Galveston 70.3 pros and cons

Galveston 70.3

I signed up for this race again a few days ago after receiving a notice that it was already 80% full. I had planned to wait until after Christmas for budget reasons but I couldn’t risk missing the opportunity! I am really excited to be going back as I had a blast this year. There are a bunch of people on my team also racing so it should be a fun day!

If you’re not sure about signing up here are my personal pros and cons of the race:

PROS:

Local destination

Huge support from spectators (spectator friendly set up for moving around the course)

Looped run so you see all your friends multiple times

Bay swim so minimal chop

Flat course

Moody Gardens is pretty

Well set up

Plenty of parking

Can do plenty of race rehearsals if you’re local

Great atmosphere

 

CONS:

Looped run (I hate loops)

Winds on the bike course can be brutal

45 is ALWAYS under construction so traffic getting down can be a pain

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Setting up for success.

After talking about training recently I had reflected back on my training earlier this year for Texas 70.3. I was looking at schedule patterns to maximize success levels with completion of workouts (i.e. getting my butt out of bed at some ungodly hour- whoever would have thought I would CHOOSE to do this?!).

I picked Whistler with my friend because of the date rather than anything else (although I am so excited about the landscape). I will have 4-5 weeks off work pre race which will be invaluable for resting, training, fueling and prepping carefully. Luckily this is around the time that my training will be high volume so it will mean that I can go train down at the Powerhouse gym a bunch and fit my day around my workouts. My friend offered to have me stay in Tucson so I could bike the mountains there which is lovely but I shall see how it goes..

I’m already trying to put some structures into place to minimize hassle as my training starts – things like realizing my training takes priority over everything else coming up and meal prepping ahead so I’m not a) eating junk or b) going hungry.

I’ve budgeted a chunk towards food each month as I hear people talking about being hungry all the time and I want to actually fuel my body with good quality, nutritious food (now I know I’m getting old!!).

I’m excited to get back on the blogging and hopefully will keep it up more regularly as this becomes basically my whole life!

 

Setting up for success checklist:

  • Work out a schedule – earlier workouts mean less things get in the way of completion!
  • Prep meals and snacks ahead of time (Bye bye Sundays!)
  • Equipment stockpile – if you’re as disorganized as I am at home, find homes for things and keep them in the same places. This has been a life saver for me over the last couple of years. I use a hanging shoe rack to keep all the fiddly bits in place and I know where things live now (yay me!)
  • Accountability – find out how you can make yourself more accountable – it’s purely what works for you.. one of my friends instagrams every single workout while another 2 link theirs to their Twitter/Facebook. I personally need the human accountability of being ashamed if I haven’t done something which is why I have loved working out with one of my friends to this point. Most of my 70.3 training was done alone minus the longer workouts but I had plenty of motivation for those.. when that dies out I need ‘the shame’!!!

No brainer!!!

I am SO excited to have selected a coach!!!! I thought it would be tough choosing. I’ll be honest, on my drive in horrible traffic down to Webster for my appointment at the weekend which I actually love as an area.. I was convinced it was a non starter. Well, I am so happy to have been proven wrong!

I’ve known this team for a while and I’ve known the coach for the last 4 years although mainly through small talk etc. The team have always been so welcoming, friendly and helpful even though none of us had any affiliation with the team. Anyway, we chatted for about an hour about the race, training, questions we had etc. and I walked away feeling really happy and realising that I don’t have to make the crazy drive everyday but it’s there if I want options for workouts. The training is personalised and the zones etc are set every 6-8 weeks to measure progress. I really like that I have the option to go join in with things if I wants and I know that these guys genuinely care about their athletes*.

I made a list of pros and cons and literally the only con I could come up with was the distance to the location which, again, is optional for when I want to head over there or need to go in for testing every so often.

So I am beyond delighted to sign up with Powerhouse Racing!!! 😀

powerhouse

*Disclaimer: I am not saying others don’t, I just have personal experience with these guys.

 

Coaching options.

I’ve been investigating coaches to help me in my journey to Whistler. So far I’ve spoken to a few with varying degrees of success. I’m trying to gauge where the price point roughly falls in Houston and what falls into the training plan/categories.

I’ve spoken via text to an enthusiastic lady via text but at the moment she’s falling on the more expensive end of the scale and I’ve yet to properly sit down and find out what is included each month.

Some teams are really upfront about what they offer online and it’s clear and concise information, beyond that it’s making contact to see where you fit in the grand scheme of things.

I have a conference call with another team/coach today at 2pm and I’m going to meet another face to face at 3pm tomorrow.

My concerns that are coming up are if teams haven’t got group workouts as I think moving forward I will need more than just online accountability and as I start building distance/time, inevitably my friends are going to tail off in their support of joining me for things. I also think I need something that’s “local”  to me so that I’m not consistently having to drive long stretches out of my way to get in my training as that will also impact on everything. For that reason, although I really like the team and the coaches so far, the one I’m meeting tomorrow probably will be too far out… Traffic is miserable at the best of times here so I don’t want to start adding an extra couple of hours of commuting to workouts into my schedule.

A guy I spoke to yesterday was very helpful and patient, however, doesn’t offer group workouts with his plan.. He came highly recommended by a friend but I think I probably need more accountability than my friend, as well as the “team” aspect of it as this is basically going to be my life for the next 9 months! This particular coach said it was more about time spent in the saddle on the bike than it was to do with tackling elevation changes.. not sure I entirely feel confident about that. I would definitely agree with time in the saddle but I think it would also need to incorporate elevation changes and gain!

 

IM Canada!

It’s done! I finally bit the bullet and signed up for a full! That said, I picked the race based on the date and wasn’t thinking too clearly about the geography or terrain of the area. I’ve signed up with a friend who just ran the Chicago Marathon in a ridiculous 3:22:12 on Sunday!! (Congrats!) We also have another friend who has said they will sign up to do it as well, so, fingers crossed! We are now recruiting supporters to come and cheer us on and loads of our friends are talking about coming up which would be amazing!!

I’m currently researching coaches and looking into getting a new road bike seat (can’t ride more than 10 miles without crying) and then eventually a new tri bike seat as well (I can deal with that one for a bit longer).

So the course in Whistler is meant to be beautiful but obviously in the mountains which means I need to get some crazy elevation training and increases on hill repeats wherever possible. The bike course has about 6000ft height gain overall and the run is only about 1000ft in comparison. To give you an idea of where I live, it is totally flat and we are only 13ft above sea level!

 

Anyway my aim is to start tracking more regularly what I’m doing (I know, I know, I say it every time…) and keep a more up to date overview on here.. I’m sure it will be crazy busy with training but I will do my best!

If you have any hints or tips for full distance, let me know!

Houston Half

I’ve just signed up for the Houston Half with the Striders on October 29th this year. It falls shortly after Kemah which I’m doing at the beginning of October and the week before Oilman.

My friend and I have been talking about doing the Columbia Gorge Marathon on October 22nd in Oregon. If we don’t do that I am looking at signing up for the Bridge Series (Toughest 10ks and La Porte half) with a couple of running friends from work. I’d be excited to do either set and will probably still look at the Toughest 10ks even if I can’t make one of the races due to the clash. I’ve been dying to visit the PNW for a while now and we are looking at spending a few days up there exploring and camping.

I’m starting out on a 20 week plan for Oilman this week although it’s a very steady start after hurting my hip trail running at the weekend. (And whaddyaknow, I actually miss getting up early to work out this morning..)

Ironman 70.3 Galveston Race Report

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I was dying to get this cap and rock it so there was no way I wasn’t finishing that race!!

I woke up earlier than planned as someone else was stressing about the race (full on panic mode) so I pulled the pillow over my head and tried to ignore them for the next couple of hours. I got up at 5am as I was staying at the resort and got myself ready, Face Timed my mum back in the UK and had some breakfast. I headed to transition via my car to dump bags. I had already racked my bike the day before (and had had to replace tires at a last minute cost).

I should probably talk about the fun I had at check in before my bike actually made it into transition because it could have been a whole other story!! I needed new tires which I found out not long before transition was closing. The lady told me I could rack my bike but she didn’t think she would get round to it before the cut off time or I could do it myself.. of course I was going to do everything I could to make that cut off so I started to attempt it myself. Three very kind gentlemen stood nearby offered to help and took control of what felt like was fast becoming a disaster. They were super kind and very quickly sorted it all. It was a more expensive check in than I expected and I missed the shopping opportunity in the Ironman Village but that will teach me in future to follow my own schedule and not anyone else’s.

Anyway.. back to race morning. I put all my stuff in transition and got sorted and then raced over to the store to buy a couple of cool items (see the cap in the pic) and give my bag to some friends who were cheering us on. We then headed down to the docks for the swim and some of my other friends had driven down to surprise us (which they did and it was awesome!). I chatted to people on the docks and got excited for the race. I’m terrified of heights so the jump off the pier was going to be the hardest part of the day for me.

The swim felt long (as it always does) but fine. There were some less than sporting men on the course who surged through the women and tried to drown a few along the way without achieving much themselves. I ran out of the water and almost got stuck at the wetsuit strippers as I hadn’t pulled it far enough down. I heard people cheering for me and saw some of my friends on the barriers which was excited.

I’d tried to count the rails in the morning to make sure I wasn’t lost trying to find my bike but I realized I didn’t want to rush through transition. I still forgot to put on my gloves and do a couple of other bits. But I had pre packed my snacks/nutrition and remembered to sunscreen up. Sadly, I forgot to use chamois butter so I had to stop halfway on the bike at the aid station to grab a handful of vaseline. The medic volunteer was brilliant and non judgy, even threw in some humor to help me on my way.  I’d been nervous about the winds on the bike as a few of the training rides had been pretty rough with a real battle to get back into town with head winds or cross winds. Anyway, it wasn’t that bad on the day, there were winds and there was a dreadful weather forecast. We had warnings of tornadoes and massive storms hitting and it was all looming overhead but the windspeed wasn’t that crazy. I was just pedaling like mad to get off the bike before the storms hit so I could shelter on the course or evacuate as appropriate.

I was strong throughout the bike, perhaps too strong because after the first mile on the run, I absolutely crashed and had to slow right down to avoid heat exhaustion/stroke. Due to the rubbish weather forecast a bunch of my friends who were going to come down, bailed. However at about mile 8 I saw 2 of  my awesome friends which really pumped me up and kept me trucking along. I sprinted into the finisher chute with a whole burst of energy and got a few epic photos as I crossed the line. As I looked up there were my 3 friends who had trekked out despite the hit and miss forecast! What a day!