Monday, April 11, 2011

Galveston 70.3 Race Report (with lots of Pics!)

Finisher's Medal


This weekend began on Friday.  Annie and I packed up the cars and made the 75mi drive South to Galvestion.  We were staying with friends, Jennifer and Mike, at their beach-house for the weekend.  Thanks guys for the hospitality!  

Beautiful view from the deck!

We hit Moody Gardens (race HQ) and immediately went and picked up our packets.  Annie, for the Sprint on Saturday, and me for the HIM on Sunday.  After that Annie went back to the house with Mike and I went to meet fellow blogger and super-speedster Triathlete, Jon Campbell, and his girlfriend Kelly, who had just landed at Hobby Airport.  Since Jon lives up in the tundra of  New York I suggested we go to one of my favorite Open Water Swim sites (Lake 288) just so he could get the feel of being in the open water again.  Jon loved Lake 288 and Kelly loved the lake puppy there! We did about 1000m sans wetsuit and it was just a perfect swim in perfect water (about 72 degrees).  

After that it was back to Galveston and then off to dinner at a nice(ish) seafood joint.  Jon and his girlfriend joined a group of us and we ended up with a table of 8.  We all had a couple of drinks and some some good laughs and then it was time to hit the sack since Annie had her race in the morning and the rest of us were volunteering at the first water station.


5am wake-up and off to Moody Gardens for Annie's first Triathlon.  She was a little nervous (as was I) as we made the drive over.  I was watching her in transition and she was double and triple checking all her gear and finally walked over to me and said, "I forgot my socks, can I have yours?".

So off my socks went only to be returned 10mins later when she found hers.

We made the short walk down to the swim start area and I snapped off a ton of pics of Annie and her swim wave.  She will post them up on her blog later.  Annie did wonderful in her race and more importantly is already talking about getting a new bike and doing, "Maybe and Olympic distance race".

My Tri Club volunteered at the first water station and we all had a great time:

The Kingwood Tri Club Crew!

Honorary Texan Jon in front of a huge ass glass pyramid!
Iron-sherpa Kelly jazzing up the volunteering gig!

The race was a hit and all the racers and volunteers had an amazing time.  Annie and I ended up at a breakfast place with our friends Cheryl and Patrick called the Sunflower Cafe and had an amazing meal.  Followed by an amazing walnut-glazed cinnamon bun.  Probably not the best meal 18hrs before race start!

After all the festivities were done Jon and I decided to go for a ride to see how we would handle the strong cross winds that were pounding the seawall of Galveston.  He drove down to Mike's place and we went on a quick ride out and back.   Lucky we did this because it was the first time I have ever worn my Giro Aero helmet in the heat and it was extremely hot.  We were out for maybe 25 minutes and my head was dripping sweat like a faucet - the ventilation was horrible.  I decided right there to not wear the aero helmet on Sunday and it was a good choice because Sunday ended up being a smoker!

Saturday night about 15 or so of us ended up at the Mosquito Cafe for dinner.  This is one of my favorite places to eat in Galveston and everyone really enjoyed dinner.  I had a steak sandwich and it was fabulous!  It was an early night as everyone had a 70.3 race to do the next morning:

Jon, Kelly, Annie, Jeff

Bloggers Unite!

Sunday (Race Day):

Up at 4:45am and had my normal whole wheat bagel with peanut butter.  Got in the required pre-race boom-boom and then we were off to the race site. Since we had to drop our bike off in transition on Saturday, Patrick picked up Mike and I and we all rode over to the race together.  

One of the highlights of the weekend was that we had VIP parking.  Since we had people volunteering on both Saturday and Sunday and needed to set-up tents and shuffle people around both days we were given parking passes right next to transition.  We literally parked 50ft from the transition area all weekend - it was glorious!  This also meant that we didn't have to get to the race as early since we did not need to make the long walk in - this was also glorious!

Mike, Patrick and I all got on our wetsuits, with ease thanks to TriSlide, in the parking lot and then hung out by transition getting our Tri Club tent ready for the day.

Sea of bikes and porta potties (these both will be very instrumental in my race)
Pre-Race Tent Set-up
Mike, Patrick, and me getting ready to start!

Okay, onto the race ....

The Swim:

The pros started at 7:00am and my wave (#10) was going off at 7:45am.  We all lined up on a big boat dock and jumped in at the end, very cool:

Swim Start
My wave (35-39) was treading water and we were all chatting it up.  I yelled out, "Raise your hand if you're peeing right now!"  Everyone else raised their hands and coped to the crime.  It was good laugh.  

Literally, one minutes before my wave's start the cloud cover vanished and the bright Texas sun reared it's large orange face - and it was blazing!  The gun went off and the start was not too rough.  I found a pair of feet and hung on for a few hundred yards, this was pretty nice.  The only problem was about 500 yards in I realized my heart rate was way down and the guy I was drafting off was slower than me so I broke left and passed.  At the first turn buoy the the ocean waves started to get a little choppy.  I began to breath bi-lateral  and realized rather quickly I was taking in a lot of salt water on the left side.  At this point I switched over to just breathing on the right for the rest of the swim.  

This was my first time ever doing a race in the ocean and it was pretty cool.  I enjoyed the chop and the salt water - made it feel more epic or something? Oh, and not a single shark sighting (-:

Overall the swim was pretty uneventful and I maintained the moderate pace I had planned for going into the race.

Swim Splits:
Distance - 1.2 mi (2112 Yds)
Time - 37:45
Pace - 1:46/100 Yds
AG Rank - 97/307
Overall Rank - 648/2200
My Grade - B 
Reason - I should have pushed a little harder during the first 3rd of the swim.  I was barely working and took it entirely too easy.  Probably could have shaved another 2 minutes off the time but overall this was a decent effort on the swim.

Transition #1 - 3:59
I would describe this as a series of errors.  First, I ran past my rack.  Then I placed on my sunglasses, socks, shoes and grabbed my bike.  Yep, I forgot to put on my helmet which was still attached to my extensions.  I went to grab the helmet and the bike slipped and feel to the ground.  My garmin twisted around and I lost the rubber straw from my aero-bottle.  Well done Jeff, Well done indeed!
The Bike:

The course heads South out of Moody Gardens for the first 1.6mi and it was directly into a headwind. At the end of this section you make a right hand turn and go that way until the turn-around.  As you are riding down the first section you are trying to determine if the wind will be a direct cross or out of the Southwest which would mean a cross with a head wind on the way out. 

I made the turn and hello headwind, I was barely holding 18mph.  I decided to spin out for a couple of miles to let my legs get used to riding and my heart rate stabilize. Then I would work a little harder to pick up my average speed.  

This plan worked well.  The first 6 miles I was passing a lot of guys but was also being passed a lot too. At this point my HR was back to a low zone 2 and my legs found a nice cadence.  Time to pick it up but save some for the ride back.  I ended up passing hundreds of cyclists and was feeling great.  

I started out the ride with Powebar Perform in my aero bottle.  I have been practicing with Perform for the last 6 months since it is the drink that will be on the IMTX course in May.  However, even though this was a WTC Ironman race the on course drink was Gatorade.  We did not find this out until a week or two before the race.  I hate Gatorade.  

I still had my normal foray of First Endurance (EFS Liquid Shots, EFS Drink) but the bottle hand-ups were Gatorade or water.  At the first station I wanted a water but all the volunteers had in hand was a gatorade bottle - crap - I grabbed it and filled up my bottle.  Oh well.  

I stayed in aero and ended up getting to the turn-around point with a 18.7mph average on my garmin.  I made the turn and reached back to grab my EFS Liquid shots from my jersey and realized I was holding 21mph while sitting up!  Hello tail wind!

The rest of the ride was uneventful and I held between 22-23mph the entire way.  A large part of me wanted to just hammer but the rationale part of my mind won out and I still rode conservatively. 

Bike Split:
Distance: 56 miles
Time - 2:48:06
Pace - 19.99 MPH Avg 
Garmin Pace - 20.02 MPH Avg
AG Rank - 82/307
Overall Rank - 499/2200
My Grade -  A
Reason - I worked hard on both the out and the back and did not let my meat-headness kick in and hammer in the tailwind.  I had a pacing plan and followed it to the letter.  My Kestrel is one badass ride too.  I could ride this bike all day.  I actually did not want the ride to end!

Transition #2 - 3:03
This would be described as a series of error part deux.  However, it was not my fault.  The asshat next to me had his bike in my spot on the rack.  No place for my bike to go.  AND he had his bike barely on the rack by the nose of the saddle so I needed to pick it up to move it.  I had to rest my bike against my leg and move his over.  This added at least a minute to my time.  People are so inconsiderate sometimes.  Thanks Dude.

The Run:

By this point I had a decent swim and a solid bike split.  I am a runner and this is the part of the race where I can lay down a nice split.  My legs felt great and even though my plan was to take it easy on the run I had made up my mind I was going to run and run hard! The course is setup as a 4-loop run, 3.275 miles per loop.

Well, my stomach had other ideas .... 

Okay, we are going to get into the point of Too Much Information in the next few paragraphs.  If you don't like to hear about poop and vomit (you probably aren't a triathlete) then you might want to skip ahead to the summary portion.

Here we go:

Little much on the sunscreen Jeff?

That pic above is at the first aide station.  About a half mile after this my stomach began to get real angry at me.  As in I have to go and I have to go now angry!  Well, I found porta-potty right before the next aide station and jumped in as fast as I could.  It was ugly.  Do you remember the scene in Dumb & Dumber when Jeff Daniels was turbo laxed?  Well, that was pretty much me!

I was in the porta-potty for quite sometime, maybe 8-10 minutes.  And it gets better!  When I was finally finished I went to stand up and both of my quads cramped because I was sitting so long.  I was literally pulling myself up by the side rails in the crapper because my legs wouldn't work.  I was afraid I was going to be stuck in there!  At this point I was laughing because, well, it was damn funny.

I managed to get out of the shitter and hobble the 200 or so yards to the aide station.  A medic rubbed some biofreeze on my quads and I was go to go again.  I ran about two more miles and had to make another stop in a porta-potty and then another.  Loop one = 3 porta-potty stops!

The second loop was bad because now I had this pain in my stomach.  It felt like a knife was being rammed into my ribcage and I was afraid to trust a fart.  The harder I ran the harder it was to breath and the more the pain in my stomach hurt.  

I shuffled on until about mile 7 and decided to try some soda at the next aide station.  I figured it may make me burp.  I chugged two cups and kept moving forward.  About a mile later I started to burp and the GI pain started to be not as bad!

Between mile 9 & 10 I was running at a decent pace now and let up a big burp.  I tasted this burp and things were getting serious because one more was coming and it was going to be so much more than just a burp.  At this point I jumped to the side of the course and headed right for a big bush where I proceeded to projectile vomit all over this bush.  It was awesome! It had to look like a scene I remember from Family Guy:

And if you are reading this and were one of the horrified spectators who witnessed this massive display of vomiting I sincerely apologize.

Anyway, after the vomit incident I ran it home feeling like my normal self?  If only that would have happened at mile one?  

Run Split:
Distance - 13.1 miles
Time - 2:14:12
AG Rank - 103/307
Overall Rank - 683/2200
My Grade - D
Reason - This is a hard one to grade because I have no idea where these GI issues came from?  My PR for a 13.1 run is 1hr 34min.  I run 1:45's on my slow long run days.  However, I feel like I spent as much time in the shitters and walking from the stomach cramps as I did running.   Not good times here folks!

Race Summary:

Overall I was pleased with the swim and extremely happy with the bike.  I stuck to the plan on both and my results were perfect.  My fitness levels for the bike and swim are exactly where they need to be 6 weeks out from Ironman. This is very encouraging!

I am concerned about the GI issues on the run because I have no idea what caused them.  My breakfast and pre-race nutrition were no different than any other morning.  My bike nutrition was spot on and in-line perfectly with what I have been doing in training.  The only difference was Gatorade vs PowerBar?  My diet was not great the three days leading up to the race but it wasn't awful either?  

As I sit here I am thinking I possibly had to much liquid (aka - Gatorade) on the bike.  Over the last couple of months it has actually been hotter in training than it was on the bike course.  This leaves me to believe I may have had more to drink than what I needed and since my sweat rate probably wasn't as high that I might have taken in way too much?   Who knows for sure but I am going to try replicate this over the next 6 weeks so I can figure it out.  Maybe even dehydrate myself a couple of times to see what the minimal amount of liquid needed.   I am actually glad this happened now as opposed to on Ironman day and if it was the Gatorade then I don't have to worry because it is not on course for IM.

Another positive that I can take away is that my legs feel like a million dollars today.  Since I ran such a slow 13.1 miles my legs are not beat up at all.  That means I can get in a nice ride on the trainer tonight!

Galveston 70.3 Final Results:
Distance - 70.3 miles
Time - 5:47:05
AG Rank - 103/307
Overall Rank - 683/2200
My Grade - B

Overall this was probably one of the best times I have ever had during the course of a race weekend.  Good friends, good food, good times and a chance to race on a really good course. With all the problems I had on the run (with runs) my final time was actually pretty good.

It was awesome spending time with Jon and Kelly - they are so much fun.  It is so cool when you meet another blogger you follow because it is like you have known each other for years and it was this way with Jon. We are all going to do a race again soon (Rev3 Cedar Point, right Jon?).  Make sure to check out Jon's blog, he set a PR at this race and I think this is only the tip of the iceberg in his potential in this sport.

Also hung out with Trakkers Teammate Mike Moore @TheIronBar.  Before and after the race.  Mike had a good race as well.  He'll probably have a RR up soon so stop by and check it out!

Here is a final pic of Patrick and I post race standing by his truck in our VIP parking spot!!!

Thanks for Reading,



  1. Congratulations Jeff! Sorry about that intestinal issues but you are right better to have them now than in IM Texas!

    Great pics and looks like everyone had a great time!

  2. The whole point of this race was to learn what needed to be learned for IMTX. On that scale, you got a great grade. Now it is time to figure out where to stash the TP for the next time. Seriously, nice job.

  3. You did awesome and all of us bloggy friends had fun following and tweeting about it thru out the race. Congrats on sticking to your game plan. Now I have to tell you that I have never laughed so hard reading a race report. You are funny as all hell! I do hope you can figure out the GI issue. Sounds like it was the G-ade. It does that to me but usually not until after the race, thank goodness!

  4. That was the awesomest race report ever! Sorry about the GI issues, but you seemed to handle it better than most would have!

  5. KC and James - as I was sitting in the shitter I thought, "Well this race report is going to write itself!"

  6. Congrats on a great execution, GI issues aside. Maybe it was the salt water that wreaked havoc on your belly?

  7. Okay, that's a huge bummer about your GI troubles, but holy "crap" you still had a great race!! I'm going to guess the salt water from the ocean swim was messing with your stomach, personally. I'm so impressed with the way you aced the swim and bike - you are going to own IMTX!

  8. Wow - an epic race for sure! I love your attitude, Jeff! Go out there, have a great time, laugh at yourself, finish strong. Nice job!!

  9. Well I'm a pretty new follower but I'm assuming you won't be upset when I say I agree with KC I was rolling reading this! Luckily sounds like I was laughing with you not at you. :)

    Great job your times are fantastic!~

  10. Sucks I didn't get a chance to meet up with you at any point. Probably would have been on the run and it sounds like I wouldn't have gotten your best side.... ;) Way to work through your issues though - always a learning experience!

  11. Wow! Sorry about the gut issues! As you said shit and puke are par for the course, but sorry it had to be you. That being said great attitude Jeff! I still think you did a great job. Of course it's possible it was from Gatorade or something but it could just have been food poisoning from something unwashed or anything. Well done and a great report!

  12. Hey, it is what it is and you finished! I waited 10 hours and 12 minutes solo spectating the Rev 3 Full to see my boyfriend finish. The race finishes in Cedar Point amusement park. He crossed the finish line and shoo'd me away as he ran through the volunteers and projectile vomited in an economy size trash can for 10 minutes. It happens!

  13. aaaahhhhh what an ordeal on the run!
    but you got thru it and didnt wipe out your body and your legs so it seems this race actually worked out okay as IM prep. Sounds like it was the gatorade? more and more over the last 3 years I cannot drink that stuff not sure what it is.

    Great weekend and Congrats to Annie thats awesome. Also very cool meeting up with everyone
    great report

  14. Hey there! Great race report... so very, very- very detailed. :P Too bad our schedules didn't mesh, but it was a quick turnaround trip for me. Glad you & Jon got to meet up. And, congrats to Annie!

  15. Awesome job! and even better race report! As JoyRun suggested, maybe it was ingesting too much salt water during the swim? I'm sure you're going to rock IMTX!!

  16. Might the GI issues be the sky blue tee in the last photo? I'm a Manchester United guy myself.

    Just kidding, you did good. You did a great job in mitigating the issues and finishing...

  17. Great race report. It's easy to blame the Gatorade here but like some others here, my first thought was a delayed reaction to ingesting salt water. Good luck at IMTX!

  18. I LOVE this report and having three kids the puking and shit comments did not phase me at all. I have known you for a long time, so I could hear you reading this and it made it funnier. I wanted to pump my fist in the air for you like when you get a piece of meat out of your tooth and yell F-ing A. I am so proud of you and it sounds like you all had a wonderful time. Bring on the big boy in May now.

  19. Solid race! The GI issues suck, but you still rocked it!

    Hopefully you can recreate and get those GI issues figured out before IMTX!

    Geez Jon, don't look so excited volunteering there :)

    That is the best scene from Dumb & Dumber. Definitely not the best scene in the middle of a race though.

  20. Jeff! This was an HONEST race report! I have to admit that I might need to steal a lot of the text here since out on the swim and bike, my feelings were the same with the chop and wind.

    The run is where we will differ ;)

    That images of Jeff Daniels and Family Guy is EXACTLY how I pictured you when you explained the whole ordeal you went through on the run.

    This was a KICKASS weekend! SO great to have hung out with you and Annie and Mike all weekend. This is a great venue.

    I will keep my options open still regarding Rev3 in Ohio. Blogger get togethers make race weekends a LOT more stress free and a LOT more fun!

    Glad to hear your legs are good. My quads are the usual f-ed up, but our sunburns. OUCH!

  21. Rough run but great race otherwise. Congratulations!

  22. Nice RR, Hot temps and GI issues and still sub 6 hrs!!! Very nice! Great test for your ironman!

  23. "I didn't trust a fart" ha ha

    Oh man, that SUCKS! Congrats on the race, most of all on finishing a tough run.

    So some products don't mix well with fructose and cause vomiting and diarrhea... I wonder if the Preform/gatoraide is one of those situations? Also something my coach told me that has me ALL screwed up (because my pre-race is the same as yours) is that whole wheat and nut butters are a slower digesting food that sort of pick up everything on their way through (I knew this) but that sometimes they can blow on longer races. She is suggesting white breads and honey instead...

    Jon rocks, I had a blast with him at IMLP last year. Great RR.

  24. Oh man! What a trip that race was for you! So sorry about all those GI issues, especially after such a great bike split. I'm glad you were able to take it in stride.

    So now your homework--go practice transitions! And figure out what went wrong with the nutrition.

    YOu still finished in a most respectable time, so we know you've got LOTS more to give! You're a stud!

  25. ugh Jeff - i feel for you buddy. you toughed it out though and that says so much for your mental strength. and you put in a very respectable time regardless - awesome awesome bike!

    so yeah get out there and practice that nutrition on the bike until you get it right. you will nail the next race with everything in check.

  26. Oh my... your race was going so perfect until the fun (besides the asshat in transition... no, not you in T1, the other guy - I hate when people do that!) And having a finicky stomach, I could almost 100% blame your GI stuff on Gatorade. That stuff can be potent if you don't train with it. I'm talking one sip and it can put you out for a day! BLAH!

    I'm seriously impressed with your training Jeff. You've been so on target with everything - this race included... you are going to kill it in May!

    And that's super cool that you got to meet Jon. Yep, he knows where he needs to be on September 11th!

  27. Congrats on the race, I was so entertain with the portpotties that I forgot about a pukie was coming. Way to stick through it. Burping and sometimes puking really relieve the system. Where was the sperm helmet?

  28. Way to gut it out and finish in spite of the GI issues.

  29. Congrats on the race, especially with the lower issues...nasty.
    my hubs is a one of the Tri rules that you can't touch anyone else's equipment? I know you had to move the bike but just wondering if this is true..or if I am making that up. What would happen in a situation like that?

  30. JEFF! My jaw in hanging open over your GI issues, and I'm sorry to say I laughed at several parts of your recap!

    and I love how you call NY a tundra : )

    Congrats, great finishers medal!

  31. Great recap (all of it) Galveston is a great little beach city. Seems like it would be a cool place for an event. Good luck on your upcoming M DOT

  32. Heck of a recap, and heck of a job all things considered. Never good when the guts start to revolt. I think the animated GIF captures everything very nicely.

  33. Classic race report, for sure. Sounds more than anything like you might have ate something bad the day before or just had a stomach bug; given that your nutrition and hydration were same as usual for the most part. Here's to a less eventful run at IM TX!

  34. congrats on a good swim & bike! sorry to hear about the run issues... but as others have said, better to get that out of the way now than at IM TX!

    I think this is one of the first tri race reports of the season I've read so far and it's made me super excited for my tri on saturday!

  35. Alright, all I took from this race report was that you had some Boom Boom time pre-race. Is that the Boom Boom that I am thinking? If so, you won the freaking race before you even toed the line LOL! SCORE ONE FOR THE GOOD GUYS!

    Man bummer on the colon blow 5000. Mandy had a great comment. Curious how much of the gatorade and combining everything ended up nailing you.

    Keep up the good work, this is why you did a 70.3 race tune up. Need to figure out what works for you. I would say you gathered some good info :)

  36. Still a good race overall - glad to see you had a sense of humour about the misfortune! Above all else, have fun! It sounds like you certainly did!

    Great race report, I love it!

  37. Wow, what a rough ending to a perfectly good day! Hard to do much when you are dealt with all those GI issues!

    That RR was super fun and can't wait to meet ya at REV3 CP!

  38. Aren't instestines the best? I'm always personally AMAZED at how much they can hold. ;)

    ok enough with that.

    I was happy to see that was sunscreen - thought you were bathing in a dehydrated salt mask.

    Love the photos. Even in real people clothes !![two thumbs up - - -way up].

    Awesome job.
    Great RR dog whisperer.

    And thanks Coach for the sound advice.

  39. Great RR and great job holding back. Now to figure out those GI issues. It could have been that breakfast since I am assuming that is not your normal everyday breakfast.

    Great pics and one year I will be there. Maybe 2013 will be Galveston and we can race together in the new 40-44 age group.....

  40. congrats on finishing and good swim/bike legs! You win for most entertaining race report!

  41. Woohoo! Congrats on your race!! That was a great race report...and the pictures were awesome!
    I'm so sorry you had GI problems during the run. That just sucks. I can tell you now that I cannot stomach gatorade AT ALL! It does to me basically what happened to you. It is just too sweet for my system to handle. So, considering you hadn't trained with it, I would guess that was the culprit.
    That did awesome! Nice job with your swim and bike!!!

  42. Well done Jeff! You did great despite of all the GI issues. We all get those at times and I also don't know why yet. Rest well! I like that medal!

  43. Hey Jeff! I'm your newest blog follower. Thanks for a great race report. Jon, from NY, sent me over here from his blog. Man, it sounded like you had a great race although the run sounded painful. You had me cracking up with all the "stops." Way to go on this HIM! That's just awesome. I'll be doing my first HIM this summer, but I'll be reading all about your tris. Good luck as you train!

    Matt Smith

  44. Way to go!!!!

    Sorry to hear about the gi issues..... does make a memorable race though?!

  45. Your final stats were still pretty darn solid considering the GI disaster. So weird that happened. Way to cowboy up and finish the race.

  46. Oh, man! I did that to myself during my first marathon when I was terrified I was short on electrolytes and I (tried something new) and popped a bag of salt in my mouth. I, too, was terrified to fart for fear of a giant accident.

    You did amazing despite the 'issues'.

  47. Awesome recap! Great job even with the porta potty side tracks.

    Stomach issues are not funny but those pictures you posted gave a good visual that made it a little funny. Weird how that happens though.

  48. Sorry about those GI issues. Congratulations on the great effort and on finishing despite the GI trouble. Well done on the swim and bike, too! I'm glad that you had such a wonderful weekend.

  49. Sucks about your GI issues, but you still put in a very respectable race time. I hate to admit this, but your run was still faster than my fastest 13.1 in a race, ha!

    Way to 'gut' it out (sorry, couldnt resist).

  50. perhaps the Gatorade / FE combo caused the GI stuff?? Other than that.. not sure. Still a nice showing and a great attitude! :)