Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our First IM 70.3 @ Austin

The time finally came, it happened last Sunday. We left to Austin on Friday with some teammates, one of them had done it last year so it was good to have him with us as he knew the routes and what to expect. So on the way down he gave us his honest download of what would be ahead of us.

We got to the Expo before close time, so we had plenty of time to pick up our packages and check out some goodies at the store... yes... it is almost impossible to not get something. Then we went to the hotel to check in and dinner with friends.

Her bike ready to roll
His bike ready
Saturday was a not so early start, got the bikes in the truck and down to the expo again for bike check-in. It was all starting to settle in. As we were walking the bikes one our friends got a flat, so needless to say, it wasn't going to be a "walking" of the bikes, it was more like carrying the bikes to transition. Checked the water, it was so much warmer than the air, so it was good to know that the water was going to be nice. Then we had plans to drive the bike route. Map in hand, our friend giving us ins and outs on the course was very helpful. Noticed the hills, the pavement, the turns, all the details, so it gave us a good sense of security that it was going to be doable, might looked a bit tough but overall doable. Dinner with the team, off to finish packing, setting up transition bags and get in bed to rest... rest yes... sleep was limited.

Mercedes and Cristian before me hitting the water
Alarms off at 4:30 am, we got up and did our morning rituals, oatmeal breakfast, bananas, a bit of juice and a bagel. Then by 5:30 we were getting to park the car. Transition bags in hand, dropped off the transition 2 bag first, got in the bus to take us to T1. It is a bit overwhelming having 2 transitions in a race, but overall it went fairly smooth. Got to T1, body marking, and setup. It was a clean transition, only a few items were allowed outside the bag, nothing touching the ground except 1 tire of the bike. Check the tires for air and got out of transition. By then it was almost 6:30 and we had long ways to wait, some of our friends had early waves so they left to their swim starts. Res and I had an 8:10 and 8:40 (last wave) wave times. We hang out with some friends from the team that came to cheer us on and our neighbors and friends as well. Res went to her swim start and I went to drop our morning bags. needless to say I started to freeze. It was cold, 40's and all I had on was the wetsuit. Then it was finally 8:40 and I was then up for my swim.

Res getting to the strippers
My swim went fairly well. Water was nice and warm, I had an uninterrupted swim, I did what Coach M had told us, count until 10 (not really more like until 5) and the start, by then I had no traffic to fight. I stayed close to the bouys as I wasn't planning to swim more than I really needed to considering that my shoulder had been bothering me from the accident. I was really concerned about the swim as I didn't want to ruin the bike by not being able to go aero. I didn't have any pain on the shoulder, but yet I think I wasn't pushing as hard as I would normally do, it was a slow swim 50:54 (2:37 100/m) that's a lot slower but I'll take it, I came out of the water. T1 was pretty interesting, being cold and wet don't mix well together, neither does the fact that we had to put on some more layers than usual for our 56 mile stroll :). After almost 9 minutes of T1 finally got out and started the bike ride.

The bike looked good
It was cold, don't think I warm up for maybe 20 miles. The hills came and went, turns, the pavement was actually better than we had seen on the car. No tech problems, saw a lot of people on the side of the road changing flats or simply just hanging by the side of the bike. Res got to see a few accidents, luckily for me no accidents. All I did all day was pass people, being the last wave I had a chance to pass a lot of people, had only a few passed me. The wind started to pick up as we were approaching mile 30 or so, it was not the 5 mph North wind that the weather man had promised... it sure felt like 15 mph from all directions, no matter where we were turning. Nutrition on the bike worked well, I think I had a bit too much Infinit at one point so I felt a bit full, managed to get more water and not that much Infinit at that point. I then saw I was getting close so I had one powerbar energy gel, that was the plan. I had a few other snacks on the bike but nothing too big, had my uncrustable but didn't eat it, wasn't that hungry at all. Then came in, had a few sips of Infinit towards the end, and got off the bike. T2 was a bit more reasonable, only 3:43, considering had to take the long sleeve shirt and put on the singlet and off I think it was ok.

I had a feeling she was close by
There she was a few miles ahead of me
The run started good, as it always does, legs went for a few miles without knowing what was really going on, it took about 3 miles for them to catch up. By then I saw Res at the distance so I just set my goal to catch her and run/walk/jog/stroll/ the rest of the run with her. We did the first loop (4.3mi) running, slowing down at aid stations, then the second loop came and the slowing down became more of walking a bit longer at the aid stations, by the time the 3 loop came it was a lot more walking and less running, but we managed to at least finish it running. Our times 6:50 and 7:20 respectively, considering the elements thrown at us, we consider it a great success. 
Told ya.... I was going to catch you eventually

Overall it was a great race, yes we were in pain at times, but it wasn't too unbearable. The training that included 29 miles in the speedos, 770 miles on the pedals (which included 8 miles of an ambulance ride) and 213 miles with the kicks definitely paid off.  Thanks to Coach M, for his patience, wisdom, and words of advice during our training... oh and also for picking us up at the hospital after our crash :). We are very happy with our results, and being our first 70.3 it definitely is a journey to our next official crazy adventure Woodlands 2013 - 140.6 - Full IM. Are we ready now? not really... we are definitely sore, will we be ready? you bet!!!.

Stay tuned for our updates of that journey, I'm sure we will have ups and downs, good times, bad times, pains, glories, short races, a half a marathon, a full (maybe), another 70.3 maybe... so we will keep you updated. For now all we can say is... we finished our first 70.3 and we are happy!!!!

Finishing together... priceless :)