April 2, 2012

Galveston 70.3...The day I raced against Lance Armstrong

Ok...so I didn't REALLY race Lance Armstrong but I did have a great "day at the races," with a few exceptions here and there. I am six weeks out from Ironman Texas and a half-ironman is a great way to test fitness and clear out some cobwebs for my first ironman of the season. Not to be mention I wanted to race hard and put forth a good effort to see what my potential is in the half-iron distance.

 Getting to Galveston is not too hard since it's a four hour drive south east from Austin. Jason, Corinne (our home stay from the UK who was also racing) and our neighbor Bekah all drove down together Friday afternoon after the hustle and bustle that defines prepping for a triathlon. We arrived to find light winds, high humidity and relatively cool temps. This would not be the case on race day though, which is perfect since I race very well in heat/humidity.

My sherpa for the weekend 

Jason and I settled into our hotel, which included a kitchenette, so I could prepare my own pre-race meals. Loved it! If anyone read my earlier blog post reviewing our 2011 season you would know that my first ever half-ironman went horribly due to food poisoning! I slogged my way through a painful 70.3 miles to finish in 5:50. I really shouldn't have started that race but I'm stubborn. Right Jason? ;)

Saturday was spent riding a bit of the course and going for a short run along the sea wall. The humidity and heat were up but the winds were way down. Everyone was excited at the prospect of light winds since this race is notorious for it's headwinds/sidewinds. 

After all the usual triathlon prep, Jason and I settled into our hotel for a nice evening together dining, napping and watching movies. Eight hours of solid sleep later, it was race morning.

Before my race, I wrote down the following goal times for each leg of the race Swim- 31 minutes Bike- 3:45 Run-1:35. Let's see what happened :)

Swim: Terrible. Ok moving on to the bike. 

Ha! So the swim was a mess. I was able to get in with a pack of girls for about the first 50 meters. And then they were gone and I was drifting, drifting, drifting to the right the whole time. I could not, for the life of me, get back on course. I was always about 10 meters to the right of the buoys (on a counterclockwise course). It was so frustrating and I kept telling myself that since I had lost the lead girls, my chance at placing in a top position in my age group were over. I wanted to turn to one of the race officials out on the paddle boards and say "hey man, why don't you just pull me out of the water and take me back to shore, because my race is pretty much over." BUT I told myself to toughen up and see what I could do on the bike and run. 

After reviewing the race results (including pro women) the swim was definitely honest, if not a bit long so I felt a bit better about my performance after the fact. But my sighting was definitely "off" yesterday. Coach Hillary and I both know I can swim faster than that. My past swim workouts show this. More work to do here before Ironman Texas.

Time: 35:47 (I came out of the water 26th in my AG...umm, time to play catch up on the bike and run)

 If you could see my face you would see a look of "pissed off-ness" :D

Bike: Ok, much improvement was made in moving up in the age group rankings on the bike. I picked off all the 25-29ers I could find. And when I passed them, I would NOT let them pass me again, and quite a few tried. I raced angry...which is a good way to race I think! There was a solid headwind/sidewind on the way out but I tried to maintain my average power closer to 180+ watts and not over-do it so that I had something left in the legs on the way back into town. The tailwind was great! I passed a few more 25-29ers on the way back into to town. There was one girl who would not let me pass her the whole way back. At mile 55 she started to stand up out of her saddle and rub her back..."she's hurting," I thought. And I sling-shot my way in front of her and never looked back.

The bike course ended up being 57 miles according to my Garmin and most of the other triathletes I spoke too but who's counting? ;)

Time: 2:48:50 (20 mph, Average power was 180 watts on the dot...love my new Quarq power meter... I made it to 13th in my AG, time to DO WORK on the run!)

Doing work

Run: The highlight of my race for sure! I was out of transition ready to chase down some girls! My first mile felt fine but my breathing was labored...I figured out why...my Garmin showed my first mile split of 6:40. Wow, pony! Reign it in girl! I needed to be hitting 7:15 minute miles but I was consistently hitting 7:05-7:10s. Yes, yes, yes! My nutrition was spot on for this race (THANK YOU POWERBAR) so I had all the energy I needed to chase down more girls in my age group. I was definitely running uncomfortable, but strong! And it was a steamy and humid run yesterday...but conditions that I excel in. Loved it!

Time: 1:32:31 (7:03/mi and ran my way to 6th in my age group)

Total time: 5:02...a personal best and a solid result for my first triathlon of the season. 

The top 3 girls in my age group busted out times of 4:38 and 4:46 and 4:47. I believe this early in the season that is a bit out of my league BUT I'm looking forward to continuing to bring down my half-ironman times and eventually get that coveted 70.3 World Championship slot and the opportunity to race in Vegas baby!

Time to for some recovery sessions and then back at training. Next up, Ironman Texas!

 Fun times with my love and good friends!

Thank you to PowerBar for helping to perfect my race nutrition! I have never fueled better than I have with the PowerBar products! Thank you coach Hillary for your awesome guidance and training. It's early in the season and we have even greater things to come! And thank you to the love of my life, Jason, for being my triathlon sherpa the whole weekend. I love you more than peanut butter :)


  1. Congrats! Yes, Hillary is great! :)

  2. YESSSS that's what I'm talkin' about Marquez!!!! You're right - race day is NOT the time to play nice. Tally that road kill and pick em off! ;) Great race lady.