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Galveston 70.3 Race Report (with lots of Pics!)

Posted Apr 11 2011 7:56pm
Finisher's Medal


This weekend began on Friday.  Annie and I packed up the cars and made the 75mi drive South to Galvestion.  We were staying with friends, Jennifer and Mike, at their beach-house for the weekend.  Thanks guys for the hospitality!  

Beautiful view from the deck!

We hit Moody Gardens  (race HQ) and immediately went and picked up our packets.  Annie, for the Sprint on Saturday, and me for the HIM on Sunday.  After that Annie went back to the house with Mike and I went to meet fellow blogger and super-speedster Triathlete,  Jon Campbell , and his girlfriend Kelly, who had just landed at Hobby Airport.  Since Jon lives up in the tundra of  New York I suggested we go to one of my favorite Open Water Swim sites ( Lake 288 ) just so he could get the feel of being in the open water again.  Jon loved Lake 288 and Kelly loved the lake puppy there! We did about 1000m sans wetsuit and it was just a perfect swim in perfect water (about 72 degrees).  

After that it was back to Galveston and then off to dinner at a nice(ish) seafood joint.  Jon and his girlfriend joined a group of us and we ended up with a table of 8.  We all had a couple of drinks and some some good laughs and then it was time to hit the sack since Annie had her race in the morning and the rest of us were volunteering at the first water station.


5am wake-up and off to Moody Gardens for Annie's first Triathlon.  She was a little nervous (as was I) as we made the drive over.  I was watching her in transition and she was double and triple checking all her gear and finally walked over to me and said, "I forgot my socks, can I have yours?".

So off my socks went only to be returned 10mins later when she found hers.

We made the short walk down to the swim start area and I snapped off a ton of pics of Annie and her swim wave.  She will post them up on her blog later.  Annie did wonderful in her race and more importantly is already talking about getting a new bike and doing, "Maybe and Olympic distance race".

My Tri Club  volunteered at the first water station and we all had a great time:

The Kingwood Tri Club Crew!

Honorary Texan Jon in front of a huge ass glass pyramid!
Iron-sherpa Kelly jazzing up the volunteering gig!

The race was a hit and all the racers and volunteers had an amazing time.  Annie and I ended up at a breakfast place with our friends Cheryl and Patrick called the Sunflower Cafe and had an amazing meal.  Followed by an amazing walnut-glazed cinnamon bun.  Probably not the best meal 18hrs before race start!

After all the festivities were done Jon and I decided to go for a ride to see how we would handle the strong cross winds that were pounding the seawall of Galveston.  He drove down to Mike's place and we went on a quick ride out and back.   Lucky we did this because it was the first time I have ever worn my Giro Aero helmet in the heat and it was extremely hot.  We were out for maybe 25 minutes and my head was dripping sweat like a faucet - the ventilation was horrible.  I decided right there to not wear the aero helmet on Sunday and it was a good choice because Sunday ended up being a smoker!

Saturday night about 15 or so of us ended up at the Mosquito Cafe for dinner.  This is one of my favorite places to eat in Galveston and everyone really enjoyed dinner.  I had a steak sandwich and it was fabulous!  It was an early night as everyone had a 70.3 race to do the next morning:

Jon, Kelly, Annie, Jeff

Bloggers Unite!

Sunday (Race Day):

Up at 4:45am and had my normal whole wheat bagel with peanut butter.  Got in the required pre-race boom-boom and then we were off to the race site. Since we had to drop our bike off in transition on Saturday, Patrick picked up Mike and I and we all rode over to the race together.  

One of the highlights of the weekend was that we had VIP parking.  Since we had people volunteering on both Saturday and Sunday and needed to set-up tents and shuffle people around both days we were given parking passes right next to transition.  We literally parked 50ft from the transition area all weekend - it was glorious!  This also meant that we didn't have to get to the race as early since we did not need to make the long walk in - this was also glorious!

Mike, Patrick and I all got on our wetsuits, with ease thanks to TriSlide , in the parking lot and then hung out by transition getting our Tri Club tent ready for the day.

Sea of bikes and porta potties (these both will be very instrumental in my race)
Pre-Race Tent Set-up
Mike, Patrick, and me getting ready to start!

Okay, onto the race ....

The Swim:

The pros started at 7:00am and my wave (#10) was going off at 7:45am.  We all lined up on a big boat dock and jumped in at the end, very cool:

Swim Start
My wave (35-39) was treading water and we were all chatting it up.  I yelled out, "Raise your hand if you're peeing right now!"  Everyone else raised their hands and coped to the crime.  It was good laugh.  

Literally, one minutes before my wave's start the cloud cover vanished and the bright Texas sun reared it's large orange face - and it was blazing!  The gun went off and the start was not too rough.  I found a pair of feet and hung on for a few hundred yards, this was pretty nice.  The only problem was about 500 yards in I realized my heart rate was way down and the guy I was drafting off was slower than me so I broke left and passed.  At the first turn buoy the the ocean waves started to get a little choppy.  I began to breath bi-lateral  and realized rather quickly I was taking in a lot of salt water on the left side.  At this point I switched over to just breathing on the right for the rest of the swim.  

This was my first time ever doing a race in the ocean and it was pretty cool.  I enjoyed the chop and the salt water - made it feel more epic or something? Oh, and not a single shark sighting (-:

Overall the swim was pretty uneventful and I maintained the moderate pace I had planned for going into the race.

Swim Splits:
Distance - 1.2 mi (2112 Yds)
Time - 37:45
Pace - 1:46/100 Yds
AG Rank - 97/307
Overall Rank - 648/2200
My Grade - B 
Reason - I should have pushed a little harder during the first 3rd of the swim.  I was barely working and took it entirely too easy.  Probably could have shaved another 2 minutes off the time but overall this was a decent effort on the swim.

Transition #1 - 3:59
I would describe this as a series of errors.  First, I ran past my rack.  Then I placed on my sunglasses, socks, shoes and grabbed my bike.  Yep, I forgot to put on my helmet which was still attached to my extensions.  I went to grab the helmet and the bike slipped and feel to the ground.  My garmin twisted around and I lost the rubber straw from my aero-bottle.  Well done Jeff, Well done indeed!
The Bike:

The course heads South out of Moody Gardens for the first 1.6mi and it was directly into a headwind. At the end of this section you make a right hand turn and go that way until the turn-around.  As you are riding down the first section you are trying to determine if the wind will be a direct cross or out of the Southwest which would mean a cross with a head wind on the way out. 

I made the turn and hello headwind, I was barely holding 18mph.  I decided to spin out for a couple of miles to let my legs get used to riding and my heart rate stabilize. Then I would work a little harder to pick up my average speed.  

This plan worked well.  The first 6 miles I was passing a lot of guys but was also being passed a lot too. At this point my HR was back to a low zone 2 and my legs found a nice cadence.  Time to pick it up but save some for the ride back.  I ended up passing hundreds of cyclists and was feeling great.  

I started out the ride with Powebar Perform in my aero bottle.  I have been practicing with Perform for the last 6 months since it is the drink that will be on the IMTX course in May.  However, even though this was a WTC Ironman race the on course drink was Gatorade.  We did not find this out until a week or two before the race.  I hate Gatorade.  

I still had my normal foray of First Endurance (EFS Liquid Shots, EFS Drink) but the bottle hand-ups were Gatorade or water.  At the first station I wanted a water but all the volunteers had in hand was a gatorade bottle - crap - I grabbed it and filled up my bottle.  Oh well.  

I stayed in aero and ended up getting to the turn-around point with a 18.7mph average on my garmin.  I made the turn and reached back to grab my EFS Liquid shots from my jersey and realized I was holding 21mph while sitting up!  Hello tail wind!

The rest of the ride was uneventful and I held between 22-23mph the entire way.  A large part of me wanted to just hammer but the rationale part of my mind won out and I still rode conservatively. 

Bike Split:
Distance: 56 miles
Time - 2:48:06
Pace - 19.99 MPH Avg 
Garmin Pace - 20.02 MPH Avg
AG Rank - 82/307
Overall Rank - 499/2200
My Grade -  A
Reason - I worked hard on both the out and the back and did not let my meat-headness kick in and hammer in the tailwind.  I had a pacing plan and followed it to the letter.  My Kestrel is one badass ride too.  I could ride this bike all day.  I actually did not want the ride to end!

Transition #2 - 3:03
This would be described as a series of error part deux.  However, it was not my fault.  The asshat next to me had his bike in my spot on the rack.  No place for my bike to go.  AND he had his bike barely on the rack by the nose of the saddle so I needed to pick it up to move it.  I had to rest my bike against my leg and move his over.  This added at least a minute to my time.  People are so inconsiderate sometimes.  Thanks Dude.

The Run:

By this point I had a decent swim and a solid bike split.  I am a runner and this is the part of the race where I can lay down a nice split.  My legs felt great and even though my plan was to take it easy on the run I had made up my mind I was going to run and run hard! The course is setup as a 4-loop run, 3.275 miles per loop.

Well, my stomach had other ideas .... 

Okay, we are going to get into the point of Too Much Information in the next few paragraphs.  If you don't like to hear about poop and vomit (you probably aren't a triathlete) then you might want to skip ahead to the summary portion.

Here we go:

Little much on the sunscreen Jeff?

That pic above is at the first aide station.  About a half mile after this my stomach began to get real angry at me.  As in I have to go and I have to go now angry!  Well, I found porta-potty right before the next aide station and jumped in as fast as I could.  It was ugly.  Do you remember the scene in Dumb & Dumber when Jeff Daniels was turbo laxed?  Well, that was pretty much me!

I was in the porta-potty for quite sometime, maybe 8-10 minutes.  And it gets better!  When I was finally finished I went to stand up and both of my quads cramped because I was sitting so long.  I was literally pulling myself up by the side rails in the crapper because my legs wouldn't work.  I was afraid I was going to be stuck in there!  At this point I was laughing because, well, it was damn funny.

I managed to get out of the shitter and hobble the 200 or so yards to the aide station.  A medic rubbed some biofreeze on my quads and I was go to go again.  I ran about two more miles and had to make another stop in a porta-potty and then another.  Loop one = 3 porta-potty stops!

The second loop was bad because now I had this pain in my stomach.  It felt like a knife was being rammed into my ribcage and I was afraid to trust a fart.  The harder I ran the harder it was to breath and the more the pain in my stomach hurt.  

I shuffled on until about mile 7 and decided to try some soda at the next aide station.  I figured it may make me burp.  I chugged two cups and kept moving forward.  About a mile later I started to burp and the GI pain started to be not as bad!

Between mile 9 & 10 I was running at a decent pace now and let up a big burp.  I tasted this burp and things were getting serious because one more was coming and it was going to be so much more than just a burp.  At this point I jumped to the side of the course and headed right for a big bush where I proceeded to projectile vomit all over this bush.  It was awesome! It had to look like a scene I remember from Family Guy:

And if you are reading this and were one of the horrified spectators who witnessed this massive display of vomiting I sincerely apologize.

Anyway, after the vomit incident I ran it home feeling like my normal self?  If only that would have happened at mile one?  

Run Split:
Distance - 13.1 miles
Time - 2:14:12
AG Rank - 103/307
Overall Rank - 683/2200
My Grade - D
Reason - This is a hard one to grade because I have no idea where these GI issues came from?  My PR for a 13.1 run is 1hr 34min.  I run 1:45's on my slow long run days.  However, I feel like I spent as much time in the shitters and walking from the stomach cramps as I did running.   Not good times here folks!

Race Summary:

Overall I was pleased with the swim and extremely happy with the bike.  I stuck to the plan on both and my results were perfect.  My fitness levels for the bike and swim are exactly where they need to be 6 weeks out from Ironman. This is very encouraging!

I am concerned about the GI issues on the run because I have no idea what caused them.  My breakfast and pre-race nutrition were no different than any other morning.  My bike nutrition was spot on and in-line perfectly with what I have been doing in training.  The only difference was Gatorade vs PowerBar?  My diet was not great the three days leading up to the race but it wasn't awful either?  

As I sit here I am thinking I possibly had to much liquid (aka - Gatorade) on the bike.  Over the last couple of months it has actually been hotter in training than it was on the bike course.  This leaves me to believe I may have had more to drink than what I needed and since my sweat rate probably wasn't as high that I might have taken in way too much?   Who knows for sure but I am going to try replicate this over the next 6 weeks so I can figure it out.  Maybe even dehydrate myself a couple of times to see what the minimal amount of liquid needed.   I am actually glad this happened now as opposed to on Ironman day and if it was the Gatorade then I don't have to worry because it is not on course for IM.

Another positive that I can take away is that my legs feel like a million dollars today.  Since I ran such a slow 13.1 miles my legs are not beat up at all.  That means I can get in a nice ride on the trainer tonight!

Galveston 70.3 Final Results:
Distance - 70.3 miles
Time - 5:47:05
AG Rank - 103/307
Overall Rank - 683/2200
My Grade - B

Overall this was probably one of the best times I have ever had during the course of a race weekend.  Good friends, good food, good times and a chance to race on a really good course. With all the problems I had on the run (with runs) my final time was actually pretty good.

It was awesome spending time with Jon and Kelly - they are so much fun.  It is so cool when you meet another blogger you follow because it is like you have known each other for years and it was this way with Jon. We are all going to do a race again soon ( Rev3 Cedar Point , right Jon?).  Make sure to check out Jon's blog , he set a PR at this race and I think this is only the tip of the iceberg in his potential in this sport.

Also hung out with Trakkers Teammate Mike Moore @TheIronBar .  Before and after the race.  Mike had a good race as well.  He'll probably have a RR up soon so stop by and check it out!

Here is a final pic of Patrick and I post race standing by his truck in our VIP parking spot!!!

Thanks for Reading,


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