Only one man would dare give me the raspberry! LONESTAR.
Tommy, Thomas and I all participated in the Lonestar Triathlon Festival this past weekend. Thomas did the sprint on Saturday and Tommy and I did the half on Sunday.
A half Ironman is 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of biking, and 13.1 miles of running. In that order, all at once, without stopping, without passing go and without collecting $2000.
The weekend ended with a slight disappointment, but overall, it was fabulous.
Onto the race!!! This is going to be a VERY long entry, so don’t bother reading it if you aren’t interested in the precise details of the race. I’m mostly blogging about it so I have it documented, not really for your reading enjoyment. So, it’s up to you.
Tommy and I packed up our race gear and headed to Galveston on Friday after work. We were going to stay at Thomas’s parent’s mansion on Friday night, watch Thomas race on Saturday morning, hang out Saturday day, and then Tommy and I would race on Sunday morning.
Friday night, we arrived at Mansion de Dickson, unpacked all our junk and ordered pizza. Tommy, Janelle, Thomas and I watched Heroes and had a few beers. We helped Thomas get his stuff together for race day and went to bed early.
Thomas left before the sunrise to get to the race site, so Janelle, Tommy and I just met him there – just in time to see the first wave of swimmers take off.
The sunrise over the swim start
Thomas was one of the few and brave who didn’t have a wetsuit, but he toughed it out and did a great job on the swim! Charles and Amada met us in time to see Thomas getting out of the water. He finished the bike and the run in great form and looked good up until the finish…when Tommy saw him about 100 yards from the finish, he apparently looked strong enough to do the horsey dance and play around, but when we saw him, 20 yards from the finish, he looked very angry…Haha.
He did great, especially for it being his first triathlon – he finished in 1:48:31. I am so excited for him…racing is so much fun and I want all my friends to play with me!! I’m gonna recruit Janelle next…watch out!!
Thomas looking pretty good for the start of the run!
Amada, Charles, Janelle, Thomas (the WINNER!), Tommy and I after Thomas's race.
After his race, we got him his celebratory pizza and we all watched the awards with a few cold brewskis thanks to Michelob Ultra. Then we went back to the house and took naps and watched tv. Mama Dickson made us the most amazing chicken marsala for dinner, I tried out a new water bottle on my bike, and I was able to convince the boys to watch Madagascar with me before bed…instead of Batman or Top Gun. It’s like I have super powers!!
Tommy and I woke up at the crack of dawn – I hopped in the shower (showering before a race is silly, this I know, but I need wet hair to French braid!), and then began the grueling process of applying Chamois Butter and Body Glide to every surface of my body I can reach. Gross. I used the stuff like lotion. Disgusting. Then, comes the sunscreen…which I also applied liberally to every available surface, but judging by my angry red shoulders, I did not apply liberally enough. Ouch.
Then there was the debacle of French braiding my hair. Ugh. I can’t French braid. I can’t really style my hair at all. I’m pretty incompetent at all things that are hair styling, but my hair NEEDS to be braided for tri’s…going from the swim cap, to the bike helmet to the run – the French braid is the only way I don’t have to mess with my hair all day. When I originally determined that French braiding was the way to go, I tried to recruit Tommy to be my hair dresser. We watched YouTube after YouTube video of people teaching French braiding and Tommy tried to learn. I’ll give him credit here, not many men would even attempt to braid their wife’s hair…he is a good man. Unfortunately, he sucks at doing hair even more than I do. Our poor future children…they will all get spike hair cuts, regardless of gender. So, I had to learn myself. Aaaaand, I suck at it. Big surprise. But I braid my hair for races anyway, and it looks a lot like an impressionist rendering of a French braid…you can tell what it is supposed to be, but you don’t really know why. It’s definitely a work of art. I’m getting better though. Really. Ugh.
My French Braided Creation.
Anyways, so I French braided my hair. Pain in my butt. It took about 30 minutes and my arms were very tired when I was done. I had to take a break.
I started my pre-race eating, which consisted of a Diet DP and a Kashi Bar (which I ultimately blame for the stomach pains I had about mile 40 of the bike, but whatever – no Kashi again!!). I started slamming the Gatorade and finished getting dressed in my magical tri outfit.
We packed up all our gear and went to Moody Gardens to set up transition. I got my area set up ‘just so’ and continued to hammer the Hatorade. I checked and double checked all my stuff. Pulled my cleat covers off my shoes, undid the Velcro, made sure my helmet fit over my braids, stuffed my socks in my shoes, put my glasses in my helmet, race number under my running shoes, etc, etc… And then I checked it again. When I could check it no more, Tommy and I wandered off to find bathrooms and then head to the swim start.
It’s really gross to pee before a triathlon because you’re barefoot and you have to go into a bathroom…if you’re lucky, it’s a real bathroom, if you’re unlucky, you get to go into a port-a-potty BAREFOOT. OMG. I’m not a germ freak, but this is too much even for me. I’ve done it, don’t get me wrong, but dear god, it’s the grossest thing I have ever done. EVER. Luckily, at this race, there were proper bathrooms, that were semi-clean that didn’t even have a line…it was weird. So I was able to pee whenever my little bladder wanted…which was super nice and definitely not the norm.
We found Amada who was watching Charles start his swim for the quarter – and then we sat around and waited for another hour before the first wave of the half was scheduled to begin. Ugh. This gave me lots of time to fret over the oysters in the water, the fact that I didn’t have a wetsuit and whether or not the wind was going to stay calm. And I was worried because I have really only swum like 5 times since Christmas…my shoulder has been bothering me so much that I figured I was better off not swimming that trying to push it. I think I made a good call.
Tommy’s wave finally started and he was off…then I got to sit around for 30 minutes by myself waiting for my wave (the last wave) to start. FINALLY it was my turn and my wave (Women 35 and under) got up on deck…and everyone had a wetsuit, except me. Awesome. Luckily, the water wasn’t too bad…a refreshing 67 degrees. I mean, it was freaking freezing, but the swim up to the starting buoys warmed me up enough…I felt pretty good after swimming up to the buoys and treading water for 5 minutes.
Tommy running up the swim chute after a swift 40 minute swim.
Then the swim began. I started in the middle of the pack but on the outside, so that I could swim wide and hopefully stay out of contact with other swimmers altogether. I hate the ‘washing machine’ and try to avoid it at all costs. I would rather swim an additional 500m than battle with people. But alas, my plan failed me at first. These girls were all up in my stuff. I got punched in the cheek, some hoe grabbed my ankle to try to drown me…UGH! But after the first turn, I was able to break free a little. I took it easy on the first stretch, trying to get a rhythm and see if my shoulder was going to cause any problems (it wasn’t hurting at all – yes!), picked it up a little in the middle and then on the final stretch, I picked it up quite a bit. I was swimming really hard for the last 500m – not kicking really because I wanted to save my legs, but my arms were working hard. I was really proud of myself – I felt like it was an awesome swim. But after the race, I was kind of disappointed to see that I had only swum it in 42:06 minutes. I know I am better than that. I FELT faster than that. The fastest guys swam it in 27ish minutes and Tommy swam it in 40, so I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but I am still a little blah about the whole thing.
Me running up the swim chute.
Swim Time was 42:06, pace of 2:11 per 100 meters.
Sidenote: For all your spectators out there, if you ever go watch a triathlon that is wet suit legal, find the wetsuit stripping area - it's always good for a few laughs.
I got out of the water (I didn’t know my time yet, so I was still boisterously happy) and hauled to T1. This was the first time that I didn’t have to change clothes and I am amazed at how much faster I was. I still sat down to put on my shoes though - bending over to put on socks just wasn’t happening – head rush! – and I lost some T1 time there. I had a semi-long run to the bike start in my bike shoes, which wasn’t fun, and then I couldn’t get on my bike for whatever stupid reason, so…
Transition 1 Time was 3:10. Much faster than previous transitions (last year my T1 was 5:20 – similar distances and everything).
I got on the bike feeling like a million bucks. I felt like I had rocked the swim and I was feeling awesome on the bike so far, I ate my granola bar, got re-hydrated and started fantasizing how awesome it was going to be when I broke 6 hours. Oh wait, what’s that Mr. Groin Inner Thigh Muscle? You don’t like biking? I HATE YOU! At mile 15, I pulled my right inner thigh/groin muscle and the pain began. I have no idea what I did or why, but my inner thigh was killing me. I couldn’t get comfortable on my saddle and I had to shift positions ever mile or so, which really hurt my aerodynamic-ness (is that word? Aerodynamacity? I dunno.). It was miserable. My back water bottle cage was loose and kept hitting my leg which was making me crazy so I ditched that bottle at the first aid station and then the Velcro on my new fun Bento box was rubbing against my thigh as well…all in all, after the first 15 miles, I pretty much wanted to strangle someone. I ditched the offending water bottle, readjusted the Bento box and forged onward. By the time I reached the San Luis Pass (mile 20ish) the wind started to pick up. I had been maintaining a steady 18-19mph pace (which is respectable, but not good), but by mile 20, I was down to 17-18mph. It was a crosswind, so it was easily managed, but it also meant that my shoulders and back were super tight and I couldn’t relax at all. At the turnaround, mile 28ish, the wind started getting really bad. Hard crosswinds, strong gusts, ugh!! And my groin was really starting to hurt really a lot, seriously, ow. And I had to pee. Awesome. I had just passed an aid station a mile or so back, and I seriously considered backtracking…that’s how badly I hurt. But I didn’t. I thought to myself, Keith (the race director) said there would be aid stations every 12 miles…I can make it to the next one. LIAR!! The next station wasn’t until mile 44…17 miles later. I was in tears, angry, tired, in pain, and desperately needing to pee. I stopped, peed, and stretched for about 5 minutes. I made myself get back on the bike and finish it up. I was able to maintain about 18mph over the last 12 miles so my average pace was in the 17.5 range…all in all a good day on the bike considering. Tommy found this wind information from the day of our race - http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/cgi-bin-mp/data_plot.cgi?mins=&datum=0&unit=1&stn=8771510&bdate=20090405&edate=20090406&data_type=wind&shift=&plot_size=large&metinterval= You can tell exactly when the winds started picking up – about 12pm…which is about when I was at mile 35 on the bike. Brutal. They went from about 8mph with 14mph gusts to 21mph winds with 32mph gusts. Ouch. Tommy pretty much escaped the hateful winds because he started 30 minutes earlier and he is faster than me…I am so very jealous. The final turn into Moody Gardens was hard…21mph headwind for 3 miles…it was rough, but the minute I got off the bike, I felt much better. Wind isn’t so bad when you aren’t trying to push against it so hard!
Bike Time was 3:11:24, pace of 17.6 mph average.
T2 was pretty smooth. Change shoes (didn’t sit this time), grab race belt, stuff Clif Blocs in my shirt, and we’re off…
Transition 2 was 2:08 (last year was 3:18 – the outfit pays off!)
And so the run begins.
My knee is definitely not healed. I’ve been able to do some 5 mile runs without much pain, but anything over that and it starts to hurt. I’ve noticed that when I incorporate walking into my run early on, the pain onset is delayed considerably, so my plan for this race was to take a 1 minute walk break at every aid station (they were about a mile apart).
Tommy, looking like a million bucks...probably almost done with the run.
Me at the beginning of the run.
Towards the end of loop 1.
I had some trouble getting my ‘sea legs’ back from the bike, and it took longer than usual to adjust, but once I got the hang of it, I felt pretty good. I felt better than I probably normally would have because I didn’t push myself on the bike at all. Because I couldn’t go very fast on the bike, I had all this energy left over for the run. Unfortunately, due to my knee, I wasn’t able to really use that energy for anything, so that was frustrating. I made myself stick to my plan, because I knew that in the long term, having an unhurt knee was better than breaking 6 hours. Ugh.
It was really frustrating. I felt my knee, but it never really hurt. On a scale of 1 to 10, it was a 2. It wasn’t affecting my stride or anything, but I could tell something was ‘off’…so I continued to walk at every aid station. I took my time enjoying the coke and a few chips, but was disappointed that there weren’t pretzels…I’m a pretzel girl.
My groin pain went away once I started running, so that wasn’t an issue at all, and since it was a 4 loop course and Tommy is faster than me, he caught up to me at the beginning of my second loop.
Hey, look! It's Thomas! Smile!
We ran together for a bit, but then we realized that he had a chance to break 5:30, so I sent him onward and upward. We passed each other a few more times and he finally finished in 5:26:43. He did AWESOME. He and Thomas then found me a couple of spots on the run course to cheer me on for my final 2 laps. I felt pretty good and had quite a bit of energy – I was feeling pretty strong…despite the wind’s best efforts.
This picture makes it look like I might actually have decent running form. It's a lie.
The wind was blowing so hard that the waves crashing on the dock would splash me, the guy’s beer was getting blown out of their cups (tragedy!) and the dust blowing around was BRUTAL. I ran with one closed half the time to avoid getting junk in my eyes. It was pretty rough. Gusts of 35mph aren’t something to joke about.
I spent a lot of time running with my head down or one eye closed to avoid getting dirt blasted when the wind would gust. It was rough.
My underarms started chaffing pretty badly early on on the run, so I got some Vaseline at the second aid station…that helped quite a bit and I was able to prevent anything tragic happening in my armpits.
After each lap, you would get a fancy little wristband to wear so you wouldn’t have to try to count to 4. You would be surprised at how hard it is to count when you are that tired and hungry and hot. I kept having to look down at my wristbands to see how many more laps I had left.
Tommy modelling the sexy wristbands and the Worlds Crappiest Water Bottle Known To Man
My stomach was kind of angry on the run, but it wasn’t too bad…I was miserable after the race though, that’s for sure!!
I finished the run feeling pretty good with a respectable time of 2:24:45…nothing to write home about, but I don’t need to bury my head either.
Run Time 2:24:45, pace of 11:03 per mile.
Done and done!
At the end, they took off my timing chip, gave me the world’s crappiest water bottle (EVER), a pretty nice towel and a medal that in my opinion is too small, but that’s just me. We ate pizza, had a beer, packed up transition and headed home…Thomas’s mom was nice enough to let us shower one more time and then we hit the road. It was a painful drive home – both of our stomach’s hurt really bad. I almost gave myself a hernia trying to poop at a gas station. It was painful.
Thanks to Thomas for coming to watch us race...and to Mama Dickson for letting us crash for the weekend!! It was a blast!
Café Adobe is always my prize for a big race, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it that day…so we saved it till Monday. We went home and were in bed by 7:30. Now that’s a good day right there!!
Summary of results:
Swim Rank Overall: 335/609
Swim Rank Age Group: 20/35
Bike Rank Overall: 431/609
Bike Rank Age Group: 20/35
Run Rank Overall: 392/609
Run Rank Age Group: 25/35
TOTAL HALF IRONMAN TIME: 6:23:34
Race Day Diet:
5:30 AM – Kashi bar and Diet Dr. Pepper
During transition set-up – Gatorade and Diet Dr. Pepper
30 minutes before swim start (8:30ish) – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bar
Drinking Propel Lemon Water (had to ditch the back bottle because the cage was loose)
Mile 3 – Chocolate Chip granola bar
Mile 13 – Orange Gatorade from aid station
Mile 15 – Peanut Butter Chocolate chip granola bar
Mile 24 – Water from aid station
Mile 26 – Chocolate Chip granola bar
Mile 34 – Gatorade from aid station
Mile 44 – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip granola bar
Mile 1 station – sponges and Gatorade
Mile 2 station – Coke and chips
Mile 3 – Vaseline, water and Clif Blocs
Mile 6 – Clif Blocs
Spent the rest of the stations, alternating between coke, water and Gatorade, loading up on Vaseline, and trying not to be sick to my stomach.