Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lone Star Tri - Quarter Distance Triathlon

Galveston, TX

.6 mile swim
28 mile bike
6.5 mile run

6 of 42 in Age Group (AG)(30 - 34*)
30 of 256 women (not including elites)
238 / 795 overall

Swim -- 21:37.15 (17/42 in AG) - 2:14 pace
T1 -- 2:37.25 (11/42 in AG)
Bike -- 1:25:25.20 (7/42 in AG) - 19.7 mph
T2 -- 1:49.25 (9/42 in AG)
Run -- 53:06.25 (7/42 in AG) - 8:10 pace

*USAT rules have you race at your age as of 12/31, so even though I don't turn 30 until November, I am racing in my new AG

Race Weekend
Galveston is about an hours drive from Houston (with no traffic) so we decided to drive down race morning rather than spending the night in Galveston the night before the race. I even got special permission to pick up my packet race morning so we didn't have to spend half a day driving down to Galveston and back on Saturday. With our Saturday free, I woke up and did a 30 minute easy swim to stay loose and then relaxed with the boys before going to Andrew's T-ball game. After T-ball it was naps for everyone and then off to take bluebonnet photos (a Texas tradition).

Finally picked up a pizza (coal fired, thin crust yummy goodness and perfect pre-race food for me) at nearly 8:30 before dropping the boys off at my in-laws. We have tried waking them up early to go to a race and it didn't turn out well, tired toddlers and pre-k kiddos = cranky boys. As a side note, we are planning on taking them to Ironman, but we are going to ask my mother-in-law to come with us so the boys can sleep in and play during the day while Daddy is busy being my #1 fan. I finally fell asleep around 11:00 after packing my transition bag and setting the alarm for 3:45 a.m.

Race Morning

Woke up feeling quite rested considering I didn't get a lot of sleep and we were out the door by 4:05 and pulled into Galveston 1 hour later. I dozed off and on in the car while my amazing hubby did the driving. As soon as we arrived we went to the registration tent to pick up my packet and then it was off to transition to get set up after eating my cold oatmeal that I made at 4:00 a.m.

I spent quite a bit of time setting up my transition area and looking around to see how other people organized their areas. Since it was the first race of the season, I felt a bit out of practice setting up my transition area.

Once I got my transition area set up, I made the walk to the swim start and put on my wetsuit. I put body glide on my ankles and calves and the suit went right on. I also learned that you are not supposed to put the zipper pull fully inside your wetsuit (which is what likely caused the chaffing a couple of weeks ago)! I was in the third to last swim start so there was quite a bit of waiting. When it was finally my turn to get into the water, I was so thankful to have a wetsuit on because the water was COLD!

The Swim

I had a good swim and felt totally at ease in the wetsuit. My sighting was not too bad, although not perfect, so I was surprised by how slow my pace per 100 was compared to my pool times (avg around 1:55 for long, easyish efforts). When I hit the ramp, I easily found my zipper pull and was able to get the wetsuit to my waist with no problems. I almost passed the wetsuit strippers because they were standing a bit back of the main path. Thankfully, I heard someone scream "wetsuits" and something clicked so I turned, laid down and the wetsuit was off in mere seconds.

T1 went well with the only mistake being that I didn't take the extra 15 seconds to put on my Garmin. I thought I could do it once I was on the bike, but alas, I was too worried about dropping it, so I put it into my Bento box and chalked it up to a learning experience. Yet another reason to buy the new Garmin 310xt!

The Bike

I decided going into this race that I really wanted to race it rather than just pace it. I often keep a little extra in the tank (or a couple of beans in my pocket as my training partner Mark likes to say) as to not blow up on the course, but then I end up wondering how much faster I could have been if I had actually pushed it. So, after fidgeting with my Garmin on the bike (which took me longer than the 15 seconds max it would have taken me in transition),I settled in for the ride. I quickly caught myself playing it safe and decided to kick it up a notch and start pushing it.

I felt surprisingly good on the bike and I kept telling myself "this is what you train for". It was my body convincing my mind that it was ok to push it an not play it safe. This was also my first race to use the aerobar water bottle and I LOVED it. The bottle hand offs were a breeze and came at the perfect times. Why didn't I start using one of those sooner? I was pushing 18ish mph on the way out and 21ish mph on the way back on the out and back course, with the difference in speeds being attributed to the wind. I was really proud of my 19.7 mph average. For those of you on the Eastern seaboard, this was a pancake flat course.

Pulling into the transition area was a bit frustrating as some of the riders ahead of me were slowing up to get out of their shoes way before the dismount area (at least a quarter mile out). I am ok with that, just stay to the right. Plus, there was a lot of oncoming bicycle traffic because the Half Iron athletes that started after us were starting on the bike portion.

Running bike into T2

Got to the transition area, easily found my spot, changed shoes, grabbed my Trakkers visor and was on my way. I was trying to think of how to save more time in transition and I think that I need to look into speed laces for my race shoes.

T2, tying shoes (hence the need for speed laces)

The Run
I was able to put my Garmin on at the beginning of the run and I was thankful to have it. Mostly because I wanted to push the run too, but not burn out and I have a hard time gauging perceived exertion as the day wears on. I started the first of the two loops fast and started to feel a cramp developing in my left calf (never had that happen before) and developed a small side stitch which slowed me down a bit, but I was able to run out of the cramps and was able to really speed up my pace the second lap and really kicked the end.

Run, end of lap 1

I got myself through the run by trying to catch the next person in front of me (small goals) and then by reminding myself that "I can do anything for 2 miles, 1.5 miles, 10 minutes, etc. Also, as usual, it is so great to see my husband Doug along the course - the occasional fist bump always gets me going faster!

Overall, I was really happy with my time (I wish I had a better sense of how to compare a Quarter distance time with an Olympic distance time), but I was happy with my effort and felt that I left all of my beans on the course ... well, maybe there was one left in my pocket! Doug also has me questioning my decision to purchase a road bike and making it aero instead of just buying a tri bike. He said, "imagine how much faster you would have been on a tri bike". Hmmm ... I wonder if that is true? Any thoughts? For what it is worth, I ride a Giant Road Bike TCR AW (carbon/aluminum) with a Fast Forward seat post and aerobars. Recommendations?

Finish Line Video (the announcer even calls out my name)

Next stop, Panama City, FL for the Gulf Coast Tri Half Iron on May 9!


Kelly said...

Congrats on a great race!!

Paige said...

I don't know a thing about racing, but sounds to me like you did great! I had to read the wetsuit part twice...they have people who take off your wetsuit?! That strikes me as so funny for some reason, although I'm sure it comes in very handy.