Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas - Triathlon

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The Woodlands, Texas
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
Total Time = 13h 27m 47s
Overall Rank = 1052/
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Flew into Houston on Wednesday afternoon and got settled into hotel. Arrived at the expo early on Thursday morning to check in and do some shopping at the Ironman store. I thought check in process was very easy and quick. After checking in, my family and I drove the bike course to get a sense of what was coming. I picked up my bike from the tribike transport tent to prepare it for the race (Highly recommend this transport service). On Friday morning dropped off my bike and gear bags at transition and went back to our hotel to relax for the rest of the day.
Event warmup:

Transition opened at 0430 so I got dropped off right at 0430 and had to wait about ten minutes or so before they actually opened the transition. Pumped up my tires, filled my water bottles, double checked my gear bags and bike computer and tried to eat some breakfast. I was so nervous though that I was having a hard time getting anything down. I had a bagel with peanut butter, a banana and some water and that was about all I could get down. I then began the almost one mile walk over to the swim start with the other athletes. The walk was not bad at all and gave me a chance to stretch the legs. Once I got to the swim start I dropped off my special needs bags and found a spot in the parking lot to stretch and prepare for the day. It was about this time that the pros were getting in the water for their start. Met up with my wife and two girls, gave them a kiss, handed them my morning clothes and off I went heading to the water. One thing I will say is that I am really happy I gave myself so much time in the morning to get everything taken care of and walk over to the swim start.
  • 1h 21m 45s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 56s / 100 yards

Since this was my first Ironman I was expecting the swim start to be absolutely brutal. I went back and forth regarding the decision to wear a wetsuit. With a wetsuit my goal swim time was between 1:10 and 1:15 so without the suit I was figuring around 1:20 to 1:25 but I really did not want to start ten minutes after the mass start which is when the wetsuit corral was set to start so I decided to go without the suit. I got in the water at about 0645 and found a spot on the dock to hold on to until the gun went off. At about 0657 I began making my way over to the masses and found a spot near the middle about three rows back to start this swim. When the gun went off I expected madness but to my surprise it wasn't too bad (at least yet). The first straight away was pretty uneventful, there were lots of people but more open water then I expected. I seemed to be sighting pretty well and could tell that the first turn was going to brutal and packed . As I got to the buoy the elbows and kicks were pretty bad as everyone was trying to round the buoy (Thats to be expected I guess). I thought the way back towards the canal was tough and I was having a hard time finding any open water. I then got kicked in the stomach and got the wind knocked out of me. Tried to stay relaxed and was able to continue at a slower pace for a couple minutes until I could completely breath again. Finally made the right turn into the canal which was both awesome and really difficult at the same time. The crowds and the support along the canal were so cool and motivating, however the canal is so narrow there were people everywhere in the water. The last couple hundred meters there was no open water and pretty hard to swim at a good pace. When I got to the swim exit I looked at my watch and saw 1:21 which for me with a wetsuit was pretty good. Overall the swim was not as bad as I was expecting with the exception of the canal, and I felt good going into the bike.

What would you do differently?:

I would have worn tinted swim goggles as the sun was up in the canal making it hard for me to see.
Transition 1
  • 07m 27s

Wanted to take it easy in T1 to make sure I didn't forget anything. I was planning on wearing my calf sleeves during swim to save me time during T1, however they told us at race briefing that we could no longer wear them during the swim so it took a couple minutes to get the sleeves on while wet.
What would you do differently?:

Move at a fast pace and not take my time
  • 6h 18m 37s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.75 mile/hr

I am not a super strong cyclist so coming into this event I kept telling myself that I really needed to keep an easy pace and stick to my race plan. Since this was my first Ironman my goal was to get off the bike feeling decently fresh for the run. I learned early on in training the only nutrition that works for me is solid food and water. My stomach cannot handle gels or sports drink on the bike or run. My nutrition plan for this ride was water every couple of minutes, salt tabs every 45 minutes or so and a granola bar and or peanut butter crackers every 45 minutes to an hour and an uncrustable peanut butter and jelly sandwich or two around mile 75 to 80 depending how I felt. I was a little worried that I wasnt going to get enough calories but it worked really well for me in training so I knew I had to stick with it. My plan was to spin very easy for the first 20 to 30 miles going out of town and not care how many people passed me on the bike. I did not want to push the bike hard at all and was willing to give up some time on the bike for a decent run. I stayed focused on my nutrition and easy spinning on the way out of town which seemed to be working well. There was a pretty good tailwind the first half of the bike which helped my average speed. On the first half way decent descent I dropped my chain at the bottom of the hill which did not make me too happy, however I told myself prior to the race that I was going to enjoy the day no matter what the day threw at me. I stopped for a quick thirty seconds or so and fixed the chain and off I went. Continued to stick with my nutrition plan and looked forward to the aid stations every ten miles or so to switch out water bottles and dump the ice cold water bottles on my head which felt amazing. It started getting hot around mile thirty or forty or so but I didn't think it was bad at all. I live in Southern California and tried to do all of my long rides and runs in the middle of the day to prep for the heat which definately seemed to help. I got through the first sixty miles and felt really good, I could not believe how fresh my legs felt and was excited about how the day was going, however I knew that the way back into town we were going to be faced with a headwind and was trying to mentally prepare myself for it. I stopped at about mile 60 to pee and reapply sunscreen which cost me a couple of minutes but at this point I didn't really care. Got back on the bike and felt ready to face the headwinds and the rolling hills on the second half of the course. On the second half of the bike course my intention was to spin very easy into the headwind and up the hills and not care about my speed which I was able to do. My speed dropped pretty considerably from the first 60 miles or so but I was enjoying every minute of the bike and stuck with my plan. My nutrition was going well and I still did not feel like the heat was an issue or the headwinds were as bad as I expected (Yes the headwinds stilled sucked just not as bad as I invisioned). At about mile 80 or so I started getting a cramp in my left calf so I popped another salt tablet which immediately fixed the problem. Right around mile 90 to 95 I started getting to the point where I was ready to be off the bike. I felt like mile 90 to the finish line was definately the longest portion of the bike and where the wind started getting to me. Briefly spoke to a few other riders at around mile 105 and realized that I was not the only one that really was not enjoying the wind at this point. I promised myself that I was not going to allow myself to think about the run while on the bike until the last couple of miles. I wanted to stay in the moment and did not want to get ahead of myself. At about mile 110 or so I started thinking about the marathon that lie ahead and felt good with the way my legs felt and was very happy with being able to stick to my nutrition plan which seemed to be working up to this point so far. Made the last turn into transition and handed my bike to a volunteer and headed off to the change tent to get ready for the run.
What would you do differently?:

I wanted to take the bike conservatively so it did not ruin my day and I was able to stick with my plan. Based on the course and headwinds I was expecting a 6:30 to 6:45 finish and my finish time was 6:18 so I was happy with the ride. Looking back I definately could have pushed the pace alot more however for my first Ironman I was happy with my ride and the way my legs felt coming off the bike.
Transition 2
  • 08m 3s

Handed my bike to the very friendly volunteers and removed my bike shoes before running/walking to the change tent. I got my run gear bag from the volunteers and entered the change tent where I again wanted to take my time to make sure I did not forget anything. I put on my socks, running shoes, visor and sunglasses and stretched my legs for about two minutes before running out of the tent. Upon exiting the tent I stopped at a volunteer who reapplied sunscreen for me before heading off for the marathon.
What would you do differently?:

Not taken my time and pushed through a little faster.
  • 5h 31m 57s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 12m 40s  min/mile

My plan going in to this run was to run 10 minutes/walk 1 minute. I was going to continue this combo for as long as my legs would let me and then adjust accordingly. Leaving transition my legs felt really good. I could not believe that I was already out on the run course of my first Ironman. I could not have been happier with the way things were going. The first loop was uneventful and my legs still felt pretty good. I took ice water, oranges and ice cold sponges at every aid station which seemed to be working well for me. It felt hot during the run, however there was a breeze along the course which made it manageable. As long as I kept replacing the ice sponges at every aid station I felt really good. I kept to my plan of 10/1 for the whole first lap. I saw my family along the waterway at the end of the first lap which was amazing. I told them that I felt good and had a huge smile on my face (Which I think surprised them a little bit). Finished the first loop and headed off for lap 2. I got through about mile 14 or 15 and had to switch to about an 8/2 run/walk combo but overall I still felt pretty good. I thought the run course was awesome. The portion along the waterway was filled with spectators and the crowds were amazing. Towards the end of my second lap I felt my legs start to get pretty tired and they were moving at a much slower pace but I was still running. I again saw my family toward the end of my second lap and told them I still felt good but that my legs just would not move as fast as they had been. Told them I only had one lap left and that I still felt good. If I could have kept the current pace I was running I was on track to go sub 13 hours which for me would have been unreal. My goal time going into the race was give or take 14 hours. I gave my wife and two little girls a kiss and off I went for the third and final lap. I was super excited to be almost done, but around mile 19 or 20 my legs were getting to the point they just did not want to go any faster. I spent most of the third lap running when I could and walking when I had to until around mile 24 when I started allowing myself to think about the finish line. Got to the point on the course that turned you up towards the finish line and felt recharged. While running up towards the finishing chute, I saw my little girl holding a sign that said "You did it, Ironman". I stopped and gave my family a huge hug and kiss before running down the finishing chute to the finish line. I was giving high fives to the crowd before the last turn around in the chute towards the finish. I tried to enjoy every second of the finish chute and finally 13 hours 27 minutes and 47 seconds after the gun went off I heard those famous words "You are an Ironman". The finish was everything expected to be and more. When I crossed the finish line I looked up and saw Chrissie Wellington placing my medal around my neck which was really cool.
What would you do differently?:

I felt pretty good during the run and was happy with the way things were going until about mile 20 or so when my legs just would not go any faster. I think I would have done my longer training runs at a higher intensity. Considering my goal time was 14 hours I was very happy with the way the day went and definately have no complaints.
Post race
Warm down:

Met up with my family and just wanted to sit down. Sat with my family for awhile and all I wanted to drink was Sprite. Drank a couple of Sprites and went back to the hotel.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My plan going in was to take the day as it came, stay in the moment and take it easy. I definately could have pushed harder during the bike, but for this race I stuck with my plan and it worked well for me.

Event comments:

This event was absolutely awesome. The Woodlands is a great location for an Ironman and the course was beautiful. My first Ironman was everything I hoped it to be and more and can't wait to do another.

Last updated: 2011-06-17 12:00 AM
01:21:45 | 4224 yards | 01m 56s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 81F / 27C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 07:27
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
06:18:37 | 112 miles | 17.75 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: One loop course with rolling hills
Road:  Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 08:03
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
05:31:57 | 26.2 miles | 12m 40s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Course: 3 loop course
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5