Friday, April 15, 2011

IM Texas 70.3 Pro National Championships in Galveston Texas

Galveston Charm!

Well the second race of the season has come and gone.

I have had a lot of changes happen since my race in Costa Rica in February.
As some of you might know by now…my biggest change came in the form of a new coach.
After 4 years under the guidance of Coach Paulo Sousa who got me to multiple Top 5 finishes in both Ironman and 70.3 and who taught me a lot about racing and training….I decided it was time for a change.
Sometimes I believe it is good to change things up and get a fresh outlook on your training. So with a lot of thought, as it was a very difficult decision I decided to look for a new coach.

After a lot of research and chatting to a few unbelievably nice and knowledgable and respected coaches I decided to go with Jesse Kropelnicki of QT2 Systems based out of Boston.

Jesse, and his coaching plan was everything I wanted in a complete package.
QT2 Systems offers a detailed and structured program. In my hectic life of training and running around with two kids this is what I needed.

So after Costa Rica we devised a plan for the year…which involved many changes.
Those I will save for another blog so I can get down to my race report.

Texas 70.3 was going to be my first race to test out how my new plan was going.
It was a conservative and very doable race plan with the hopes that I would finish with a positive outlook on where we are headed and how training is coming along.

The result was everything I was looking for! POSITIVE!!!

OK Finally now down to the race…

Galveston Texas a carefree windy beachside community and tourist destination.

Galveston Texas a carefree windy beachside community and tourist destination.
Trying to stay off my feet while waiting for bike mechanics to do some last minute things to bike. Thanks Bike Barn Texas for all your help!

Race morning started at 4am with a hotel wake up call that never happened. Thankfully I had set a backup alarm on my phone as the call finally came at 4.45????
By that time I had already had my pre race breakfast of not much.
1 bottle of EFS
1 bottle of Ultragen
1 banana

By 5 I was heading down to transition.
The pre race start went very smoothly.
Marking,wheels pumped,helmut checked, bathroom, transition set up, 3 bottles of EFS set up and ready to go.

By 6.35 I started the 10 minute walk down to the pier where we would start. All the time hoping that my new TYR wetsuit would fit.
Now I would usually have tried my wetsuit out in the two days prior open water swim. But we were not allowed to swim in the lake and my attempt at trying it on at the Moody Gardens pool after a swim workout failed as I was alone,wet, and could not zip it up by myself.

Dockside at 6.55 I chatted with Teammate Hillary,Kelly, Tyler and Desiree. This was a big field of very talented girls racing. When you look around and see a dozen Ironman or Half Ironman Champions you know it's going to be a tough race!

The guys race started at 7am and then we were allowed to jump in the water and do a 2 minute warm up…which pretty much meant swimming over to the start.
As I jumped in the water and started swimming I could feel I had not pulled my new TYR Hurricane wetsuit up high enough and it felt like it was choking me in my neck. These wetsuits are made to fit so snug and I spent my last minutes just trying to get comfortable.
As soon as the gun went I sprinted staying nicely with the group. First buoy I was with the group…second buoy…still there but now on the back, third buoy on the back but with the stragglers. 4th buoy trailing the last girl who then stopped to adjust her goggles. So now I was off the back and feeling every bit of the tightness of my wetsuit. It was pulling on my neck and restricting my arms. The girl who had stopped….blasted by me and caught up to the pack and I was left alone at the first turn around buoy.

We turned and the water got so choppy. I was fighting it alone. Making the third turn we headed straight into the waves and the current was strong. My tendency when swimming on my own is to settle into ironman pace .Just then two girls came swimming by. I was pleasantly surprised and it gave me renewed energy and focus. I jumped on their feet and pretty much stayed there to the last turn around buoy where they decided to go super of fcourse and I decided to swim once again on my own but stay closer to the buoys. We pretty much ended coming out the water together.

I was happy as I would have some girls to push me. Sadly I heard them yell out Tyler Stewart and Karen Theurig two of the strongest cyclists in the sport. Tyler has biked 4.45 in an IM and Karen was an Olympic Cyclist. So it took about twenty minutes before both disappeared.
Then it was me and my awesome Kestrel...…alone. This gave me a chance to settle down into the race plan that Jesse and I had spoken about.
I tried to ignore the 20 mph plus wind that was blowing like crazy. I had decided to race with my disc on and I had been on the fence about the decision. It turned out to be a good decision as although I was getting blown around a little this was a steady head/cross wind and not big gusts. When the wind started to grow old I then took my focus on getting my EFS drinks down and drinking my liquid shots at the right times. Due to the lack of speed work in the days prior it took me so long to get in race mode and my legs finally seemed to come around at mile 15. I then started to settle in and was happy every 5 miles or so to see a girl in the distance and to make up a lot of ground and pass them and then look for someone else.

I felt very strong the last ten miles on the bike and came into T2 feeling good. The run was a 4 loop windy and windy concrete run around Moody Gardens. Coach Jesse had given me a race pace and a heart rate plan to stick too and this is what I did.The result was as the run progressed I started to feel stronger. It is always encouraging to be passing girls later in the race. So I finished the race with my fastest miles and a big smile on my face.

Even though this race left me in 14th place. It was a very solid day out there for me. It was a star studded field. Every girl in front of me had earned her spot there. I feel this was a good start to the season under a new training and racing plan!

After the race I had a large bottle of Ultragen ready and a quick massage so I could hurry up the recovery process as I knew I was in for a big training week. The day after the race I left Galveston Texas and headed to Woodlands to check out the Ironman Texas course and then flew straight to Orlando to a QT2 Systems camp in Clermont FL. It's been a fun busy hard training week!

Next up St Croix!

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