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