CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap 2023

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

Apologies in advance for all the photos of me in spandex. It is what it is. I want to share the full Olympic triathlon recap with you, which means throwing in a few unflattering pictures of myself…ha! I’m just going to share it all, ok? This day was SO MUCH FUN!

My younger sister, Kylee, drove down from Dallas to do the CapTex triathlon with me. We did the sprint triathlon last year (with Cara, too!) and decided to go all in and sign up for the full length triathlon for 2023. It was a doozy, but every bit of it was worthwhile.

I was driving to the race on Monday morning. I woke up at 4:55 that morning, and it was dark and rainy and I felt those nervous butterflies in the pit of my stomach. And I thought to myself, “you literally paid money and spent hundreds of hours of time to do this to yourself.” Ha! Races are so weird, you know?

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

I think it scratches some sort of primal itch to compete in a race. We obviously don’t need to put ourselves through that pain. I mean, we’re not running from wild animals or fighting for food or just trying to keep our species alive like our caveman ancestors. We’re literally paying money and putting ourself through 3 hours of pain…for the heck of it?

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

No, I actually know why we do it:

To prove to ourselves that we have that inner power. I mean, it’s a lot of time and money and nerves and energy and commitment just to get my body from the start of the race to the final finish line. And the purpose of it all?

To feel that sense of strength.

That’s it. And y’all: it worked! I feel empowered and strong. I’m thankful beyond belief that my body is willing to do this for me. I look at the progress I made in the last 5 months of training and feel genuinely impressed with what I was doing at Christmas 2022 (not able to run a single mile!!) vs May 2023.

Anyway, here’s a recap of my first Olympic-distance triathlon: the CapTex Tri 2023!

Kylee and I checked in at the race expo on Sunday afternoon. It was sunny and a bit overcast and the forecast said 0% chance of rain…wahoo!!!

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

I’ve said it a million times, but I loooove a race expo! It just sets the tone for the race day.

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

My brother Will came to the expo with us!

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

We picked up our packets, wandered around a bit, and found our names…

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

So cute! Kylee and I were both feeling NERVOUS on Sunday.

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

It’s a weird feeling to be so nervous 24 hours in advance, because you can’t do anything with those nerves. I love the nerves and adrenaline the morning of a race because I know they’re going to help me fly…but a full day in advance? I’m just a wreck.

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

Sisters!! I’m so thankful Ky decided to sign up for this thing with me. We trained about the same length of time (some pre-work, and then about 16 weeks of training consistently) and in the same way (very loosely following a training plan, but mostly just going intuitively since it was the first full-length tri for both of us.)

We kept one another accountable and kept checking in throughout the past 4 months.

And, of course, she was down here in Austin to do the Cap 10k with me last month!

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

After we walked around the race expo for a bit we took our bikes across the street to get them checked in by the lake.

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

They are SUPER strict about who’s allowed into the check-in area, which we all obviously appreciate. There are some expensive bikes in that area!

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

I was very pleased with the bib number I was assigned. #321 felt like good luck from the moment I saw it.

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

3-2-1 GO!  CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

We put our bikes next to each other (we’re still in the same age group for one more year!) and then headed back home to carb up and get some rest.

And on Monday morning I woke up at 4:55 am for RACE DAY.

Why 4:55? Because I knew I needed 30 minutes of time to make my coffee, grab my breakfast, and get out the door. We wanted to leave at 5:30 am. But I knew that setting my alarm at 5 am felt like a “normal” day (because the alarm often starts with a “5” on a typical day) and I wanted the immediate feeling of “this day is something special and different.” So I wanted the alarm to start with a “4” instead. Hence the 4:55 am alarm.

I don’t know, y’all…I have approximately 1 million little mental tricks like that one that I do on race days, and I figured that they all add up just a tiny bit and make a difference.

Anyway, I woke at 4:55 am on Monday morning, got dressed in my tri kit, made some coffee, ate 115 grams of carbs for breakfast, and got in the car!

Kylee’s boyfriend was SO kind to wake up early and drive us downtown so that we didn’t have to deal with parking! Nate stayed home to get Milo and Dayton up and bring them to the race a bit later in the morning. But just as we were approaching downtown Austin…

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

Ugh. Rain! My weather app was saying a 0% chance of rain, but I’ll just add this to the things I learned on my first full length triathlon: be prepared for ALL the weather things. You never know!

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

I looked out my window and just saw a blur of wet, slippery roads, humid drizzle, and dark. NOT fun.

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

Thankfully the rain only lasted about 10 minutes (for now…it came back later) which was just enough to get the ground soaking wet and make the downtown roads all slippery for the bikes. Haha.

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

My mom, who has been doing triathlon for decades and competed in the Ironman 70.3 world champs last year, knows a thing or two about this sport! She recommended we bring her yoga mat, which is just an old one she picked up at Marshall’s and cut into two pieces, as a sort of mat where we could put all our stuff in case it rains.

I told her, “thanks mom, but I don’t think it’s going to rain” and she told me to bring it anyway.

Moms always know…

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

So there’s our stuff all laid out. SO MUCH STUFF! (I said the same thing last year.) The grass was wet but our gear was able to escape the wet grass by being on those yoga mats that my mom told us to bring. Thanks, mom.

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

She also told us to put our shoes and socks in a waterproof bag in case it started raining again during the swim. I 100% figured it wouldn’t rain because it said 0% CHANCE OF RAIN but that just goes on that quickly-growing list of things I learned during this triathlon because…

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

…it started raining on us as we were standing in line getting ready for our wave of swimmers to jump in the water.

And it kept raining while we were swimming. So a lot of our gear did, in fact, end up getting wet.

Again…moms know things! I’ll listen to her more carefully on the next triathlon.

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

Ok,  I warned you! Sooo many pictures of athletes in spandex in this blog post! We were sooo nervous in this^ picture. Can you tell? Smiles for the camera but ooooh I was all adrenaline at this point! The first few waves of athletes were already in the water and I was ready to go!

The swim was amazing. Ladybird Lake was 76 degrees, so not too cold. I was a college swimmer and I know that swimming will always be my best leg of the triathlon, despite working my TAIL off on the bike/run training this year. You just can’t shake all those hours in the pool!

After the race, my mom told me she could pick out my freestyle from the hundreds of swimmers in the water. She spent thousands of hours watching me swim back and forth…such a sturdy rock in my life.

Since swimming is my strongest leg in the triathlon, it’s where I passed a lot of people. I made sure to start at the front of my division (females 30-39) but there was still a lot of swimming on top of people. Triathlon swimming is NOTHING like swimming in a pool!

I also have to say: I absolutely hated the part where we swam under the South First St bridge. I detest dark water.

But overall, the swim felt great! It was over in about 1 second (26 minutes to be precise, but it FLEW by in my mind) and as I was exiting the lake I thought, aww, it’s already over? I trained for months and now it’s over!

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

Hello. More spandex pictures.

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

My first transition (from the swim to the bike) was fine. I grabbed 2 Clif blocks (those salty margarita ones are soooo tasty!) for a carb boost + caffeine + electrolytes.

Ok, and also + they just taste good. Is it bad that a big portion of my race nutrition is fueled by the deliciousness of those little gummy blocks? Also, is it weird that I love them so much?

My stuff had indeed gotten a bit wet, and it felt weird that 1) my tri kit was dripping wet, and 2) my bike was all wet, and 3) my socks and shoes were wet. But off we went on the bike!

One of the tabs to fasten my shoe had broken off. The shoes are old (about 8 years I think?) and they were pretty cheap ones to begin with, so I’m not surprised. But the timing of it breaking off THE DAY OF MY RACE was a bit of a bummer.

Yet again…things I’m learning from my first Olympic tri! Replace new gear. If something looks like it might break it probably will. On the morning of the race.

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

Nate and his parents arrived with Milo and Dayton while we were on the bike. And my mom and dad, Kylee’s boyfriend, my sister Cara and her boyfriend, and our friend Carrie were all on the sidelines of the bike course cheering us on. ahhh!! It is SO FUN to have friendly faces in the crowd!

The Olympic distance is 4 laps of the bike loop. We went up to the Texas Capitol building, then turned around and biked down Cesar Chavez to Austin High School, and then back to the beginning at the South First Bridge. Four times!

The fun part about doing a loop 4X is that I got to see our people every single time I started a new lap. That was a little emotional boost every time.

The rain was falling lightly for most of the bike, so the roads were a bit slick. I went slowly and carefully around the turns and then tried to make up for it on the straight portions. At one point (on the third lap, I think?) I heard a loud “POP!” under my tire and freaked out that I might have a flat. But everything was fine! I’m pretty sure I just ran over an unopened Gu gel that someone had dropped and it burst under my tire. Yikes!

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

Haha. Dayton’s face in this. Y’all, I have the best family in the world. They were out there early in the morning on rainy, humid day in Austin to cheer us on. And they had to keep this little child from running into the race the whole time!

The transition from bike to run was pretty seamless. I took off my helmet, grabbed a visor, and switched out my shoes.

I did, however, forget to put my bib belt on for the run, so I don’t have any online race photos of the run because the professional photographers didn’t have a bib number for me. One more thing I learned from this race…remember your bib belt before you start the run!

I took a Gu at T2 and then I took another Gu at the 2 mile mark. And then I saw my family at about 2.1 miles! Yay!

The funniest part about the running portion is that it feels slooooooooow. After coming off the bike at 19 MPH, my legs just feel like lead and it basically feels like I’m walking. I’m glad I practiced some of those brick workouts so I could get used to the feeling and know that I didn’t need to push it too hard.

The 10K run actually felt awesome. Yeah, it very humid and I could tell that my body was getting tired, but I finished it with an 8:14 pace, which is fast for me at this stage of life, and crossed the finish line grinning ear-to-ear.

(And crying a tiny bit…I can’t help it! I cry at finish lines.)

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

I finished this thing at 2:39.09 and 2nd place in my age group. My college swim coach used to always say, “your time tells you how well you did, and your place tells you how well your competition did.”

A 2:39 could get me 2nd place or 20th place in a different year! But the 2:39.09 felt STRONG and I’m proud of that time!

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

The fam was all there at the finish line to get me across!

And Milo’s first words to me were, “mommy, you took too long!”

(Is that better or worse than when I did the sprint triathlon last year and he immediately asked me for a snack when I crossed the finish line?)

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

He was very excited about my finishers medal.

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

Aww! I’m so thankful for the  fam and friends who were helping us along on this race. It really makes such a big difference to know that I’ll have my hype people cheering me along during the rough parts of the race. 

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

CapTex Olympic Triathlon Recap

This race was everything I hoped it would be. I wanted to feel good, get stronger, enjoy every minute, and see what I’m capable of doing. 

While I’d love to say that I’ll definitely sign up for it again next year (and I WANT to sign up again!), I also know how much of a sacrifice it is to train for something like this. 

Not just for me, but for Nate, too. As anyone who has a supportive partner can attest, anytime one partner decides to pursue some sort of hobby/passion/project, the other partner has to pick up the slack a little bit. Nate did more than his fair share of cooking meals, waking up early with the boys while I was away running or swimming, and hanging out with them on his weekend mornings so I could get my long workouts in. I know he was happy to do it because he loves spending time with those boys, and I also know that we don’t split childcare 50/50 every single day…there’s always a bit of give and take, and it all evens out eventually. But I just know that, if I commit to doing a long race again, it means I have make sacrifices in other areas. It’s a tricky stage of life for these long training sessions. 

But for now I’m just basking in the glow and the high from this race. I feel strong, which was 100% the goal of this.

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