This was an early season race for a New Yorker. Galveston, TX in early April is nice, not too hot for the locals, but HOT for a visiting New Yorker. I knew this going into the race and that was the gamble I was going to make, especially for another hot 13.1 mile run. Heat, by the way, is my Achilles Heal on the run. So training in cooler temps for a hot weather race is a tough thing to do. This past winter especially was a pretty brutal winter with LOTS of snow. Trust me, every time it snowed, I reminded myself of this race down in Galveston. BUT! I made sure to not let it get the best of me.
Ok, serious crap over with.
It was an AWESOME weekend down in Galveston! I met up with Jeff @ DangleTheCarrot and his wife, Annie @ RetailRunner, and they were VERY kind and generous to include my girlfriend, Kelly, and I into food plans and showing us the ropes of the good places of Galveston. Meeting other bloggers in the flesh is always cool. Its strange, you already know them by the time you meet them because how they present themselves online is usually how they present themselves in person. It is just great to have other people you know right there with you at a race. Totally takes a lot of the pressure off!
|Me, Kelly, Annie, Jeff|
|Down in Jamaica Beach! We stayed in town.|
So when we landed, we literally got the rental car, and headed straight to a great lake 15 mins from the airport, Lake 288, and Jeff and I did a quick 1000 meter swim. We didn't even use our wetsuits the lake was so clean and warm. It was great! My arms felt FRESH. It was scary looking down and there were boats down there. I HATE being able to see anything in the water.
|Comparing tan lines....I have none!|
Spectating the Sprint Tri:
On Saturday morning we spectated and volunteered at the sprint Tri. Annie did a wonderful job! It is so cool to see someone do their first attempt at the distance going into it a bit timid, and coming out of it totally confident in their abilities!
|Way to go Annie!|
|Stole this from Jeff! Thanks!|
So other than the heat on the run, the other thing I was worried about was the wind on the bike. It was basically a sustained 20 mph southern wind during our entire stay here. THAT is a lot of wind! And because the bike course went east to west, it was a straight cross wind. With a ZIPP 808 rear and 404 front, that meant some possible handling issues. So I headed out to where Jeff was staying and we did a quick 25 min ride in both directions to test this wind out. It wasn't bad! So I decided to keep the ZIPPs on.
The night before the race we all headed to the Mosquito Cafe for dinner. Yummy place! I had my (now) usual glass of Malbec (hey! it has given me 2 PR's this season so far!)
|Future superstars? I think so!!!|
Nothing too exciting race morning. Got the usual breakfast down and did the usual routine. It was just dark? Sorry! I got nothing!
THE RACETotal Time: 5:03:26 (~5 min PR!)
Overall Placing: 222/2200 (top 10%)
Age Group Placing: 18/143 (top 12.5%)
Swim: 33:49 (1:36/100 yard pace)
This was an in water start. I have NEVER done an in water start. Ok, I lied, NYC was an in water, but all other races have been a run in or you are standing in the water. This was a fun start! You got to jump off a dock! But! Before I jumped in, I accidentally dropped my goggles on the dock. No big deal, I will just pick them up. Except! My goggles broke! CRAP! Um, its 2 mins before I jump in. Uuuhhhhhhh. PANIC! Fortunately the rubber gasket that lines the google popped off. Getting it back on was a bitch, but holy crap I thought this was going to be a painful swim only being able to see with one eye! Crisis averted!
After jumping in I felt the extra buoyancy from the salt water. Not only is the wetsuit buoyant, but the salt adds that much extra.
|I'm somewhere in that mix...|
Bike: 2:36:39 (21.45 mph avg)
This was an easy course. Flat, and 28 miles out, 28 miles back. Ok, it wasn't "easy" as that cross wind turned into a headwind on the way out, but an AWESOME tail wind on the way back.
Based upon the training leading up to this race, my wattage to hold would be 200 watts from beginning to end. This worked out perfectly. Riding with wattage helps hold you back, especially when riding into the wind where you can easily nuke your legs without knowing it.
After the right hand turn onto the sea wall I felt the brunt of the cross wind. I felt like I was leaning to a 45 degree angle to stay up! I was like, "Ok, if I have to concentrate this hard to stay up for the next 56 miles, I'm not sure how this is going to go!"
Fortunately after I got out of town the wind changed into a headwind and leaning to the side wasn't as bad. I was holding 22mph at this point and was figuring this was going to be an easy ride. WRONG! The headwind got worse and worse as the ride progressed. Mentally I couldn't wait for the turnaround. When I finally saw it had gotten myself all worked up to believing that there was going to be this AMAZING tailwind as a reward. Then I saw the looks on the faces of the folks who had already made the turn. They were still grimassing! CRAP! Another headwind?!?!?
Of course after the turn that loud scratching sound in the ears that you get from a headwind disappeared. Right there and then I said to myself, "TIME TO GET GREEDY!"
So I got back up to 200 watts and was doing 25+ mph!!! TAILWIND BABY!!!
So what took me 1:25+ to get out there only took 1:11:05 to get back @ a 23.63 mph average. THAT WAS FAST! And I was pushing 30 watts less with a lower heart rate. At one point I ran out of gears to push, even with a 53 x 11. Crazy!
My nutrition was a solid A+ for the day on the bike. Drink every 5 mins and eat a Gu every 30 mins. Ok, don't burn me at the stake for what I am about to write: I consumed a total of 40 oz of liquid total on the bike. Sorry! There were 300 calories of infinit mixed in with it! Prolly a stupid idea to not stop and get liquid.
T2: Ok this is kinda funny. I get my CYCLING shoes off and socks on. The right RUNNING shoe goes on, then I proceed to put my left CYCLING shoe on. Uuuuhhhhhh?!?!?!?.........yeah......
Run: 1:47:37 (8:12/mile pace)
The good thing about running into a headwind is that it keeps you cool. Unfortunately there wasn't enough of it during the run. So coming off the bike I held my usual pace effort. It was hot. I could feel it. The pressure in my head from the heat was already building. I knew I'd only be able to hold this pace for a few miles before that "switch" goes off and my body starts shutting down. I had a chat with my coach before the race and I told him about my troubles with heat and running. I suffer! He mentioned that better fitness is the best offense against the heat.
Well, I suffered a slow painful death and my splits show. There weren't mile markers for all miles, so I had to average some 3 mile splits.
Mile 1: 7:16
Mile 2: 7:48
Mile 3: 7:18
Mile 4: 8:17
Mile 5: 8:17
Mile 6: 8:17
Mile 7: 9:17
Mile 8: 8:37
Mile 9: 8:37
Mile 10: 8:37
Mile 11: 8:31
Mile 12: 8:02
Mile 13: 8:02
As you can see, I had had enough with the run and hit the gas as best I could for the final 2 miles. I paid for it in the last mile! I had 3 left calf muscle spasms. I was crossing my fingers it didn't turn into a bad cramp spasm that would totally lock my leg up. It never happened. I had never felt SO happy to cross that finish line. A four loop course in that heat just SUCKED!
|Elated to have finished!|
Overall, this run was a HUGE success. Heck, this ENTIRE race was a HUGE success! For it being my first triathlon this season and I shaved another 5 mins off in hot conditions is a milestone considering almost a year ago I went a 5:32:xx @ New Orleans in VERY similar conditions. 30 min time difference in one year? I can't even compare the fitness I have now compared to then!
Because I was on the earlier end of finishers, the massage tent was wide open. I wanted my left calf worked out. The nice massuese said she could feel the muscles still going nuts even as I was laying on my stomach. Then I went in search for food. I found it and no one was around except for a few workers. I had to ask, "Is this the food tent? Wasn't sure if it was for the pros or not?" It was and I grabbed 4 slices of pizza! haha!
I stumbled over to the first aid station where Kelly and Annie were handing out water. Jeff was still out on the course so I sat down and ate. After I ate they were short handed handing out water so I started handing out water to everyone! Beats sitting in a chair and getting all tight. It was pretty cool seeing these people duking it out in this nasty heat so late in the day. Fortunately the sky hazed up so they got some relief.
It was a good day :)
Congrats to Jeff and Annie for their finishes over the weekend. Also congrats to Shannon @ IronTexasMommy for her faster finish. She took off 1 whole hour from her time last year! Go Shannon!!!
So on the bike course we went past this place called Michael Burger, known for, what else? their burgers! Guess where we went for dinner that night? OH YEAH!!!
I got the deluxe burger with a beer and some sweet potato fries. The wind was HOWLING on us as we ate outside, but it was great swapping war stories with Jeff, Mike, and Bobby. Perfect ending to a perfect day :)