My turn around from San Juan was not ideal however as I got a terrible cold that knocked me out for 3 days of no training. It also did not feel as though they were exactly rest and recovery days. Once I was able to get back to training I used my HRM to dictate the effort I put forth, which was again slim to non, as I was running and cycling at much lower rates of intensity despite high HR readings. Swimming was out of the question. The second week of training was much higher volume with low intensity again as I tried to not lose much fitness from the illness. I swam twice and put in 190 miles on the bike plus 42 running. Finally, the week of Galveston I was able to put in 3 good efforts, 1 for each discipline. I had a great track workout (1/4s because I couldn’t sustain anything longer), did some new drill work that helped me shave 2 seconds from my 100 time (again nothing sustained), and I had a couple of 1 hour intense rides on the trainer. Looking back on it, I should have seen the writing on the wall. I was starting to feel better and I could put in some decent short efforts, but that was it. My illness was lingering.
Down to Galveston. I had an awesome homestay, John Kirwin and his wife Sherry. I have been so fortunate with my homestays. John is a triathlete and he and his wife are Christians, so we had plenty to talk about and we prayed together before meals. John was literally my personal race director. He took me around the course and showed me all the odds and ends of Moody Gardens and the construction hazards as well as introducing me to everyone (literally everywhere we went he knew someone). The guy had 2 dozen bikes in his garage and all the tools I needed. It was sweet!
Another pleasant surprise was having the opportunity to run into friends and sponsors. Jeff Booher of TRI 4 HIM and TriDot along with Natasha van der Merwe were there. These two are some of most positive and inspiring people in the sport. If you want to learn more about our team take a moment to look up TRI4HIM.com along with the coaching program TriDot.com for triathletes. Another friendly face I ran into was Jon Sherman from CYCLE CLUB SPORTS and CARBON CONCEPTS. You have to check out his websites as he will be updating Carbon Concepts soon. Mike form XTENeX Laces was also there and it was fun to hang out in his booth for a while and show people how great his laces are. They are the fastest lacing system for triathlon transitions and they are great for any pair of shoes you just don’t want to have to tie your laces anymore or have to worry about them becoming untied. I also picked up some new compression gear from SLS3 that I love. I’m actually wear the quad compression sleeves now as I sit hear typing.
Well, on to the race. Oh first I have to tell you that the day before the race I tried swimming in my new Xterra Wetsuit, and although the suit felt fine, I did not. I “only” threw up some green stuff twice after swimming and for much of the rest of the day I was fatigued, but couldn’t fall asleep for my afternoon nap.
Ok, the race. Not so great. Came out of water “leading” some guys who I hope weren’t expecting a good swim time, as I could only muster a 28 min swim (in a wetsuit, the same time I swam without a wetsuit 3 weeks earlier, I know courses are measured differently, but in my case I can usually count on a min or so faster swim). Well at least I was going to have some guys to bike with,…not. As I exited transition my derailer cable became lodged between my tire and my frame. I was like finger nails on chalkboard. Off the bike went, checked my brakes while I was at it and fixed the cable, and alone I went onto the bike course. I figured to stay in the 280 watt range and listen to my heart rate. I had 2 bottles of GenUCan and some gels to sustain me on the course. Things were going ok until 2 guys passed me. I would usually go with a group and try to work with them, but I could not get the power going. My seat was uncomfortable and I just couldn’t turn the pedals like I wanted. The interesting thing was that my HR was in its usual range 155-160 but my watts were dropping from the 280s to the 260s. I just settled in and rode the entire 56 miles by myself. It was a super boring out and back flat course with a strange southeast wind, that made it a tad slower coming home but not by much. Onto the run I was ready to have a faster run than San Juan since I had not bonked on the bike, but instead of a bonk I felt like I had brick legs. I was completely comfortable breathing and my heart rate was in a comfortable 160-163 range but my legs hurt. I know we are not supposed to feel great after a 56 mile bike, but I was like I had done 500 squats the day before and my quads just ached with every step. Gradually into the run I started to “feel better” but each step was a bear so I just enjoyed the moments when people would cheer for TRI 4 HIm and the opportunities to encourage other competitors on the course with all the out and back sections. In the end I managed to finish running 6:23 miles (all things considered it was faster than San Juan) with a smile on my face, thankful that I’m blessed to have friends and family and sponsors who support my efforts no matter what place I finish in.
Btw- my legs were still sore, as in it hurt to get up and down from the toilet, 4 days after the race (which is unusual for me after half ironmans). I think I may have still been holding onto that bug. Good times either way as any race you finish will make you stronger for the next!
As for that next event, I look forward to beginning my sessions as a TRI DOT athlete in my preparation for St. Croix 70.3 on May 5th.