Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Galveston 70.3 2011 Recap

I'm gearing up for the Galveston half ironman on Sunday.  It was the first half ironman I ever did, and was quite an experience.  So, I tracked down my race report.   In retrospect,  the race was somewhat of a very large learning experience, and in a few days, I'm going back out to make new memories on the course.

So, here's the original report:

The swim was a deepwater start.  That’s when I realized what I had signed up for.  The whistle goes off and we all start swimming.  The swim out was good.  Not too crowded.  As soon as we made the first turn, it seemed that hell broke loose.  The wind was coming across us, and if you’ve ever seen a plane land in heavy cross winds, you’ll know what it was like.  I was swimming DIAGONALLY.  It was somewhere soon after the turn that I got kicked in the face.  The water was cold enough that I couldn’t tell if I was bleeding or not, and kept going.  About two minutes later, I got a perfect smack to the back of the head.  I would have started laughing if it hadn’t hurt so bad!  The rest of the swim was uneventful.  After we made the next turn and headed back to land, the wind didn’t affect us as much, and my speed went back up.

Transition went well.  We had strippers!  As this was my first triathlon, I really didn’t know what to expect, but the wetsuit came off FAST, I got to rinse the salt off my legs and face, and off I went to get my shoes.  I was surprised to see how many bikes were still in transition. Transition went well.  Sunscreen, socks, shoes, belt, bike, helmet and glasses.  I almost forgot my timing chip, but remembered it at the last second.  The first split was fine.  Uneventful.  The wind was tiring, but it was a beautiful ride.  The hill called “Big Nasty” cracked me up.  So much riding in the hill country had me prepared.  I settled into a good pace and occasionally got out of the saddle to change my position.  I made the halfway point in good time.

At 30 miles I got my first flat.  Between 30 and 40 I had five separate flat tires on the back tire.  On flat four, I had someone pull over to toss me a tube, I changed the tire, used the last of the CO2 I’d carried from the last flat (she was out too) and while she was STANDING THERE, her tire blew.  I was stunned.  And we had no more CO2 to give her tube back to her.  She walked on-I wish I could find her and thank her.   I’ve had my tire checked-there’s nothing wrong with the it, and nothing IN the tire.  I found out later that someone salted the course with tacks.  The course director said that this was the worst course for flats that he’d ever seen, and that someone the day before (on the sprint) had four flats.  Quitting?  Not an option.  On the way back, I counted down the miles and did the math “Okay, five miles-If I flat again, it will take me this long to run with the bike...Okay, four miles-If I flat again, it will take me that long to run with the bike.”  I wasn’t going to quit.

When I got in to transition, I unclipped the right foot to lean to the right, the wind caught me, and before I could unclip the left foot, I fell over on my left side.  Par for the course.  I only hope someone got a good laugh out of it.  I’m still finding bruises from that fall! The run didn’t go as well as I would have liked.  I haven’t seen the official times (after five flats, who really cares, as long as I didn’t DNF).  The flats screwed up the nutrition that I’d had dialed in for the race.  It showed.  My shoes got REALLY wet, and about mile 2 I felt the blisters start on the bottom of my feet.  But I kept thinking:  if this was supposed to be easy, it wouldn’t have the word “ironman” associated with it.  So I kept going.  I walked through some of the water stops like I do when I run a marathon, and just didn’t stop.  I’m not really fond of the four lap course-two laps would have been better.  But as far as spectating went, it gave me a chance to see my kids and family several times.

I’m still not really sure how to feel about the race.  I went out with a time goal.  That fell apart between miles 30 and 40.  On one hand, I PR’d this race, and I’ll PR the next time.  But I’m frustrated with how far I missed my time goal by.  I keep hearing about how five flats-people would have DNF’d, so I’m encouraged that I didn’t give up, but I’m also discouraged. But, most importantly, I know I’m physically ready for the HIM.  Onto bigger things!  And I’m going to make an annual thing out of the Galveston HIM. (and I’m going to look into steel belted radials!) I got to see the best part of triathletes.  I’ve learned that the sport is not truly an individual sport, but a team sport.  Everybody helps everybody, everyone cheers for everyone. You guys make me proud to be a triathlete.  I wish I could thank personally the people who threw me tubes and CO2.

As I read through this nearly a year later, smarter and more experienced, some thoughts come to mind.  I'll post on my reflections and goals for this weekend tomorrow, as well as my nutritional plan.   A lot has changed for this season!  What a great race to kick off the season right!


  1. Do me a favor this weekend. When you "chick" Lance, tell him I said "Whats up" Thanks.

    Seriously though have a great race and best of luck, all of us at BT are pulling for ya.

    1. Thanks, Don! With so many pros in this race, it'll be hard not to bump into at least one on this course. Well, at least on the run course, while they're passing me, lol!