Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Y Freedom Tri

The only race I repeated in my two years of triathlon competition is the Y Freedom Tri in Pearland, Texas. So it is no surprise that I might consider doing this fun local race again this year. I watched the race website this year as the race registration stayed open longer than it had in past years. Meanwhile I was slowly but surely continuing my recovery from Ironman Texas. As the last weeks before the race were rolling around I became more certain that I might not be fully recovered from Ironman Texas but I still felt up to doing the race. At the same time I had been talking with Karen, a running friend of mine who had been considering attempting a triathlon. In the end we came upon what might have been the obvious match for us, which was to enter the triathlon as a relay team. After some coordination and explanation, we had a plan and went with it on fairly short notice.

We arrived early enough to meet, get checked in and set up the transition area with time to spare. Karen and I discussed how the race would progress and where we each needed to be and at what time. I was doing the swim and bike and Karen would be doing the run in our relay effort. As the race got near I lined up for the pool swim in my time-seeded location and waited for my turn to go. My swim went well and I finished on my plan schedule, I could have gone a bit faster, but being a pool swim there are certain difficulties in trying to pass the swimmer ahead of you and I was happy with my pace and still held a bit of effort in reserve. I exited the pool and moved towards the transition area. I left the pool area in a time of 6:30 (about 6:00 of swimming and :30 of running out of the pool area). I moved quickly through transition and exited in 1:11--dropping 1:04 from last year as I had the energy to move quickly. Then I moved on to the bike. This was where I wanted to hammer out some hard effort and work on my time to be as fast as I could be. Last year's time was 36:14 and I wanted to be at least 3 minutes faster and hoped to be less than 33 minutes (20 mph pace). I was able to keep up a solid effort for the whole ride as I hoped and maintained a true race pace cadence. When pedaling got harder I shifted down and when it got easier I shifted up, but I held my cadence pretty good. I got passed by 4 riders and passed more than I could count in that time (including passing one of those that passed me!). I can easily say this was my best bike performance on any triathlon! In the end I made it back to transition with a time of 32:40 (20.2 mph pace), making my time goal. I parked my bike and handed off the ankle band and chip to Karen and away she ran. It was a warm and humid morning already and she had a pretty sunny run, but she did well and ran a personal best 3 mile time around 24:15-24:30 (the actual time is not yet posted due to a timing issue).

We finished in 1:05:55 and had a great time, and Karen enjoyed her first-time triathlon experience as well. However, there was a special surprise in store for us as we were the first place finishers in the Mixed Relay Team Division, with a great presentation by a cool-looking George Washington.

In the end, you would think winning my first triathlon award would be the special part of the day, but the truth is sharing this experience with a friend for her first time really made me feel better than taking home an award. This day reminded me in a special way of why I really do these events and why I really enjoy them.


Amanda said...

Congratulations on the relay place - that's very cool. I think it's amazing how you're helping out getting others involved in Tri and it sounds like Karen had fun too! Amazing bike ride and time!

Adrienne said...

How cool for both of you! Winning your first relay must have been extra sweet! I enjoyed reading both of your posts.