Whew, just returned from a long drive back from Bayfield, CO. We left on Saturday at about 11:00 MST and drove to Santa Fe, then on to Lubbock (because we love Lubbock so much!). We spent the night there, then pushed on to Austin today, arriving about 1:00. It was a bit sad to leave the mountains, we literally slept in a cabin right on the Los Pinos (“Pine”) river which ran out of Vallecito Reservoir, and could fall asleep and wake up to the river…Derick would fish in the AM, I’d ride my bike…this area is seriously cycling heaven. Any surroundings that make me want to ride my bike more than swim or run have something pretty magical about them! We had an incredible week of good company, good food, good drink and incredible outdoor activity…I have to say despite being sad to have to leave, I do feel a bit invigorated…and realize that sooner or later, I will end up in a mountain town.
Now on to the race, which seems forever-ago! I did Buffalo Springs 70.3 last Sunday, June 29th. I was feeling quite mediocre going into this race. It seemed that my quads were incredibly ‘heavy’ feeling for the past couple of weeks, as if I was struggling to fully recover from any workouts. However, I just chalked it up to the heat and tried to really rest up the 2-3 days going into the race. We arrived in beautiful Lubbock on Friday evening, and got a great green chile chicken pizza at Orlandos. Needless to day, it tasted great but kept me in the bathroom most of Saturday…note to self, do not eat this pre-race night. 🙂 Saturday included the typical, sleep in, big breakfast, short (30-minute) bike ride, and a movie in the hotel room! “27 Dresses”. Um…a good brainless watch, but terribly predictable. The pre-race meeting was at 3:00, whereby Mike Greer told us all about the creatures we may encounter on race day, the lead car which is a Miller Lite car (was Bud Light but they jumped ship, and well doesn’t really matter b/c Mike is a Coors Lite guy…). NOTE: This race has a ton of CHARACTER!! Mike and Marti seriously love to put on races and if you think of a guy who would NOT be a race director, it would be Mike…a Harley-driving west Texan. However, I absolutely love this about him and the race in general. There were a few good laughs in the meeting and the ‘atmosphere’ felt pretty light, which is how it should be.
On to race day! Early 4:00 am wake up call…NOTE: The past 2 races (this and Eagleman), I have had a dream the night before the race of me ‘seemlessly’ going through the race…granted, I am usually running through obstacles and very strange courses, but I am smiling, and feeling light, strong and confident…this has never happened to me in all of my years of competing! Interesting…. We got to Buffalo Springs Lake with plenty of time to spare, set up transition and meandered to swim start. It was a chilly race morning with dark clouds looming overhead…could be an interesting day of weather! We waited until about 6:45 or so (6:30 start time), and suddenly as we were all moving towards the water, we heard what sounded like a dying animal…that was GO! It was crazy! I saw Brandon Marsh’s big shoulders in front of me start running, so I took off! Some were running along the shore, some swimming…then around the bend, they started running on shore AGAIN! I was trying to swim but in that second run, realized, “I should probably be running, too.” We finally got to swimming and I felt I had lost a ton of time, but what could I do now except swim? I did my typical ‘work my way up’ to some swimmers far ahead of me by the end, and came out feeling good but having not a CLUE where I was in the mix…I guess I was the 2nd woman out of the swim after Joanna Zeiger, but beat ‘out of’ transition by Mirinda Carfrae.
The bike was flat out TOUGH. Windy and rainy. I felt strong but my power was pretty low, however I just tried to stay positive and keep on chugging away. I love this course because there are some killer hills, and while I do not climb like I used to in CO, I still feel like I come off of hillier courses feeling better than flats. I was passed by a few but again tried to stay positive, knowing that a ‘fast’ bike split was not in the cards, but trying to come off in a decent position to run some people down. I was not a happy camper out there, but it was tough and I do like challenging courses…and, this weather (cool and rainy) was great to run in!
Into T2, I was stoked to get off my bike. 🙂 The first 1/2 mile of the run felt very hard, the legs felt spent, but I was pushing a pretty solid pace. I heard my friend Katie White yell out some encouragement just a mile in, which was so nice and a good surprise as I did know she was out there racing! I have to say, I feel like I managed ‘pace control’ incredibly well today. Just as I started to feel good and want to pick it up, I’d hold back…this being because we have 3 very tough hills on the way out, and then a 1.5 mile flat stretch before the turnaround…if there were ever a mentally tough course, this is it. It was great. 🙂 I believe for the first time ever, my run split was a dead-on EVEN SPLIT from first to second half…6:35 pace. I knew I was in 4th the last few miles, but I had seen a pretty strong woman running behind me. But, I knew I was pushing at my limit so I just stayed controlled. Another great thing about this race, the ‘finish’ line appears out of nowhere! You cannot see it until it is about 200 meters in front of you! Once I saw it, I felt a sigh of relief knowing that I soon could stop. I was 4th woman in 4:37, a bit faster than last year, but on a considerable tougher day (in my opinion). I was able to manage a 1:26 run split which I was very psyched about! The bike split was a bit mediocre, but I am not worried about that…it will come.
All in all I was pleased with this race! I ‘wanted’ to be Top 3, I ‘wanted’ to do a 4:30 or faster, however today this was the best I had in me and this is all I can ask for. I feel like I am moving forward step by step, and I find myself chomping at the bit for each and every ‘next race’. Thank you so much to Derick (my fiance) for coming along and being great support, we chilled out so much on Saturday and it was just what I needed (and we can not talk about triathlon which makes pre-race so much more pleasant). Also thanks much to all of my supporters, Team Zoot, Spyder Optics, Jack and Adams in Austin, AJ Zelinski at Advanced Rehab for keeping me healthy and of course my family and friends. Also a huge congrats to all of the other fellow Austin-ites out there racing today! Terra Castro had a great day finishing 8th, Brandon Marsh was 5th among the men and miss Angie Ballentine who came back as a mommy to race her first 1/2 IM today since mommy-hood (I believe?). Pat Evoe had a great race, coming off a heavy training weekend to finish Top 10 among the pros as well. And, Brad Miller and Billy Harlee also had great races (huge PR for Billy!). It is so fun to see all of our Austin friends at this race.
Next up is Spirit of Racine Triathlon in Racine, Wisconsin on July 20th. Please do not tell anyone about this race as I’d like to finish in the top 2. 🙂 Just kidding…the better the competition, the better the race. Thank ya’ll for reading and Happy 4th of July!