Its the first time I've done an early 70.3 before so I was a bit nervous since most of my rides have been indoors, I didn't question whether I would finish my training has been solid a/w my numbers it was just I haven't raced since September and I felt a bit rusty. I flew out on Friday to Houston and got in at 11:30am and arrived in Galveston around 1pm, very non eventful. It was great to meet up with my friends later that evening and my roommate Nancy Thompson ( aka Nanamil). It was actually weird having a day and half before I raced, it actually felt too long, I usually arrive the day before, race the next and leave that same day. Anyhoo, the expo was neat, registration was simple because I was early, the only thing I took note of was the humidity and heat.
Saturday morning was great, big breakfast with all the Qt2 peeps at Denny's, I've never eaten that much and seeing what PW can put down in one sitting just astonished me, holy crap. It was so nice to be part of a team and to meet up with these guys before I raced, the nerves were just not there as they would be because I felt so comfortable and happy that I had friends with me the entire time. The day went by without a hitch except at bike check in I realized my power tap wasn't reading my watts, I was able to get it to work for everything else but not watts. I am getting extremely frustrated with all the battery changes I have to do in my hubs and with the unit head, I am seriously considering switching to either an SRM or something else, whatever is less cumbersome and more reliable and doesn't cost me loads of money. Anyhoo, I knew I had to race with HR guidelines anyway so I just shrugged it off, oh well.
I slept pretty well that night, much better than normal, Nan and I got up around 5am got ourselves ready and headed to the race site. Unfortunately we had to park a gazillion miles away but whatever it was dark out and not too hot yet. I felt so bad for Charlie he was already sweating with beads of it dropping from his nose, I was hoping he wasn't going to have a long day.
We got there and went to transition, man it was pack, 2900 people, it was crazy, I've 10 of these and never this big. Transition was huge and were I was locate really sucked for bike in and out but swim in and run out were fine. It was an easy set up, making friends with the girls around me, I didn't fret too much, I've done the work, it was going to what it was this day. I had 1 hr and 20 minutes from the pro start to hang out ( which really sucked) I was in wave 18 out of 20, really? This is getting out of control. Anyway, I waited for awhile at the swim finish so I could see the first pro's coming out of the water ( especially Lance- which was so cool, he was right there in the first pack) and then I headed over to the swim start.
SWIM: jump off pier into water, in water start, temp around 71- felt warmer, against current for about 1/2 mile and some choppiness in the middle, a bit long I feel. I usually plop myself right in the front, making sure I gauge where the buoys are and the other girls, it was a fine swim, nothing spectacular, starting in wave 18 made for a ton of traffic throughout the entire swim, people just dead weight in the water basically stopped, it was crazy, I think I went through at least 3 waves of caps, I felt in control, could of pushed harder I don't know why, it was the most relaxed 1.2mile swim I've done, no issues with breathing, legs felt good, I was coasting. I got out and saw 32:20 on my watch- SUCK, SUCK, SUCK, but oh well, wave 18, first swim of the season, no legs or bodies to help me draft, it was fine.
T1- fine a bit long to get out so time was long, no issues, just needed to get my HR down which took over 40 minutes on the bike.
BIKE: In just a few words: flat, windy, hot, boring. It took over 40 minutes for me to get my HR down to where I needed to be to ride the bike, in other words one of the reasons for my slow first loop, it didn't help that we had a nasty headwind but I was concerned about the HR so I didn't push and just made sure I got in all my nutrition. Coming back the tailwind was so nice, seeing, 22, 23, 24mph was great however every time I tried to push a harder gear my right groin and sitz bone really hurt. I must of changed position on my bike over 50 times during the race and was tremendously uncomfortable. I'm not sure if it was the seat, the fact I don't ride aero for 2 1/2 hours at a time, a combination of both but I'm certain that it absolutely affected my performance on the bike on my over ally performance. I will need to discuss with my bike guys to get it fixed, I do not want to be that uncomfortable again when I ride. I was also concerned how I was going to feel on the run so it messed with me for awhile before coming into T2. Nutrition spot on, however I did not have to pee until I got off my bike, weird.
T2- uneventful, legs felt good, my back needed a few minutes to straighten out but besides feeling the heat right away I felt fine. MY HR was already 160, 12 beat above where I was supposed to be so I was concerned.
RUN: flat, windy at times, boring, 3 loops, what can I say. My first loop I did pretty well, averaged around an 8:35, my HR was really high and all I wanted to do was stay consistent, what could I do to not collapse and walk, I slowed down a bit to bring my HR below 160 which landed me around 9:15's which i was able to hold for the rest of race. I was even able to get my HR back up to 163 by the last two miles which I was happy about. I took in everything at every water stop, tons of ice, powerade, I did my 2 GU's on the run, sponges, it was fine. My feet were wet and sloshy but were fine, tons of people were walking, I mean tons' it was crazy.
Anyhoo, 32.30 swim, 2:56 bike, 2:01 run, 5:36 overall time. 27th in AG in a very competitive field, it was nuts.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM THIS RACE AND WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE:
1. I need to lose weight, between 5-10lbs. With the heat and the flat course being 140lbs was definitely at my disadvantage, I felt if I was a bit leaner I definitely could of tolerated the weather better and had a much better performance. I will make changes over the next few months to accomplish this ( I know I've said it before) but it was really clear to me over the weekend the changes I need make.
2. Nailing your nutrition is key. I had a similar race with same conditions in florida a few years back and it was a disaster and it took me several days to recover. My nutrition was spot on, I didn't cramp, I was feeling really good that night and even better on Monday morning. My run was consistent and it didn't crumble because of my nutrition and watching the HR.
3. This is my 3rd 1/2 with QT2 since starting with them and each one is getting faster by 10 minutes, 5:56, 5:46 and now 5:36. I keep learning from each race what I need to do to get better and the changes I need to make to make it happen and I will get there, its a process that will not take overnight and I'm fine with that.
4. Racing with a team is very important to me and being part of a group. It made a world of difference for me psychologically being supported the whole weekend and having my teammates with me during the race cheering for me on the course and just being out there. It was so awesome to see my coach several times on the course encouraging me and pushing for me, it really made a world of difference. So thank you.
Thank you to coach Pat, Jesse, Nan, Charlie, John, Keith, Mary, Molly, Cait, Tim, Mat, Andy, Jessie, Dave, Jennie, Rick, Guido, Jacqui and all the other QT2ers that were there this weekend. Thanks for the support, my new friendships and just a great overall learning experience for me. Lets have a great 2012 season.