At one point there was some discrepancy as to whether wave 16, our wave, was indeed the last wave. As we were being corralled to the timing mat two guys in white caps ( wave 16 color) strolled up to us. One of my "classmates" and I kinda looked at each other wondering why they didnt seem too concerned. I had a moment of "One of these things is not like the other..." in my head since they men were a bit older ( not to offend, but they were in the 60+ group) and if you looked ahead you could see another wave ( maybe 14?) on the dock jumping in. IN WHITE CAPS.
So we advised they get a move on it at which point their " I am in the 17th wave" comment was moot. Anyways....lets back up just a bit.
I got all set up in Transition around 6am and loved that i got my own numbered space on the rack. #1520. All my own. None of this " Hi, I dont mean to be rude but your things are in my space." I am super aware of trying to not trip anyone up, and actually we all got along great, ofering to share sunscreen, someone offered a spray bottle for my feet for after the swim, etc..
As i said, I walked to T with ALOT of people whose waves were WAY earlier than me. Luckily as i felt my race belt on my back I had enough time to go "Duh, you cant swim with that on." and was able to jog back against traffic to drop it in T where it belonged. Kinda like when i left my cleat covers on my shoes at Iron Girl one year, I Couldnt figure out why i couldnt clip in. So the "shoes in the pedals" thing has helped with that calamity.
So i get to the start area and my new friend "Brandi" and i wait for the cannon and the pro start. See I knew if i waited for the right time to pounce some other vulnerable teenager would want a friend as we waited for over an hour for our time to swim. We watched the pro men go off at 7am and had to crack up a bit that the entire field swam WAY left of the 1st buoy. I mean by about 45 degrees. The current was coming right at the starting field and so i am sure they overshot the current but it was pretty funny and i had to comment to Brandi that at least AG'ers arent the only one's who cant swim straight. The women held their line perfectly likely after seeing the waterboard / surfboard's steer the men back to the course.
So lets kill an hour and ....get to the start. Gel down with 30 min to go, Brandi and i head to the dock as we see our sign for wave 16. And we wait. and stand and wait and stand. At first we thought our wave was small, only about 30 women but by 8:00/8:05 we were holding at 80+ maybe more. I dont know. I just know that i knew that jumping off the dock meant re-attaching goggles and also trying to get a good spot to start. Treading water in salt water was not a problem. I was about the 3rd from the outside buoy and just decided this was a good place. Another gal looked like she meant business and i "KNEW" she was gonna take off. So as we counted down 10-9-8...etc..you know how that ends and OFF we go I just followed her. I lost her feet pretty quick but it got me out of the people and I beelined to the inside and held that line the entire way. I could see out of the corner of my eye about 5-6 white caps stroking about 5 feet to my right but once i made the first turn LEFT ( it was a parallelogram counter clockwise) I didnt see them again. As we started to come upon some other waves i realized i didnt see many white caps. I saw maybe one, but more yellow and purple, the waves ahead of us. I never once had to really divert my line more than a few strokes and was very aware of where people were and how to swim to avoid collisions etc.. The big issue was that as soon as we made that left turn to parallel the shore it was a totally differnt swim. I was thankful I didnt get seasick and i then knew why we had seem at least 4 people pulled and brought in on the jet ski b4 we started.
I just kept sighting and trying to not FIGHT the water too much but as much as i felt strong i know i was being pushed backwards bc i could see other people from the yellow and purple waves when they stopped stroking get pushed backwards. Someone told me there were 8 bu0ys on this parallel to shore stretch and they seemed pretty close together so i just kept plowing ahead. Each buoy was on my inside and i seriously almost got caught up in the string holding them down. I loved seeing the paddleboarder right there within arms reach, not that i needed it but at least i was holding a good line.
Finally i got to the last buoy and turned left again to head to shore. I saw one white cap near me but that was it and thought how pleased i was with this swim, I knew it would be a longer time but i felt strong and never had a moment of " Ugh i am tired," Since this was my 3rd HIM i didnt really have much to compare it to, the last two races I had one perfect day ( albeit cold) and one day where we swam in a rain and wind storm. So I just took it for what it was, got out on the ramp ( there are oyster beds so we couldnt stand up early) and tore my top down and then went to experince my first ever WETSUIT stripping. Oh boy, that was sweet. One gal in my AG passed up the strippers and i thought "hmm. maybe she doesnt do the wetsuit dance like i do." IT was super to just drop my wetsuit near my bike and get on to better things. no dancing.
Haha i am struggling with the wetsuit! Funny!
It was kind of a longer run up from the water, and into T1 but our bikes were racked right there so i got the number on, the shoes on ( not on pedals, boo:( and did a sunscreen spray. I decided in advance that i had to stay ahead of the sun ( famous last words) having had melanoma it was worth it to me to add 20 seconds. But i ran Gretta out and on our way we went.
I sure wont bore you with 56 miles but i think that since i really dont have much to say about the bike that is a good thing bc i was just riding! Not thinking! The course is deceptive bc there was a head cross wind for the first 28 miles. You ride thru Galveston on the seawall and then at about mile 22 you cross over a bridge and hit the mainland. 22 miles were freshly resealed, likely after the Hurricane, and it was great. The next 6miles andgoing over the bridge were a bit rough, but i just humkered down and prayed my little 303 sew ups could take the cruddy roads.
I did have a fast air with me but my thought was and always will be that if i flat unless i can get that to work quickly I just want to finish the race, so if that means waiting for support, then it does. luckily no issues. As i got to the turn around the volunteer said "tailwind now!" and as much as i wanted to beleive him i was suspect. Miles 28-34 were again a head cross wind.
From 34-56 I know we had more of a tail cross wind as my split was negative but i also know i am the type of rider that takes a bit of time to warm up, and whether that is physiological ( yes, at 43 it is) or mental ( Yes, for me, yes.) it doesnt really matter. I also got passed in the 1st 10 miles by about 3-4 in my AG and as much as I wanted that to piss me off, it didnt. I wish it did.
So on the way back i made sure to not get passed by anyone in my AG and even caught one and kept her in my sight. I actually think its way too much mental energy for me to worry about other people in my Ag. Maybe i need to change that on the bike, bc on the run....well...I am all about looking at the left calf!
So i get into Moody Gardens relatively pleased that i think kept it over 20 mph. I was happy with my nutrition and with my new bike YEA GRETTA! And my butt hurts. This is all good. Your butt should hurt if you ride aero for 56 miles hard. I got to do my dismount as i like and not wear down the cleats, and ran into T2 ready to rock and roll. But oh my, It seem that there is always this fear of "What if my legs dont run?" So I tiptoe with Gretta to the bike stand, tell her thank you, get my shoes on, put on more sunscreen, grab my visor, read a chapter of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew ( inside joke with my sister Elizabeth ), check my email, LOL ha not really...but i say "get moving Julia" and off i go.
The run...I ran pretty pace free. Meaning i didnt really look at my watch other than to see my HR. I dont have a Garmin and dont want to run with my foot pod, and again its too mentally draining to calculate my pace so i just ran. I like to do that, and try to run by feel. Despite taking it out easy...
Um, I didnt.
But the first few miles it FEELS like I am going easy but i averaged 7:23's I think. YOu people know, you were tracking me :) I hoofed it faster than i had planned. But the run was odd. It was all twisty and turny with 180 degree turns and running on concrete sidewalks all on the moody gardens property. IT wasnt that bad, but it was not a course where you really got out there and ran bc you had to turn or weave with the runners that you were passing or just be prepared to step up a curb. The water stops were fantastic and as i said earlier the volunteers were great. I needed every water and every sponge given to me at each mile and i ran thru each stop with the water and the sponges slowing as i needed to so as to not run over someone. I decided to stick to my powergels and water adn not do the drink they offered and i was able to get the gels in.
I had a gel about 15 min before my bike ended, and then was able to get a gel in about 20 min into the run, and then again about 1 hour in. I didnt need the last one as i finished in about 1:40 and was going to try to plck the pace up as i felt able. Thing was the my heart race was hanging nicely in upper Z3 and i was a bit afraid to pick up the pace and hammer it home. My plan was to do that after lap 2, but i just felt pretty steady, new i was feeling good, and since i have had no more than a 4mile run in 88 deg temps in Tucson where i struggled to hold 8:30's I decided that the best thing to do was to just keep running and not look at my HR.
The only really "wtHeck?" moment was on lap 3. I had been trying to get my race number to my front, not sure why, but i just figured it wasnt supposed to be on my backside. But it felt weird up there so i figured if the only reason was for the pics, well they could read the number on my arm:) But about 7 miles in the race belt kept slipping down my waist. I kept pulling it up. Then thought "OMG i cant be that dehydrated that my belt is slipping off my hips? Am I shrinking?" This was utterly absurd until i pulled it around to look and saw that the buckle was totally un latched and it was gonna fall off. I kept running actually shuffled and tied that sucker in 2 knots and said "STAY PUT." That was pretty much the only calamity I had on the run.
In looking at the splits i do know i slowed down, and i felt that as i got hotter, but i also know i had to dodge more people that were walking "Abrupt stop....right in front of me!" but that's ok. I know you have to stop you stop. and i know that the last lap I did have legs. I saw mile 10 and said " you can do anything for 24 minutes" and saw mile 11 and said "you can do anything for 16 minutes" and saw mile 12 and said "ok blahblahblah pick it up."
After 4 laps i finally knew where iwas and where i was going. I actually lifted my legs and was greeted with "Julia Weisbecker, welcome home!" Oh yea.
But where was Andy Potts? :) I expected him to be there giving out medals:)
I think the course was a bit annoying at the start just bc at mile 2 you run by a sign that says Mile 11 or you would run by a sign that says mile8 when you know you were at mile 3. STuff like that, but i think once i got that first lap done it was actually good mental focusing to be able to think...ok 1 down, 3 to go....2 down, you are half way done! woohoo! and then when you finish the 3rd lap you are totally on the homestretch! So kinda like any thing that is repetiive
( ie intervals!) the first and last are the hardest!
My sister and her friend Rich were aweomse cheering me on and she took some pics that i will post when she gets them to me:) I am also looking forward to seeing the ASI pics to see if i had my fierce look on or my "smile for the camera" look.
So overall the nerves were gone as soon as the gun went off. I did what i could on that day and know i have a few things to work on, but am glad i didnt work on pushing myself so hard that i ended up in the med tent. For a bit while running i thought " maybe i can still break 5!" but realiity set in when i did the math. I got a massage, Heide checked us out. Rich helped me get my stuff and we were off back to Clear Lake to get my nephew and head home. Yup I didnt shower. Ick i know, but that was ok. IT was only an hour ride home and it was hot and sticky so why not be hot and sticky for another hour:)
I will say that i am SO IMPRESSED with the 40-44 AG. I think racing in Texas must be like racing in Cali, bc Austin and Dallas have their own Tri mecca, well Austin more than Dallas I am sure. And obviously there were some women in our AG that placed way up there. It was nice to race in a large field, even if it is intimidating to start. I am excited to race in Kansas in a month and continue my quest to break 5 hours. Maybe not at Kansas, I hear that's a tough one.
So this ends the novel and likely i have more to say but I will spare you more thoughts for now!
Oh neat look what showed up in my mailbox:
tiny but i stole them so beggars cant be choosers.