A couple weeks before, there was an oil spill in the bay and then leading up to the race, the weather man was saying it would rain along with thunder and lightning. But got the all clear on the water and the weather was not threatening on race morning so the races proceeded as planned.
When checking in, my friend Amanda and I got to skip the long, really long athlete check in and went straight to the front. Why? Because we are what Ironman brand calls an All World Athlete. Still a little shocked at this because I only did two Ironman brand events last year and they were Ironman Texas which I got 31st in my age group and then Austin 70.3 which I got 13th in my age group. So I am only a bronze level athlete and they put a nice bronze sticker on my race bib to let everyone know. :)
Arrived at the race site at about 5:30am and quickly setup my transition spot. Nowadays, I am faster at setting this up. Sometimes I obsess about the transition setup, but I have set this up the same way for the last few times and it seems to work great for me, so why change things up? Well, this morning it was raining and looked certain that it would rain more, so I put my bike shoes, run shoes and all run gears in bags. Seemed to help a little.
After this was setup, went to say hello at the JSC/SBS tents. Went for a quick "wake up" run and then back to the tent to begin the wetsuit setup. I was in the first non pro wave for 7:10. However, start was delayed by 5 minutes. Standing just outside the pier, looking at the pros swim and the kayaks in the water, I noticed some waves and it was still pretty dim out to see the first turn buoy.
Anyways the first cannon goes off and the pros swim away. It becomes our turn, we walk down to the pier and hop off to get our first taste of ocean water. It wasn't that cold and well it is Galveston so the water isn't clear. Treaded water for 5 minutes and then off we went. I have been working on my swim, in the pool. But unfortunately, I need help in open water. I, even though I have done 8 tris now, still seem to forget how to swim when it comes to open water. I get so disoriented and tend to swim more than the race distance, every time. I need to find someone to take the time and watch me in open water. And fix it. Any volunteers? Anyways, the waves really don't help me with sighting or swimming in a straight line considering the current worked against me.
My goal was to sprint the start and then find some feet to stick on. I made it all of 100 meters and then got a serious kick to my right goggle and when I went up to sight, took in a LOT of water. In my mouth. Galveston water. Eww. So no feet for me. Anyways I slowly made progress towards that first turn buoy, taking in water a few more times. Double Eww! At this point, I am doubting ever doing a triathlon again. (this was my first ocean swim) Never in a race have I been so happy to see that first turn buoy. The next straightaway was easier, waves not coming right in my face. Found some feet finally and hung on for a while, but then realized this person was leading me more right. Duoh! And then I saw the wave after us had already caught up. Bummer. Made it to the last turn buoy and swam straight towards the swim exit. Or so I thought. I went a little far right and missed the ramp to exit. Swam in 41:45 for 41st in my age group.
Ran to transition, passing people, seriously, why don't people run while in transition? And got straight to my bike. Easy to find as it was racked in the first row. And I was the only bike in my age group with lime green tires. Maybe doesn't match the best on my bike but definitely makes it easier to spot. Throw on my helmet, run to just before bike out, throw Considering my sub par swim, I knew I had to bring it on the bike. On the way out, there was a tailwind. I capitalized on that for sure, hitting the turn around in like 1:06. The turn around I slowed way down for - don't need to crash due to the roads being slick! And at this point I couldn't see anymore out of my sunglasses, and took them off, putting them in my back pocket. And hit a head wind. But it wasn't too crazy. The wind shifted a little like 10 - 15 miles from the end. Crosswinds with my 80s on was a little interesting but I have been there, done that on these wheels. Nothing new. Had some guys pass me but I held on to one and then the turns to the end. Got to say, I felt like I was flying on the tarmack. That was kind of cool/unique. I had the fasted bike split in my age group putting me now 6th in my age group with 2:24:18.
Quickly got in transition, put on the socks and shoes and off I ran. At this point, the sprinkling of the rain was done and the humidity was in full force. I got some water at every single aid station, some with ice, and tossed it over my head. For like a few seconds of relief. Thankfully they have aid stations every mile pretty much. My tummy was begging me to make a quick pit stop, did that in like 40 seconds (record?) and off again. My legs were a little heavy and boy did I just want to quit. But again, not giving in. It seemed like a lot further than just over 4 miles but made it through the first one. At the beginning of the second, I was doubting that I could stick the pace. I tried real hard and began the 3rd lap, just looking to at least stay the pace and if I can, pick up a little at the end. I didn't really pick up the pace until a quarter mile from the finish but finished strong. Ran myself into 3rd place in my age group with a 1:39:29.
Going into this race, I had a few dream goals and realistic goals. 1. Go sub 5 hours - finished in 4:49:49 2. podium in my age group - got 3rd place 3. don't let any of the JSC guys finish before me - Colin passed me but I was just finishing up my 2nd lap where he was finishing the 1st so success 4. - get a World champs slot. Well that one I failed on. There were two slots in my AG and the other two girls claimed them. So I waited for roll down and they rolled down in the 35 - 39 and 40 - 45 but then the older ladies didn't want their slots so that opened up some for the most populated age groups. Those previously mentioned. There were two ladies waiting around for them and took them. I would have been next, if there was one more slot. So I missed a slot by one, twice. :( Oh well, better race harder next time!