Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Galveston Race Report

Last Tuesday I got the okay from my Doctor to go race at Galveston. She wasn't overly excited about the idea, because it sounded a bit dangerous, but told me to go enjoy myself and stick to the trainer after the weekend. She wasn't concerned about monitoring my heart rate, she was concerned about falling, "I can't promise your baby will be protected if you fall."

As I packed my race gear for Galveston I was still unsure what the weekend would be like for me. If it was windy, I wasn't going to race. I was also a little anxious about the swim, hoping I'd be able to swim in clear water and protect myself from getting kicked. But if I did 'race' I was going out there to have fun, not to worry about pace, just planning to have a nice aerobic workout with a bunch of friends.

We drove down to Galveston after work on Friday. Although I was not 'racing' I was more nervous for sprint race on Saturday than I was for IM Florida. I got about 1hr of sleep Friday night and spent the rest of the time hoping everything would turn out okay.

Michael entered the race for Saturday too so we got to compete against each other in another sprint. Last season we were less than 10s apart in all the sprint races we did together, I wondered what would happen this time.

Before my wave start I told Logan (a friend who was announcing) that I was pregnant. He proceeded to tell the crowd that he sees me five times per week and just learned my news. This was not the only time he'd tell that story over the weekend. Although I felt a little embarrassed by it, I found a lot of support from the others around. It was quite encouraging to have people tell me they were impressed instead of telling me I was foolish, I'd assumed the later would be a more common response.

As the gun went off for the swim I made a quick prayer to keep my baby safe. Somehow, the waters were clear for me. I felt horrible when I knocked someone with my hand but somehow nothing ever hit me, that's very rare. On the bike I saw a girl hit a cone and wipe out across the road, about 20 feet in front of me. Aside from feeling bad for her it was a bit scary when I realized I would've been in that mess if I'd been 3 sec ahead of my current position. I was very cautious the rest of the ride, yelling to others in plenty of time before passing them and coming out of my aerobars for the miles of the ride next to the sea wall (windy). I kept everything in check on the run and cruised around the course, trying to be sure I kept my core temperature low.

When I crossed the line I was unsure how I'd done. I told my friends that I didn't think I'd race on Sunday, the wind worried me. I eventually found out I'd won my age group but Michael had finished over a minute ahead of me... Star #1.

We checked the weather a few times on Saturday and realized the wind for Sunday was no longer forecast to be worse. I decided I'd get myself ready to race the Quarter IM on Sunday, still thinking I might bail out if it was windy the next morning.

I slept much better on Saturday night. I think I had a bit more confidence that I could be cautious and conservative enough to race safely. Maybe I had just convinced myself this was true in case I did decide to race.

Again, I toed the line to race. As my wave entered the water and people began to ask if I was the pregnant girl I made a little request to the rest of my wave, "I love you all, please don't kick me." Maybe they listened or maybe I just happened to get lucky again, either way the water was completely clear for me and I made it to the swim exit without any contact.

Less wind on the bike, I didn't have to utilize my bail out plan of stopping when I saw Michael at the turn around. I was happy to see him there. I think he was more surprised that I'd seen him before he saw me, I was not in my usual racing zone. On the way back in a saw the aftermath of another accident. This time a girl and a guy had crashed into each other and as I passed the girl was howling in pain and screaming at the guy. At that point I just wanted to get back to T2 safely. I also realized my right foot was bleeding, I think it had rubbed against something in my shoes. Worse yet, I realized my socks were at the bottom of my transition bag. When I got to T2 I decided to do the unthinkable, I sat down in transition while I dug through my bag and put on my socks. Thankfully Michael was still at turn for the bike course instead of sitting nearby with a camera.

When I got to the run course I was pretty happy I'd decided not to do the half Ironman, it was starting to warm up. I told myself to keep a nice moderate pace and not to worry about those around me. I grabbed water at every aid station and did my best to keep my core temperature in check. Somehow this moderate pace seemed to be working out okay although I could tell I was warming up. After I crossed the finish line I went over to the tent and ate 6 ice pops in an effort to quickly cool my core. I also shoved a heap of ice in my hat, another down the front of my singlet, and a third batch down my shorts. I think I was getting some strange looks from volunteers when they saw me do that.

Once the results were posted I found out I was 3rd in my age group. Once again, I got called up to gather my award as Logan told the crowd I was pregnant... Star #2. I later found out they'd given awards for the Texas Two Step, people racing both Saturday and Sunday. I had the lowest combind time for the two days and got another, larger star... Star #3. A short race season for me but not a bad one. I realized my aerobic base is still pretty solid and that gives me a good sense of confidence as I head to trainer season.

Aside from my own racing, I also got to watch a number of friends racing this weekend. There were a lot of great performances out there, including some stellar times in the half Ironman. Overall, I was glad I'd had the chance to go to Galveston this weekend. I had a great time racing and cheering. Good job to everyone who raced and thanks to everyone who cheered me on.

Some of the amazing J&A guys after finishing the half. Note: I spent about 30min next to the white cooler in the backround, that's where the ice pops were kept.