Memorial Herman Ironman Texas - Triathlon

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The Woodlands, Texas
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
86F / 30C
Total Time = 14h 16m 22s
Overall Rank = 1383/2587
Age Group = 25 - 29
Age Group Rank = 79/132
Pre-race routine:

I woke up at about 4AM and ate breakfast fifteen minutes later. That consisted of a plan bagel with peanut butter. The banana I meant to have as well went bad. I headed out for T1 to check on my bike and add my nutrition.
Event warmup:

My family and I arrived to the swim start about 30 minutes before the swim start. I decided to use the restroom one last time. I told my family I would meet them by a certain banner after I was done as the line was pretty long. About 15 minutes later, I tried to find my family and I couldn't! I frantically looked everywhere for them and they were nowhere to been seen. At that time, I was 15 minutes out until the rolling start began. I didn't have my swim cap, goggles, ear plugs, gu, or water!!! I asked a nice guy to borrow his cell phone. I called my wife half a dozen times and she didn't answer. I was so nervous that I couldn't remember my father's cell phone number (the same one he has had for 15 years...go figure). I decided to keep looking but I didn't have any luck. I asked another woman to borrow her cell phone. I fortunately recalled my father's cell phone number and he picked up. He and his girlfriend were on the bridge waiting for the swim to start. By this time it was 5 minutes until the start. He ran to meet me. In the mean time, I remembered that I didn't get body marked so I took care that ASAP. I met my dad with a few minutes to spare. I threw on my cap and gathered my goggles and ear plugs. In the meantime, my dad called my wife and she came sprinting over to me while I was in line and slowly moving forward to start the race. I couldn't tell she was freaking out and nearly crying.

What a crazy way to start my first IRONMAN. No stretching or mental preparing before the start of the race. Maybe that was a good thing so I couldn't have time to psych myself out. Total craziness!

Biggest regret was not saying a proper goodbye to my wife and family. I really wanted to thank my wife for being by my side during all my training and preparing for the race. She was doing the Ironman just as much as I was. Nevertheless, I gave her a kiss and she wished me good luck.
  • 1h 26m 40s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 03s / 100 yards

This was certainly an up and down swim for me. First, I am disappointed with my per 100y time. I know open water is a different animal than the pool. But I average about 1:48m per 100yards in the pool. According to my Garmin, I was at 1:55m per 100 yards but I swam a few extra hundred yards than I needed according to the report. So I guess my pace was OK, I just swam more than I needed.

Now, let's talk about the low points of the swim. When I had clear water in front of me, I felt great. Navigation was a bit hard because I felt there was a bend in the buoy alignment which threw me off. The inside of the route was packed with swimmers so I stayed to the outside. Because visability was SO poor under water, this was the best option for me. I took wide turns at the buoys which slowed me down a bit.

At about the half way point, I developed a terrible side cramp. I was one of those that I couldn't just ignore. I had to nurse it by slowing down and at times stopping. Then, as luck would have it, my middle toe on my foot popped out of its socket. This happens from time to time but during my training, it didn't happen once. This took a few minutes before it popped back it and I could continue.

The channel portion of the swim was the best for me. It was a bit more crowded but I didn't have to spend any time sighting. I just swam. The spectators started to show up which was super exciting as I knew the end was near.

The exit went smoothly and off to T1 I was!
What would you do differently?:

I would probably eat my breakfast a little earlier to avoid any possibility of a stomach cramp. I would also get in open water a bit more to practice my sighting. No need to swim more for no reason other than bad sighting.
Transition 1
  • 08m 25s

So this was a wetsuit optional race. I opted not to wear my wetsuit. With that said, it made T1 a little smoother. I grabbed my bag and headed into the changing tent a.k.a. a swam. The ground was extremely wet and muddy. Finding a seat was easy. I dried off my feat, put on my socks and shoes, strapped on my helmet, and off to grab my bike I was.
What would you do differently?:

I had a minor issue getting my bike off the rack. Thankfully a volunteer was there to help me out. Not much I would do differently.
  • 6h 43m 53s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.64 mile/hr

To put it simple, I biked a lot better and fast than I expected. I kept hearing the first half of the bike is where you will fly. I took advantage of that and help a pretty good speed for me (18MPH). The second half was really tough. I'm not sure who said IMTX was a flat course because those "rollers" on the back half felt like mountains. Not to mention the incredible headwind. That made it really hard to push through. You could tell a lot of people were struggling during this portion of the bike. But then again, some folks were powering through that wind and moving pretty good.

I stopped at the special needs area to read a note my wife wrote for me. It put a smile on my face and gave me a little extra juice to keep going. I also stopped at around mile 75 or so to use the rest room. Even though I didn't have to pee that bad, I wanted to make sure I went once on the bike.

Once we hit mile 90 or so, we were back in civilization and riding on major roads. The last few miles were through residential areas until we finally got back to the waterway area. The bike finish area was lined with spectators which made it fun. I saw my wife and family there cheering me on which was great!

Overall, it was a phenomenal ride. The support and volunteers were beyond amazing. Even in the more rural areas, there were spectators sprinkled here and there which was fun. I really tried to make an effort to thank everyone I passed by for coming out a supporting us.
What would you do differently?:

I started to feel some stomach cramping during the bike which carried over into my run. I really need to figure out my nutrition plan. I thought I had a good game plan and to a certain extend I did. But I constantly am getting stomach cramps during long bikes and bricks.

I also would have pushed it a bit more during the first half of the bike. I wanted to save some extra gas on the tank for the head wind.
Transition 2
  • 08m 46s

T2 went well. I rode my bike until the end and simple stopped and jumped off. The volunteers took my bike and off I was to T2. I walked/light jogged to my bag and changing tent. Once I was in the tent, I took off my bike shoes and threw on my sneakers.
What would you do differently?:

I would have taken off my helmet sooner. I kept the thing on until I got in the tent. Really can't say why.

Overall, I think I handled both transitions well. The area was completely wet and muddy. I tried to find dry spots when moving around, but it was hard. I kept my bike shoes on during both transitions. Because of that, I didn't have a hard time with the mud that some of the other athletes did who chose to go barefoot.
  • 5h 48m 38s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 13m 19s  min/mile

As I began the ran, I stopped to have the volunteers put sun screen on me (also did this before the bike).

Right away I felt that stupid stomach/side cramp. It wasn't unbearable so I pushed through it. My first loop plan was to run and walk the aid stations. I stuck to this pretty well and had a pretty good first loop.

During the second loop, my plan was to run for four minutes and walk for one minute. By this time, the cramp was still there but not getting much worse. Unfortunealy, the cramp was in and out. So I couldn't stick to my plan. I ran when I could and walked when I needed too.

During the last loop, I was ready to finish. I took it one aid station at a time (about 1 mile apart). Depending on how I felt, I would run as much as I could between the aid stations.

Once I came up on the last mile or so, I got extremely pumped up. I can't say enough about the spectators. Throughout the waterway area, they were unbelievable. But even those who were cheering us on throughout the rest of the course were awesome. I tried to give everyone a high five on the run course and enjoy their support. During certain parts there was music and some of them were in speedos, dancing, banging drums, etc. I danced with them and tried to soak in the experience. I wasn't too worried about losing a few minutes on my speedy 5:45 marathon time ; )

Once I took that final turn into the last lap/finisher route, I was running on clouds. I gave every person on the right side a high five and they certainly returned the favor. That final stretch to the finish line was incredible...words really can't describe it. For those who are thinking of completing an Ironman, I can tell you that run to the finish line with all the support, people cheering, music pumping, lights in your face, and Mike Reilly calling you an Ironman makes it all worth the price of admission.
What would you do differently?:

I need to take in better nutrition and sodium on the bike to better prepare me for the run. I need to focus more on this going forward. I thought I had a good game plan and I did to a certain extend. But I just need to keep working at it. I regret not experimenting more during my longer bike and brick sessions.
Post race
Warm down:

Once I finished, I was received by a volunteer catcher. I felt pretty strong when I finished and he agreed and didn't think I needed to be seen by medical. My finisher medal was placed around me and I was given my finisher t-shirt and hat. I took my final pictures and immediately found my wife and family before I exited the finisher area. We chatted for a while and hugged. I grabbed a few slices of pizza and cokes. It was hard to put down the pizza so I just gave it away. About an hour or so later my hunger kicked in.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Aside from the elements of the race which included the heat, humidity, and headwind, I think it was my nutrition. I need to practice more and perhaps with different products. I stuck to Gatorade during my training because that was being offered during the race. Also, looking back, I don't think eating 4 Bonk Breakers on the bike was the best form of nutrition I could have taken in. I could have had more gu's or something else. I am thinking of giving other products a shot.

Event comments:

This race deserves more than your prototypical 5 stars. The folks at Ironman and The Woodlands did an amazing job. It was a perfect race do complete my first full distance race. The spectators and volunteers deserve all the credit.

Last updated: 2015-05-21 12:00 AM
01:26:40 | 4224 yards | 02m 03s / 100yards
Age Group: 82/132
Overall: 1239/2587
Performance: Average
Suit: No
Course: Out and back and a finish down a canal that was about 1000-1500 yards.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 81F / 27C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 08:25
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
06:43:53 | 112 miles | 16.64 mile/hr
Age Group: 80/132
Overall: 1487/2587
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: One loop.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 67
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 08:46
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
05:48:38 | 26.2 miles | 13m 19s  min/mile
Age Group: 79/132
Overall: 1383/2587
Performance: Below average
Course: Three loops of about 8.5 miles each.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
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