Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tri Tyler Half race report & Texas 70.3 (Galveston) race preparation

Is it wise to race half-iron distance 2 consecutive weekends?

Has my training volume prepared me well enough for this?

Will I learn something along the way, and have a blast racing my first "Ironman" race as a pro?

Not sure about the first 2 questions, but I believe the answer to the 3rd question is a resounding "YES!".  So after enduring the "hardest half in Texas" on Sunday, I'm slated to compete in Ironman Texas 70.3 in 5 days.  This will be my 3rd consecutive year racing at Galveston, so I know the course well enough.

Last year at Galveston with Seth (twinkies)
But before I discuss Galveston too much, I shall give a Tri Tyler Half race report:
The actual race was on Sunday, but I will recount the entire weekend - starting with Friday night.  That was the night that I ate dinner with an Ironman Champion (many times over) - Chris McDonald:
OK, there were more people at our table than just me and Chris (aka Big Sexy):
Actually, it was a pretty awesome dinner party....fellow pro triathletes Anna Cleaver and Ben Hall were there.  As well as John & Ginger Cobb, Kristin Blaise, Jeremy Brown and Dana Rucker.  A good time was had by all.
Now for Saturday.  I spent the vast majority of the day helping move Kimberly out of her house and into...well, several places.  Mostly my parents' house (which we are buying), our good friends Allie & Felipe's house (where she will be staying) and partially my house (which is a mess).  Not the ideal way to spend the day before a half-iron, but I wasn't alone, as Kimbo and Felipe were both movers and racers last weekend too!  And I was able to sneak away from moving for a couple hours to sit on a pre-race pro triathlete panel at Fresh by Brookshires:

What a cool experience!  Jeremy Brown did a great job interviewing/moderating, and I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion - and learned a ton too! 
Now onto Sunday: Race Day.  Kimberly was freaked out about the swim being frigid...and by Kimberly, I mean me and Kimberly.  But, it really wasn't that bad!  And I was very happy with my swim...got out of the water in just over 26 minutes.  For the first time in a race, I wore my new TYR Hurricane wetsuit - and set a half-iron swim PR by 3 minutes! 
Coming out of the water - nice pic, Maggie!
The bike, however, was a different story.  About 7 or 8 miles in, as I climbed a short, steep hill in Troup, TX, I thought I could hear my brakes rubbing...but I didn't think it was slowing me down, and if they're rubbing just a little it's not worth stopping to mess with.  So I tried to convince myself that it was OK.  After hearing it a few more times on uphills (because the road noise was too loud to hear it any other time), I finally got off my bike at the top of a hill to check on it. Sure enough, my back brake was touching the wheel, so I pulled it off and got back to riding.  The very next hill the noise was back....but I didn't want to stop again, and at this point I'm about halfway into the course, and think I should just ride it out.  Then we climb the beast (14% grade for 3/4 mile), and the noise is very loud.  Now I'm weighing the pros and cons of stopping to fix it (I probably lost ~1 minute each time I stopped), and going on.  About 15 miles from the bike finish, I stopped, got off the bike, and gave my rear wheel a spin...it went about 1/4 revolution and came to a complete stop.  It was rubbing against the bike frame.  So I reset my skewer, realigned the wheel, gave it another spin (spun beautifully this time), and got back on the bike.  Probably lost at least a couple minutes.  The last 15 miles were great - I passed a dude that had passed me when I was stopped. 

At last, the run!

The run couldn't have gone better.  On a very hilly course, I was able to crank out a 5:55/mile average, and set a run course record by 4 minutes!  Ended up finishing 4th place, just over a minute behind 2nd and 20 seconds behind 3rd.  So it was a very frustrating day, knowing what could have been, but I chalk it up as a lesson learned. 
Local races are so much fun - I knew almost every volunteer (and appreciated every single volunteer).  And sharing war stories with all my friends after the race is always a blast - why is it so much fun??  I sometimes wonder if that's the reason we race...seriously.
The Kimberlys had great races, as did Jeremy (minus the hospital part at the end), and Felipe did awesome!  Seth dominated the Olympic distance...then brought us all in with support out on the run course.  My parents, Maggie and Luke all cheered me on too!  Brad Williams came in town from Ft. Worth (had a great race himself), and I think my family wants to adopt him because he's such a nice dude.  'Twas a busy/fun weekend.
Now, as I'm writing this blog, I'm trying to accelerate the recovery process (Galveston in 5 days!) with some 110% Play Harder compression and Primal Sport Mud. 
In addition to these recovery products, I've been extremely pleased with my training/racing gear.  I didn't even notice my Champion System tri kit on Sunday - which to me is the sign of a good, comfortable kit.  There was zero chafing, and both the tri kit and my Swiftwick arm warmers and socks performed admirably.  The Argon 18 bike and ENVE Composites wheels took some abuse on some rough road surfaces, but handled it like champs.  It was my first race on my ENVE SES 8.9 clinchers/ Vittoria Open Corsa CX combo, and they are without a doubt the fastest wheel/tire combination I've ever ridden on.  My Rotor Q Rings have proven themselves both on the trainer and in training rides....and they were no different on race day!  As an engineer, I truly do appreciate the mechanical advantage they provide.  Last but not least is Infinit Nutrition!  No GI issues whatsoever, and that is honestly the first time I can say that about a half-iron or iron distance race. 
As for race prep leading into Galveston...I haven't really started that yet.  My goal is to go hard the first half of this week (just finished the "Pain Train" group ride), and take it easy the 2nd half.  So after a tough treadmill run tomorrow morning, I'll let up for the rest of the week.
Zechariah 9:9 "Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

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