Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas - Triathlon

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
The Woodlands, Texas
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
80sF / 0C
Total Time = 12h 34m 58s
Overall Rank = 778/2408
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 133/335
Pre-race routine:

oatmeal and pb about 3 hours before race; honey stinger wafer about 30 minutes before gun. Water with electrolytes starting the night before. Visit to the port-a-potty about 45 minutes before the start. With T1 in a different place than the swim start, I made the wise decision to use the T1 pottys (no line), not the swim start ones (huge lines).
Garmin watch isn't waterproof, so I turned it on in T1 to acquire satellites and left it in my transition bag
Event warmup:

that's what the swim is for!
  • 1h 19m 11s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 52s / 100 yards

The swim start was every bit of a battle as advertised. The first 300-400 yards were completely packed; every stroke was contact with someone else, but I managed to avoid taking any big shots or getting drug under the water. It cleared up a little after that, but at every buoy and (especially) turn, everything got compacted again. I took 3 big whacks to the back of the head around 1400 yards, but nothing to bad. On a few occasions, I had heals coming into my face, but I never received a full kick. So I feel lucky. On the run, I heard some people commenting how this was the worse swim start they've ever seen, with people swimming in all directions. I don't have anything to compare it to, but it might have been worse than normal, considering that over 40% of the field was a first-time Ironman.

I actually felt pretty good on the out and back and into the canal. I also felt like I'd done a pretty good job of sighting and staying relatively in line with the buoys. Definitely better than my last race where I was all over the place. I was quite surprised at how well I felt, and I was thinking that all my worries of surviving 2.4 miles were unfounded.

I'd heard people warn that there was still a long way to go once you hit the canal, so I tried to be ready for that. But I wasn't. I kept thinking the next bend in the canal or the next crowd of spectators must be the finish. But it never was. As advertised, the water in the canal was very choppy. My abs were starting to tire, and I'm fairly sure I slowed dramatically and lost a lot of places in the last 400 yards. But I did eventually finish.
What would you do differently?:

On the way back from the out-and-back, the buoys are on the left, but the turn into the canal is on the right. I tried to stay along the buoys, but I could see a lot of people taking a line far to the right, shortcutting the turn towards the canal (there was no, that I saw, buoy you had to go around before turning into the canal). Next time, I'd try to take the shorter line into the canal.
Transition 1
  • 07m 17s

Not sure how this time compares to others, but I thought I moved fairly quickly, but deliberately.
What would you do differently?:

  • 5h 48m 9s
  • 112 miles
  • 19.30 mile/hr

I loved the bike; I felt great and was overall happy with my effort and my splits. I filled my aero bottle and one water bottle before the race, and left my second cage empty. At each aid station (except for the last, which I deliberately skipped), I grabbed one bottle of perform and one bottle of water. I squirted the water on my head and back (and on my handlebars when things got too sticky) in transition, and dumped the water by the end of the transition area. I moved more slowly than most of the other bikers I was with, but I like how that all worked out. I also added extra electrolyte tabs to the perform in my aerobottle, and took and ate gu chews throughout the course.

I was very grateful not to have had any mechanical issues. I did have an issue after the second bike station refilling my aero bottle with perform. The peform bottle at the first station was already open; it wasn't at the second, and I didn't know how to work the twist cap. I ended up busting the cap off, then jamming the whole bottle into the opening. Aside from covering my entire bike in sticky, sugary goo, I also ended up losing the cover to the aero bottle that was to keep the liquid from splashing out on the ride.

I had intended to take salt tabs every 45 minutes. I didn't think of it until about 90 minutes in, and I took one, but when I did, I accidentally loosened the dispenser in my aero bars. The next time I went for a tab, it was gone, a sacrifice to the bike-course gods. Fortunately, it was not that hot....

The spraying perform (and again from the water I sprayed on the handlebars to clean off the stickiness and the next aid station) caused my powertap computer to shut down for a few minutes. Fortunately, I was able to get it reset once it dried out, so I could keep an eye on my output.

Around mile 85, I noticed my heartrate was getting a little too high. I dialed way back for the rest of the ride, wanting to save myself for the run. A lot of the final stretch was downhill, so even though I reduced my power, my average split was the fastest in the final section.
What would you do differently?:

Make sure I know how the bottle tops work! Looking at heartate data, I probably pushed a little too hard from about mile 70-80, but overall, I was happy with my effort, and wouldn't change much.
Transition 2
  • 06m 37s

Stopped to take a leak in the portapotty in transition. Extra minute was worth it. Hadn't felt the urge at all to go on the bike, but I thought my pee looked good, and I was sufficiently hydrated.
What would you do differently?:

probably nothing.
  • 5h 13m 44s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 58s  min/mile

Brutal. My thighs were a little sore the first few miles, but I soldiered on at about 11:00/mi pace (which included walking through each aid station, starting at mile 2 or 3). My stomach was a little tight early in the run, and I didn't dare take anything but water, which was NOT my nutritional plan. At about mile 5, I tried the cola, and that gave me a bit of a pick me up. For the next 10 miles or so, I tried to take cola and or perform (along with sponges, ice, and water) at each aid station. My stomach never really felt great, but it got a little better, and never totally shut down.

However, without the carbs and electrolytes I planned to take, I hit the wall hard by about mile 15, and I wondered how I would ever finish. I started walking a little longer at each aid station, and I walked a good portion of the long hill. My legs hurt so bad that I wanted to die, and I wasn't sure how I was going to keep going, much less finish. At that point, I still had a shot to break 12 hours, but only if I kept my pace up. I couldn't do it. It took everything I had--mentally and physically--to just keep going.

At about this same time, I got a "low battery" warning on my garmin watch. It fortunately kept running for quite awhile, but I finally died at mile 23. The lack of data only added to pain of the last few miles.

I mostly "ran" (if 13-14 minute miles is even running), with some walking the last 10+miles. But it hurt more than I can express. My main inspirations at that point were: get the best time I could; finish before dark (I had elected not to put my regular glasses in my special needs bag, so all I had were my rx sunglasses); and to keep running in front of all the spectators along the canal. I also thought of all my friends and family who were supporting me and following the race updates, and I appreciated your support!!

Somehow, eventually, I made it to the finish line.
What would you do differently?:

I knew going in I was undertrained on the run after I missed 6 weeks of training due to bronchitis in January-February. I definitely needed more miles. And I needed to force myself to take more nutrition early in the run.
Post race
Warm down:

Got a massage. Did a lot of walking to pick up bike and bags. Stood out at the finish line for 2 hours, then back to the hotel, where I laid in the tub for probably an hour.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

nutrition, not enough running.

Event comments:

loved the course. loved the volunteers. could've used some seats/tables after the finish. but otherwise, it was incredibly painful, but overall a great experience. In the last miles of the run, I couldn't imagine ever wanting to do this again; now, a couple of days removed, I can't wait.

Last updated: 2013-09-01 12:00 AM
01:19:11 | 4224 yards | 01m 52s / 100yards
Age Group: 168/335
Overall: 1040/2408
Performance: Average
Suit: huub
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Time: 07:17
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:48:09 | 112 miles | 19.30 mile/hr
Age Group: 119/335
Overall: 652/2408
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: Rolling hills, a few shaded areas, but mostly open. Much of the course was tree-lined, so I didn't really notice the wind that much. I'm not sure that actual results, but predictions were for 10mph winds until about 11am, then 15mph. It was mostly a tailwind out and a headwind back. But honestly, after riding in Kansas, I didn't really notice the wind. The road surface over most of the course is pretty nice. There is famously a rough patch of forest road and a long stretch of chip seal on the way back. I had driven the course on Friday, and was concerned about those sections, but, on the course, I didn't think they were that bad. Unlike my local training courses, there were no sections with jarring road seams, and the chip seal wasn't as rough. On the run and at the banquet I heard lots of complaints about the wind and chip seal, but I guess it's all relative--I though the course was fantastic.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 80
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 06:37
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
05:13:44 | 26.2 miles | 11m 58s  min/mile
Age Group: 133/335
Overall: 778/2408
Performance: Bad
Course: 3 loop course was mentally taxing for me. Knowing, for example, after 2 loops, I still had to do it all over again was hard. There was one long, steady climb, but the course was mostly flat. There were a few places where the headwind was noticeable; I think it got worse for some of the folks on the course after dark. There was a lot of good support along the course, especially along the canal. That made a huge difference, especially on that last lap.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5