Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas - Triathlon

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The Woodlands, Texas
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
85F / 29C
Total Time = 12h 19m 46s
Overall Rank = 687/2437
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 88/276
Pre-race routine:

The week leading up to IMTX was rather hectic for it being a local race. I took my bike in for a last minute safety check on Wednesday then headed to athlete check-in with my good friend and training partner Joe. We met back up Friday morning at 8:30 for the practice swim, and the water was a cool 71F! We went for ~20 minutes, long enough to verify that the wet-suit wasn't going to be too hot. I dropped my bike and bags off and headed back home since my hotel wasn't ready for check-in. I got home, helped pull the last few things together, took my daughter to swim practice, and then headed to the Woodlands in 5PM traffic. Needless to say, we didn't arrive until 7ish which completely threw me off of my schedule. I ate a quick dinner in the hotel restaurant put the kids to bed and fell asleep around 10ish.

I woke up at 4, ate a PBJ, a banana, a bonk breaker and drank some perform. I finished pulling my stuff together, texted Joe to make sure we were still on target to meet up, and headed down to the lobby where I met up with my parents. We walked to T1 and my heart-rate jumped. The roads were packed and even though I was getting there with plenty of time, it seemed like I was hours late. I pumped up my tires, filled my aero-bottle, loaded my bento box, and made a quick drop off in my T1 bag. I met up with Joe and Cory outside of T1 and we walked down to the swim together as planned. Having friends to talk to was very calming. I got body marked, dropped off my bags and made one last pit stop. By this point, we ran into Matt and Freddy and things started getting real. I was very nervous and I called Julee to see if she could make it down to the swim start instead of just waiting on the bridge. She arrived around 6:35 and it was an instant relief.

I put my wetsuit on, took my second gu (I don't remember when i took my first), gave Julee another kiss and headed to the water.
Event warmup:

I didn't do anything other than the 1.5 miles walk to the swim start
  • 1h 05m 54s
  • 3862 meters
  • 01m 43s / 100 meters

I took Matt's advice and went to the right shore and got close enough so I could stand. I waited here until 6:59 when I worked my way to the front of the line. By the time the cannon went off I was at the front and in perfect position. I swam straight and ignored the urge to veer left towards the buoy. I was surprised by how calm the swim was, as I was mostly in clear water. I had a little contact, but it was actually less than Galveston until I hit the first buoy. I made my way around, and headed for the second turn buoy. At this point I made a decision to swim a straight line to the shore where i thought the canal entrance was. I was going about 20 strokes between sighting and I was always heading in the right direction. I just kept thinking through my training and did long and smooth strokes and I kept my energy level low.

Before I knew it I was at the turn for the canal. I looked at my watch for the first time and saw I was at ~45 minutes. I knew I was going at a good pace but not too hard, so I just kept plugging away. Before I knew it I was at the stairs. I made my way up, looked at my watch, gasped, and headed straight for the wetsuit strippers. I ran up the ramp, so my family, gave them all a kiss and went to grab my T1 bag.

What would you do differently?:

Absolutely nothing. My goal was 1:10 and I did 1:05. I didn't over exert myself and I swam my own race. I was completely thrilled with my swim.
Transition 1
  • 05m 33s

I grabbed a seat, dumped my bag and a volunteer instantly came to help. They sorted out what I needed and didn't and before I knew it I was ready to roll. I started to clean up my stuff but they told me they would get it for me so I took off. I saw my family again right before the mount line.
What would you do differently?:

  • 5h 45m 59s
  • 112 miles
  • 19.42 mile/hr

I felt pretty good coming off of the bike and I was prepared for this course, as I had ridden it 4-5 times in training. I knew that the first half would feel easy and I made it my goal to stay within myself. Coming out of the water so fast meant a lot of people were going to pass me, so I prepared myself to just stay in zone 2 and relax.

My plan was to drink 3-4 oz of perform every 10 minutes, and to eat 1/4 of a powerbar every 20 minutes, and salt sticks "here and there". This amount worked amazingly on all of my training rides and seemed to work great in the beginning.

I had always started my training rides at research forest, so the first 10 miles were new to me. However, once I got to familiar ground i became very settled and relaxed. I knew the bumps, potholes, turns, etc. It was a pretty seamless ride all the way through Richards. I was happy, hydrated and energized. I skipped the personal needs stop and kept on going. Once I hit mile 75 I noticed my stomach was getting sloshy, which is a feeling I haven't had in almost a year. I tried to stick to my nutrition plan, but it made it worse so I switched to water and salt. Things seemed better, and my performance didn't drop, so I figured the worst was over.

My plan was to ride in zone 2, and allow myself to creep into zone 3 on the climbs. Looking back I only spent 14 minutes in zone 3 and no time in zone 4, which is amazing.

It was windier today than any of the training rides I had on the course, as evidenced by the slightly slower than normal split. I was still very happy with the time, as my goal 5:45.
What would you do differently?:

Well, obviously something was wrong with my "tried and true" nutrition plan, but I don't know what it was.
Transition 2
  • 05m 48s

I unclipped and got off the bike, ran over to give my family a kiss and moved on. I leaned on a volunteer and got out of my shoes so I didn't have awkwardly run the entire way. I put on my clean socks and shoes and I took off.
What would you do differently?:

  • 5h 16m 32s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 12m 05s  min/mile

I knew I was screwed from the beginning because my stomach was sloshy. I tried to take my first gel in T2 and it wasn't going down. I was able to stay below 10 minute miles for the first few miles, but it didn't hold for long. I had no energy and I couldn't get any nutrition in. I tried gels, but I couldn't eat them. I couldn't stand the perform anymore. I tried chomps, chips, oranges, grapes, coke- everything they had but I couldn't get more than a nibble or a sip at a time. BRUTAL.

Joe passed me around mile 5, and Freddy passed me a few minutes later. We exchanged a few words and they kept on running.

I started fading fast and I knew that I wouldn't break 12 hours unless my nutrition lined out. The crowd on the waterway was awesome and provided enough energy to pick it back up to a run. I saw my team on the hill and that was a boost. Matt offered some advice to try and sip on as much as possible. I took their energy and pushed through the rest of waterway. I saw Julee, my mom and Camden as mile 8.5. I made it out of the waterway and was forced to walk when I hit the dirt path just past the Newton tent. After walking up the hill I ended up throwing up and that helped for a little while, but the stomach issues instantly returned. I took a pit stop at mile 10 and I was clearly dehydrated. I started getting nervous because I couldn't eat or drink anything. My run turned to a death march which turned to several long periods of walking. I walked all of miles 10 and 11, most of 12, part of 13 and most of 14.

At 14.6 miles we were back to the waterway and I ran again. I saw my friend Dustin around mile 15, which was a nice surprise, and then my team again. I didn't have much energy but I had enough to signal to them and they all jumped to their feet and ran down to me. It was such an emotional rush having their support!

I looped around the waterway and ran into my family around mile 17.5. I took the time to give everyone a kiss, told Julee how miserable I was doing but promised them I would be done before 7:30.

The last loop was tough. I grabbed a little water, coke, broth, and perform but couldn't stomach more than a few ounces total. I felt dizzy but I didn't let it stop me. I had already lost my stretch goal of 12 hours, I wasn't about to lose my goal of 12:30. I knew that if I could keep running I would have enough time to enjoy the chute. Miles 20-25 were a complete blur. I skipped a few aid stations because I was afraid if I stopped I wouldn't start again. I knew after I left the last aid station that I 12:20 was within my reach.

When I got to the point where the finishers turned right all of the pain went away. I saw my friend Dustin at the front of the shoot and veered over to give him a high five. I ran down and saw my family, and was confused why they were so far away. At that point Julee told me I had to turn and THEN run up the last stretch. I went down, caught as many high fives as I could. I saw my team before my family and become so emotional. Their faces and energy and true support was overwhelming.

I then saw my family and I stopped to kiss everyone. Mike Reilly even said something to the tune of "you have to cross the finish line at some point". I gave my last kiss and made my way across. I was beyond elated. I finished in less than 12:20...I was an Ironman!
What would you do differently?:

I don't know what happened. My nutrition from the bike screwed me up for the run. I could have maybe ran a little more than I did, but I was honestly scared I was going pass-out from dehydration.
Post race
Warm down:

Once I crossed the finish line all of the reality sank in and the pain returned. Two young girls caught me and tried to talk to me and I could only get one or two words out. I walked to the finishers area, grabbed two chocolate milks and a burrito and fell into the first chair I saw. The burrito was sitting well so I sipped on the milk until my family arrived.

I don't remember much other than everyone congratulating me. Julee eventually got me a beer and a sprite and I slowly nursed myself back to consciousness. I ran into Robert as I was leaving the finishers area and that was surprisingly the first time I saw him all day.

I went to the room, showered, drank a little more, laid down for 30 minutes and bounced back. When the kids fell asleep my parents went brought back a bunch of tacos, chips and queso and I ate an ungodly amount. My sister watched the kids while Julee and I went to pick up my bike, bought a few bottles of wine, and we went to the finish line with my parents for the last hour of the race. I got to see Leo finish and I cheered as loud as I could for the last finishers. It was a great end to a great day.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Nutrition. I spent all year calculating, planning, practicing and refining my nutrition plan but it just didn't work. I have a long time to figure it out, 'cause this definitely will NOT be my last!

Event comments:

The volunteers were amazing!!!

Last updated: 2014-05-19 12:00 AM
01:05:54 | 3862 meters | 01m 43s / 100meters
Age Group: 46/276
Overall: 314/2437
Performance: Good
Suit: vendetta sleevless
Course: swim out, turn, swim back, turn, swim into the canal
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:33
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:45:59 | 112 miles | 19.42 mile/hr
Age Group: 69/276
Overall: 454/2437
Performance: Average
Average HR 142 Time in zone 1: 0:39 Time in zone 2: 4:56 Time in zone 3: 0:15 Time in zone 4: 0:00!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wind: Headwind
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:48
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:16:32 | 26.2 miles | 12m 05s  min/mile
Age Group: 88/276
Overall: 687/2437
Performance: Below average
average was 129, but I think that is artificially low as my Garmin seemed to "bottom out" for periods of time.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
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