Texas 70.3 Pro Championships
This past weekend I raced the 70.3 US Pro Championships in Galveston, Texas. Going into the race I knew my Iron levels were extremely low and that I was not at 100%. However, something about a race in Texas, my home state, that I didn’t care and I was going to give it a go regardless. Not to mention I still need to accumulate 5 good performances before July to secure a spot for World Championships in September.
Race week flew by in a blur with recovery, and work. The field at this race was hands down stacked because it was US Pro Championships with over 55 pro men. The start of the swim was chaos, mainly due to the size of the start line, but by the time we hit the first buoy I was in the mix that looked to be the lead group with maybe one or two swimmers just ahead. Coming back into shore the pack that I was swimming with let a gap open up to the rest of the field and I found myself trying to pickup the pace and kick hard trying not to lose too much ground. I came out of the water with a pack that had Mike Lovado, Chris Leito and a few others. I knew I had lost roughly 30 seconds to some of the top contender’s but it was a long string of guys so I knew was still in the race.
Getting on the bike I saw Carley and she was smiling and screaming her head off, so then I knew for sure I was in the mix. Just after blasting up the road out of T1 something happened to my quad. It seized and swelled up and felt as though I had been kicked by a donkey. I wasn’t sure what to do, in a panic I got off my bike, did a couple stretches, tried to flex my knee a few times and hopped back on praying my leg would work. For the next few miles up to the sea wall I did the famous one-legged drill as my right leg was frozen. Athletes were passing me left, right and center and I hadn’t even hit the windy part of the ride yet. I got off my bike one more time, had a strict conversation with my leg while trying desperately to make it work and noticed I was able to get some range of motion out of it now. Mentally, I knew I had to fight through this and just finish after my last race in San Juan I would be devastated with another DNF. More importantly however I told myself I wouldn’t be able to listen to Carley for 5 hours in the car about the race so I decided to persevere. After a majority of the men’s packed passed me while I tried to get my leg going and fight off mental thoughts I saw my two fellow Canadians (SK, and MN) and started pedaling through the pain. Finally I made it to the turn around and I was now feeling a bit better. I managed to pass some athlete’s, well only the one’s that had already decided to call it a day (Paul Amey and Richie). Then more thoughts crammed into my head…Just ride back easy with these guys so you’re not the only one coming in with the woman… No keep riding I still won’t be able to deal with Carley. Then I passed Cotter who also decided to call it day and finally started to pass some other pro men who were at least still in the race. However, my bike split was not one to write home about.
Getting out onto the run my quad was so swollen I felt like Arnold and my thoughts went sort of like this…Hey where’s the beach?.... Yeah it’s that way.. Just felt like I did a squat workout with Arnold at Gold’s Gym. Up the pace and catch some of those people… okay your passing people…. Maybe you can finish this race… okay lap 2… each lap at a time Poulsen…. Okay lap 3.. Take in some liquid and a gel so this doesn’t get ugly… Saw Cotter and thanked him for coming with me for a long run… lap 4.. All right lets just run fast… you have some other athlete’s coming up behind you… ahhhhhh finish line… Time for New Orleans’s so re-group… limp limp, okay maybe no New Orleans’s!! 118 run split with taking it easy most of the time… thank god I could do something out here today that was half decent!
It is so funny how the whole week leading into the race I was worried about my Iron level’s and feared having a poor swim or GI problems on the run because of the Iron, and luckily none of this happened which would have made matters even worse. I don’t think I would have been able to think myself out of that much bad luck!
Life goes on, and as sad is it seems’ to finish mid pack I was very excited just to finish a race and remind myself I can still do this sport at a high level as my swim/run splits were competitive within the top 10.
I would like to thank K-SWISS, RTS Bikes, Clean Bottle, Xterra, PowerBar, 3Bar, Louis Garneau, Colonels Bikes and my coach Cliff English for getting me ready. And of course Carley for the pics and the quiet ride home! I will now work on getting back to 100% so I am ready for some races in May.
Thanks for reading,