This was a new distance for me and honestly it was a late add-on to my last bulky IM training week. I had accumulated roughly 115 miles on the bike and 12 miles of running three days leading up to the event. I wasn’t concerned about my performance. I was going to treat this race as one last hard training session before IM Texas.
On race morning I was going to make a few last minute race decisions. I knew it was going to be cold, upper 40’s to low 50’s, and I planned on wearing toe booties on the bike to keep my toes from going numb. I also wore my compression calf sleeves and arm sleeves. I decided to add a pair of cold weather cycling gloves to my T1 setup. My legs normally warm up well and I figured my upper body would be fine considering the sun was rising.
I was looking forward to the open water beach start. I can’t think of any other races in the DFW area that offer a similar start. Walking to the beach with my wetsuit on, we had had 15 minutes before we hit the water. I was hanging around with some friends eagerly anticipating the race start. As the minutes ticked away my body decided it needed to use the urinal. All zipped up and with a hand full of minutes to the start, that potty break was not about to happen. It was mind over matter at this point.
The swim started and a couple hundred of us dashed into the lake. Several athletes immediately started to swim and several athletes ran as far as they could until it was too deep to run. There are several different strategies to a mass open water beach start. I chose to run as far as I could and to try and stay away from the masses during the swim. The first part of the swim was into the sun, as I approached the 500 meter mark I begin to realize how cold the water felt. My feet were pretty uncomfortable. Luckily/unlikely other swimmers kept crossing over me and hitting me, that kept my mind off my feet.
It was a wetsuit legal event and despite the occasional run in with other athletes I ended up having a good swim. Though the race advertises a 1 mile swim, I think the swim was closer to 1,500 meters. My swim time was fast, too fast for a mile. As I exited the swim area my wetsuit was stripped off by the volunteers with no issues at all. I started jogging to T1 and noted how cold my feet were.
I hit T1 and dried off with my towel, and grabbed a pair of socks I had worn to the event. I normally do not race with socks however I made a race time decision to put them on my feet during the bike. I was hoping they would warm up my toes. My hands were cold and wet, and I struggled slipping the cold weather gloves onto my hands. What felt like minutes upon minutes of wasted time, were probably 30 seconds. Though it was a training race I will admit it’s hard to turn off the competitive spirit. I had to remind myself that I was out here for training and the extra time in transition was fine and would be well worth it on the bike.
I exited transition and hopped on my bike. I didn’t know what kind of course to expect. I knew I was doing two loops and that there would be some overlapping Sprint and Olympic distance traffic on the second loop. The course ended up being a bit windy in some areas, holding me to a 13 mph to 17 mph pace. On the flip side there were a few areas where the wind helped me hit a 30 mph plus pace. My feet never warmed up on the bike and my toes ended up going numb. My legs also never quite warmed up. The course had several rolling hills, with some traffic. The streets were made up of mostly smooth surfaces. The sections that were not smooth had small stripped out smooth sections you could ride through. There was one water only hand up area on the course, I carried my fluids so It wasn’t an issue for me. The weather was also cool enough that I’m sure it wasn’t an issue for most.
Finishing my second loop I headed into T2 where I stripped off the gloves, shoes, socks and arm warmers. I slipped into my Zoots and was out on the run. The he urge to urinate resurfaced about a fourth mile into the run I came across a park restroom. I knew I had to make a stop or my run experience would be miserable, so I quickly darted into the restroom. Though I physically felt a million times better after making the stop, but my legs did not feel right and my toes were completely numb. It took the better half of three miles of running before I felt my toes and was able to get into a comfortable run rhythm.
The run was pretty flat for the most part. There were a couple places you had to climb, but nothing too extreme. There were plenty of aid stations on the run handing out fluids and gels/GU packs. I’m not sure of the brand or kind, because I did not take any in. As the day heated up I made it a point to dump the water onto my head to keep my core temperature cool. My quads were feeling the strain of the week’s workout, and from the wind and rolling hills of the bike. As I approached the finish line I decided to push the run pace for the last half mile or so. I ran through the finish took a deep breath and felt good about the race.
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In the end I swam my fastest 1500 to date so that was a huge positive for me. My bike time and run time were pretty much where I thought they would be going into the race. Over all I was happy with my efforts on the day.
The TexasMan X-50 was a well marked course. It takes place in a nice park area. The Dallas Athletes crew will host a similar event, Disco X-50 in July. Their prices are a little steeper than some of the other events in the area, but the swag you get is well worth it. In my X-50 packet I received a cap, shirt and socks. At the end of the event everyone gets a finisher medal and a finisher shirt. I would expect the same swag for the Disco event.
Thank you for reading this blog entry. As always feel free to email me any questions or comments you may have.