Texas 70.3 Race Report

So I’ve been really psyched for this race for the past few months.  First of all I get to race.  I’m somewhat of a competition junky.  Secondly Kelly was coming down from Connecticut to race too.  Lastly it was a nice warm up for Ironman Texas.

I woke up bright and early Saturday morning and rolled down to Galveston to meet up with Kelly and Shaun for breakfast.  We spent the rest of the morning, eating, talking shop, and driving the course.  Driving the course I you could see the flags indicating pretty much a straight crosswind.  So this came in quite useful.  I had planned on a headwind heading out and a tail wind coming back.  I needed an alternate pacing plan for the bike.  The rest of the day was spent off our feet, writing training plans, except for athlete check in.

Race day breakfast has always been a quandary for me.  So I just rolled with what Kel was having, 2.5 cups of applesauce, a little protein pudding, a banana, and some Skratch.  Our waves didn’t go off until after 8 so we had Shaun park the car and we ate breakfast before rolling to transition.  Once in transition it took all of five minutes to set up.  I kept staring at my area thinking I was missing something.  I was but it didn’t dawn on me until later.  I went out after setting up to the CyTri tent to chill until it was time to head to the start.  About the time they started calling “One minute until transition closes” I looked at my feet and my running shoes were on. OH CRAP!!  On a full sprint I headed back towards transition.  Luckily the let me back in and I dropped my shoes at my bike. Dumb Scott, dumb.  Hopefully this wasn’t an omen of things to come.

Before I knew it the time to meander over to the swim start was upon me.  A couple of us started to wander over and get in line to jump in.   In we go.  Damn that’s cold.  Brrrr!!  1 minute….. 30 seconds…… go time.  And we’re off.  It took about 300 meters for me to feel my arms.  Did I mention the water was cold?  This was really a rough swim start.  Kicked, punched, elbowed, I had done to me and I doled it out just the same.  As I approached the first turn buoy I found some open water, until dude on my right decides it’s time to turn about 50 meters from the buoy.  Really?  From there I was fairly clear all the way to turn 2.  Never found any feet to stick to, but that happens.  The only thing I really noticed was that the kayakers were really aggressive in getting out to people in trouble.  They had no issues with getting REALLY close to you.  Anyway my plan for the swim was an easier, controlled swim (IM pace) and then go for it on the bike and the run.  Out of the water in 40:45.  Looks like I should have pushed a bit more.

On to the wetsuit strippers.  I picked the wrong dude.  He had an issue getting it over my feet.  I always debate whether to use the strippers or not.  Eh, you win some, you lose some.  Helmet on, shoes on, off we go.  The bike course pretty much set up like the wind was indicating the day before.  Almost straight crosswind.  Boo.  Well the roads out to the Seawall were pretty rough (ie not paved in places), but that was maybe the first mile so no biggie.  Up the tiny rise to the Seawall and then put the head down and head out on this out and back.  The out was pretty much uneventful until I got to the last aid station on the way out.  I don’t drink water in competition, just whatever sports drink is offered on course and I got to the last aid station before the turn around and no one had Perform out.  Huh?  I called out for it, but nothing.  I had   to stop at the end of the aid station and wait for someone do open a new box and grab a bottle.  Grrr.  Irritated, but again it happens.  These people volunteer so chalk it up to bad luck.  Hit the turn around and the old couple there yelled out “At least you have a tailwind now!”  Ummm…… no.  Actually it was a bit in our face but still mostly coming off the Gulf.  I went through the next aid station because I was still good on hydration.  At the next one though I needed some Perform.  Again I called out and again nothing.  I had to stop again.  Ugh.  I was really irritated at this point but bit my tongue.  The rest of the ride was uneventful, just moving my way through the racers in front of me.  As we pulled back towards T2 we were routed over the airfield that is next to Moody Gardens and that pavement was a mess, but I was just happy to about be off the bike and my legs felt good.  2:41:34.  I think I under paced it, but I’m happy with the time.

Racked my bike, threw on the shoes and let’s go.  I didn’t see the sunscreen station on the way out of T2 and that was something I probably should have looked harder for based on the current state of my shoulders.  Hahaha.  The run course was a winding tour of the Moody Gardens area.  I took it out at what felt like a slow pace.  My splits would say otherwise.  I didn’t intend to take it out at a 7:10 pace righ off the bat.  That’s a bit quick for me.  I generally stayed where I wanted to for the first half of the race.  At about mile 7 my stomach started acting funny.  Just a little crampy.  I’ve never had that issue running before, but I just kept running.  Perform at every aid station, cup of water on the head, and ice down the pants if it was available.  Honestly I thought I was pacing ok until I ran into Kelly.  She berated me as I ran bye, so I guess I was taking it a little too easy.  I tried to throw it back into gear for the last half lap.  1:48:37 for the run.  Not bad overall.  The middle part of the run probably could have been a bit quicker.

Overall 5:18:39, a near 20 minute PR.  Although there were places I could have tightened up it was a good race.  Really the best things about this race were the friends and the camaraderie.  Kel and Shaun came down.  That made things special.  All the great folks cheering me on at the CyTri and Tri on the Run tents were amazing and really the energy up.  Honestly this is a great race.  Whatever issues I had with the bottle handups were just minor blips on the radar.  The race is well run, it’s in a great location, and the field is generally pretty strong.  On to Ironman Texas in about a month.