Onalaska HIM AquaBike 09/10/2017 - Race Report by iTRI365 Athlete, Norma Hallmark

" have eyed this race in the past as a possibility, but usually wound up doing Rose City Tri. I was already signed up for RCT when Jenny Brown asked if I wanted to do Onalaska, as her dad won a silent auction for some entries. She was doing the AquaBike so I agreed to do it. After Hurricane Harvey hit, I had some reservations about it, but I wasn’t willing to blow it off after Jenny asked me. She, her friend Bethany, and I traveled down to Onalaska after some really interesting mishaps that happened to both Bethany and Jenny, but that’s not my story to tell…although Bethany had a ruptured tendon in her ankle and was wearing a boot. Okay then! But what do you expect from someone who is 22 and an athlete?


We get to packet pickup around 5. Bethany is not in the system, but there was no hassle and they get her setup. We drop off our bikes at transition, look at the lake but don’t hang around long because the love bugs are out in full force (I had forgotten how bad they were in the Houston and surrounding areas), drive to the hotel, go eat some food at Joe’s Italian Grill (yummy food!) then head back to the hotel.

I woke up shortly before the alarm went off at 4:45 am. I am dressed when it goes off and the other two get up. After getting ready, we drive to the assigned parking area and catch the shuttle to the race site. It is very cool out especially when we arrive at the lake. Transition doesn’t take very long to set up so we decide to have a quick warmup swim. The water is a little cool but I knew it would be perfect once the actual swim started. However, getting out of the water with the wind blowing made for a shiverfest. Announcements about the course were being made and we look out at the buoys, and we are kind of startled at how far away the yellow buoys are. We all said it was further than half a mile. I even said something to Tina, the race director, and she claimed that it had been measured out and they were accurate. Men and relay started at 7:00 and all other categories started at 7:05. We get in the water, horn blows, there is a little jostling but everyone seemed to find their place fairly quickly. The water is great…until we get out of the cove. We are all swimming. There were not enough orange buoys, but I stay on top of the sighting. It starts getting a little choppy but nothing bad, however, the yellow buoys don’t seem to be getting any closer. I keep swimming. I keep looking for the yellow buoys. I can see them but they are still very far away. I look at my watch. I’m already past 1200 yards. I keep swimming. I get in among people heading back. One woman said something to me but it was mumbled and I didn’t catch what she said and she just said, “never mind” so I started to go back to swimming when another woman said, “we are being told to turn around because the yellow buoys have drifted off.” Okay, that’s why they were never getting closer. So I turn around and start heading back. Oh my goodness. I am so glad I have endurance and I don’t panic. The waves on the way back were atrocious. This is the first time I have swallowed so much lake water to the point of coughing. Sighting was a big problem because as soon as you tried to sight all you saw were waves. Looking at my swim map, I actually managed to swim in a fairly straight line forward and back. I don’t know how. I tried to sight on people, boats, and the buoys when I could spot them. To say this was a challenging swim is an understatement. Under the waves was calm, but coming up for air was a fight. I had to use breaststroke for some of my swim just to recover from taking in water. Once reentering the cove everything smoothed out with about 400 yards to swim to reach the finish. I had extra mileage on my swim, but oddly enough, I actually liked it because even though I am a slow swimmer, I could do it, waves and all.

Transition was slow, because after all that and coming through grass that stuck to your feet, I had to get in some nutrition, rid my feet of the grass before putting on socks and shoes and just get oriented.

I get out of transition and onto the bike. Now they say never do anything new on race day. Well, I had something new that I hadn’t tried out. Short cranks. I had dropped off my bike on Tuesday with full expectation of getting my bike back well before the weekend. I had a spin set on Friday so I would then be able to get a feel for them. I call the bike shop on Friday and am told that it would be ready by closing on Friday. I’m a bit perplexed since it’s been there since Tuesday, but okay. I’ll get my spin set in. I drive to the bike shop. It’s on a rack being worked on. They are trying to find adapters without a lot of luck. There is no sense getting upset over something you can’t control. So I offer to come back in the morning since we aren’t leaving until Saturday afternoon. So I’ve got something new on my bike that I haven’t tested out plus my seat has been lowered…hopefully in the same spot it was before.

I start out just fine. Cruising along but I can tell that I am using my quads more (or so it seems), but I am also getting this pinching sensation in my crotch. Great…something is different with my saddle. I tell myself to just suck it up because there’s nothing I can do about it. About 20 miles in, the pinching eases or maybe I’m numb because this course is so challenging. The long slow ascents are painful. Some steep hills, fun downhills but they don’t last long. I start talking to myself in my head, reminding myself that I don’t have to run afterward (YAY!!!!), that Bethany is biking with a ruptured tendon in her ankle (although it is good rehab for it), that I can do this even though I am not liking the course. I reach the turnaround where a car just barely stopped while I was going around. There was a couple of guys that were suppose to be “flaggers” but they needed a flag. Oh no…the love bugs are heavy and are hitting me everywhere. I reach the 30 mile mark and go into a subdivision…just as challenging. Get to that turnaround and actually stop for a cup of water and finish my hydration bottle, realizing that that is the only bottle I have taken in. My other bottle is still full. I switch my bottles in their cages and continue. I think since I took in the lake water it was hard for me to drink. The love bugs are full force. Constantly being hit by them. I was very fortunate that I didn’t eat any. Then cresting a hill, I half drop my chain going from small ring to big ring. It only takes me a minute to get it back on and continue. However, around mile 50, going from small to big again, my chain drops, but this time it gets wedged behind the small ring and next to the frame. I am trying to get it unstuck when a guy biker who had been behind me the whole way stops to help me. I am so thankful, but we are unable to get it to move. I’m thinking, “great…6 miles left to go and I’m going to be a DNF.” Then a female biker stops to help and we manage to get it loose and I get it back on the ring. What an ordeal and I am just so grateful that they stopped to help. Ugh, love bugs are everywhere! We all get on our bikes. My fingers are covered in grease and I’m getting inundated with love bugs but I tell myself just 6 more miles. I am now afraid to shift between the small and big rings so I leave it in the big ring knowing I’m just going to have to do some mashing to get up the remaining hills, reminding myself that I don’t have to run. The wind going across the bridge is brutal. I feel like I’m pedaling in mud. The cars whiz past me and I feel like I’m going to get sucked over into their lane. I hit 56 miles but there is still more to go…an extra mile and a half. I make it to transition knowing that this is the end of my race and I am so happy. My calves are actually sore…how did that happen? Jenny and Bethany are waiting for me. Jenny says, “If we could do this, we can do NOLA.” I think I agree. I get my medal. There are Subway sandwiches, chips, and a cookie for us to grab on the way out to catch the shuttle back to our cars. Bethany returns to Tyler with me as Jenny is going to visit her brother. An uneventful trip back. Now I must take a shower."

Norma Hallmark
iTRI365 Athlete since 2015

2017 Home Run 10k Race Report by iTRI365 Athlete, Lynnette Wood

"I did not race Galveston, or any bike race over the weekend. However I did run the Home Run 10K in Lindale. Lately, more than ever in my past, I go into races looking to have fun first and foremost. I'm typically not looking to hit a particular pace or time, and just go by how I feel.
Using this approach has been working quite well for me, but it seems that I'm the only one surprised when I do well. No one else seems surprised at all, while I genuinely and truly am!
So after saying 'hi' to Kayla and Rachel and a few others before the race, I stepped up to the line with a couple dozen other runners (over half were women!!) and off we went!

I hadn't pre-run or ridden the course but had seen a map. It went around the new park at the Cannery in Lindale for 0.7miles then came back onto the road - North St to Iron Mountain to the end of the neighborhood out there (sorry, not good with street names!) and back. Although I live in Lindale, I've actually only gone out that way once following yard sale signs. I'd heard it was hilly, and it certainly lived up to it. If you're looking for hills to run, this is the route for you!

Jogging along the park path, I worked my way up to 2nd place female, and felt pretty good. Once we got out to Iron Mountain road, it was quite clear that the woman ahead of me was pulling away on the downhills, and I was reeling her back in on the ascents. Just based on physics, logic says she can pull away further than I could gain. But I just kept my pace, and in my head reminded myself, I'm from Vermont, and hills are my strength. And kept reeling her in, then pulling just a bit farther ahead on the flats. Finally, before we got to the neighborhood, I was able to stay ahead of her.

The approach to the turn-around was a slight descent, so I pushed it to stay ahead, made the turn, and could then see how far back she was - I may have had 30 or 40 yards. At this point, I had seen all those ahead of me make the turn and knew I was in the top 10 overall, and then could encourage all the others coming behind me. I was really having fun now, cheering everyone on. I knew it was only 1.5 miles back to the 5K turn-around spot (I'd broken the route into four 1.5-mile segments in my head) so plugged away at those uphills until I could see the 5k turn. By this time, I was hurting a bit, but had a few significant thoughts in my head:

1. This was not even close to an IronMan, or even a Half IM, so no matter how hard I pushed, it would be nothing like all my friends down in Galveston.
2. It was a balmy 60 degrees with no snow, like the 16" or so that had fallen the night before up in New England, so no complaints there
3. I am grateful to be able to run, unlike a friend who may have separated his glute from his iliac crest.

Upon reaching the 5K turn, there were now many more competitors out there, so many more to cheer. Now I was REALLY having fun, and noticed I was reeling in the 2 guys ahead of me. When we finally turned back onto North St and up that last incline, it is a nice 300m flat stretch to the finish. I was running with one guy, and said, "Come on, you got this!" or something to that effect and we picked it up a bit. I didn't have much left in the tank to pick up more, so he pulled away. The other guy, who'd been battling a stitch in his side passed me, so I was back to 8th or 9th, but still thrilled with that. And then when the stitch-in-his-side guy caught the next (5k) runner, it was a little girl of about 7-9 years old (I'm terrible with guessing kids' ages, but about the size of Cori's daughter). I took a good breath and cheered for her, encouraging her to pick it up if she could, bring it all the way to the finish line. And she shifted gears and stuck to that guy's heels!

About 10-15 yards from the finish, she eased up a bit and I encouraged her again - all the way in! And she did it! The honest to goodness truth is that I couldn't catch her and I was so stinking proud of her!!! I told her so after crossing the line, said I was trying to catch her and couldn't and that she finished strong; what a great run! And gave her a hug. She was pretty awesome!

They told me my time: 46:18, first place, gave me a finisher medal and snapped a photo before I had to wander off, at that point of near-puke that seems to hit me after hard runs.

My prize was a wonderful 1 month unlimited yoga membership to Serenity Yoga in Mineola. It is one of the best prizes I've ever won, because I've been meaning to check that place out!

Then it was off to shower and pick up Bruce before heading to Elite for the day.
What a great day! Still can't believe I got first! And made a new friend - second place was Jennifer Taylor, and we chatted a bit after the race. Turns out she bikes some too... ;-)  "

Race Report by iTRI365 Athlete Lynnette Wood

Home Run 10k time 46:18, First Place Female

Galveston 70.3 Race Report - iTRI365 Athlete, Kaylee Garvey

"I’ll go into pretty fine detail as much as I can remember so you can feel like you were there. Speaking of details, of course I started my period on Saturday and this was highly inconvenient. Saturday evening we had a familiar meal of Bison Spaghetti that we had meal prepped and packed to ensure no sickness and to save money on the trip. After, I spoke with you [Coach Cori] on the phone, then tri tatted up and went to bed around 7:15pm. Alarms went off at 4am to eat breakfast and head out early so we could ensure a prime parking spot by the Cobb tent so we could keep our stuff in our car instead of relying on others to watch our stuff. I put a Band-aid brand waterblock bandage on my knee and KT tape on my left hip to help with running pain per Dr. Santo, and then got dressed. I stepped outside on the porch to check the weather conditions. Windy for sure, and still dark from night fall. The sun would show any storms blowing in in a few hours. We got to Transition at 4:40am with a good parking spot. When transition opened, I went ahead and set up my stuff, against Chance’s discretion. I had a stellar idea for my transition to ensure it was wind and waterproof, so I wasn’t worried about it being messed with. If you can tell, I used two of the “Ironman Village Store” bags wrapped around my transition mat in a way so that it was open in the middle, making it easy to pull back and access the contents inside. I taped it together on the underside, and later I came back and taped the whole thing down to the pavement on the top and bottom to prevent wind from blowing it all away. I left the helmet and cycling shoes outside, though there was room inside the bags, because I would be wet when I use those anyway, so rain wasn’t a worry, and it was not extremely windy at this time, so I wasn’t worried about the helmet rolling away. My running shoes I had tied tight in a Walmart bag, socks inside correlating shoes, and a base salts vial tucked in the Yankz laces to put in my pocket (in case I dropped my other on the bike). I then put the visor and running bib over the Walmart bag, but inside the Ironman bag. Toward the top, I have a towel tied tight in a Walmart bag in case of need, and I had an extra gel and water bottle on the other side up top. I also labeled all of my gear (helmet, bike shoes, running shoes, and mat) with a strip of duct tape with my name and phone number in case of wind or carelessness so I could get these higher dollar items back. I’m glad I had my transition so secure, because this was not a worry of mine at all during the race (due to weather or the inexperienced racers next to me- with misracked bikes, run bibs placed on their bikes, and sloppy transition areas). After transition was set up and tire pressure was checked, we dropped our stuff off at the car and went to rest at the Cobb Mobb tent. This was nice because it was a gathering spot that morning where we were able to talk, joke, and help each other. Ashley and Nate arrived while Kat was braiding my hair, Mayhall gave me water, we helped Brandon and Angela put their wet suits on, Rachel was offering food left and right, and Joe was trying to convince Aaron to store his goggles and cap under the thigh silicone seam of his shorts instead of a pocket while Tommy was putting on his wetsuit. Chance made a bathroom get away, and I thought about going too, but I just wasn’t able to work something up. I put my gels for the race into my kit (utilizing all 4 pockets in the jersey and shorts), and at 7am, Joe, Chance, Tommy, and I head towards the water start, and I ate a Cliff banana, beet, and ginger energy food pack. Joe took our shoes and then head back to the Cobb Mobb tent to walk Kat over. Chance went to get in line on the dock while Tommy and I took our time through the crowds. I went through some yoga poses and shoulder openers while Tommy babied his BodyHacker. I then slammed my small bottle of BodyHacker, and we head to the dock to get in line.

So many women that I was waiting on the dock with said this was their first tri ever, and it was a practice run for Texas in a few weeks! Oh my gosh, way to learn how to hate a sport!! I just smiled and tried not to say too much. We hopped off the dock into the water to wait our turn to go. I was worried about having to tread water, but the wet suit just help me float anyway! I should have positioned myself a little closer to the front, but the pack of floating girls was tight as it was. We got a horn blow, I started my watch and quickly slid my wet suit sleeve over it in one motion, and went off. I managed ok through the crowds, but I went on the outside to get past the crazy, lost swimmers. The water was choppy due to the wind, but the wet suit helped a lot with staying a float. Once I passed the first turn buoy, the wind was blowing behind us, so I though it would help get me along a little quicker, but the choppy water made it hard to be efficient in strokes. I took in a lot of salt water here, and noticed swimmers hanging on to almost every buoy I passed. I have also never had my legs grabbed as much as I have on this swim too. This scared me because I was concerned they were struggling swimmers looking for something to hold on to. I felt bad, but every time I felt a grab I gave a strong kick back to make sure I wasn’t the one they would take down. I’m not sure if it was due to over kicking or the salt intake, but I also got extreme Charlie horse cramps once in easy leg. I kicked a couple of times with my foot flexed to get through them, and they didn’t return. The last turn buoy took forever to get to, but then we were swimming in towards land now with wind blowing me sideways. Lots of sighting and crawling was needed here. I swam as far in to the land as I could, but many people were standing up early, and they had us all funneling one at a time up a ramp to get out of the water. This irritated me because I was ready to run, and the ones in front of me were just walking a long. MOVE! The wetsuit strippers were far enough up that I had time to run while getting the sleeves down and just past my hips, cap and goggles off and into my bra top to prevent dropping during stripping. I ran to the strippers, made eye contact with one and said YOU! The poor kid looked lost and confused, but I sat down in front of the two young boys and they pulled it right off. I grabbed the wetsuit from them and ran off to transition. In transition, I followed my pink Barbie duct tape I set out, and got to my spot.

My neighbor was there in transition already, but all of the other bikes were still there (I assumed they had us arranged by age). I put on my gear and got out before my neighbor was out- the small victories! I also got a cheer from Shauna Kwiatek on the way out. The nutrition I had on my bike included a Skratch labs Rescue mixed in my handlebar cage, 1 bottle of Infinit jet fuel, 2 bottles Infinit go far, and a cut up cliff bar and base salts vial in the fuel bag on the top tube. I tried to chug the Skratch bottle, but it took about the first 5 miles to get it all down due to the wind and handling needed. At about this point, the adrenaline of transition was fading and my thinking cleared up. I then realized something… I left my cap and goggles in my bra! Well damn I thought, I’m not tossing my goggles, but I will toss the cap at the next aid station. I knew the specific environment of this race would dehydrate me easily, so I made it a point to drink and take salt at every mile marker I saw (every 5 miles). This was an easy way to remember. About 10 miles in, I felt my legs cramping. This was highly annoying, but I couldn’t do anything but keep up with my nutrition. I kept a high cadence to prevent muscle fatigue and promote lactic acid movement for the ride, and that seemed to keep them tolerable. (I did buy some Base nutrition products at ironman village to try out to help with this too, but I wasn’t going to try them out today).

The wind was SO strong, if you look at my HR analysis, you can see where I literally thought I was going to die, and then where I became slightly comfortable. I talked a lot to Ash before the race about wind and handling, and hearing her in my head was a saving mantra of “just flow with it, just flow with it. Let it blow you around, just flow with it”. Heading out was a cross/headwind. After I finished my first bottle, I managed to hit the one bump on the course and lost a full bottle of nutrition out of my rear bottle cage. I made up for this by taking an extra water hand out and eating the cliff bar in my fuel bag. I passed Blaise and cheered her on. Then up ahead was that dreaded bridge I had heard about. The winds will be worst right here, is what I was told. I saw Chance coming off the bridge on the other side. I was in aero, so I continued on the bridge with the expectation of getting up at any moment. The bridge was concrete and so smooth! And yes, the wind was strong, but it wasn’t as bad as it was between all of the breaks in the beach condos causing wind vortexes like earlier in the course. Crossing the bridge in aero the whole time was a small victory, and I continued on. I hit the turnaround, the aid station, and head back out. The ramp up the bridge on the way back was crappy, broken chip seal, and I’m glad Kat warned me to watch for bottles here. I stayed in aero the whole time crossing back. I don’t know if it was because I got better at handling, or if the cross wind wasn’t as strong coming back, but I was able to stay in aero more on the way back. It was go time, but I sure did watch those miles a lot closer going back in! I was getting bad chaffing due to the lady conditions I had going on causing extra moisture down there. There is also a REALLY cool trick/tip that we learned at the athlete briefing from a coach, and I feel like we need to share it! It’s about the draft zone. The coach was basically saying if you are passing someone, don’t just stay far to the left to avoid looking like drafting, because you are still in the draft zone- so instead, draft from that person until you pass! This was a nice nugget that I utilized a lot on the course while passing. And while I was passing people, I personally laughed at the ones wearing their run bibs by shouting when I passed them “Hey Brandon, I’m on your left!” I got some confused looks and smiles from the clueless ones, haha!

I came in for T2 and had 2 young volunteers tell me I couldn’t go the way I had practiced the day before. I think I said some profanities, and ran past them anyway to start looking for my Barbie duct tape. No issues in T2, except I was expecting some sunscreen sprayers when I exited RUN OUT, but it was still overcast, guess they didn’t think it was necessary. Over the bike course, I took in 5 bottles of water, and I think that helped a lot on the run. Because I took in so much water on the bike, I had to stop and pee on the first lap. I almost pee’d on the bike honestly, but there were always a lot of people around me, so I didn’t think they would appreciate it.

I really felt good coming off the bike, and I knew my pace was too fast, but my HR was ok. Then I realized my HR monitor wasn’t in place right! I fixed it and then thought oh shit. I worked on getting it down to the 160’s, but that was hard, so I made sure to not let it get any higher than the 170’s. I would let it hit 180’s on that last 5K like Fresh15. I felt really good on the run, and according to Ash, if I’m smiling then I could have pushed harder. Racing is where you learn that edge, so I’ll figure it out. I saw Chance and Rachel once, and Aaron, Christy, Tommy, Blaise, Sherril, Kat, Brandon, and Angela many times. The spectators were so helpful too! This was a great spectator friendly course! I got a lot of spectator support in lap 1 because Ash and Nate, and Jeffery were cheering Rachel on (who was coming up behind me). I saw Jonathan Johnson twice, Crystal and Lexi, and Clay even cheered for me when I passed him with the Every Man Jack team. The Cobb Mobb tent was a great place to pass because I knew I would see a familiar face, but the only down side was that it was located at the very beginning of the lap. I remember yelling at Aaron and Tommy every time I saw them. The 3 lap course had 3 hills that required effort, which for a “flat” course was annoying. On all of these hills Cori was sitting on shoulder telling me to keep a short quick pace up, and then to open up those legs on the downhill. I made a constant effort to keep hydrated and stay cool (due to my fear of dehydration from Austin 69.1), so I took sponges at the beginning and put them in the back of my jersey (that bra shelf is SO usefull!). I kept 2 back there the whole time (I had read to hold on to them because they run out) and put ice back there every aid station after I drank a cup of water. In my pace analysis, you can see where I walked aid stations to get water, and where I just ran through probably not getting much water in my mouth.

The second lap really sucked, because that it when my legs started to get tired and I had to pass the finish line turn for one more round. I also had no spectator support on lap 2 and 3 except for the Cobb Mobb tent, so I kept an eye our for teammates on the course to cheer them. I also started to feel belly cramps at this point, and I knew a period poop was coming on since I wasn’t able to do it this morning. I refused to stop and lose time to a port a potty again, but there were a couple of times where it came close. I started to get some mid back pain too, but I though that may have been due to slouching, so I made it a point to sit up with shoulders back. Looking back now, that may have been lady day related too, I don’t know. The last lap I told myself it was time to get ready to push. I had a finish line in site, and there would be a port a potty! At mile 10 I tried to push, but the legs were tired. I got out my 100mg caffeine gel and took it. The last mile was the hardest, it was so long! I pushed as hard as I could at that point, but with half a mile, I feel fatigue. No, I thought, I’m almost there! I try to push, but the power won’t come. I steadily slow down against my will until I see the Y for the finish line. The excitement that the end is right there gave me enough umpff to push to finish. I remember smiling so hard going towards that finish line! No tears because I’m glad to be finished this time, but pride instead."

Race Report by Kaylee Garvey

Galveston 70.3, Division Rank - 17th




Oktoberfest Triathlon 2016 Race Report

Oktoberfest Triathlon 2016 Race Report

Yesterday was my last triathlon in the 30-34 age group. It's bittersweet but a good ending to a great 5 years. ...I went into this race knowing that I came off a long season of distance training and haven't had the time or energy to invest in speed work. Lora (my coach) was patient and understanding as I tried to navigate through my post-Ironman blues and throw myself head first back into my career. I made a last minute decision to switch to the Sprint distance after several weeks of hit and miss training. I knew the degree of suffering an Oly brings and I just didn't want to hate life for two and a half hours. So, I opted for the Sprint distance thinking I could just go out and have fun.

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