Mine is bigger.

September has been a rough month.  Work has been super busy and its been a struggle to get all my training in and still have time to sleep.  I got up on Friday morning and felt absolutely exhausted and really wasn’t looking forward to racing this weekend.  The 5 hour ride to Cambridge, Maryland took almost 7 hours because of the pouring rain.  We finally got to packet pick up at 4 p.m. and after 7 hours in the car my legs were completely shot.  To make things worse it was pouring.  I definitely was not excited about racing and was thinking that if the weather kept up the swim would be canceled.  While I was less than excited about racing, I was super excited about where were staying — The Cambridge House Bed & Breakfast.  The Cambridge House was adorable and our room was perfect (and complete with original bathroom fixtures).  I love quirky little hotels and this one completely fit the bill. 

Swim course.

After a dinner debacle (per usual I couldn’t find anything I wanted to eat — for some reason Shaun was unable to find a Saranac Sourdough turkey sandwich for me in Cambridge Maryland) we settled down in the room and spent some quality time watching Kitchen Confidential before I passed out.  Race morning we were up at 5 a.m., had the usual breakfast of applesauce, whey protein powder and a banana (nom nom nom) and headed to T2 to drop off our T2 bags and take the shuttle to the swim start.  Weather at the start was humid and windy with scattered showers.  Not the best weather but much better than pouring rain.  By the time we got into the murky jellyfish filled Choptank River at 8 a.m. and promptly started at 8:10 a.m.

Shaun playing bike fairy.

Swim -38:09 – 1:47 min/100
Another “meh” swim.  While the water was murky, choppy and brackish, the prescription goggles definitely helped me to sight better.  However, just being able to sight better didn’t help me to swim better.  I went out was too easy, lost any good feet and then spend the back half of the swim working my way up.  Mentally I need to just click that I need to swim harder from the start of the swim.  To make things even better I got stung twice by jellyfish, once on my left shoulder (I wore my sleeveless wetsuit) and once on my right forearm. 

Bike – 3:26:10 – 19.5 mph – 171 Watts – 145 bpm
The bike course was a flat 15 mile out and back followed by a flat 42 mile loop through the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.  While the course was advertised as 64 miles, my Garmin 500 clocked it at 67 miles.  While the course was pancake flat there were some nasty head and cross winds throughout the course.  In addition to the wind about 1.5 miles of the course were covered with water (over a foot of water) because we crossed the course at high tide. I was not a fan of trying to bike through flooded roads. When I got onto the bike, it took a few miles to get the heart rate down and then I tried to push the watts but legs did not respond.  The goal was to start at 180 watts but I couldn’t hold anywhere close to that.  After about 10 miles I gave up on watts and jsut tried to keep the heart rate around 145 bpm.  Along with have troubles with my legs, I also struggled mentally a bit.  I passed lots of people but had no one to pace off of so I felt like I was pretty much riding alone the entire time.  By mile 67, I was happy to be off the bike.  Could I have kept peddling, yes.  Did I want to, no.

Flooded T1.

Run – 1:24:47 – 8:26 min/mile – 154 bpm
I came into T2 as the 5th overall female (the 4th overall was right in front of me and I heard the race announcer stating the the 3rd place female just went out on the run course as I came into T2).  I was super psyched to see Stephanie and Ken in T2 (they came up from Washington D.C. to cheer) and quickly went through the change tent and headed out on the run course.  The course was a flat out and back and by the time I was running it was warm and humid out (although the rain held off).  I pretty quickly passed the girl in 4th place and started working my way through the men in front of me.  I was holding between 8:20 and 8:30 and my legs felt much better on the run than they did on the bike. As I was approaching the 5 mile mark and turn around, I got a look at the girls in 2nd and 3rd place.  2nd place was shuffling along but the girl in 3rd was going at a good clip and both were about 1/2 mile in front of me.  After the turn I tried to push the pace down to close the gap.  Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t pass either.  My effort to run 3rd place down ended when I side stitched at mile 9, which was not fun (it was also pretty much the same place I side stitched at IMLP). I finished the race about 2 minutes down from 3rd place.  My run split was 4 minutes faster than the girl in 3rd place, but I needed 6 minutes.  I ended up as the 4th overall female, 1st in 30-34 and 14th overall (males and females).  I don’t know at what point it happened, but I now feel like the run is my strongest discipline.If you told me that two years ago, I would have laughed. 

Post race crabs with Steph and Ken.

I met up with Steph and Ken at the finish line, grabbed my Endurox, changed and we headed back to the run course to cheer and wait for Shaun to finish.  When I was at mile 7, Shaun was at mile 3 so I figured he would be about an hour behind me.  Shaun made his was in at 6:20 or so and won our personal bet (I gave him an hour handicap).  He ended up finishing 1st in the Clydesdale Division, so we both got plaques (mine was bigger).  Post race we all headed to Harris Crab House for Maryland crabs (this was my first experience with Maryland crabs and I had to be shown several times how to remove the shells).  Over dinner we decided Steph should do Eagleman next year, so I’m looking forward to heading back to Maryland in June to cheer. 
With regard to me, the focus now is on Ironman Florida.  I have seven weeks to get in my final build block and then taper.  Hopefully I’ll be able to run as well in Florida as I did in Maryland.

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Kelly Burns Gallagher

mccarter english employment litigator / oiselle team runner / coeur sports triathlete / sonic endurance coach & race director / witsup.com writer / dartmouth '02 / emorylaw '05

1 Comment

donna furse · September 26, 2011 at 1:14 am

you friggin rock, way to go kelly. Congrats to Shawn too. I can’t wait to see you guys rock IMFL.

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