The last time I wrote a blog (in May) I publicly chastised myself for keeping my dozen(s) of loyal readers waiting for 11 months in between thrilling narratives and race recaps. Barely four months later, I am back with a half assed race recap...so, not to toot my own horn or anything, but, uh, beep beep.
Let's start from the start. Since I haven't been writing blogs this summer, what have I been doing?
Well, loyal reader, rest assured, I didn't spend my summer sunning my hide on my back porch. For starters, in South Texas where the temperatures reach the low hundreds, my back porch is the last place I'd want to be. Secondly, based on the DNA testing my parents recently had done, I am like 99 percent descended from Vikings. And while my ancestors did have epic beards and insatiable appetites for plunder and pillaging, they didn't exactly bronze up nicely.
No, friends, I haven't been relaxing poolside. I've been busy coaching, cheering and racing as my teammates have tackled trails and tris for the last four months. Between Ironman Texas and this weekend my team raced two duathlons, four triathlons and four trail races. It's been a busy summer doing what we love to do and it culminated in 13 of our team members tackling the Quarter and Half Iron distance races at the Kerrville Triathlon Festival this weekend.
Before I get into my Kerrville Triathlon Festival race recap, let me throw some photos and captions at you that encapsulate the last four months of theTeam Healey Multisport Team and Team Healey True Runners dominating the regional race scene:
|Claudia Farr Photography made us look like rockstars at our Team Healey Multisport photo-shoot|
|The homeless population of Harlingen was kind enough to relocate for about an hour|
|I want my tombstone to read: "He successfully assembled a team of attractive women and convinced them to wear spandex outfits featuring his last name."|
|Team Healey Ironginger Amanda went for a 112 mile bike ride with the Iron Cowboy during his 50 Iron-distance races in 50 days in 50 states challenge.|
|Our girls swept the 30-34 age group at the Tri-Girl Sprint in Harlingen. Just three of our five podiums that day.|
|Eddie and I manned the Team Healey water stop at the Tri and Tri Again Double Sprint at South Padre Island.|
|The Team Healey True Runners put in work at the Footworks Anniversary Run in Harlingen. Just one of the many local 5Ks and 10Ks we supported this summer.|
|We participated in the Light the Night 5K/10K Trail series with Sole Racing in Mission this summer. Great series. Great people.|
|Lacy and I qualified for the USAT Age Group National Championship with age group wins at the Tri For Old Glory Olympic distance race in San Marcos|
|We put five athletes on podiums that day and had several teammates complete their first Olympic distance race.|
|We grabbed four more podiums at the Coyote's Howl night /trail10K.|
|And we were well represented in our own backyard at the Tri-Girl Sprint in Harlingen.|
|Our girls took three more podiums at the Laredo Cycling Association Sprint Triathlon in Laredo.|
|And supported our local law enforcement at the Run With The Heroes 5K in Harlingen|
|And took two more podiums at the Firefly 5K/10K|
|And raced another 5K at Grace Point Fellowship|
|I managed a second place finish and a PR at the Clear Lake International Triathlon in League City.|
|The team took 10 more podiums at the Los Fresnos Triathlon and the Du It Girl Duathlon in back to back weekends.|
|We took over the Gracey Pool at Marine Military Academy for a two day swim clinic hosted by our friend Ryan Vogel.|
|Another night trail run, another three podiums at the Rock the Night 5K/10K. Yawn.|
|And we ended the summer with seven more podiums at the Just Du It Duathlon in Harlingen.|
Saturday morning, after sending off the True Runners at the Run With The Heroes 5K we loaded up the tri wagon and drove to Kerrville to meet the multisport team and check in for the race at Inn of The Hills.
The Kerrville Triathlon Festival was Lacy's first 70.3 back in 2013 and was on our race schedule last year until a friend's wedding landed on the same weekend. We were excited to race Kerrville this year and take our team to a big regional event where a bunch of our triathletes were planning to tackle their first 70.3.
Packet pickup and gear check were uneventful, and in spite of the prolonged heart attack I endured during the Texas Tech vs. TCU game, I arrived at transition on Sunday morning in decent shape.
In transition and pre-race I spotted 13 Team Healey athletes and about a half dozen other RGV triathletes getting ready for the race. The weather was in the low 60's which kept the water temp wetsuit legal. It made for a nice change of pace from our hot summer races and allowed me a chance to break out my new Roka wetsuit (Side note: It's so choice. If you have the means I highly recommend picking one up).
|Some of our Team Healey athletes pre-race|
|Priscilla, Carolina, Norma, Lacy (and Valentin) at the swim start|
I had a decent swim considering I have only swam four times since Ironman Texas (two races and two practices). In spite of my lack of practice I managed a 38 minute swim - a few minutes slower than usual, but better than I expected given my lack of practice.
After an uphill sprint to transition I hit the first loop of the bike feeling great. The temps were still cool and the sky was slightly overcast which kept the heat down. The bike course was a relatively flat and fast two loop course south out of Kerrville along both sides of the Guadalupe River. Aside from one patch of tough chip seal for a couple of miles and two quick, steep hills on the back side of the course, it was easy to keep my pace above 20 mph. I finished the first loop on pace for a 2:45 bike and decided to make that my goal on the second loop. I rolled into transition at exactly 2:45 feeling like I might have a chance at breaking my 70.3 PR.
As soon as I hit the bike dismount line and stood up from my saddle my thoughts of a PR diminished considerably. I felt an immediate pain in my lower back and knew I was going to be dealing with it for the next 13.1 miles.
The back pain wasn't entirely unexpected. After racing Clear Lake in August I got a new bike fit, practiced with it for about a week and then went out of town for the next three weeks for work related training in Georgia and Maryland. My two weeks in Georgia was spent mostly in the mat room wrestling with other grown men and sleeping on a poor quality mattress, and my week in Maryland was spent in death by PowerPoint. After a week at home I hit the road again for a week of meetings in Houston. My back had been bothering me since that first week in the mat room, but due to my travel schedule I hadn't been able to give it the attention it needed. In the last ten days I was able to make it to two appointments with Dr. Joe at Airrosti before leaving for Kerrville but I knew in my heart that my lack of saddle time and lack of proper attention to my back issues was going to come back to bite me.
So I hobbled out onto the run course and did my best impression of a runner for the next two hours and ten minutes. I normally run a half marathon in the 1:30s and have run a half off the bike in about 1:45, but by the end of mile one yesterday I knew it wasn't going to be one of those days.
|Soup Sandwich: Tony took over 300 pictures and this was, literally, the best one of me on the run course. That's saying something.|
The run course was a pretty two loop out and back on a path that ran along the Guadalupe River. The course had a lot of shade and was very well supported and gave me the opportunity to see my teammates repeatedly as we passed one another. Unfortunately, the concrete surface probably exacerbated my back pain and kept me from getting into too much of a rhythm. I would start running and would feel great at a 7:30-8:00/mile for a mile or so when out of nowhere I would feel as if someone had punched me in the right kidney. I'll spare you the details, but that was, basically, my entire half marathon experience. Run for awhile, get punched, walk it off, repeat. Through gritted teeth I limped across the finish line with a 2:11 half and a 5:41 overall. It wasn't a PR by a long shot, but it wasn't my worst race either...and given how much effort I put into my preparation and health, it was probably the race that I deserved.
|My partner in crime rocking her Jesse Thomas shades out on the run course.|
The best part of race day - aside from seeing Priscilla, Jody, Amy, Melissa and Della finish their first 70.3s and seeing Lacy, Tommy, Christina, Alex, Carolina, Linda, Norma, Valentin and the Pacesetters along the course - was the post race venue. The good people at High Five Events had the presence of mind to end the race in a park next to the river and to bring a couple of dozen inter-tubes for people to float in post race. While waiting for my girls to finish I spent a solid half hour sipping Dr. Pepper and washing the salt off of my skin in the cool water next to the finish line. It was awesome.
|Tommy appeared to enjoy his run considerably more than I did.|
|Post race photos along the river|
|Priscilla smiling. As usual.|
|Della and our favorite SAG driver Eddie after her first 70.3|
|Joe isn't just our main sponsor, he also hands out water on the course!|
|The Cardenas siblings after 70.3 number two!|
|Our second set of Team Healey siblings, Amy and Melissa after 70.3 number one!|
|The Team Healey Houston Chapter - Ironman Linda Tran!|
|Ironman Norma Medrano showed grit out there on a tough day|
|Tommy and Christina led the Team Healey cheer squad after they finished the Quarter Distance race.|
Photo credits go to the awesome Tony Pinedo who, along with Joe and Eddie, was on the course all day long cheering us on. We're blessed with great fans and supporters who travel with us, support us at practice, sponsor us (Salazar Insurance Group!) and haul our gear around without so much as a complaint! Thank you so much, gentlemen!
So, the eternal question...what's next?
With the season winding down, Team Healey is sitting in second place in Division 4 in the USAT South Midwest Region Club Competition. With teammates scheduled to race in four more races before the end of the year, including Ironman Cozumel in late November, we have a great chance to end the season on one final podium as a team.
For my dozen(s) of loyal fans...stay tuned.