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Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas - Triathlon

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The Woodlands, Texas
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
92F / 33C
Total Time = 12h 33m 11s
Overall Rank = 592/2841
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 74/276
  • 1h 23m 13s
  • 3862 meters
  • 38s / 100 meters

I decided on using the wetsuit for a number of reasons. The main reason was energy conservation, but from participating in the open water practice swim the day before I knew the water was chilly IMO to go without. I swam a little bit without my wetsuit in the practice swim and felt cold the entire time. Swimming is not my strength and I decided conserving my legs for the bike/run was more important than a great swim time.

I started the swim on the right side of the line, nearest to the shoreline. The buoys were placed along the inside of the lake and as I entered the water it appeared that the majority of the people were lined up along the buoy line towards the middle of the lake. There were a lot of people holding onto the edge of dock as well and I tried to position myself between them and the the mass in the middle of the water. I ended up placing myself, without a conscience effort, approximately 4-5 rows back from the front of the wetsuit pack.

The swim started in similar, washing machine style. Very quickly everyone was without any personal space and you had to fight for every inch of swimming space you could find. Folks were pulling legs, hooking arms, elbowing, kicking and even swimming perpendicular to everyone else at times (why? no one knows. terrible sighting perhaps?). Since everyone around me had a wetsuit on I felt like this made folks a little more aggressive. I was able to keep my anxiety under control the best I have ever been able to in a swim and for this being my longest swim ever I knew things were in my favor and the Lord was watching over me. I quickly set into my rhythm and found open water. This strategy drew me closer toward the middle of the lake along the buoy line oddly. I figured based on where everyone was lining up that would be where the crowds would be swimming. But after t-boning a few swimmers with my head, which really hurt and zapped my momentum a few times, I was able to settle in and keep the effort steady.

First mistake of the day - As I am swimming in a great rhythm, sighting the first turn buoy off my 10 o'clock every 3-4th stroke off my left side, I literally came within one stroke of crashing into a kayaker who was trying to tell me someone. Since I wear ear plugs I struggle to hear anything until they are right up on top of me. Once he got my attention and I realized where he was pointing his paddle I was not happy. I was sighting the 2nd turn buoy, not the first. Thankfully this probably only cost me maybe 50-100m. Made it around T1 buoy, then around T2 buoy without anything eventful.

I found some rather amusing folks on the back stretch of the swim. At this point, land was to our right and provided a good sighting line for me. Let's see... along this stretch I had three guys, YES 3, stop simultaneously and try and decide who was at fault for whatever had just happened. I managed to barely dodge punching the middle guy as I came upon them. I shared a few words of encouragement to get them moving, or out of my way, and swam between the middle and right side guy trying to stick to the shore line as best I could without zig-zagging all over.

There were a couple of false entries in the shore line were I thought it was the start of the waterway and I had to correct my course back left slightly and continue back up the lake. Nothing really bad, not like Texas 70.3, but I was getting ready to be done swimming. I made my way down the waterway channel sticking to the left side. I tried to pick up the pace and switched to breathing every other stroke. Made my way to the exit stairs, looked up, grabbed a volunteers hand and was happy out of the water just over 1:22
What would you do differently?:

Not sure really. Of the three sports swimming is by far my weakest. I generally try to find comfortable pace quickly and stay on track. I know my strengths are on solid ground and with having only one swim speed the idea is conservation in the water.

For next year, I plan to get some significant coaching and try and get somewhat faster to be more competitive and likely not have to favor a wetsuit since it's unlikely it will even be legal again. This year's weather has been the coolest leading up to race day - mother nature has a cruel sense of humor.
Transition 1
  • 12m 25s

Slowest transition PR here. I took my time and completed a full change. I knew the conditions on the bike were going to be hot and I wanted to ensure I was able to stay comfortable and at a steady effort. I completely dried off, re-lubed the boys, put on bib and jersey, slid on calf sleeves and loaded up all my tasty morsales for the ride. The tent was beyond over-crowded and I completed my entire transition dancing on the small towel I brought as there was no chairs open.
What would you do differently?:

Move faster. Load more food on to bike.
  • 6h 08m 1s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.26 mile/hr

The plan was to eat an Uncrustable every 60 min beginning after 30 mins on the bike. I would alternate this with a Powerbar caffeinated gel in between the sandwiches, so I would be eating every 30 mins, or 20 miles. For liquids, I brought two calorie bottles and planned to pick-up two water bottles at every water station and have them drank before reaching the next aid station which would provide me with ~40 oz. water 35-45 mins.

I knew the winds were going to be exceptional tough and knew that if I stayed in my comfort zone I would not have to be too concerned about the run. I started out with two empty bottle cages for water and two rear seat mounted bottles with 240 calories each of Accelerade. I had planned to subsidize my eating with the Accelerade with 1 bottle per 3 hours on course.

My first 40 miles went as planned. I was under 2 hours and was getting in calories and water. At the 40 mile mark, for those who are familiar with the course is right at the end of the steady downhill after the right hand turn existing Sam Houston Forest. From here it is a net climb to the highest point of the course west of Richards. Up until exiting the forest I was trying to keep the HR below 150 while keeping the cadence 90+. I was rolling a disc wheel on my rear and an 80 up front so I attacked the downhills and took it easy on the uphills. It made for some fun back and forth many times throughout the day with different cyclists on the course.

The battle from miles 50-55 west of Richards I knew to take it easy. In all my training rides this section was directly after a rest stop at the gas station in Richards. I knew there were a couple decent climbs with the open wind coming directly into you. I just stayed aero and pushed along monitoring my heart rate and cadence.

At this point I was roughly half way done with the bike course and feeling good that I was on track to maintain my effort even though my splits were slowing down. I had managed to drink well over 100 oz. of water without having to go to the restroom yet and was beginning to get worried. I went #1 in the lake prior to start so I knew I started on an empty bladder for the day and I did not drink too many fluids in the morning prior to the start for concern of cramping in the swim. At this point I knew I had to take care of another issue and that was a full potta-potty stop, you can fill in the details. Felt like I was in an incubator for a couple minutes. But fortunately I did also go #1 and knew that I wasn't in the dehydration zone. I had sunscreen re-applied by a helpful volunteer before heading back out on the bike. Total time stopped ~7 mins.

So half way home on the bike and feeling a little tired with the sun was high in the sky and there is minimal shade on the back half of the bike course. Again stuck to my water and calorie strategy but knew I was eating too much because I was getting tightness in my ride side, near my liver. I had skipped my 4th uncrustable at the 3:30 mark before my bathroom stopped and did not feel much better after my stop. I knew I had to continue to eat so I switched to the Stinger waffles I had in special needs and used those with the gels. I also continued to pound water like it was the last of water on the planet. It made the aid station maneuvering hell, trying to pick-up two bottles between everyone, but I guess that's what you get for not being the fastest swimmer.

I hit the 80 mile turn at Jackson Rd off 1486 around 4:23 on the bike. I would write about 1486 as I spent the majority of it on the wrong side of the road to eliminate the rough chip seal. I also had to pee again which made things very uncomfortable. At this point I knew my water consumption strategy had me in good hydration status. I was pounding water, still feeling thirty and needing to pee regularly. All three signs together were good. I stopped at the aid station #8 to use the potta potty were I also snagged two banana pieces from a volunteer as I waited for one of the potta-pottys to become available. I had passed the previous aid station and not stopped because I saw the line ahead of time and there were 5 people in it.

Back on the road and in the dark place for me on this ride. Every time during my training rides on this course the legs had always gone into a sort of dead zone down Jackson Rd. It was usually between miles 60-80 so this was expected somewhat except for today these miles were 80-90. Having just got back on the bike after a lengthier stop than I wanted it took some time to get the legs back to spinning again. I was pleasantly surprised to have fellow teammate Amanda Tyner cruise up from behind me looking like she had just started her ride. Here I am feeling like I've been put through the sun-drenched wringer and I'm struggling to keep up with her. Thankfully by forcing myself to hold pace and a good 15 minute chat about our races so far helped flush the legs and I was able to pull away and put some distance between us before hitting the left turn at 1488.

OK - 90 miles in, under 5 hours on the bike... not a record by any means but absolutely not a failure. My goal was a sub 6 hour bike so I knew at this point I was on track. I had rode the course and I knew I was very familiar with it much of it but now we were heading back in and I was not familiar with what was in store for the final 10-15 miles weaving back through The Woodlands back to transition.

Long story short I missed a water bottle pick-up at the last water station leaving myself with only one bottle for the remaining 12 miles, or about 36 mins. With a lot of rollers and sweat dripping fast, I found pace with another athlete and stuck with him for the remainder of the mileage in. This was my largest mistake on the bike in my eyes. It left me without taking in any fluids for close to 25 mins at the hottest point during the day and with a marathon still to run.

10 aid stations: 2 x 18 oz. water bottles at each (except last)
2 x 24 oz. bottles on bike - Drank 1 & 1/2 of them
Drank ~378 oz. of fluids in 6 hours.
What would you do differently?:

Lighter calorie option for food during heat/conditions. I could have gone to a stinger + gu alternating every 20/25 mins instead of every 30 min with the uncrustable - which after the first two were very tough to get down and I had to force feed myself.
Transition 2
  • 12m 1s

Nothing special here. PLenty of volunteers were ready to assist with your bike as soon as I entered into T2. I handed the bike off to a volunteer and made my way towards the run gear bags. Afyter a few steps I realized it would be easier if I left my helmet with my bike and asked the volunteer to strap it to my bike and he took it and kindly said he would take care of it.

Found my bag after some looking at numbers that seemed to go forward and back. Grabbed the bag, pit stopped for another potty-john visit and then headed it for a full change into tri shorts and top. Struggled to get top on and a volunteer helped me. I got my socks and shoes on, loaded up my special gel concoction in my pocket and applied biofreeze all over the quads and hammy and off I went.
What would you do differently?:

Move faster, or with some purpose. I usually can get in/out of short course transitions in the top 10% of times but I took a few extra moments to ensure I had everything and I was ready and not rushed. Today was not the day to forget something in transition.
  • 4h 37m 31s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 05m 40s  min/mile

The run is where I have previously made up any lost ground in my previous races. Based on my Texas 70.3 run time, I had prepared to run a lofty but hopeful sub 3:45 marathon. This goal was based on gentler conditions. By the time I reached T2 on race day I knew I had to reevaluate my strategy to be quick, but not to kill myself. This would be my first marathon after all.

The first mile out of T2 was the toughest mile I have ever run in my entire life. THIS IS NO JOKE. Not ever have I just wanted to stop running and walk more than that first mile. I had spent the previous 5 months crushing my run workouts and setting new PR’s in the 5K, 10K and ½ Marathon races trying to prepare myself for this moment as much I could but I was not ready for the struggle I had getting my legs to move any quicker than a 9:30/mile pace. I knew that sub 12 hour finishing time was going to require the grace of god to carry me.

Entering the run course at a race time of 7:53 I thought I may have a chance at sub 12 but I wanted to get through my first 5k split before making any drastic pace decisions. In short course running my legs will usually come back to me within the first half mile of any race. I have trained doing lots and lots of bricks at race pace, but nothing with 8 hours of exercise before running. I knew that to get to the finish line was going to require some serious mental toughness and I was going to have to mentally take myself to much happier places than where my body physical was at the moment.

I thought about a lot of things on the run course. It’s amazing how resilient the body is and how the mind has the ability to push forward when every aching muscle in your body is screaming to stop. I thought about all the nasty conditions I had trained in. I thought about being caught in a torrential rain in sub 40 degrees with driving winds with no cover and no long sleeves. I thought all the mornings I got up early and the sacrifices I made on my weekends to be up at 5am on Saturdays to train. I thought about old friends who are no longer alive that I was very close with and the great times we had and their forever positive outlook on life. I knew that I had bunch of guardian angels pushing me I just had to move the legs.

I could have simply turned my watch off at this point. I wasn’t watching heart rate, I wasn’t watching pace and I sure as hell wasn’t looking at total distance. The only thing I was concerned with was lap distance and time. One 5K at a time. I would use this for my run/walk strategy to maintain a steady pace to finish. Unfortunately my mental math failed me and brought me to a 20 min slower finished time than I had mentally calculated at the start of the run but allowed to me to run more than walk over the course of the marathon.

Slowly but surely the legs came back to me. What started as running one mile then walking for 1 minute started to turn into run 1.5 miles and walk 1 minute. I was focusing on getting one cup of water at every aid station and one cup of preform every other aid station. I was taking one gel every 30 minutes and one salt pill every 60 minutes. Some amazing advice I received along the way from someone smart was to grip cubes of ice in your palms at the end of every aid station in both hands and let them melt in your palms. The skin on your palms in some of the thinnest on your body and will help you to keep your core temperature down. This was a much better strategy then dumping water after water over my head eventually saturating myself and getting my feet wet in the end and it worked great.

Again, I saw Amanda Tyner (Current Woman’s OA Winner Redman 140.6) on the run course as she had a much quicker transition time and was able to pass me getting on the run course. She is a very solid athlete and can maintain pace very well. I used her as my slingshot on the course as it double backed on its self a few times and I knew if I kept shorting those lengths when we passed I was making progress. There were very few people passing me on the run course at this point. Beginning with my 2nd lap I would say no more than 1 or 2 people passed me but I sure did a lot of passing. This helped me to continue pushing forward. Overall I was in 1000th place off the bike and I finished in 592 place overall. So I managed to pass 408 people on the run course. We will take that in 100+ heat index conditions.

I got to run through some terrific crowds. The course volunteers were amazing and very helpful. I can honestly say I stopped to #1 between 8-10 times on the run course which probably cost me another 5-8 minutes. I also got to see coach Johnny Z. on my first two laps through North Shore park. Of course I came through the park hustling on my third lap and he had long packed up, most likely headed for the finish line. I also was chaperoned along the run course my some good teammates with some small pep talks which helped a ton.
Did I drink too much water on the bike course? Maybe. Did I drink to maintain thirst? Yes. Did I have to slow down running due to sloshing of the stomach? No. So in the end I believe my water intake was ample. But I may have set some kind of record for the most bathroom stops in an Ironman.
What would you do differently?:

Longer brick runs. Maybe shorten the bike length prior to some of the runs.
Post race

Last updated: 2012-07-17 12:00 AM
01:23:13 | 3862 meters | 38s / 100meters
Age Group: 137/276
Overall: 975/2841
Performance: Average
Suit: Sleeveless
Course: Out and back then right turn down waterway.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 77F / 25C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Below average
Time: 12:25
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:08:01 | 112 miles | 18.26 mile/hr
Age Group: 139/276
Overall: 1000/2841
Performance: Average
Time Distance MPH 30:34.4 10.00 19.6 29:28.1 10.00 20.4 29:46.0 10.00 20.2 29:11.5 10.00 20.6 32:37.9 10.00 18.4 39:27.3 10.00 15.2 32:43.0 10.00 18.3 34:56.2 10.00 17.2 36:43.0 10.00 16.3 33:22.7 10.00 18.0 33:39.5 10.00 17.8 6:26.1 1.64 15.3
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: One loop
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 81
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 12:01
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal
04:37:31 | 26.2 miles | 05m 40s  min/mile
Age Group: 74/276
Overall: 592/2841
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
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]

2013-05-20 2:41 PM

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Houston, TX
Subject: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas

2013-05-21 9:40 PM
in reply to: #4750249

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas
Well done. Congrats on your finish. Such a tough day.
2013-05-22 9:50 AM
in reply to: #4750249

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas
Nice work. Well earned.
2013-05-22 10:00 AM
in reply to: tallytom

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas
Killer run for such a brutal day
2013-05-22 10:00 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas

Edited by uhcoog 2013-05-22 10:01 AM
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2013-05-22 10:25 AM TriAya
date : June 23, 2012
author : ytriguy
comments : 0
Often it makes sense to race slower in order to finish faster and at the same time have a more enjoyable Ironman Triathlon experience.
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date : April 15, 2010
author : CobbCycling
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In this article, we are going to explore air movements over and around the front end of a bike and rider. We will examine how air affects these frontal areas.
date : February 23, 2009
author : mat steinmetz
comments : 0
I will be 20 this summer and am planning on doing Ironman Montreal. This will be my first year of triathlon, can I do this and stay away from injuries?
date : November 17, 2008
author : mrakes1
comments : 0
During the race there will be plenty of opportunities to exchange bottles, so I'm thinking about going with the aero bottle and Gatorade bottle and fill up as necessary. What should I do?
date : October 9, 2007
author : She-Ra
comments : 12
I never imagined that 350 yards broken down into 7 REALLY long lanes would be so big! I gasped out loud and told Grady that maybe I had underestimated the swim.
date : July 30, 2006
comments : 0
If a heart patient can do these things, then so can those of you who haven't been split open like a fish and sewn back together.