Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Austin Ironman 70.3! (The training post)

Never actually saw anyone on a horse
So after having completed my first triathlon in 20 years, I decided to sign up for the Austin Ironman 70.3 on October 29! It's a "half Ironman" distance race, meaning it's a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run. I figured the swim's only a little longer than an Olympic distance tri and the bike and the run are only about twice the distance, so why not?

Even better, the race was just outside Austin, so I wouldn't have to travel. The swim was in Decker Lake (Walter E. Long Lake), the bike was a 56 mile loop almost out to Elgin, and the run would be in the park by the lake and up to the Travis County Convention Center.  I was a little concerned about the hills (having run the Decker Challenge Half Marathon more than once) but decided that that was what training was for.

That started in June, not long after the Capital of Texas Triathlon. Yes, training would be through the height of a Texas summer.  And every time I went out, I would remember Noel Coward's line that "[m]ad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun..."

My training program was based Triathlete Magazine's Week by Week Training Guide and involved nine workouts a week. I didn't completely adhere to all of the mileage suggestions (some weeks doing more, some less), but mostly kept to the program of two a days.  

By early August, the mileage was starting to pile up but it didn't seem particularly efficient (and also was getting a little tedious), so I decided to join the triathlon training/masters swim group at Pure Austin Gym and, really, it was the best decision I made in the entire process.  The awesome Coach Peri Kowal leads two swim workouts a week, mostly in a pool but also including two a month in the Quarry Lake, so participants can get used to open water swimming. (Also, during the summer, the gym does a Splash N Dash (Swim 750k, then run 2k) once a month; it's good practice for the whole "group of people in the water, don't get kicked in the face" thing).
Quarry Lake
Somewhat to my surprise, the group was a mix from beginning triathletes to multiple Ironman (and Kona) finishers.  Everyone was enthusiastic and supportive, even when insufficiently caffeinated during the Thursday morning (6 AM) workouts.

Insufficiently caffeinated
Best of all, there were a number of folks for whom the Austin Ironman 70.3 was to be their first half Ironman, as well, so we fell into an ad hoc training group of the equally blissfully ignorant, typically doing our long bike rides and BRicks together on weekend mornings. It was great having a mutual support group and not just when we got flat tires...(Incidentally, if you get a flat in Texas, watch out for fire ants).

Anyway, here are some pics of the process:

Training happens even when you're away on business
Igloo coolers are our friends!

Monkey Road really needs to be resurfaced
Don't drive off with your cell phone on the roof of your car
The gang poses after a long BRick
Starting the run after a 40 mile bike ride...
Kevin and Alec hamming it up...
My first shoes to come with an instruction manual
Celebrating Coach Peri's birthday!
Sights you see along Town Lake
More sights...

About to test out a wetsuit
Went through a lot of these...

Feeling punchy three days before the race...

On the whole, training took a lot of time and work and there were moments in early October when I was really ready for race day to arrive. OTOH, I'm also happy I had that extra three weeks of training....

In the end, I was really glad to have been able to do race-distance open-water swims in the Quarry Lake and to bike the race route. I think we ended up riding the route about 5-7 times altogether and it was helpful not just for putting in mileage but in learning where the potholes and seams were. Also, the BRick workouts were really helpful -- when I had done triathlons in the 90s, the bike to run transition was always terrible. This time, not so much...but that's for another post :-).

I finished training feeling cautiously optimistic -- I'd put in the time and the mileage and the BRicks and the intensity and worked out my nutrition and hydration requirements and figured out how to change a flat tire without getting bit by fire ants in under ten minutes.  We had generally accounted for every possible variable and had kept in mind the mantra, "Don't try anything new on race day."

Except that having trained through blistering heat and humidity of Texas in the summer and fall, the weather was forecast to be 39 degrees at race start... 

So, how did that go? Well, I'll do Race Day Weekend in another post...

Friday, November 03, 2017

2018 Releases by Austin Authors and Illustrators

It's the eve of the Texas Book Festival so make sure you check out the festivities on the Capitol grounds! And here's a tentative list of projects from Austin authors and illustrators releasing next year! For previous years, go here.

Picture Books, Easy Readers, and Board Books

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A VOICE LIKE THAT? by Chris Barton, ill. by Ekua Holmes (Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane 2018).

MIGHTY TRUCK: ON THE FARM, by Chris Barton, ill. by Troy Cummings (HarperCollins, May 2018).
MIGHTY TRUCK: THE TRAFFIC TIE-UP, by Chris Barton, ill. by Troy Cummings (HarperCollins, May 2018).

PENGUIN AND TINY SHRIMP DON'T DO BEDTIME, by Cate Berry, ill. by Charles Santoso (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins 2018).

ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S DUELING WORDS, by Donna Janell Bowman, ill. by S.D. Schindler (Peachtree, 2018)

THE BOOK THAT JAKE BORROWED, by Susan Kralovansky (Pelican 2018).

COUNTING COLORS IN TEXAS, by Susan Kralovansky (Pelican 2018).

KATE, WHO TAMED THE WIND, by Liz Garton Scanlon, ill. by Lee White (Schwartz & Wade, Spring 2018).

FRANCES IN THE COUNTRY, by Liz Garton Scanlon, ill. by Sean Qualls (Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook Press, Summer 2018).

DEAR SUBSTITUTE, by Liz Garton Scanlon, ill. by Chris Raschka (Disney-Hyperion, Summer 2018).

STALEBREAD CHARLIE AND THE RAZZY, DAZZY SPASM BAND,  by Michael Mahin, ill. by Don Tate (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018).

PAR-TAY: DANCE OF THE VEGGIES (AND THEIR FRIENDS), by Eloise Greenfield, ill. by Don Tate (Alazar Press 2018).


Middle Grade

THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST, by Samantha Clark (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster, Summer 2018).

KNOCKOUT, by K.A. Holt (Chronicle, Spring 2018).

DEAR ME (tent. title), by K.A. Holt (Scholastic, Summer 2018).

THE PARKER INHERITANCE, by Varian Johnson (Scholastic, Spring 2018).

THE CAMELOT CODE: THE ONCE AND FUTURE GEEK, by Mari Mancusi (Disney-Hyperion, Oct. 2018).

GIRLS WHO CODE: LIGHTS, MUSIC, CODE, by Jo Whittemore (Penguin Workshop, Spring 2018).

REVENGE OF THE TEACHER'S PETS, by Jennifer Ziegler (Scholastic, June 2018).

Young Adult

HEARTS UNBROKEN, by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick Press, 2018).

AVENGED, by Amy Tintera (HarperTeen, May 2018).

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