Last weekend I participated in the Y Freedom Tri in Pearland, Texas. I thought it was a generally well-run event and I am glad to be able to say that I found the overall experience enjoyable.
Saturday afternoon, I went down to pick up my race packet and to find the event site. Packet pickup was at the local YMCA, and it was quick and easy. The race site was not far away, being located at a local park with auto parking at the nearby high school. Later on I met my daughter for dinner. We went to MooYah for burgers. MooYah is down the road from her apartment and specializes in burgers and shakes. We both enjoyed our burgers, although I had PowerAde to drink. I normally try to eat healthier than burgers, but I do try to enjoy something special as a personal reward when I am travelling to an event.
Sunday morning, I got up early at the Pearland La Quinta hotel and headed towards the event site. As I was packing up my bike I saw a couple others doing the same thing, so I was not the only triathlete staying at the hotel for this event. On the drive I noticed a store sign showing the current temperature to be 81º F at around 545AM, but I already knew that it was going to be a hot day. Although parking was a bit of a walking trip from the event site, it was not a bad walk. Transition setup and chip pickup were both quick and easy.
The swim was a 300 meter pool swim, with contestants seeded by expected finishing time and starting at 10 second intervals. I finished right at my expected time and was passed by one swimmer and passed three others. I probably could have been faster in an open water swim, but everyone except maybe the first couple swimmers is limited by everyone else in the pool as well.
The bike was 12 miles throughout the local area. I found the bike course largely unremarkable as it was pretty much a standard residential area. Due to the route, we made several U-turns as we rode throughout the community, which slowed down the pace a bit at times.
The run was 3 miles leaving the park in the opposite direction from the bike. The run went through the neighboring subdivision and several local residents were out cheering on the runners. I was very happy that a few were out with their hoses offering to spray down the hot runners. Shortly after I started running I noticed my heart rate was around 85% of maximum, so I started doing a 3 minute run/1 minute walk to keep from overtaxing myself. In the end I figure the heat probably cost me about 3-4 minutes, but then again all the runners had to deal with the same heat, so while it affected my time, it really shouldn’t have affected my finishing position.
At the finish line I was given a cold, wet towel to use to help cool down and a nice finisher’s medal. The post race party had plenty of food and drink, and even ice cream. After a while the final finishers were coming in, including “Lady Liberty” who was the designated final finisher.
After the race, I took full advantage of La Quinta’s 12 Noon checkout time to clean up. (This was a very nice La Quinta and if I come back, I would stay here again.) Then my daughter and I went to Red Robin, where I had the steak sliders and she had a teriyaki chicken sandwich.
Overall, even with the unusually hot weather, I still had a good time and would recommend this event other triathletes. It would be a good event for first-timers.