Sunday, April 7, 2013

Galveston 70.3 Ironman Recap....the long version

(Galveston, TX)

The journey continues........

The weekend started off with an "ironkids" 1-mile fun run, which Sam and Alayna participated in (okay, well Alayna didn't exactly enthusiastically participate - don't let the picture fool I got to carry her the whole way).

 This was before Alayna realized she had to run, but Sam was super excited to be able to run and participate.  She kept asking me, "Dad.  Is my big race before or after your big race?"  Ah, now that is the type of excitement that is contagious!

Sammie posing for the cameras, she's gotten quite good at this!
Alayna thinking running under the finish line was cool, but only if it was for fun, by herself, and she could stop whenever she wanted.

What the event truly ended up like.  Sam super excited, Alayna acting like she is tired on my shoulder, and me really tired from carrying her the full mile.........but nonetheless, they both got "ironkids" finisher medals - which Sam was/is super excited about.

The start of the Ironman day.  Alayna giving me a pre-race hug, sipping some Gatorade (trying to hydrate - which becomes very important later in my recap), and taking in the start of the Pro and other age-group swimming waves.
And then my wave started getting closer and closer to start time, and the anxiousness of the day started to set in.  Not a bad "oh man, I have to do this" anxiousness, but a "it's about time, let's have some fun" anxiousness.........which Jamie says she will never understand - but it really is fun.
Swim - 38:08 (2 minutes faster than I swam in Austin last October)

The swim went really well.  The water temperature was 65 degrees, a bit cold, but once in and swimming it was more of a welcoming coolness rather than a bitter, chilling coolness.

 In Austin, I was the last person to start in my wave, to ensure no one would instantly swim over me.  This time I started in the front, but with the lay out of the course, I also stayed wide.  There were only two turns, so I probably did swim a little bit further than the other competitors, but it was well worth it to be out wide all by myself with no one a real threat to swim into or to swim over me.

Definitely prefer fresh water lakes to salt water oceans.......swallowing the occasional gulp of salt water is nasty!  Don't try it.  Just trust me on this one.

Wet suit rippers........are awesome.  Now some people say real triathletes don't use the "rippers", and that's okay......maybe when I am actually completing half ironman races in sub 5 hours, I won't need to use them.  But since that day may never come, I'll keep using them.  Again, they are awesome!

From nothing on........
To everything on.........Transition 1 (T1) 6 minutes and 46 seconds.......2 minutes faster than Austin.  Still needs work, but improving.  Probably doesn't help I don't have a traditional Triathlon race kit (top and bottom), and opt to get fully dressed in my bike gear to feel more comfortable, but it's a long ride.  I'll take comfort for 3 hours over a minute faster transition.........just saying.

 Bike - 2:54 19.3mph (29 minutes faster than I rode in Austin last October)

That is purely a thanks and shout out to my Saturday riding partner Ryan Reed for pushing me........and his aero bars he let me use.  Love aero bars.  Rode with them a couple times before the race, and fell in love with much so, he might never get them back (shhhhh, don't tell him).  Also, Ryan is a better cyclist than me, but his fastest 70.3 bike time is 2:57..........I'm just saying (this is in hopes of encouraging/taunting him to lace them back up for one more 70.3 Ironman).

As well as the swim went, the bike went even better.  I was hoping for something close to 3 hours, maybe 3:05 or in that range.......sub 3 hours I was ecsatitic about.  But once I settled into the aero bars, everything just felt good.  I figured the longer I rode, the cross wind and the heat may eventually set a tole on me......but it never did, and I just kept mashing away.....but effortlessly.  The ride was flat, but beautiful.  It was right along the coast line and beaches.  On the way back we were all hoping for a slight tailwind, but the wind switched directions, and never really gave us the push we were hoping for.  In fact, the last 15 miles of my ride it was a direct head wind.........whatever.

 Even with the head wind, I felt great.  And at about the 40 mile marker, I decided I wasn't going to leave any effort on the bike, I was going to max it out, and finish strong..........and then just hope my running legs weren't completely trashed.
Transiton 2 (T2) (3 minutes 41 seconds.......4 minutes faster than Austin).

 Run - 2:09 9:52 min/miles (9 minutes faster than I ran in Austin last October)

How I ran 9 minutes faster I will never know.  It felt worse, it felt slower, and the last 4 miles was ridiculously painful.  Two points come to mind right now.  1)  Remember I mentioned at the beginning about trying to hydrate.......yeah, well even with the conscious effort, I FAILED.  2)  Remember about how great my legs felt on the bike, and me making a conscious decision to max out and let my running legs fend for themselves? Ummmmm, might need think about that a little harder next time.

  I had my awesome support crew out there with me again though (Jamie, Sam, Alayna, Peyton, Mike, Gayla and Michelle made the trip too)!  Sam even collected flowers (grass weed flowers) for me!  Thanks Sam!  For the first 8 miles I was able to keep a 9:15ish min pace, but the whole time  I could feel my legs tightening up.  One of those awful feelings when you know something bad is going to happen, but just hope it waits until the finish line............

.........well, no such luck.  The last 4 miles were just painful.  My legs were exhausted from the bike effort, and even with all the gels/Gatorade/chomps/Cliff bars I consumed, my legs were done. (side note: I love cola on the race course.  With the cramps, I was willing to try anything and everything, and the cola was amazing.  Tasted so good, and somehow helped with the pain.  Don't know how, just saying the stuff worked.  I am a firm believer in coke now.) I knew I had made a conscious decision to finish the bike strong, but when I made that decision, had I accurately been able to imagine the cramping and pain that would ensue on the run, I would have at least thought a little longer about it.  Knots in my hamstrings and calves, which never went away, but on occassion, absolutely stopped me.  I tried to rub out the knots, but they were too tight.  Yep that face accurately portrays it.

Oh so happy to see the finish line.

All this for a medal?!  Well no.  But the medal is a nice reminder of the accomplishment.

Even Alayna thought so.

 My truly supportive family.  Love them all!
 And to my family that followed me on line, and kept texting with Jamie about pictures, times, and encouragement........I thank you all.  It is great to have such a close and loving family!

And let's not forget THE triathlon that started it all.................Holiday Family Reunion 2011 Bear Lake Utah!  It was a team relay some of you wish I wasn't able to find these pics to conjure up some of those memories! LOL!

I think Bear Lake was colder than 65 degrees.

Think this turned out to be more of a fast walk/slow run through the shallow water than a actual swim.

Pretty sure Craig won out of the water, or at least to our transition 1......all the teams had 3 people for each leg, if I remember right, Craig did the "swim" and the was that an advantage, to be able to jump right on the bike, and not have to tag off to someone else??  I think at the time it was to no one's advantage to do two legs.  I think we all had conditioning issues. LOL! :)

See you all again in July for our 2013 Holiday family reunion in Idaho!