Sunday, October 12, 2008

By the numbers: A long day at the Longhorn 70.3

Arriving in Austin and picking up our registration materials at the Sheraton downtown, one particular  number dominated our interest. "What's the water temperature at Walter E. Long park?" 

78 degrees. Just wetsuit legal. Great news!

Mike W. figures wearing a wetsuit can improve your swim time by 10 minutes.

In any case, I'd never done an open water swim without one and I did not wish to lose any potential advantage in this race. That was pretty much the sentiment of the entire field.

Flash forward past my best swim result to date, improving six minutes over my previous time, we learned mother nature conspired to give us all another advantage. Wind gusts moved the buoys which marked the course, shortening it noticeably.

There went my one bright spot for the day!

After putting in a solid pace for the first 20 miles of the bike course, my performance diminished precipitously through the final miles on the bike and into a challenging run.

While I felt mentally prepared for this race, my conditioning (or lack thereof) really proved to be my undoing. I finished, marginally beating my time from Buffalo Springs Lake, but came in far short of my personal goal for finishing the Longhorn.

Mike W. found the course tougher than expected as well. He set an ambitious goal. While he missed it, he set a personal best by a significant margin, had a great race by any standard, and had to wait around well over an hour before I crossed the finish line.

We had fun. That should be the point of it all, right? These events are always a good time. This race had an deep field of professionals and impressive age-group athletes.

While I "bonked" on the run, I could still smile and chuckle at my overconfidence.

What's next? Working on my run, both speed and endurance. Same on the bike. Fall and winter time in Texas allows for training outdoors during the months many others around the country are forced to head indoors. I like the idea of training for a marathon in order to keep a disciplined schedule to focus deeply on my running ability. The Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth in February looks like a great target race.

Short course racing looks pretty good right now too!

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