I was chanting and fist-pumping all the way to the Colonel, the huge paddleboat that’s usually docked at Moody Gardens in Galveston. It came up to Kemah, a town in Galveston Bay, to take us a mile offshore so we could jump in and start our Olympic distance tri.
It felt like we had been signed up for Kemah for FOREVER. I talked Marisa and Aimee into doing it as a relay with me – I would do the swim, M would do the bike, and A would do the run. Once it dawned on me that I should probably use this as a final warmup race for IMTX, I contacted the race director to see if I could do the full Olympic myself. He said since I was the swimmer it wouldn’t be a problem at all, I would just wear my own chip and hand off the relay chip to our biker in transition. Easy!
Splash, Flash, Dash (our team name) drove down to Kemah on Saturday afternoon to get settled into our suite at the luxurious Super 8 (note – the room was kind of dirty but the bed was very comfortable) and get some dinner at Cadillac Bar on the boardwalk . We met up with K, who drove down from Dallas for her triathlon debut. I had never been to Kemah before and was gleefully wide-eyed, with grandiose ideas of riding rides, eating cotton candy, and feeding the fish for $0.25. I did none of these things. But we did stop at DQ for Blizzards on the way back to the hotel, which is just as good, if not better.
We were in bed by 11:30 and woke up at 4:15 – huge UGH. We had all of our stuff ready to go, so we just pumped our bikes, racked ‘em on Marisa’s car, and drove the 0.5 miles to transition, HAH. It was along a highway, so we didn’t feel comfortable walking! I didn’t realize how rushed I would be. As I’ve said before, I like being really rushed at the beginning of a tri so that I don’t have time to get nervous, but this was pushing it a little. I tossed my stuff in transition, grabbed my wetsuit, goggles, and swim cap, and beelined for the port-o-lets before running over to the Colonel with Julie (while chanting, “BOAT, BOAT, BOAT, BOAT!”). We boarded and shimmied (not really) into our wetsuits.
I did this race all for the boat start. It sounded amazing. AND IT WAS. 800 triathletes on a 3-story boat jumping into Galveston Bay? Rocks my world. Coast Guard helicopter flyover during the national anthem? I almost peed myself (and then I did pee myself once in the water). By far the coolest tri start ever. It was a time-trial start, meaning there were no waves – the pros started first, then all male and female age-groupers – your time starts when you cross the timing mat and jump in the water.
Swim – 38:43
This swim was HARD. 5 foot swells in the bay, which of course I couldn’t tell while I was swimming…I would just feel a wave push me forward and then pullllllll me back. Finally I started trying to swim hard with the current and then just relax when it was against me. The lifeguards pulled dozens of people out of the water. I could hear them yelling at people to see if they needed help or were being pushed off course. I used my new AquaSphere goggles and they were AMAZING. I’ll never go back to TYR. Although since it was a saltwater swim, I had stuffed an extra pair into my sports bra – an awesome tip I received from one of the JSC guys before I did Galveston 70.3. I told Kristen to do the same thing, and it’s lucky she did because not 20 strokes into her sprint swim, she got a foot to the face and it broke her goggles. Phew! So my Oly swim prior was 37 minutes – and this was almost 39, and I’m a stronger swimmer now. I think the course was a little longer than 1500 meters (about a mile), but it still sucked.
Getting out of the water; I think if you could read my mind while this pic was being taken, it would be saying, “BLURRRRGGGHHHHHH.” Look at that dirt on my face…nasty.
T1 – 3:27
Long time, but again, it was a hike back to the transition area…I think about a quarter of a mile. I saw my swim time on my watch and was not pleased. I handed off the relay chip to Aimee, who ran it to Marisa, and then got my bike gear on – used my new Pearl Izumi cycling shoes and honestly I love them – now I don’t know which pair to use for IM. Maybe I will try to use the Izumis for the 70 mile ride on Saturday and see how it goes.
Bike – 1:26:57
Bike course was also a bit long, around 25.2 miles (instead of 24.9). Not bad, at least it was under 1:30. I averaged 17.3 mph. Strong headwind going out, I think I averaged 14 or 15 then. Saw some asshole shamelessly drafting off of EVERYONE (this is illegal and you can get time penalties). Finally I yelled at him to stop drafting, but it doesn’t sound very authoritative coming from a skinny pale chick. I should have thrown in a curse word. FLEW on the way back with the sweet tailwind – I hit 36 mph on a downhill, which is the fastest I’ve ever gone…I was pretty nervous about that! I finally got to play “fishing,” where I try to see how many fish I can reel in (how many people I can pass) – I think it totaled to 18. Crazy! I never pass people on the bike!
This was taken on the way out, around mile 8 – mugging for the camera:
My Splash, Flash, Dash teammate Marisa killing it on the bike:
T2 – 2:01
Saw Aims again – I had passed M in the first couple of miles – and told her M was on her way. Tossed my bike on the rack, got the helmet off, and changed shoes. Most of this time was spent scrambling for my race belt until it dawned on me that I left it on the hotel bed (I put it there so I wouldn’t forget it – stupid).
Run – 58:32
This is an average of 9:26 mile…eh, ok. I’ll take it. I was wearing my new Zoot tri shoes that don’t require socks. I was worried they’d rub the back of my foot since that’s what happened on a 2 mile run previously. I was right. It rubbed a lot of the skin off – gross. So it was painful. But I love running – it’s fun for me. I tried to push myself. It sucks that you can’t use music in triathlon, so I play a game where I count every time my left foot hits the ground up to 200 and then I start over. I lent my Garmin to Aimee so she could track her pace, so I wasn’t sure how fast I was going. It felt like about a 10:00 mile so I just kept at it. Loved seeing my CapTex team on the course – they had done the sprint so I got to chit-chat with a few of em and see how they were feeling. Saw some of the JSC guys out there too – great job to all! Got to pass by Aimee when she was on her way out and give her a high-five! The run is the best because of all the spectators – saw Shane and my in-laws (my mother-in-law is getting famous for her signs – it’s my goal to make her go viral, hahah). She needs to be the new ridiculously photogenic guy. Just known everywhere.
I still have dirt on my face, how gross! Or maybe it makes me look pro?!
I love this pic of Aimee because she looks so hardcore sprinting to the finish! That is the face of determination – and look at her stride! PRO:
While Kristen didn’t have a great time in her first tri (see: foot to the face), she made the best of it and rocked the rest – she looks pretty happy to me. GO K!
My final time – 3:09:42 – I finished 13th out of 28 in my division (females 25-29). I’ll take it. I was really hoping to go under 3 hours and I think I could have if the swim had been a little easier.
Splash, Flash, Dash’s final time – 3:34:17 – we came out and had a blast, and btw this time is better than my first Oly tri. Wut wut!
OnUrMark was very disorganized with awards – our relay team came in third and we literally waited an hour to get our trophy. Hey, we were not about to pass up the chance to stand on the podium! So I would do this race again, but only because of the incredibly badass boat start.
We had to celebrate the only way we know how – with my mother-in-law and THE SIGN! And in our cute t-shirts. Mine says SPLASH on the back, Marisa’s says FLASH, Aimee’s says DASH, and Kristen’s says CRASH (bc she “crashed” our relay party, not bc she crashes on the bike!!).
Photo credits to Shane! And one of SFD with our medals (but not our trophies yet):
Had a great time with all of these fun ladies! We’ll have to figure out another race to do together. Oh, wait – NIKE WOMEN’S MARATHON in October! ;o) Already planning our Napa trip too – it’s gonna be this much fun x5!