We had heard such great things about Austin and since Austin is home to football’s University of Texas Longhorns, this was a must-do race according my sport nut husband! The people of Austin were most accommodating and hospitable. We made the pilgrimage to Jack and Adams Bike Shop and we saw why it is the choice of many athletes. Jack was brilliant and he and his staff ensured my Cervelo was lightning fast!
The non-wetsuit swim was a bit short – thank goodness – because I had the worst swim of my season missing everyone’s feet in the first 100 meters. I must have been looking for the Longhorn because I was all alone desperately trying to swim as fast as possible. But, my bike ride felt amazing. It was a great course for me – rolling hills and windy – so I rode hard and found some the strength that had been lacking in Muskoka. It was now 6 weeks post Subaru Ironman Canada and my legs were much fresher than in Muskoka and that was a welcomed relief. I managed to only loose 3 minutes to the fast cycling Michellie Jones and Tereza Macel – two athletes who usually gap me by much larger margins.
I started the run about 6 minutes or so behind Tereza and Pip Taylor but I felt like magic. The Ironman fatigue was out of my legs and my painful heel was fully functional and relatively pain-free as I charged into first place at mile 10 of the half marathon. I managed the day’s fastest run and won the race by about 3 minutes over Pip Taylor.
It was a fantastic race day festival with games for the children, a live Longhorn for photos and a big screen TV showing live football for Dave!
Unfortunately, it is my last race of the season. I say ‘unfortunately’ because I am feeling so fit and healthy at last. My chest infection is gone and my heel feels so good. It was untimely to be sick for Subaru Ironman Canada and to be tired at Subaru Muskoka 70.3 but life is a test of character and integrity and I still feel very proud of my season. My goal was to race without anti-inflammatories and I managed to be kept healthy with Eico Pro Fish Oil which kept the inflammation at bay! I am keeping my eye on perhaps running a marathon in the next few months. For the past two years, I have had to run in modified shoes but for the last two weeks, I have been able to run in proper shoes for the first time! And this makes me excited to run!! The great news is that unlike the last two years, I have not smashed my heel beyond repair which means that my off season can involve strengthening and fun running and revitalization instead of daily physical therapy!
And so I finish 2008 with two victories – Rhode Island 70.3 and Austin 70.3 and top five finishes in all of my other events. This is the first year since 2000 that I have not won an Ironman event. And so I will celebrate my great consistency, my 11 Ironman wins to date and another two Ironman 70.3 victories in 2008. Here is to number 12 in 2009!
My first race in 2009 will be the Pucon 70.3 in Chile, South America. I have won that event 6 times in a row (2002-2007).
Happy off season!