Tag Archives: triathlon

Spa Girl Tri: Three Times the Fun

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The final event in my festival of summer racing was the Spa Girl Tri, held in Bastrop, TX (just outside of Austin) at the beautiful Hyatt Lost Pines resort.  Those of you who’ve been readers for a while know that I’m a runner.

I’m a runner, I’m a runner, I’m a runner.

But when you have a friend (and former Balance client) who asks you and some friends to do a triathlon, you say “Sure!”

That’s how I found myself in Bastrop last Friday night, where I met up with my friend J who moved to San Antonio.  She’s one of The Tri Amigas, our training and planning and cheerleading group.

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We picked up our packets, ate dinner in some rocking chairs on the back patio of the resort under a beautiful Texas late-summer sky, and then we went to the pre-race briefing meeting.  It was at this meeting that the race directors assured us that the swim would be not crowded (true), the bike would be not nearly as hilly as the road into the resort (big fat lie), and the run would be beautiful and shaded on the golf course (true).  I guess two out of three isn’t bad.

J and I went to our hotel room in Bastrop to get ourselves organized for the early morning call time at the race of 5.45am.  We affixed our race number tattoos to ourselves, put our number stickers on our bikes and helmets, and made sure we had everything we needed to take to the transition area in a bag.

Lights out at 10pm.

I slept well, which isn’t always the case before a race.  We left the hotel at 5.20 and got to the resort and transition area by 5.45.  We met up with the other Tri Amigas, racking our bikes in the same area and making sure everyone had everything set out in a logical and easy-to-access way.

We left transition by 6.15, eating our PB&J sandwiches along the way as we picked up our timing chips and headed to the gathering area.  It was there we separated into our swim start groups.  I started in the second swim group– one swimmer at a time every 5 seconds or so to give people space in the lazy river that was our swim course– but I know for future years to go ahead and enter in the fastest swim group.  Not only do you get to start much sooner, but I passed so many people on the bike and more than 100 people on the run.  Our friends who started in the last swim group waited more than an hour to start.  Not a big deal if you don’t really care about a finish time, but it’s a long time to stand around in your swim suit when the air is chilly.

My goal was  to finish the 300 meter swim in 8 minutes.  I was expecting it to be challenging to swim with so many other people, and the lazy river isn’t straight.  As it turns out, I touched absolutely zero other people during the swim.  I even passed two people.  I got out of the pool in exactly 5 minutes.

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The transition area was about 300m from the pool, and my bike was at the far end of transition.  It took me a while to dry off, get on my socks and shoes, eat a gu, and grab my bike.  I walked it to the mount line, and when I got on to start my 10-mile ride, my watch read 10:00 flat.

As I was leaving the resort parking lot, I could hear a fellow competitor’s bike clicking, clicking, clicking.  I shouted to her, “You’re not in gear!” and then thought smugly, “You should really know how to use your bike if you’re going to ride in a triathlon.”

Not two minutes later did I realize my own hubris– I’d never readjusted my seat after I removed the trail-a-bike I normally have attached.  My seat was in the lowest position, and that made it really uncomfortable and inefficient to ride.  I was already on a mountain bike rather than a road bike, so my lack of attention-to-detail wasn’t helping me out any.  But I rode on…

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The bike course was rolling hills along some pretty Texas ranch land.  We were out as the sun was rising, and it really was a beautiful scene.  It was inspiring to see so many women out on the course– some riding for fun, some riding for a fast time, but all of them out and moving their bodies and feeling strong.

The second half of the bike route was far hillier, even to the point where many women were walking their bikes up the hills.  I can imagine that if you don’t bike or spin very often and didn’t train on hills, it would have been really hard.  My glutes were burning for the last 20 minutes of my 45 minute ride.

As I was making my way back through the resort parking lot to transition, I spotted the husband and kids of my friend M, the one who got us all into this in the first place.  It’s always a boost to see people you know out on the race course.

After I dismounted my bike, it took a few minutes to get my legs back under me.  I had encouraged my Tri Amigas to practice the bike-to-run transition, as I knew from experience the legs can be a bit wobbly at first.  I racked my bike and headed out of transition rather smoothly to finish the race with a two-mile run.

As a runner, it’s fantastic to finish a triathlon strong.  Like I said, I passed at least 100 people on the run.  I was glad for the mostly flat and well-shaded course, even though I would have liked to have had a better idea of the route going in to the run.  I finished strong, though, with a run time of 15:33.  Only seven people in the whole triathlon had a faster run time than mine, and they were all younger than I.  That was my victory for the day.

My finish time was 1:13:05, not that it really matters.  But it was a good, hard effort that gave me some fun variety and challenge over just distance running.

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The real thrill of the race, though, was going back and cheering on my friends as they came in from the bike.

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And it was awesome to shout for them as they finished:

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What a fantastic role model M is for her little girl (one of The Stowaway’s pals) and a treat for them to cross the finish together:

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Our group had another mother-daughter duo (in the first finish photo, above, mom is beating daughter!), who prove that age is only a number:

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We may not all be hard-core athletes, but you can’t deny the pride and satisfaction in finishing an endurance event:

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In the end, I was treated to the thrill of seeing all of these women in a new light as they learned they can push themselves physically and complete a triathlon.

On to the next challenge!

PS- Free race pics from Spa Girl Tri— nice touch!

Trying a Tri

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It’s been at least 15 years since my first (and only) triathlon.  I don’t remember much about, other than I couldn’t get my shorts on over my wet swimsuit so I went without them.  Go ahead and imagine the chafing that caused…..

At the prodding of a friend, two other friends and I find ourselves registered for the Spa Girl Triathlon that will be held at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines resort in September.  The friend who is the ringleader is someone I met way back in ealry 2009 when she came to my old early morning “bootcamp” class.  We wound up having baby girls just a month apart in 2011 and have been friends ever since. One of the other ladies has a daughter the same age as ours, and our fourth friend is a childhood pal of the ringleader.  We’ve developed a fun and supportive group friendship over the last few years that goes beyond our shared parenting trials.

Motivated by our ringleader’s enthusiasm to undertake the challenge of a triathlon, I’m ready to add it to my summer training plans.  Fortunately, the event is a Super Sprint Tri: 300m swim, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run.  This means that I feel fabulously confident about the run, satisfyingly confident about the bike, and not totally terrified about the swim.

(For as much as I love teaching swim lessons, I am a terrible lap swimmer.  What can I say?  I get bored.  So I don’t do it.  Shame on me.)

I have worked the swimming and biking into my training plan, but I won’t really be able to focus on them until August because of travel plans.  The other girls are using the Zoom Beginner Triathlon 60 day training plan as a guide.

We have a Facebook page where we’re sharing training ideas, logging workouts, and providing moral support.  There are three of us in Austin and one friend who just moved to San Antonio, so doing this together is a positive way to keep and grow our group friendship.

We aren’t worried that between the four of us we have only one triathlon of experience to lean on.  By September, the Tri Amigas are going to be on the course and ready to rumble!

(And then after the race, we’ll be ready to relax!)

Crash! (Then burn)

I crashed my bicycle last Thursday.  I wish I could blame it solely on the 30-35mph wind gusts we were experiencing, but unfortunately some bad judgement is also to blame.  Thankfully I am not seriously injured.  I am scraped and bruised and not altogether well, but I am grateful to have walked away as easily as I did.

In continued bad judgement, I went ahead and ran the ZOOMA half marathon yesterday morning.   I held it together quite well until mile 10, where I could no longer ignore the crackly feeling in my ribs.  I guess they were trying to tell me how little they appreciated being slammed into a guardrail less than 48 hours before.  But I refuse to quit (notice a stubborn streak?) and finished the race.

I’m okay today.  Still bruised, still a bit gimpy.  My ego is suffering most right now.  I am going to have to cancel the triathlon training group I just promoted last week, as I feel I need time to focus on my recovery.  I want to give people my best when I coach them, and I don’t feel like I can do that right now.

One of the best things I have learned from being a distance runner is that you have good days and bad days….and you never know what kind of day it will be until you get out there and give it a try.   So I’m going to give my body a little break, and then I’ll keep lacing up my shoes and enjoying the scenery.

Looking for a new challenge?

Have you always wanted to try a triathlon?  Does the idea terrify you?  Either way, I can help you achieve a challenging fitness goal.

Starting Saturday, April 1th, I’ll be holding an eight-week training group for women preparing for a summer triathlon.  The group will be geared to beginners, so as long as you have a base level of fitness– meaning you’ve been cleared by a physician for physical activity–and know how to swim even the doggy paddle, this group is for you!

For the first six weeks, we’ll rotate through each of the sports individually, focussing on tips for efficient training and successful racing.  In the final two weeks, we’ll complete ‘brick’ workouts– that is, putting two of the sports together as you will complete them in the race and getting valuable experience with the transition.  At the end of the training session, you will feel physically competent and emotionally confident to complete a sprint triathlon.

Participants will be encouraged to enter the Danskin Triathlon to test their efforts.  It is a fantastic and fun event.  And knowing that you have completed a triathlon is a great accomplishment.

If you’re looking for a supportive environment in which to test your physical capabilities, contact me to register.

  • Saturdays April 11th-May 30th
  • 8-9am
  • Zilker Playscape Parking Lot
  • $75