Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ironman 70.3 Texas Race Report

Final Time – 6:28:26 (a 20:28 PR)

Even though I’m now 2 for 4 in Galveston, I feel confident that I have conquered my demons there and am so incredibly happy with how Sunday turned out.  Did I do everything right?  Heck no!  Did I execute my plan though?  Yes, I sure as heck did!

I got down to Galveston Saturday morning with Annie.  We headed to athlete check-in where I grabbed my stuff and a few things from the Ironman store.  Hello?  $9.99 K-Swiss tanks?  I’ll take 3 please!  Annie was the only person we saw at the expo drinking a beer and she was given some interesting (judgemental) looks.  I was tempted to join her but kept thinking about how bad I wanted to do well so skipped the beer.  We headed to the hotel to check in and lounge by the pool until Stef & Avery arrived.  What a fun afternoon!  After we soaked up some rays, we all headed back to the race site so I could drop off my bike.  When I saw all the bikes in transition, I realized there were a lot more people racing than I thought!  Holy crap.  After a yummy dinner at Gaido’s, I retired for the evening and got some much needed zzzzz’s.

Patiently waiting for my wave.
Race morning came and I felt fresh.  I was able to get nearly 8 hrs of sleep which I NEVER do.  I felt amazing.  Annie went over to the race site with me while Stef & Avery slept a little more.  Annie was the most awesome Sherpa and helped me with everything I needed.  After leaving transition, we headed toward the direction of the swim start where I would have to wait over an hour for my wave.  We did some people watching, goofed off and just hung out. 
When it was time for me to head to the dock, the nerves hit me full force.  I was shaking and fighting the tears.  I have been nervous about this race for weeks and have tried very hard to keep it all in check.  I was getting to a point where I really thought I was going to lose it.  In my head, I heard myself say, “it’s only a training day” and started to feel a little better.  I got my pre-race hug from Annie and headed to the dock.  Time to get it done!

The water temp was a cool 65 degrees.  When my group was sent to the end of the dock, I didn’t want to get in.  Then I realized the sooner I got in, the sooner I could get used to the water.  I jumped in and realized it wasn’t SOOO terrible.  Before I knew it, they were telling us we had 40 seconds.  I have not been swimming well lately and stuck myself in the back. I hate being in the back but at the same time, I had no business being up front. 

Survived the swim.  No smile though!
The horn sounded and we were off.  I got hit very little the first part of the swim largely because of where I positioned myself.  I settled into a pace (yes, a slow one) and just tried to focus on my stroke.  Before I knew it, I was making the turn at the first red buoy and was grateful.  Shortly after, the men who were in the wave behind me started swimming up on me.  This is when it got tough and full contact.  I know I’m a slow swimmer so I can’t really be pissed and the guys for steam rolling me but come on dudes.  You could at least not kick the crap out of my boobs.  One guys pushed my head straight down as I was trying to breathe.  I guess my little head got in the way of his manly stroke.  Again, I didn’t get mad…just stayed calm.  I felt fine in the water but knew I wasn’t moving quickly.  I was ok with this though.  I just wanted to get out of the water and get on my bike. 

After roughly 55 minutes, I was out of the water and headed to T1.  Thank you baby Jesus!  I do wish I had been faster but given what I know about my training and my swim mentality, I understand the time.

Take away:  The next 6 weeks, I plan to focus on my swim and what’s holding me back.  My work schedule makes it difficult to attend masters swim and I know that’s what helped me to improve before.  I also know that I’m not comfortable in the water and because of that, I hesitate to push too much.  This is something that I need to get over.  I think the last mental issue I have has to do with the swim. 

As I exited the water, I flopped down like a fish out of water and waited for the volunteers to strip my wetsuit off of me.  I hopped up and began the long, barefoot run to my bike.  I saw Keith & Annie but could not muster a smile.  I was just so focused!  It was quite a ways to get to the bike but I ran and just stayed calm.  Here comes the real test.

Before I knew it, I was headed toward Seawall for my 56 mile bike ride.  We lucked out with the wind situation this year and I for one was very grateful.  I settled into aero and followed my coach’s instructions.  When I passed the 15 mile marker, I glanced at my watch and realized I was maintaining a nice pace.  I had caught a lot of girls with 35-39 on their leg so knew I was making up for time I lost in the swim.  All I had to do now was execute my nutrition and race plan and all would be good.

I reached what I thought was the spot I got my first flat two years ago.  I smiled a bit and decided not to think about it….or for anything else for that matter.  Just stay focused on this race.  I found myself at the turnaround and glanced at my watch again.  At this point, I realized that if I maintained the current pace, I was in for a nice PR.  Like, really nice!

We had some headwind on the way back so my pace slipped but nothing significant.  I just stayed in aero and thought about keeping good form.  I thought about nothing but the bike.  I finally hit the spot where I was pulled of the course two years ago and got a little choked up.  No time to let up though…the end is in sight.

I was approaching the dismount line and for one last time, consulted my watch.  Yep, that’s good for a bike PR.  3:06 and change for an average pace of 17.98.  Let’s be clear, that rounds up to 18mph and that’s what I’m going with.  Yeah, that’s right….18mph on a 56 mile ride!!!  What a difference from my first ½ iron bike time of 3:54.  I did it!!!!!

Take away: I don’t suck at riding!  What an awesome ride this was.  I couldn’t have been happier with my bike split.  A 9 min PR from my last ½ iron was something to be proud of.

Come in from a scenic 56 mile ride.  :)

I was happy to see my running legs were there and ready to go.  My legs felt really good, not heavy at all.  Dang, this is a cool feeling!  I changed my shoes, grabbed my race bib & visor and headed out with my handheld hydration in hand.

A mile hadn’t even gone by when I realized that carrying this 16oz bottle was not going to happen.  I don’t like wearing hydration belts in races anymore b/c I find it puts me in “long run” mentality and I slow down.  I didn’t want to go w/o my own hydration so bought this cute handheld that could also accommodate my gels and salt tabs.  I spotted Keith and tossed him the bottle.  I told him it was too heavy and I couldn’t deal with it.  It was amazing the difference it made when I let go of it.  I felt free!  I had to quickly change my game plan though.  I was now without fluids so I needed to make sure I took in an adequate amount at the aid stations. I decided that I would stop at every aid station to make sure I stayed hydrated.  I turned around and headed back in Keith’s direction.  When I spotted him, he asked me if I needed my gels.  Oh crap!  That’s when it hit me.  I told him I couldn’t take them from him now (I thought that would be against the rules).  The aid stations were stocked with gels, fruit, pretzels and everything I would need.  This was even more reason for me to stop at every aid station.  Ok, I got this.

While my legs felt good, I didn’t feel like I was moving too fast.  I didn’t worry though.  I felt good and I knew I was at a pace I could maintain.  It was getting hot so I just focused on staying hydrated and settling into my pace.  At the next aid station, I stopped at the med tent to get some Vaseline. I wore shorter shorts than normal and was afraid I would have chafing if I didn’t take some preventative measures.  I slathered Vaseline on my legs and under my arm where I had some wetsuit chaffing.  I was good as new!

I was on my 2nd loop now and was feeling super excited.  There was no reason to think I wouldn’t finish this race.  At this point, I heard some ringing in my ears and knew I needed fluids.  I was all good!  I made my way past my support crew.  Now it was a matter of hanging in there.  I couldn’t believe how fast the 2nd loop seemed to go. 

As I started my 3rd loop, I had a big smile.  I saw Keith, Annie & Stef and finally allowed myself a big ‘ole atta girl!  This race was less than 4 miles from being over.  I hit the 10 mile mark and had another wave of excitement hit.  Less than a 5k left.  That’s it!  At mile 11, I looked at my watch and realized I was going to have a nice PR.  I knew that even if I walked the rest of the race, I would still have a PR.  But I didn’t need to walk.  Nope!  I felt good and there was no reason not to push.

3rd & final loop!  Allowing myself to crack a big smile!

I hit mile 12 and was ready to enjoy the last 1.1 miles.  That’s it.  Less than 11 minutes to go at this pace.  Before I knew it, the 13 mile sign was in sight.  I could hear the names at the finish.  I threw my arms in the air and screamed a bit.  I finally did it!!!!!!!  I would later learn that my ½ marathon time was just under 2:18…the best I’ve ever done in this type of race.  I was 16 minutes faster than I had been in November.  S-I-X-T-E-E-N!

Take away:  This run could’ve ended up a lot different given I ditched my hydration & nutrition.  This served as a great reminder to not try something new on race day.  I got lucky here.  Very lucky!

After collecting my hat and medal, I saw Keith & Stef and reported to them what they already suspected….a PR race!  Annie was up on the hill getting video of the finish.  It was just such an awesome feeling. 

Galveston has been my nemesis and while I conquered the Oly distance in 2011, this was the race I needed to conquer.  I finished the race with a lot of gas left in the tank.  This is good b/c I’m going to need that gas for Ironman! 
Post race, I’m feeling great.  I have a pretty bad sunburn due to my own stupidity but that’s been the worst of it.  My legs have felt good and I am ready to get back to training.  Ironman is less than 6 weeks away.  I have some tough training left but I’m ready for it.  I am SO ready for it. 
I have heard that you can estimate your Ironman finish time by taking your most recent ½ iron time and adding an hour.  Well, I did that and let me tell you that the squeal I made was more high pitched than the one any teenager would make at a Justin Bieber concert.  That being said, I am smart enough to respect the distance and know that an estimate is only an estimate and assumes all the stars align.  Anything can happen at Ironman so I am making a promise to myself right now that I will be nothing short of happy regardless of my time.  I have worked my butt off and I have some a long, long way.  I need to be proud of myself no matter what.  That being said, if the prediction is close, it will be hard to wipe the smile off my face come May 18th

Happy Training!

Take that Galveston!!

1 comment:

  1. Yup, you've exorcised those demons! Congrats on the PR!

    You looked great when I saw you out there too!

    p.s. nice choice of pics;)