About Me

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Austin, Texas, United States
I'll make you laugh, or break my neck trying. This is usually accomplished with daily bouts of swimming, biking and running. A former "chub-a-holic," I got fit and healthy the good old fashioned way and went from a mid-pack athlete to top age group runner and triathlete. I'm a Writer and USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon Coach. I guess that makes me part Tina Fey and part Jillian Michaels. Visit my coaching site at www.fomotraining.com

Monday, April 06, 2009

Lonestar Half-Ironman Recap: Mixed Emotions

As my friend Michelle so eloquently worded it, the Lonestar Half-Ironman was our most pitiful PR ever :-) OK--I know I should be happy and grateful that I finished in a decent time, but phooey...it was still about 15 minutes slower than I wanted...15 minutes slower than I am capable of racing...I have turned out multiple 1:45 half marathons off the bike and that's what I was expecting and planning to do yesterday. I just can't figure out why my legs have given way to treacherous cramps in the last two races forcing me to walk large portions while pounding out the seizing muscles...GRRR... It's the big question I'll be exploring with my friend and coach Allan over the next couple of weeks. I even took about 12 endurolytes on the bike and run thinking it was a salt issue...Plus, I took 3 gels with extra sodium. Perhaps it's not salt after all. Potassium? Bad bike positioning and working muscles too hard? Over extending my efforts on the bike leaving my legs "spent" for the run? Who knows...I just know I'm better than that on more difficult courses.
The good news is that I totally pulled it together when I didn't think I was going to. I spent the first two miles in run/walk mode until I could gather my bearings long enough to realize I was going to make it through. I saw my parents who came all the way from Ohio and told myself, "I am not going to let them down." (I DNF'ed a marathon several years ago in their presence). The run course was a mind-numbing 4 loops so it helped to see them every three miles or so. By the end, I was picking up momentum and energy. Of course, the wind was also picking up to 40+ mph gusts!!
Overall, I'm happy with my swim time. It was 3-4 minutes slower than I was thinking, but such is life with open water. I know there were a few times when I had to sight more and readjust my direction. I'm just always happy to get out of the water alive...Plus, for the first time, I was passing people in the waves before me! woo hoo (the small victories)
The best part of any triathlon...wetsuit strippers! Kudos to hubster for this fun shot!!

I had set a goal to ride between 19.5-20.0 mph on the bike and nailed 20.0 mph average on the nose. I was feeling pretty strong until the last 10 miles and then my form starting falling apart and legs were getting tired (I made the mental note that it may haunt me on the run). I played cat and mouse with teammate Blythe the entire way and she kept reminding me that we shouldn't be pushing too hard! She definitely wasn't because she's a strong cyclist and could've left me in the dust easily. Towards the end, even T3er Jerry pulled up beside me and said that my body was rocking back and forth and my form looked bad (I was having trouble staying in aero)...The course is pancake flat, but because we were riding along the seawall, there was also a lot of wind in what seemed like every direction of course. Therefore, you are pedaling the ENTIRE time. No coasting whatsoever!

With any triathlon, I'm usually thrilled to be off the bike and ready to run! As I mentioned, my HR was skyrocketing the first two miles and I had to walk just to get it under control. Legs didn't start cramping until Mile 9 or so, but I had no gusto to really pick up the speed. Heat, windy, humidity...who knows...just didn't have it! At least I was running when hubster snapped this picture!! (Compression Guy behind me is walking!!!!)

Alas, I finished with a smile (or grimace)...I'll upload the video of me finishing so that you get a feel for what that wind was really like. Afterwards, we were walking to the car and my Mom was essentially propping me up because my legs were sore and I was starting to shiver and get the chills. My Dad asked rather innocently, "Is all of this worth it?"
Without hesitation, I said, "Every second of it."

While it wasn't the race I was expecting (at least the run portion), I still had a great time. I went for a ride and pre-race dinner with TriGreyhound, was lifted by the energy of Kathleen at the loop, saw Rodney B. from Talk Radio 1370 (station plug!) and met Sharon from Houston who is officially the President of C.B.I.F. (Carrie Barrett International Fanclub!) :-)

Of course, the power of having my parents and husband there every step of the way was undeniable. They were such troopers through it all even though they can't figure out why we insist on torturing ourselves to the point of utter exhaustion. Shawn is so good to my Mom and Dad and I count my blessings every day that I got "a good one."

Lastly, I can't even begin to describe how amazing it was to see so many T3 jerseys on the course. There was literally not a moment where there wasn't a blue jersey coming or going with a word of encouragement or even a simple nod of acknowledgement. I needed that energy and got it from so many of my friends.

So after all that, I can say it's good to start the season with a PR and a new benchmark. The next two months are full of new challenges! MS 150, Wildflower Half Ironman and Coeur D'Alene Ironman...

Kinda makes me wish I would've chosen chess as my passion and hobby.

Here is a short clip of my finish...Check out those wind gusts!


jtrimom said...

You did GREAT, Carrie! It was very cool to meet you and see all your friends from T3. I felt like I knew ya'll :) I was thrilled with my results as I only wanted to break 6 hours. Good luck to all of you at Coer D'Alene.

Donna said...

Hey! I was at the tri too! It was my 2nd such effort and NOTHING like the first. I did the Sprint the day before.

Wow! Maybe one day I'll go the distance you did. Sorry you had challenges, but that's how we learn and how to make ourselves work better, right? Good luck to you!

triguyjt said...

great job carrrie...I know you are in the "Beat myself up for not doing this or doing that" but that comes with the territory of someone who has become very accomplished in a short time in the sport. You, by the way looked like someone doing a wild dance on the stripping part.
Bless your Dad for asking, but in his own heart, he had to know you would answer the way you did and in the manner you did....
props to you !!

Shorey said...

My guess would be potassium. Body won't absorb the sodium without enough of it. It's a delicate balance - but you still did a great job! Success comes in all shapes & sizes.

Jessica, a Austin Runner AND triathlete said...

what a great race! congrats! hopefully we can train together sometime! i wont be able to catch ya on the bike or the run...yet:) but it would still be good to see you. i need to make T3 friends!!!

Spokane Al said...

Congratulations on a powerful race. I am sure you will pick up the 15 minutes at some point soon.

Keep rocking and keep smiling!

amybee said...

I think you did a FANTASTIC job Carrie!


Jane said...

You're looking really lean and mean, my friend.

21stCenturyMom said...

Sounds like a kick ass race to me but I know what you mean. If you have an expectation of coming in 15 minutes before you do (regardless of how realistic an expectation it is) it's hard to be happy with whatever you do. Crazy! You did a 70.3 mile race in wind and heat and you nailed it - be happy!

As for the cramps I have huge problems with them also. I have found that taking a Potassium gluconate pill and a calcium pill every day have helped a lot.

21stCenturyMom said...

ps - Wildflower Half is tough and it was 80 degrees down there this weekend. Start working on that K+/Ca++ loading now - you'll need it! Also - give yourself some extra time as a finishing goal. That course is brutally hilly and hot on the bike and the run.

ShirleyPerly said...

Yowza, look at that wind! Reminds me of someplace else I know.

Great job gutting things out on that run and finishing well!! I hope you're able to find out what's causing those cramps soon.

Richard said...

All that, and a PR, and you were back at spin class this morning! You rock!

Where do we sign up for the CBIF anyway? I just want to see the membership cards!

greyhound said...

Neener neener. My run pace was faster than yours and I almost biked as fast.

OK, so yeah. I went half as far. And yeah, my swim sucked. But my transitions rocked, and just knowing I could so be your pace bunny for 6 miles after you flog yourself for a couple hours is a tiny victory.

Anonymous said...

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Runner Susan said...

Carrie - you did awesome. I'd take your fifteen minutes and add an hour and still be happy. You rock.

Jane said...

Try crunching a few Rolaids on the bike. The extra Calcium and Mag can help with cramps. Also, much cheaper than Endurolytes! One of my doctor-cyclist friends recommended this.