Sunday, October 14, 2012

Kerrville Triathlon Festival 70.3 Race Report

Still one of my favorite races!

Last year I went out and did the quarter distance race that they had, but I enjoyed it so much that this year I went for the half iron distance. I'm glad I did.

He thought he was going with me
I packed up and (after removing a LARGE DOG from the car) drove out the day before through some pretty decent rainstorms. I checked in and ran into several friends. My favorite part of the tri season is the people that I meet and get to see out at the races - and then see how they do.

A trip to T1 to drop of my bike and then to T2 to drop off my shoes. One thing about the Kerrville race is that there are two small transition areas rather than one large area. I'm sure as the race grows more popular that the transition area will have to grow larger, but for now, it's rather nice. Anyway, after that, kt was dinner, race prep, and off to bed.

Getting out in the morning was great. I love the pre-race energy that is just everywhere, and it was so cool getting to talk to so many first timers. So, I dropped of my run nutrition at T2, and headed over on the shuttle to T1. I got everything ready on the bike, and (after a few bathroom trips) was off to the start!

I didn't have to wait long. The half distance women's wave started pretty quick, and the swim was great. The swim is in a dimmed portion of the Guadalupe River. It's calm, perfect temperature, and wasn't crowded. I actually got to focus on my swim stroke and less on hand to foot combat that comes with the larger races. Still definitely an open water swim, but easily the calmest I've ever done. Just like last year. The only portion that I had to deal with any chop/waves or crowding was right near the finish. Fortunately, at the swim finish, there is a ramp, and lots of volunteers to help you (and your oxygen deprived body) out of the water.

Into T1 and to the bike. Fortunately, this year, no chip strap mishap to slow me down! I did take T1 a bit slow - I took an extra few seconds to wash my feet off before I rolled my socks on because there is a LOT of dirt and debris that gets picked up by your wet feet at this particular race.
On to the bike! This last year I've really learned to love my bike. I look forward with joy to the time when I can get on. Last year was a different story, but a better fit, better fitness, and a great coach have really changed things for me. So 56 miles promised to be a different experience. Well - it WAS an experience. I don't remember the chipseal being this bad last year. Maybe because I only did half the distance or because I wasn't going as fast, but for some reason, the chipseal beat me up more than I'm used to. Other than that, though, as far as courses in the Texas Hill Country go, this course is hidden gem. There isn't much gain compared surrounding areas, and it's a fairly simple loop that you do twice. It's also very scenic. Watch out for the gravel on curves and you'll be fine (also remember to tighten any important screws on your bike before the race). There are just a few short steep hills on the course to remind you that, yes, you are still in the Texas Hill country, and some false flats but otherwise a very nice course.

Into T2 and finally rattle free. I was pretty glad to be off the chipseal. Quick shoe change and remove the helmet, and out to the run.

 Now, I do all my running on hills, so more hills don't scare me. The run is four loops on hills. It's also about half hard pack trail. This year, it didn't phase me because the Bandera 50k gave me a new perspective, and I'm pretty used to doing loop after loop for races now. Up until the run, the weather had been cool and windy, but during the last loop, the clouds cleared, and the sun came out, and it got hot! Last year I remember it being hotter at the finish, though, so no complaints here.
Into the finish! They hold up a finish line ribbon for all the finishes, so I ran through it, arms up, like the goofy tri-geek that I am.

The volunteers really make the Kerrville race what it is.  They are the glue that hold the athletes together at any race, but Kerrville makes athletes feel especially welcome.  Kids come out and hold signs, adults paint their faces and hair, and everyone looks like they're having a blast.  Both years, the volunteers have really made the race amazing for me.

This race was my first half iron distance with a coach.  Jeff from Apex Endurance taught me pacing in all disciplines, and I've been working pretty hard on learning how to pace the bike by power and negatively split a run. I wasn't sure what to expect (as usual) but I went out to have fun and find out what is possible.

By the numbers:
Swim: 36:26   1:53/100m
T1: 3:01
Bike: 2:52:15 19.5 mph
T2: 2:07
Run: 2:00:14   9:11/mile

I asked around, and everyone with a garmin measured the run between 13.3 and 13.4 miles, so we think the run was a bit long again.  My results were as perfect for me as I could have asked for.  The pacing during the swim, the power during the bike, and even/negative splits on the run. 

I finished third in my age group and ninth overall female, so it was my first podium at a half iron!

Is it naptime yet?

Every time for every segment is a PR for me at the half iron distance, including the transitions.

As for the friends who've seasons I've followed, they did rather well, two of them finished ahead of me - one taking second in my age group with a 5:25, and the other rockin' an awesome 5:21 (which is a PR for him, too).

This closes out the 2012 triathlon season for me.  This year has been an adventure - I've met so many great people and done so many awesome things.  There have been highs and lows and I've learned tat it isn't about the race, it's about the journey.  I've got the sense that I'm stepping forward into this amazing unknown, but I know that I'm in crazy wonderful company. So, for the people who have swam, biked, run, or virtually followed and in any way encouraged me this year, thank you. I've had fun.


  1. Great job and congrats on the AG hardware! I have to say that I wish we had some hills here for training! I ran in San Marcos over the summer and the hills kicked my butt. It definitely does make you stronger!

  2. Hey - Congrats and yay! Why not make the dog swim and run and ... run some more? Anyway, good job.