Race Report: Galveston 70.3

As part of my Ironman Texas build, I raced the Galveston 70.3.  I did this race back in 2012 and decided to return this year to see if I could improve on my time, and I thought it would be good prep for IMTX.  With Galveston being so close to IMTX, I wasn't able to do a real taper but I did give myself a few easy days and my legs felt pretty good on race day despite less rest than I'm accustomed to for half ironmans.

Swim - 32:59

I have a habit of dunking my goggles in the water prior to swimming.  I didn't even think about it, but Galveston is a salt water swim.  The water isn't very salty, but it was salty enough to put a thin layer of salt on my goggles.  I didn't realize this until I put my goggles on right before jumping into the water for my wave start and realized I could barely see.  I had a sliver of clear lens near the top and the rest was cloudy.

The gun went off and I did my best to hold a straight line, but it was tough.  Looking up, I could barely see the buoys.  Fortunately, I don't think I went off course too bad.  I know I was out by the paddle boards at one point so I did drift a bit, but I don't think it cost me too much time.  

It was a stupid mistake, and it definitely made the swim a bit of an adventure, but other than that it was a typical swim.  I feel like I'm capable of better, and have concluded that I'm simply not swimming hard enough on race day.  I think I fear wasting too much energy on the swim so I get conservative, but if I'm going to swim the times I want to swim I need to take a few chances and push the pace a bit more....not swim stupid, but push it more than I have been.  Something to work on.

Bike - 2:19:14 (24.1 mph)

There's not a lot to say about the bike.  Despite focusing on my run all winter, my threshold is right up there at an all time high so I felt like I could go a tad conservative on the bike and still manage a competitive bike split so that was the plan.  Other than a few sketchy moments working through traffic due to being one of the last waves, the bike was pretty uneventful.  I held steady at about 230 watts and felt much more comfortable staying in the aerobars the whole time uninterrupted than I did in 2012 (I did a ride on the trainer a few weeks prior of 3 hours straight without getting out of the aerobars once). 

Run - 1:38:05 (7:29 pace)

I really wanted to have a good run, and by good run I mean sub 1:32.  Ideally, sub 1:30.  That's my ultimate goal, one I've been chasing for a few years now, but I didn't feel quite ready to hit that goal in Galveston so I was hoping to come close.

I started out right about a 7 minute pace and felt good.  My legs were a little heavy and tired from the bike, but nothing too bad.  I held this pace pretty steady until about the 4-5 mile mark when I took a gel and a little Red Bull.  Not long after, I got a terrible sideache that forced me to do a little walking almost every mile to get it to ease up.  I didn't really drink or eat much after this, and my pace dropped and I struggled to the finish.  On a positive note, my "struggling" pace has improved, but I'm pretty frustrated with my run.  I've never gotten a sideache like that before so I need to figure out what caused that and how to prevent it.  It happened not long after the Red Bull and gel, and if I had to blame one of those it would be the Red Bull although I don't think this was nutrition related.  

As for the race itself, I liked Galveston in 2012 and wanted to come back and I liked 2/3 of the race this time.  The swim and bike were good, but they changed the run course this year and I thought it was pretty bad.  There was one out and back section that was so crowded the only way to pass was to run right down the middle and run into everyone going in each direction. The weather was perfect and Moody Gardens is a great race venue, but that run course needs work. 

 Despite not having the run I wanted, Galveston was a big step in the right direction.  Last year, I struggled at every race and set some of my slowest times ever.  This was a good time for me and I finished in 7th in my AG and I can finally say that I wasn't affected at all  by my back injury.  

A few lessons learned:

- I don't perform as well as I want/expect at early season half ironmans.  I either need to stop doing them, learn to better prepare for them, or adjust my expections.

- I need to push the pace more on the swim and take a few more risks in the swim.

- I went to a less aggressive position on the bike this year, by quite a bit actually, and my power/speed were in line with other races so I don't think it's costing me time. My power is actually better so I think I can push more watts in the future and still run well.  I'm much more comfortable now and I think that's ultimately going to help my run.

- I finish way too many half and full ironmans in the med tent and I need to figure out how to end that streak.  Once again, after Galveston I was in the med tent with really low blood pressure.  *sigh* 

Just a few more weeks of training before Ironman Texas.  Even though I was hoping for a better run in Galveston, this race was good for confidence.  My running legs were there, but I couldn't execute.  The challenge now is figuring out that piece of the puzzle, but I feel like if I can do that the fitness is there.