(Note – I fully intended to pepper this post with photos of my race, but seeing as how the “water resistant” FuelBelt pouch I bought at the race expo woefully under-performed, my phone was toast. I do not have a MicroSD card reader, so I’ll have to come back and add the few photos I managed to take.)
I spent the evening hours on Saturday carbing up. I saw this tweet from Bella on the Riverwalk:
I figured that I would call it in, and then walk over and bring it back to my hotel room. When I called, David the proprietor, he “shamed” me into eating at the bar and not eating in solitude in my room. I’m really glad he did, as the restaurant was literally right on the Riverwalk in a secluded little pocket (almost hard to find due to some construction). I had the lentil soup (first time for me, and I’ll be totally cloning this recipe at home), “Pasta Bella” (pasta of the day, sauteed Texas Gulf shrimp, red sauce, artichokes, shrooms, spinach, and red pepper flakes). In addition to copious amounts of ice water and fresh bread and olive oil, I also enjoyed a single glass of Cab. The wait staff was gearing up for what appeared to be an onslaught, but they took time to chat me up as I ate at the bar. I really need to become more social, because it is so easy to retreat into what’s uncomfortable, even when the decision to do so is borderline anti-social behavior!
I headed back to the room and walked briskly as I wanted to get a read on my legs. I felt 100%, and I was confident that my lower body would answer the bell on Sunday. I laid out all of my gear for the morning (the less thinking the better), and running races is so much more simplistic that triathlon!
I was amped up, to say the least. The evening before I made the mistake of hydrating using a new Nuun flavor I picked up at the expo. I love Nuun and have used it quite a bit in training, along with my normal go-to mix of 1/2 strength Gatorade and Blox, but this particular flavor had CAFFEINE! Oooops.
So I turned in early, and I was completely packed except for shower stuff post-race and the clothes I would wear home on the plane.
I woke up on time and showered/shaved. I watered-up and had a handful of smoked almonds along with a PowerBar. I filled my bottle with 20 oz of Nuun (with the caffeine) and headed out the door.
I was in Corral 15, and the corrals were very packed. The crowd was a bit quiet, and everyone just did the cursory “dance” (back and forth, calf stretches, hammy stretch, etc – this really resembles the “Pee Pee Dance” to the untrained observer). We’ll I did have to dash to the porta-john and I ended up just jumping back into my corral in time for our start.
We set off and I felt fine. The temp was maybe a little warmer than room temperature. My goal was simply to run very consistent splits, hold back at the beginning, and not walk (unless the conditions at the water stops required it). I was also hoping to stay under an 11 minute mile pace. I was keeping an eye on my heart rate, and I was happy that in the first four miles my HR never reached 169 and my pace was right on.
- Mile 1 was my quickest mile (makes sense), and then my next was mile 13 (head scratching), but I wasn’t consciously trying to kick in to the finish.
- I took some GU gel about 15 minutes before the start, and then gels at mile 5 and 9. This worked extremely well for me, as I never felt deprived or weak.
- This was my first run of any significance wearing compression sleeves, and I thought they felt fine. I didn’t notice any significant improvement in performance with them, and it’s probably not fair to compare my post-race discomfort in the days after since I’m pretty certain I would still be sore without having worn them. Who knows, but lots of runners swear by them and at least I’ll have another recovery aid if I choose not to wear them on the road.
- The sun came out around mile 3, and that changed the hydration strategy quite a bit. I began taking water or Gatorade whenever it was offered, and dumped water down my tri-top. It got hot out, and since our season changed up in Delaware it was a bit of a shock.
- My iPod shuffle died about mile 10, so I ran the rest naked. This is a bit new to me, but I was fine with it. For 2013 I need to get away from the audio-assistance with the longer races anyway.
- I remember passing mile 3 thinking, “OK, this is just like a 5K warmup to the (10 mi) Broad Street Run (I ran back in May). When I passed mile 10 I had a similar thought, “This is just like a 5K warmdown after running Broad Street”. The difference is that I felt like I was going to spin off the panet after crossing the finish at Broad Street in May.
- The finish line was incredible chaotic, and the long winding chutes they make you walk through is almost like another race expo. “No, I don’t want PF Chang coupons right now, I want a banana, chocolate milk, and a Gatorade. Yes I’ll take that cold towel, but if you ask for me to sign up for anything I’ll scissor-kick you in the throat…”
- One very small criticism is the water and energy stops on the course. I wish they could make them clearer as you approach, as there was a lot of congestion with bobbing/weaving runners getting caught off-guard and not aware that a station was up ahead. Broad Street in Philly does this really well, and with almost 40,000 runners it was very smooth.
- I will say that the folks at Rock-and Roll run an awesome event. The pre-event communication was tremendous, and I felt very informed and clued into what to expect as a first-timer. I would whole-heartedly recommend the race series to anyone that is looking to tackle a distance race.
It was a longer walk than I expected from the other side of the Alamo Dome to the hotel area, but I made my way back to shower and catch a cab to the airport. In hindsight I should have bought or brought 2 sets of compression sleeves – one to run in and the other to wear home. My shoes were sopping wet, so I went the flip-flop route, and my full compression socks wouldn’t have looked right!
So I finally made it home about 9PM. It was my birthday and my wife/kids had a little impromptu party set up for me which was nice. I was away since the previous Wednesday and I was really missing home!
So all-in-all I am resting and recovering. I plan to swim tonight and then lift tomorrow night while the girls have swim team practice. I have a 20 week half-Ironman training sequence that I am reviewing now that I received from BeginnerTriathlete.com, and it looks extremely well-suited for my goals in 2013. More on that later.