March 30, 2014

Tall Texan 70.3

As a tune up for Ironman Texas, I entered a the Tall Texan 70.3 in Boerne, TX.  My plan called for me to race the Ironman Texas 70.3 in Galveston next weekend.  It had sold out a few hours before I tried to register. Figures.  Instead I found the Tall Texan.  A much smaller race.  It seemed interesting with a lot of hills on the bike.  I had asked someone about it and how challenging it was.  I was told it would be not quite as bad as the Real Ale Ride.  Sounded like just the challenge I needed.

The race went well overall, much better than my last 70.3, and resulted in a 16 minute PR. This despite 1) it wasn't my full out "A" race effort, and 2) my bike portion was horrible (a lot of hills, wind and cattle guards) . Swim and run were much better than last race and I'm feeling pretty good overall. Also, it was 50 degrees when we started and 80 when we finished.

The water temperature was also 60 degrees. I'm glad I had that experience of the cold water swim.  This was better than that.  It took me a bit to get settled, but once I did I was pretty consistent all the way through.  I finished the swim in about the time I expected and felt pretty good coming out of the water.  Much better than my swim at the Austin 70.3.

My transition was a bit rusty.  I fumbled around a bit and it took me much longer than it should have.  I'm not sure exactly how long it took.  The race's timing mat was broken so the swim time was swim and T1.  I also forgot to hit the lap button on my watch until about 3 miles into the bike, so my watch's T1 was really long.

On to the bike I felt pretty good for the first half.  In aero the majority of the time and keeping a pretty consistent cadence.  The second half saw a lot of climbing.  Up and down a mixture of short steep hills and long rollers.  My Garmin showed ~3,000 feet of elevation change.  To top that off, there was about a 10 mile stretch where we had to cross 8 - 10 cattle guards.  It made it interesting.

The bike had really wiped me out.  My time was much slower than I had planned and it had drained me of a lot of energy.  I started the run, I was really sluggish.  It took me about 3-4 miles to get my rhythm. Once I did, I felt OK.  Not good, but not terrible either.  I faded in the last 4 miles and it was a struggle.  I kept telling myself this was training, this was a tune up race.  No need to kill yourself.  Just dig deep and give a good effort.  By mile 11 of the run, I realized I still had a chance to break 7 hours.  I pushed harder on mile 12, gearing up for a big push the last mile.  For that last mile, I gave it everything I had.  I was able to run the last mile at my target marathon goal pace.  I finished in 6:55 and excited that I could give that last bit of effort and finish strong.

The race was a really small race.  There were about 80 total participants.  That's about 40 less than there were in my age group at the Austin 70.3.  As such, a small field made for better chances at a podium. While my time is no where near anything that can be called "fast", I did end up winning my age group.  I had to find that out later since I didn't stick around for the awards ceremony.  Who knew? I'm not sure when I'll be able to have a shot at podium again.  I'll take it nonetheless.  So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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