Monday, September 3, 2012

Catching Up - The 2012 Lake Pflugerville Triathlon Race Report

After my first trail run, I pretty much chilled out all day. I knew my legs were going to be sore, but it seemed I was really exhausted and felt kind of “off” as well. Monday I went to work and seemed to cough all day. With the Lake Pflugerville Triathlon coming up the following weekend, I couldn’t take the risk of getting sick, so I called to schedule a doctor’s appointment. I went in Monday afternoon and yep, I was sick. I was given a Z-pack, went home and planted my body in the recliner all evening. I knew it would take the Z-pack 24 hours to kick in, so I had called in to work to let them know I wouldn’t be there Tuesday. That is rare for me. I hardly ever call in sick.

I have to admit, it was nice sleeping in Tuesday morning. And knowing I was just going to lay around and rest on Tuesday was kind of nice, but I don’t like missing workouts and that part was bothering me. I was really hoping I would feel better and be back at work and working out on Wednesday, but Tuesday night when I was still coughing like crazy I decided I probably needed another day of rest. I stayed home from work Wednesday and did no workouts again.

Thursday I managed to go back to work, but was still unsure if I should do a workout or not. The coughing was horrible (think bronchitis) and I wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to workout. Packet pick-up for the tri was Thursday, so I decided I’d try to do a little ride after getting my packet just to see how it felt. I managed to ride a whopping 6.92 miles and was exhausted. At this point I was questioning whether I’d be able to complete the tri or not.

The Lake Pflugerville tri is one that I have done every year since it started. I want to be one of those people in 20 years that can say I’ve done every one. The question of doing the triathlon was not an issue. At this point it was going to be “how long is it going to take me to finish?”

Friday when I got home from work I was determined to get my workout done. I had a one-hour run on the schedule. I started off at a very slow jog. It was not long before my lungs were telling me this wasn’t a good idea and my body was going into coughing fits. Let’s just say that the run turned into more of a walk.

Saturday morning I woke up and debated on whether it would be better for my body to rest or if I wanted to try to get in a ride. I knew I wouldn’t get in the ride on my Ironman schedule, but I did want to see if I could make it around the Lake Pflugerville Tri course. I headed to the lake and road the route. I did manage to make it, although slower than usual. The ride at least gave me the confidence that I could at least finish the race on Sunday. I headed home and relaxed the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday morning came and it was time to race. I got up, ate my normal breakfast and headed to the lake. As always, I was there early to claim a good spot in transition. I set up my things and sat by my stuff. I was still coughing like crazy and getting all kinds of looks, but I was going to race. Of that, there was no doubt. When it was time to exit transition I thought to myself, “it is what it is, so just have fun”.

As it got time for my swim wave to go off, I inched my way toward the water. I was worried about the swim from the respiratory aspect. I did not want to have a cough fit in the middle of the swim. I figured I would take it at an easy pace and let things fall where they did. That didn't stop me from getting up front for the start. I was second row on the inside and I used the technique Jessica Jacobs taught me at a tri camp in April - I got horizontal before the start to "claim my space" and sculled to get my body ready to go.

When the horn blew for us to go, I already had my space so I could easily start swimming. I saw and felt many of the women jump ahead of me and for once did not let that get to me mentally. I just kept my line on the buoys and swam.

Somewhere around the 2nd buoy (200 in) I came up on a girl who was swimming about my speed. I knew this because I could see her feet but I wasn't gaining on her. For really the first time in a race I focused on staying on her feet and drafting. It worked wonderfully. I was able to stay on her for about 150m. Once we rounded the turnaround buoy, however, things got congested and I ended up passing her. It was nice while it lasted.

I focused on keeping things smooth and steady and swam until my fingers touched the ground before standing up to exit.

Swim: 10:39

Luckily, the cough did not bother me during the swim. Running through transition was another story. I coughed like crazy and actually had to walk to my bike, which I never do.

T1: 2:09

After last year's race with horrible winds, today was about near perfect for the bike. Winds were under 8mph and probably closer to 5mph. I ride the course all the time in training, so I knew where I could hit it hard and where I may have to take it safe if the cough kicked in.

I left transition and hit it hard right away. I was feeling good and wanted to get speed where I could. I made the first turn which leads into a false flat and a little bit of a headwind. I did slow down a little, but not much, so that was a good sign. The only bad thing is that the course is not a closed course and takes place on 2 lane country roads. During the false flat a truck pulled out of its driveway and got behind a rider who was going about 14-15mph. A few cars were coming the other way so for a little bit there was nothing to do but slow down. When it was safe, I passed the truck and the rider and got on with my ride.

Doing the surge to pass the truck was probably a little much. I started coughing a little and knew I had the part of the course coming that would make me cough if any of it would. I made the turn at the Cele store to head into the rollers. I had already decided to go into the small ring up front for the first of the hills to ease into it. It did help, but during the first part of the rollers I had a cough fit. I thought it would really slow me down and cause problems, but I seemed to get one big cough in there that cleared things out and all of a sudden I could really breathe. I knew this was a good sign and decided to push as hard as I could.

I made it through the rollers and knew I was good. I passed several people and only got passed by a few. (The swim waves had started with men young to old and then women old to young, so I only had younger women behind me coming out of the swim).

I struggled a little again once I turned on to the false flat before the s-curves, but when I noticed my speed I kicked it up again. And once I got to the toll road, I let loose. I knew I didn't have much more to go.

My efforts paid off. I'll have to double check, but I think this may be my best bike split ever on this course. I was very happy.

Bike: 44:56 for an 18.69 average

I got off my bike and headed into transition, again, coughing along the way. The run is what is really affected by the cough, and it hurt me today.

T2: 1:29

Having been sick, I was very cautious today. I did not want a repeat of Friday night’s “run” where I would have to walk a lot. I wanted to "run" the whole thing if at all possible.

I started slow and just kept my feet moving. I tried not to take very deep breaths. Luckily it was pretty over cast and there was a slight breeze blowing in the beginning, so I wasn't getting real hot. I drank some gatorade and just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. One of my competitors (who usually beats me on the run every year) passed me about half a mile in. It was tough to watch her go, but I knew that today there was no way I'd keep up. Steady gets the job done and steady is what I did today.

I did manage to run the whole way and was happy with my time considering how I have felt the past week. I crossed the finish line happy to be done. And immediately started coughing again. I grabbed a cold wet towel and some water and stretched a little bit while waiting for friends to finish.

Run: 28:12 for a 9:24 pace

Total Time: 1:27:27

I managed to keep my streak going and can still say that I have done every Lake Pflugerville Triathlon and I’m happy with that. I knew there was no way I would even be close to getting an award, so I packed up my stuff and headed home.