General Discussion Race Reports! » Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas Rss Feed  
Moderators: k9car363, alicefoeller Reply

Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas - TriathlonFull Ironman

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
The Woodlands, Texas
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
92F / 33C
Total Time = 12h 58m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Disclaimer: Before we get started I need to say that the weather conditions in MSP leading up to IMTX at best were middle 70s. I read an article from a magazine I picked up at the expo that said that in order to acclimate to warmer weather you need to do approximately 100 mins of exercise outside for 10 straight days.…….That didn’t happen.
Event warmup:

Recap of the week leading up to Ironman Texas.

And so it begins…………….Having learned from our expensive road trip last year, the Butts family rented a car this year for our trip from the north pole to the south pole of America. Why we hadn’t done this on other trips like visiting Gretchen’s family and other assorted dashes across the country I do not know. We packed up the kids in the Chevy Traverse, which had three rows of seating, so there wasn’t so much of “he’s touching me.” We left right after school on Tuesday the 15th, about 5pm and headed south. All in all the drive went pretty smoothly. We hit a patch between Tulsa and Dallas that had us take a highway that had stop lights but we arrived at about 9am Weds morning after 17 long dark hours. I do have to brag on my boys, they travel awesome, 17 hours in a seat belt and not one real complaint.
Weds morning found us in the Woodlands TX, 30 min north of Houston. They advertise the woodlands as a master community; don’t know what that really means. The Woodlands had a pretty river walk, expensive shops, and nicer places to eat. A trendy city I suppose, very clean much more wooded than I expected. So in keeping with the trendy style we went to have breakfast at McDonalds.
After Mcds, we headed to the Expo, it was held in the parking lot adjacent to what would be the finish line. They had more vendors that IMCDA, but standing outside for just 30 mins at 11am you could tell that the heat was way different than MSP. I picked up my race # and IM swag; they gave us cool looking backpacks this year, far superior to the lame zip bags we got at CDA. We walked around the expo for about 45 mins bought some shirts at the IM store. (Wouldn’t have done that last year, but because I had already finished an IM, I felt like I could buy anything I wanted, except for an IMTX finisher shirt, that would be bad JUJU.) We went back to see if the hotel was ready for check in, it wasn’t so we got a recommendation for BBQ, a place called McKenzie’s in Conroe. It had a cool atmosphere, you could tell it’s where the locals ate but honestly it wasn’t even on par with Famous Daves. After lunch we had some time before check in so we drove what we could of the run course.
We checked into the hotel about 3ish and got unpacked and then went to play in the outside pool. I tried to be conscience of being outside too much and threw on a ton of sun screen. After the pool we grabbed a bite to eat over at the Cheesecake factory. (Tyler is no longer eating off the kid’s meal which is a killer increase on the bill.) We went back to the hotel and crashed.
Thursday morning -AZ had flown into Houston Weds late night, so he came over to the hotel about 9:30am and we headed to the expo. He picked up his new bag, which included an IMTX license plate cover and swim cap, neither of which were in my bag. GRRRRR IMTX! Found out that the swim cap I could get when I checked the bike in and I was too much of a wussy to ask about the license plate cover. The family with AZ in tow cruised the expo for a little while and then headed out to drive the bike course. One of the nice parts of CDA was the bike course was 2 loops so you only had to drive 56 miles to get the full affect. The IMTX bike ride was one long 112 lap. The kids quickly remembered that driving the bike course last year kind of stunk weren’t pleased to learn that this year it was going to take twice as long. The bike course headed north from The Woodlands and the predominant wind as it would be on race day was at our back for the first 40 miles. The course upon review was flat as pancake from the car perspective, certainly nothing close to the elevation changes at IMCDA. The roads for the most part were in decent shape. As we headed back south the wind was in our face, but nothing terrible. AZ and I heard about this dreaded chip seal, which is basically like a resurface treatment used for roads that they are trying to extend the life of before they completely rip it up, they used it for about 7 miles, as we drove the car over it didn’t seem that bad at all. We got back into town, AZ and I set up the bikes and we took an hour long bike ride just to get a feel for the course. We grabbed dinner at a New Orleans restaurant in downtown. AZ and I then headed over to the course talk. At the talk they went over the normal rules about drafting, I needled AZ because he got a penalty last year for it. They covered the fact that the swim would be wetsuit optional, meaning because the water temp was between 76-84 degrees those who wish to start in a wetsuit would start 10 mins later than those who did not. It would also mean that those who swam in a wetsuit would not be eligible for IM Kona slots; I wasn’t concerned about Kona so I had already decided to swim the race with a wetsuit. They reviewed the course and minor changes, nothing to exciting. After the Mandatory Course talk, AZ and I walked past their open air pavilion and Dave Matthews was doing his sound check for the concert they were doing Friday night.
Friday morning AZ and I headed over to the swim practice at the lake. One of the things I forgot to mention was that on Thursday while AZ and I were out on our bikes we stopped by the swim start which had the buoys out for the practice swim. One of the athletes was saying he thought the buoys out there marked the whole entire course, AZ and disagreed but he stuck to his guns. Fast-forward to Friday morning, we got there about 8am and decided why mess up the wetsuits so we decided just to swim in our tri shorts. We swam the course that they had marked on Thursday and got done and found out it that it was only a 1000 meters, basically a 3rd of the course. (I wonder what our over estimated friend was feeling).

By Friday Morning AZ family had arrived so after the practice swim, we caravanned out to the bike course and the kids and the wives chalked the bike course with inspirational messages. We headed back to the pool after a lunch of Chick Fillet and swam a little bit. We headed over to dinner early and grabbed pizza, it was while I was downing my second piece of pizza that the terror of what I was going to do the next day set it. I don’t remember getting nearly as nervous at IMCDA, I think I felt more prepared, but because I had suffered the calf injury early in my training, I had doubts. I was in a dark place for 15 mins or so, nauseated. It lasted until we got up and we headed back to the hotel .

  • 1h 15m
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 47s / 100 yards

The Gun went off, and it was crotch kicking, nail flying, free for all. Because I started towards the front of the wave it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was at CDA, don’t get me wrong it sucked but it didn’t suck as bad as CDA. The flesh ripping was tough for the first quarter mile, and then I started catching the poorer swimmers from the non wetsuit division. Several times I just swam between to two people where there really wasn’t a space but what are you going to do, swim around, nay nay. I am not a brute out there I don’t do anything on purpose but I don’t swim around people or wait. For the first half mile I was feeling tired, my muscle strained but I knew from enough swimming that this is common for me that either Ill slow down or my muscle will get used to it. About probably around mile 1 I was feeling pretty good. I was having a hard time seeing the course buoys but by this time we were heading back to the start before the turn down the canal so I just focused on swimming straight at the bridge that we started under.
I think I will call them turtles; these are the swimmers that decide to stop right in the middle of the swim to sight, fix goggles or rest. Couple the turtles with Lake Woodlands being the muddiest lake I have ever swam in (you can only see about to your elbow). This perfect storm happened to me around 1.5m. Some guy stopped right in front of me and just as I am almost at his side he decided to get started again and kicked me right in the chest. All the air goes out from my lungs, I completely stop. This torked me off a little so I swam “strong” and swam right over his side. He then in turn decided to put hit elbow in the middle of my back and hold it there……..well played fellow age grouper. We parted ways no harm, but plenty of foul. At around 2 miles while I was trying to sight the buoys I started having a neck pain. Apparently while I was christening my wetsuit earlier I might have folded the swim collar on my wetsuit and it was rubbing against my neck instead of laying flat, it was really starting to tear flesh. The rest of the swim went pretty uneventful, we swam into the canal and at one point I could feel the bottom with my fingers. I looked over at one spot and could see the kids and Gretchen and AZ’s family, I gave them the thumbs up between strokes, and it was great to see them. I thought for sure I was hauling, I really thought man, I am getting out of the water and going to crush my CDA time which was 1:15:58, I reached the swim out and looked down at my watch 1:14, and I said out loud are your frickin kidding me? It was a good swim probably couldn’t have done it any better.

What would you do differently?:

In retrospect maybe I should have pushed harder? I think what I really need to do is practice this distance more, skip the lap sessions and go longer at the lake unforunately that would mean the ice would have to come out much earlier.
Transition 1
  • 00m

I don’t know what happened I had planned to get through the transition much faster than IMCDA . The swim out- to where you pick up your bags, to where you get on your bike seemed much further then it did at CDA. It also took me a while to get on my backup Calf sleeves and make sure that I got covered in sunscreen, which by the way hading me crying to my momma becasue of the cuts on my neck. All this took me 7min, about the same time as CDA but I really thought it was going to go faster.
What would you do differently?:

need to focus on resting on the bike while I am moving rather than taking a blow in the tent.
  • 6h 21m
  • 112 miles
  • 17.64 mile/hr

I was hauling butts for the first 40 miles, the course was flat didn’t seem like there was any wind, I was even whistling at one point. My plan/hope was that the sun wasn’t going to catch up to me on the bike and for the first 40 miles it didn’t. What did catch up to me is the liquid that I had been dutifully drinking, about mile 40 my kidneys were about to shut down. Keep in my mind the reason I tell you this is because last year at CDA I had to pee probably and I am not kidding, 6 times on the bike which probably added 15 mins to my bike time. Well at 40 miles I couldn’t hold it anymore and I decided that I would go at the aid station, well when I rode by there were 3 guys in line already, so I decided forget this I am not going to stop. Well that feeling lasted about another 2 miles and I pulled over and “took a picture.” This was only the beginning. At about mile 45 we started heading west and off to my left I could see the grass bent sideways coming at me. I knew that when we started heading south the wind was going to be a factor. I have been doing this enough to know that just because you feel good doesn’t mean you won’t feel bad and vice versa. Well for the first 40 or so miles I was feeling good, the next 20 I was feeling ok. At mile 55 I had to take another picture which I thought was odd, but oh well. (Quick observation there is some type of mystical voodoo that shows up at around mile 60 or so you feel like the morning is just flying by and that IM is kind of fun and you might finish early, and then about mile 70 on the bike it feels like you have been out there all stinking day. At mile 60 I was starting to feel pretty cruddy, the heat was bearing down, it was about noon and I was feeling like crap. To make matters more fun I was heading south the wind was directly in my face, although not terrible it really sucked at times. Without getting into the rules of drafting the idea is that you have to stay about 4 bike lengths behind the person in front of you and if you do get into this area you have to pass the person ahead of you. Well as the course of the race goes on its quite possible that you pass and get passed by the same people time and time again. It just so happened this was going on with me and another women, she was faster on the flats and I was better on the hills, so we played leap frog for several miles. At one point while I was trying to pass her on a hill, I just ran out of steam and fell back, she turned and me and said something and I asked her what she said, she said "you are drafting me, you are not allowed to do that." At this point it was mile 70ish, and I yelled back worry about your own race and go ahead then. It would have been one thing if we were on the flats but somehow me being behind her for 1 minute was throwing her IM off. If that is your biggest issue of the day, go buy a lottery ticket. Also about this time I could feel the world ending, the sun was beating down, I was sticking to my game plan about drinking and eating but I was just feeling terrible. Just about that time AZ with sunshine coming out his backend goes roaring past me, yelling he’s feeling great and that the wind doesn’t even bother him. I tried to crush his throat with my Vader mind trick but he survived. Also about this time we hit the chip seal, and although it didn’t feel like anything in the car, it felt like riding on cobble stone, my front water bottle buzzed for 7 miles. I don’t know where but at some point I saw the family out on the course, it was great to see their smiling faces and I am blessed to have a wife who understands how important this is. Around mile 80 I started getting what they call hot foot or needles in feet, my feet felt like I had blood pooling in my shoes, it killed so I just kept trying to wiggles my little piggies. About miles 85 I took another picture, I have lost count by now but it’s probably the 4th pic I have taken. Mile 85 is bringing all the heat and I have realized that this isn’t going to be the banner day I was hoping for, just too much heat. No one was going to be blame me for just finishing today, I saw several guys sitting under the shade trees just trying to cool down, I so wanted to be one of them. At mile a million or somewhere there about, there was a volunteer holding a red flag, and for a second I thought holy crap they are calling the race because of the heat, when I rolled by I asked him what the flag meant, he said that we need to go single file for a little while because traffic was bad. (Let me chime in here and say something to sports nutrition companies. Why in the world do you make your packaging so difficult to open while exercising? I had to open several Gu Chomps with my teeth, I tried several times to open with my fingers but they were either sticking with perform or slick from sweat, rework your packaging!) Anyway back to the ride. Let’s do some math; 112m minus 90m leaves……’re nowhere near the end dude. It might look like it on paper but I can tell you even the last 12 miles takes your average biker another 45 mins or so. So even when you think you are close, you are not. I saw several post accident scenes, athletes lying in the road with blood on their faces, ambulances on scene, and I thought at least they get to ride in an air conditioned ambulance. The last 20 miles of the bike I just wanted to stop and get off, it wasn’t any fun and I had no hope of being able to run a fast marathon, but although I was feeling lousy, hot and nauseated I was still ridding and going the right direction and not to terrible a speed. I was so happy to get off the bike but had no clue what the run was going to hold. Bike 6:21, 8 mins faster than IMCDA.

What would you do differently?:

I think I drank enough, I think it just comes down to being in better shape and having more work in the sun.
Transition 2
  • 07m

Having pretty much gone into survival mode I wasn’t burning up the transition, as I sat in the change tent with the other naked bingo flabby armed men, I put on my shoes…. slowly and asked a volunteer to clean my sunglasses on their shirt, for I had no dry spot left on my person. Another 7 min rest stop, not good.
What would you do differently?:

focus on recovery while on the run.
  • 5h 07m
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 43s  min/mile

Run, sort of:
My new survival strategy was to get through the first loop as strong as I could and try to do the best with the second loop and I could care less what happens on the 3rd loop. It wasn’t like I wasn't going to finish but at this point I was looking forward to walking the last loop. The course was HOT, but flat, actually the course and the volunteers were great, the canal area, was packed with people, at one section it felt almost tour de France like. For the most part the first lap was all in the sun, except for a section out east and when you went behind some buildings on the west. I got on the first lap about 3pm so pretty much at the peak of the 92 degree day. I had done a good job taking my salt pills and putting ice under my hat, and I was still peeing every hour at least. The laps although progressively slower they got progressively less painful and although you wouldn’t know it from looking at my time I ran from aid station to aid station, no walking in between. Lap 3 finally came and I started focusing on finishing, sadly the whole entire day I had wasted my energy on thinking about how sucky this was rather than focusing on finishing. By lap 3 my quads were barking but I knew I had only 8 miles to go. The whole entire marathon I was protecting myself by taking it nice and easy, by mile 23 I started feeling pretty good and started passing a lot of people, I lengthened my stride and grit my teeth. One of my pre race strategies was to collect race #s and talk to people and then see their results when I was finished but I didn’t chat up one person on the bike or the run, I was stone faced the whole race, I think I missed an opportunity. Regardless I looked down at my watch and realized that I had a chance to beat IMCDA time and perhaps even get under 13 hours. I was starting to pick up the pace and but it was going to be tight to get under 13 so I let it go in my mind and just focused on trying to get under IMCDA. Well at mile 24 I had to take another picture. I think when I go back and count I must have gone 11 times from the first gunshot. I had pretty much kissed the sub 13 goodbye and didn’t even really care about the IMCDA time. But I got to the split where you either go on another lap or go to the finish, I turned to head to the finish and someone said you have half mile, (I think we have all been there when someone says you are almost there, or just right around the corner or you only have a half mile and it turns into what seems like another mile.) Well this time they were probably a little short because it felt like it was a couple hundred yards. I came into down town and I was pumped. I had completed the IM, under brutal conditions, (I hadn’t given up, and I kept grinding the whole way. I dare I say I was very proud of myself. Are their regrets? I have one I wish somehow I could of made it more fun, but that also led me to being a little prouder of the fact that I didn’t give up. I got through the finish line gave a fist pump and Chrissie Wellington presented me my medal, she is undisputable current queen of the IM Tri she has won Kona every year she has done it for the last 4 years. So it was cool to get a little love from Wellington. Run time 5:07 which was 3 min faster than IMCDA.

Post race
Warm down:

I know the investment that my family and particularly my wife had to make for me to train for the IM, and that is why when I saw them I tried to put on a good face. I failed miserably on the first lap of the run, I was just dying, I felt terrible and I think I told them so, which I should have kept to myself. But on laps 2 and 3 my smile came back a little each time. I am so happy they were there supporting me, it meant a ton.
The kids ran up to me after I got through the chute and gave me a big ole high 5, they were huge supports and they looked beat from a long day on the course. Gretchen wasn’t nearly as emotional as she was at IMCDA I think sitting in the car and the heat took a lot out of them. But I know she was proud of me, we pretty much skipped mother’s day and her Birth day for the IM. I owe her.
I got a post race massage and it felt great, I wasn’t as sore this as last race but the massage was a lot better this time then it was in CDA. After about 45 mins I had the courage to eat a burrito which was good, and drank a little chocolate milk. The family was good enough to get our bikes and bags and we headed to the hotel, I would have liked to have stayed or come back for the midnight finishers but the kids had been up since 5am and they were destroyed, I hope to do it next time.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I was lucky in one regard and not to get to emotional but it was great knowing that someone else was on the course with me at the same time and although AZ and I saw each only once on the bike and on the run it was nice to know I had a friend on the course. The whole experience of training, going to the course talk, the expo, you name it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun unless I had someone to share it with. I would highly recommend it in fact I don’t think I would ever plan to train or do an IM by myself.

Event comments:

I liked the medal and the shirt was also a lot better than CDA. The food more plentiful. To critique the event: The swim I think was more fun than CDA just because we got to swim down the channel and see family. The bike course was certainly easier but the crowds were more sparse, and I partial to a two lap bike course. The run I liked better than IMCDA just because it was easier and the fan support along the canal was really crazy. I didn’t care for the weather at IMTX at all, the town although trendy was difficult to drive in and it seemed like The Woodlands wasn’t quite prepared for the traffic. If I had to choose between the two races again I think I would do CDA, I think the town was a little bit more to my liking and they seemed happier to have you there. But If someone said hey lets go do IMTX again, I would do it. I would certainly recommend IMTX, I would just do more heat training.

Last updated: 2012-05-31 12:00 AM
01:15:00 | 4224 yards | 01m 47s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: RACE DAY: Got up at 5am, actually slept pretty well thank you Tylenol PM, I think that helped take the nervous edge off. I got up and immediately went to the hotel fridge and wolfed down two uncrustables and had a cup or two of PowerAde. Got my nutrition ready, kissed the kids and wife goodbye, who were already getting up to get a good spot to view the swim start. AZ and Robyn picked me up at the hotel at 5:30am and we headed to the transition area. I loaded my water bottle with powerade in the front and water down below. The transition area was really dark so it was tough to pump up the tires to right PSI without having to flash my watch at the PSI gauge to make sure I was putting in the right amount. I heard at least one tire pop and you could hear the group of athletes just grown, sorry for the guy it happened to by relieved that it wasn’t any of us. We walked to the swim start which is about an 8th of a mile and got there probably about 6:30 plenty of time to stretch and get body marked. Then the first curve ball was thrown. While I was getting my body marking done the volunteered mentioned that I wasn’t allowed to wear my compression socks on the swim. I said no that can’t be right because I would be swimming with my wetsuit on. She wasn’t sure, I had prepared to wear the compression socks (which by the way I purchased just for this race, because of my calf injury from early this year) About 10 mins later, Mike Reilly the PA announcer for the IM, made the announcement that absolutely no compression wear could be worn period during the swim, well thanks a lot IMTX for the heads up, would have been nice if you would have covered that at the mandatory course talk or athletes guide(in reading other peoples race report apparently this was mentioned to during the course talk, but it wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the athletes’ guide.) There is $60 I had to put back in my morning clothes bag. Fortunately for me I had packed an extra but far more beat up pair in my Bike transition bag so I knew I wasn’t completely hosed. AZ and I spent some time stretching, a lot by our standards but not nearly enough by others in preparation for the start. At about 6:45 they played the national anthem followed quickly by thunderstruck the mojo was starting to flow. I can’t express the excitement that you feel at the start; nerves are tingling, itching to go. The Pros went off at 6:50 and the non wetsuit age groupers were to start at 7am, Mike Reilly was yelling for everyone to get in the water so that everyone was in by the time the gun went off, but several swimmers not willing to tread water for any extra time than they had to just sat in the corral looking down at their watches. The gun went off promptly at 7am. AZ and I headed into the water at about 7:05. We swam out to essentially the middle and up towards the front. I christened my wetsuit, if you know what I mean, and then proceeded to pull down my front collar and scoop in some water to flush everything through. In fact since we had gotten to the swim start I probably visited the Honey Hole 3 times to flush the powerade. I looked over at AZ we wished each other luck and it was time to start.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 82F / 28C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 00:00
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:21:00 | 112 miles | 17.64 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Wind: Some with gusts
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Too much
Time: 07:00
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Bad
Running with bike Bad
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Bad
05:07:00 | 26.2 miles | 11m 43s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Course: awesome run course, liked the three laps, would have liked a lot more shade but really flat and I thought a very fair course.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2012-06-01 9:24 AM


Subject: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas

2012-06-01 5:36 PM
in reply to: #4238995

User image

Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas
Great report!! Good job.
General Discussion-> Race Reports!
General Discussion Race Reports! » Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas Rss Feed