I know, I know….
I’ve had a lot to catch up on, tons to figure out, and even more to come to grips with over the past week since our return from Galveston.
More on all that later.
As y’all know, this race capped off a very stressful 3 weeks. Again I will say how much I appreciated everyone’s support and encouragement.
The online stalking and the text messages/tweets/phone calls were a very welcome sight upon making my way to the truck. I thought of y’all often…especially as I wondered what in the hell I was doing out there with only 1 functioning leg.
Then too, I’d see someone like Brandon.
Brandon is a blind triathlete from Houston who races with VERY…and I mean VERY minimal support. You can read his story here , but seeing him out there racing was AWE-SOME-INSPIRING.
He was out there giving 110% with what he had and VERY happy to be out there doing it in the Texas heat.
I’d love to have the privilege of helping someone complete an event such as this one day, and so my “Bucket List” has grown a tad longer now.
Isn’t that how it goes…
Scratch off 1 thing….add another!
Ok, so as the weekend unfolded we had a hell of a time getting out of here on Thursday.
To make a very LONG story short….
What could go wrong did….
We ended up leaving Mississippi around 4pm for the 7hr drive to Houston.
The original plan was to leave at noon…..didn’t happen.
We had to make an hour pit-stop in Louisiana to have my husbands 1080 race wheel repaired because no one on the MS Gulf Coast could get their heads out of their asses long enough to get it done. We gave them a week and Thursday morning I had to retrieve the wheel and hope it could be repaired in Houston before the race. Luckily, a shop in Mandeville (right on the way) said they could do it lickty split and they did…
Yeah for The Spokesman!!
BUT, another delay…
so around midnight we roll into Houston…ARG!
We spent Friday just relaxing at my parents house, hanging out with my brother and his family; then come Saturday we tried to make the quick drive to Galveston.
The normal hour drive, took almost 2 1/2. It was bumper to bumper, grid lock traffic the entire way. WTF??
I had the privilege of listening to my husband explain, ‘THIS is why we live in BFE. I would shoot someone if I had to put up with this crap day in and day out. I have 2 red lights to get to work and 2 red lights to get home”
blah, blah, blah
To which I replied, “Yes, and we are lucky enough to have 2 Wal-Marts, 20 Dollar Stores, and 15 Waffle Houses between those 2 red lights. What more could a girl ask for in life??”
This is an ongoing debate in our house as you may have figured and why I’m convinced I DO actually live in hell…or at least slightly north, in purgatory.
We finally make it to Galveston and the 1st thing I start looking for is the wind. The flags are whipping and the palms are swaying. DANDY! I get that “pit” feeling in my stomach..
Then remind myself, “Lady you LIVE in these conditions and ride in them all the damn time….suck it up buttercup and quit your bitchin!”
We stayed at the host hotel, Moody Gardens, and it was wonderful. We will definitely do THAT again. Traffic is a nightmare in this town, so to have the luxury of parking and not NEEDING to drive again (and listen to a certain someone) was bonus!!
We got our race packets, I did a little expo shopping, hooked up with our friends from New Orleans, tried to solve our friend’s ever-present 12hrs before race “my power meter doesn’t work” problem (which never got rectified…), and then racked our bikes.
It was now 6pm. The 4 of us had 6:30 dinner reservations and we were all a hot sweaty mess. So much for a nice and relaxed pre-race afternoon.
I think I made it to bed by 10:30 or so.
4:20 the alarm went off and I headed to my spot in the bathroom to make coffee. My husband is NOT (gasp!) a coffee drinker and slept in until around 5:15 and then showered to loosen up….that’s his coffee! whatever!!
Transition opened at 5am and closed at 6:45am.
1 thing AquaDoc does NOT like and that is to be surrounded by a bunch of nervous energy as it screws with his head. He’s normally very calm and sedate until you get him around a bunch of jacked up folks. Then he starts getting’ all jacked up himself.
Transition=Jacked Up Folk with Nervous Energy
Therefore, we usually get to body marking about 30-45 minutes before the place closes up.
The plan was to get down there around 6.
As I drink my coffee, I’m analyzing every ache in my knee and leg. I start thinking about the breeze I can hear outside the room. I hear my dads voice as he warns me about the front coming through and the winds “picking up”. In my head, I see those buoys in the water and wonder if all those miles I’ve been swimming will carry me…
I wonder why the damn hotel doesn’t have a mini bar?!! Kidding….sorta…not really…
Then I go back in time, and pull out a file from what seemed like so long ago:Obviously a very different plan was in mind when I originally wrote and posted this, but the fact that it still pertained to the day ahead struck me as both ironic and symbolic. A little back peddling…. Friday there was some concern that my leg/knee pain…whatever the hell it is….may not be ITBS but more of a “baby” stress fracture. Apparently the bone bruise/bone marrow edema and the joint effusion on the MRI is not really indicative of ITBS at all. I guess that would show up as a thickened band and that’s not whats there al all. GREAT! So while I wasn’t forbidden to participate in this event, I was advised to take it down several notches. Uhhh, ok so whats that? I was advised to use it as a long training day, to hover around Zone 2-lower 3 keeping RPE right in the middle. This wasn’t a day to prove anything and I was supposed to start accepting that. Thanks for the 48hrs notice! So with that in mind, we head down to get body marked and set up our transition areas. My husband was heading into the water at 7:20am and I wasn’t jumping in until 8:20am. I had a ton of time to continue coming to terms with the rest my day! I do loathe sitting around and waiting… Lets move on to the good stuff, shall we?!! THE SWIM I spent a good 90 minutes watching everyone else line up, walk to the end of the pier, jump in and swim. Those buoys seemed sooooo far away. I tried not to focus on it as I chatted with a few people hanging around watching as well. I did see 1 swimmer be rescued and felt really bad for her as she had to dismount the jet ski, climb up onto the pier, and walk through the long line of racers heading TO the water. It would seem to me there would have been a better way, but that’s just me! The 40-44 women (that’s us in purple caps!) lined up about 8am and started walking towards the end of the dock. We jumped in at about 8:17 and had to tread water for exactly 3 minutes before the horn fired. The last thing I remember thinking was that my husband was already out on the bike course and that I was sooo jealous!! Once I started swimming everything was fine. All worries were gone and I settled into the nice groove I established earlier in the week at the pool. I knew how I wanted this to feel so I simply found it and stayed there. A few times that natural tendency to push kicked in and I sped up, but quickly I reminded myself of the length of the day and dialed it down. There were only 2 uncomfortable moments. 1 was when I got kicked in the jaw, rather forcefully, by someone doing breaststroke and the 2nd was when we passed the men from the previous wave. A rather large man swam on top of me as I rounded the 2nd buoy and for a brief moment I couldn’t get out from under him. These were more annoyances than anything else and remaining calm was key to continuing on without any difficulty. I swam until my fingers dug dirt and rose to my feet. I wasn’t dizzy, winded, or aggravated… which meant I swam it right…FINALLY! My goal was a comfortable 40 minutes. I looked at my watch as I was coming out of the water and it read 8:59. 39 and change BINGO! I headed to across the timing pad and to the wetsuit strippers. Then it was into T1…for a short eternity. Official Swim Time: 40:36 T1 First I will say I was a long way from bike out. Then I will say I just really wasn’t in a real big hurry to get anywhere. I need to work on that attitude and it is one of my focus areas for the rest of the season. I lolly gag in transition and its gotten worse with time, not better. I have no idea WHAT I’m doing, but I’m pretty sure its non-productive. That being said….feel free to hold me accountable to lowering my transition times! It shouldn’t be hard! Are you ready for this…. Official Time: 6:10 BIKE To say that the Galveston community was a little focused on the cycling portion of this race would be like saying a kid kinnda likes Christmas. A certain “someone” was in town and all eyes were on him….including many of us out on the course IF we were lucky enough to have that opportunity. I was not one of them. My husband was. And now he will spend the rest of his life wondering why HE too can’t ride a bike like that?!!! The course was 28 miles down the seawall and 28 miles back. Not too technical, but I didn’t have a computer and somewhere around mile 15 I started going stir crazy. It was windy, my ass hurt because I opted to use my Cobb saddle instead of the ISM Adamo(….don’t ask?!!), and I had no clue where I was from a mileage standpoint. I was wearing a simple Polar watch to keep time of day ONLY…so I knew how long I’d been out there and could approximate the distance, but without a computer everything was a guess. It was terrible and I’ll NEVER do that again. Once I hit the turn around my mental status improved, but my physical one deteriorated. That saddle had made riding in aero near impossible. I was up and down, up and down, up and down. I was squirming every which way to find a comfortable spot and there was just not one to be had. Finally, I decided to ride the rest of the way out of the bars. I was more comfortable and felt faster despite being a sail in the breeze. While my crotch was burning like a California wildfire, my legs felt spectacular! I could’ve ridden ANOTHER 56 miles at that pace (with the right seat) and at some point during my thought-provoking ride, I decided THAT was just what I would do. I was going to do a FULL Ironman!! Yup, what a great time to make truly rational decisions. But I had nothing else to do out there, so I started planning for the future. I also saw some GREAT pieces of property, so if you’re in the market for a home on the water… Google: Galveston Beach! There were a few times I decided to check my heart rate, for old times sake and 135-138 tended to be my range. I gave myself a pat on the back for following “Plan B”! Despite coming out and only using this as a long workout, I really wanted to be off the bike in 3hrs. Didn’t happen. Damn! Official Time: 3:09:03 T2 Glory Days. I was finally able to get my ass off that seat! A quick look at my watch and I saw it was a little after noon. GREAT! 80F…. 85% humidity….High Noon Sunny….and I don’t think I can really run 13.1 miles so this is gonna be a long afternoon. I got my bike racked, changed shoes and decided to stop and pee. No records were being broke today so I decided there was no need to piss my already funky britches. Another day…Another time! I chatted with a couple of very happy guys in the porta potty line…I guess everyone’s giddy once they’re pardoned from bike seat hell….got bathed in some of the most acne inducing sunscreen known to man (I’m STILL breaking out from that crap)….said a few Hail Mary’s and begged the Tri Gods one last time to let me run this thing… and I was off and running, sorta… Official Time: 7:06 RUN…err WALK…err SHUFFLE 1st I don’t want minimize the task of running 13.1 miles and especially 13.1 miles after swimming 1.2 and cycling 56. We all know what our bodies are capable of doing. My annoyance was not with the time as much as it was with the fact that my body couldn’t perform to its full ability. That being said, this was a hot 13.1, but definitely the easiest for me b/c of doing it so slow. It was a 3 loop course that covered the grounds of the host hotel PLUS a mile strip at an airfield just outside of the transition area. THIS airfield sucked! BIGTIME! It was hot, lonely and seemed to go on forever. I heard more people complain about that than any other part of the race. I kid you not, we all looked like zombies making our way around that loop. It was sheer misery! I ran from aid station to aid station and my knee held up for the 1st 6 miles doing this. I would break and walk for a minute or so when I did reach an aid station and get water, oranges (My LORD, I’ve never eaten so many oranges as I did on this day!), and cold sponges. No doubt about it, it was hot as hell out there and people were dropping like flies…mostly from various types of muscle cramps. My husband included. He ended up walking the 2nd half of the run course and having a VERY difficult time doing that because of some wicked calf cramps. He had ZERO electrolyte support during his training and racing and it came back to bite him in the ass. I saw him on my 2nd loop and was surprised to a) see him because I figured he was long done and b) shocked that he looked as awful as he did. I was ready to stop for a second and chat, but there was no way he could stop moving for even a second or really muster any form of conversation because he was so focused on a certain pattern of movement to keep his legs from seizing. In the end, his run time was almost as long as mine! But this type of thing was going on everywhere around me. So I felt pretty good about my nutrition plan. I think even if I was truly running, I would’ve been fine. After about 6 miles, my knee started giving me problems and I ended up having to walk more than run. However, the more I’d walk, the more my quads and hamstrings would start to tighten so when I attempted running again it was a tad difficult getting started. I was also growing a lovely set of blisters from my wet socks. Sponges are awesome…wet socks are not! And neither is Ironman Perform in mango. Really?? How about a more neutral flavor folks?!! YUCK! I ran, walked, shuffled, hobbled, “oh, ow..not that way’ed” myself to the finish… FINALLY! Subtract 1:20 and that’s how I got it done that day As for the run itself….I suppose it’s not too bad all things considering… but it still makes me pause as I write it… Official Time: 2:39
No. Indeed not, but far from where I held myself accountable to finishing.
My original goal was under 6 hours.
I’ve allowed myself a week to study the results and mourn.
A proverbial, what could’ve been….
What would’ve been…
Official Time: 6:29:31
My husband pointed out if I would just move my happy ass outta transition swiftly, I could shave 10 minutes right there. So true.
As with any race, we take the lessons learned and apply them to the future.
My #1 piece of advice for anyone embarking on this journey, for the 1st time, is to enjoy the process…
The day before the race I was stressed out and tweeted something to that effect. I received 1 back from Base Performance that simply read,”Relax and Enjoy the Journey.”
It was just what I needed to hear/read at that moment.
Sometimes we get so tied up in performance (or lack thereof) that we forget to have fun.
From that moment on, I referred to the race as an “event” because I was not racing. It took the pressure off and I stopped feeling “bad”.
You only get 1 chance to have your “first time”…so go out and absorb every little detail. It’s a long day, but it’s an AWESOME day. You’re gonna be a part of something great and see some fantastic moments. Take it all in so you can remember every second of your time out there.
In a way, I’m glad I was forced to slow down and take a minute to enjoy the process I was going through. A lot of work goes into getting ready for this and all too often there’s not time to appreciate the fitness we develop and the amazing things OTHER people achieve out on that course because we’re so busy getting ourselves to the finish in record time.
On April 1st, I definitely got a moment to stop and smell the roses. It was a great day and I wish the same experience for everyone, especially those tackling 70.3 for the 1st time.
BUT…as for me…the NEXT go round…
I’ll out there kicking ass and taking names.
And I promise, I’ll be enjoying that journey just as much!
Train Happy, My Friends!