probably one of my favorite pictures of all year. I love PIC.

Michelle and I both ended up 2nd in our AG. The lady who won mine was not only drop dead gorgeous, but out swam, out biked, and out ran me, was so far ahead I didn't know she existed, and put out a stellar performance (maybe? who knows how she felt, but she dominated for sure). I look forward to following her from here on out. The other lady on the podium at the awards was a Nun. Rad.

The weekend was topped off with a few drinks with Jess Smith and friends and some damn fine TexMex. Michelle and I went for ice cream, and then snuggled the night away before a 6am flight...which I slept through.

And with that, I officially put a cap on the 2012 season. It's time for some time away. The Garmin has been put away for good, and my bike is still in the box. I don't know what the future holds, but I'm not that concerned.