I'm obviously over the moon to let you all know I have finally completed a race in Galveston! Now that the race is done & over, I can share with you just how freaked I was the days leading up to the race. Mentally, I couldn't let myself acknowledge all the fears & doubts in my head. When someone would ask me about Galveston I would make a joke and say I wasn't nervous. That couldn't be further from the truth.
For days leading up to the 5i50, I was dreaming about the racing. One thing after another would happen and in each scenario, I didn't finish. I knew 100% that this was mental and these dreams were a direct result of my waking thoughts. I just ignored them and didn't tell anyone about these so called dreams. Nobody needed to know anyway. This would be my little secret.
The week before the race we decided that Keith wouldn't join me the night before because we knew the dogs probably wouldn't do well in the hotel (a little nugget of info we learned the night before Try Andy's Tri). While I knew it was the right decision, Keith is the leader of my support crew and to not have him there the night before to keep me sane was not going to be good. I didn't want to be down there alone so thankfully, my sister Annie agreed to join me. Whew, crisis averted.
Annie & I got to Galveston a little behind schedule on Saturday but had more than enough time to get my packet and check my bike. Keith & I had made a trip to Home Depot to make sure I had zip ties in the event this race had open racking. I learned my lesson after the Houston Oly and was prepared to zip tie my bike as well as any other bike to the rack to make sure there was no funny business taking place. :) After that, Annie & I headed to the hotel to lay by the pool. I really enjoyed getting to soak in a few rays. I did have to jump in the pool to test the goggles I had purchased just that morning from Swim Shops of the Southwest. My trusty BlueSeventy's had been leaking constantly on my last swim and I couldn't take the chance of that happening in Galveston. Let me tell you, the TYR goggles I bought are the bomb diggity and I plan on going back to purchase another pair or 10. ;)
Race morning started at 5am or so. Annie headed w/ me to the race site and sat tight while I put the fluids on my bike and got my area ready. While I thought I was extremely calm, I really wasn't. I stood there and walked through everything over & over in my head. I checked then double checked and then triple checked my gear. I wasn't very talkative in transition or even right before the race b/c my head was just going ninety to nothing thinking about the day. The good news was that I wasn't thinking about all that could go wrong, I was visualizing each segment of the race. For those of you I didn't say much to that morning, I'm sure you understand and hope you weren't offended! Not that anyone would really care. :)
I was in and out of transition in about 30 minutes and made my way to the swim start to get my chip and then just sit and wait until my wave at 8:05am. A survey of the bay made me very happy as I could see we were going to have a relatively calm swim. Those of you who have raced Galveston before know it can be a real B. Water temp was 70 so that meant we were definitely ok to where wetsuits. Let the fun begin!!!!
Before I knew it, I was jumping in the water and swimming towards the start line. I was not in the visiting mood. Just focus on what's ahead of you and finish this race. The horn sounded and we were on our way. My instructions from Ana were very simple for the swim: easy speed. I was to focus on finishing my stroke and finding a steady pace. I have to tell you, this swim was the easiest I've ever done. And when I say easiest I mean I put forth the least effort I ever have in a race and my time wasn't too shabby (for me). I had no leg cramping, didn't take in any water and didn't get sea sick. On top of that, my body wasn't fatigued at all. I made the turn at the final yellow buoy and headed to the swim exit. I kept repeating in my head, "pull, pull, pull". I felt like I was gliding through the water and started to pull away from ladies I had been next to the whole time. What's even more awesome was that I wasn't breathing hard and I felt like I was literally gliding through the water. I think this might have been a breakthrough swim for me. I was so excited!!! I was even more excited as I passed people in orange, yellow & red caps....all folks who got in the water before me. Woo hoo! This swim was 5 minutes faster than at the Houston Oly last month. While I did have the benefit of the wetsuit, I can tell you that far less effort went into this swim! Goal 1 has been achieved.
Heading out on the bike, I knew not to expect a fast time. Galveston is always windy. Always. My instructions for the bike were to keep my cadence above 90 the whole time. If that meant an easier gear, then get in the easier gear. There's not much to say about the bike. I feel like I should've been faster and had to keep reminding myself to race my race and not worry about who was or wasn't passing me. It didn't matter. My goals for the day are different than theirs and I need to not get caught up in anything else. I focused on my cadence and went about the day. I finished the bike at a 16mph pace and was pleased. My cadence was in check the whole ride and that meant Goal 2 was now achieved. I only have one more demon to conquer.
Heading out of T2 on the run, I felt as expected. I definitely had some nerves I needed to deal with. I rounded the corner and there was Keith & Annie telling me to get my butt moving. Little did they know what was going on. As I approached the next turn, I started to hyperventilate. I was getting close to the spot where I passed out in 2010 and I was really nervous. All of a sudden I couldn't breathe and I felt really funny. I stopped to calm myself and was doing all sorts of weird things with my arms. "This is mental Jenny. You aren't going to pass out. Just catch your breath and go." I repeated this to myself about 5 more times. I made the turn, saw the ambulance and kept going. I had now officially gone further than any other race in Galveston. I did start to settle after that but noticed my HR was higher than it normally was at that slow of a pace. I'm no expert but I felt that was largely attributed to all the crap in my head. I was slow the first loop, no doubt about it. As I started the 2nd loop, I glanced at my watch and started to crunch numbers. Umm, I'm going to have a PR today if I keep this up. I hate to even call what I was doing a PR worthy performance but hey, just b/c I started my Oly career slow doesn't mean I'm not entitled to celebrate a PR. When I hit the 4 mile marker, I picked up my speed and started to feel a little uncomfortable. Then I hit the 5 mile marker and told myself to get my butt MOVING. My pace was getting faster, I was feeling a little yucky and knew I was doing the right thing. I hit the 6 mile mark and heard Eminem playing at the finish line. Hell yeah! Run, run, run! I ran as hard as I could the last .2 miles and crossed the finish line with a time of 3:37:51....a PR. My run time was 7 minutes faster than it was last month at the Houston Oly and 5 minutes faster than my first Oly. While I wasn't lightening fast by any means, I made a big improvement in a very short time. The sound you hear is Goal 3 being achieved. :)
As I approached the finish line, a ton of my former teammates were cheering for me as I think each of them knew this was a big deal for me. There were some ORR folks cheering me in as well and then I got to give a high 5 to my friend Shellie who was at the finish. Beyond the finish line was Keith & Annie taking pics. I was near tears. I finally got the Galveston monkey off my back and it felt really, really good. Scott Mayer was so sweet to come up to me at the finish and congratulate me. It really made me sooooo happy.
I texted my coach as soon as I got my hands on my phone and let her know I finished & I PR'd. She was so happy for me and had awesome words of encouragement. The two biggest compliments I got yesterday were hearing her tell me what a hard worker I am and Keith telling me my jeans were getting baggy on me. What girl doesn't love hearing that?
Now that I've finished one in Galveston, I'm not inclined to go back to race there any time soon...if ever. I know how I am though and have a feeling that I'll want to go back at some point in the future and get another PR there....but next time, a big one.
Next up? OilMan Half Ironman is less than 2 weeks away. OilMan is my last tri of the season and I'm really looking forward to getting out there. Ana & I chatted today about my goals and after a lengthy conversation, we agreed we were indeed on the same page. I owe my coach a big bottle of wine after OilMan. While I am a very hard worker, I'm equally as stubborn.
I am SO happy to be able to tell you guys I finally conquered my Galveston demons!!!!