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Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas - Triathlon

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The Woodlands, Texas
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
87F / 31C
Total Time = 10h 40m 26s
Overall Rank = 228/2437
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 40/335
Pre-race routine:

What a race and what an event! I love Ironman in that you can meet and talk to people from all over the world, all of whom have amazing stories and backgrounds, and you relate.. The guy that lost 200lbs...The 80 year old trying to finish...The 18 year old buds doing their first one together...etc. It's just freakin' cool.

I know some ppl don't like Ironman b/c of what it has become. Fair enough. You just have to look at it and realize what it stands for. That's what I love about it.

Steve and I arrived at Houston on Wednesday, leaving early in the a.m. from NC. Our connecting flight from ATL to IAH was delayed a few hours, but it was nothing that we haven't been through before. We waited, had a few beers, waited, had more beers, waited, had more beers, then finally boarded.

We registered at the Ironman Village later that day, then checked into our hotel. What a disappointment! No fridge, no microwave, and on the 2nd floor! LaQuinta had guaranteed a room with the fridge and microwave and on 1st floor. So far, they were 0/3. I don't know that I'll stay there again.

On Thursday, I woke up with NO VOICE, congested sinuses, and a damn headache. Great! Sinus infection! Yay!.......WTF?! Really? Two days before an Ironman and I'm sick? Are you F'n kidding me? I took a hot shower, trying to get the sinuses cleared, bought EMERGEN-C and CLARITEN, and started to think about how it could affect my race.

Steve and I went to Ironman Village early and did some maintenance on our bikes. I changed out tires (and tubes...blowout) and put on pedals. Then, we met Bryan and Howard and rode for an hour. We followed that up with an easy run. I was not feeling great, but the adrenaline kept me going.

The athlete dinner was AWESOME. Never miss an athlete dinner. Reilly was there, cracking jokes and pumping everyone up with feel good stories and videos. The "youngest and oldest" and "who lost the most weight" segments were really cool to watch. I also enjoyed welcoming the new Ironmans, and the food was excellent.

Friday, same voice, sinuses F'd up, and tired. We did an easy practice swim for 600 meters. The swim wasn't bad, but there were not 2600 ppl in there.

Saturday, Steve and I woke up and 3:45 to get ready. What a day! What a rush! We ate breakfast, packed last minute items, then headed over. Parking was easy...thank God for big cities. We then set up bikes and set up T bags.

We got to the Swim Start and it was an incredible sight! So many people, so much noise, so much going on!!! Drones were flying around, taking pics or streaming video (not sure which) and everyone was getting ready. I must have seen a bazillion people taking selfies. Heck, I almost took one, too, but thankfully, a girl saved my manhood and offered to take one of Steve an I. Whew, that was close!
Event warmup:

Treaded water for a little, then did a few strokes, then hung onto kayak until the gun went off.
  • 1h 13m 8s
  • 3862 meters
  • 01m 53s / 100 meters

Toughest swim I've ever been a part of. Physical, brutal, but awesome. White, churning, pee filled water everywhere! What made this so difficult was the number of ppl in the water. Every time I got into a groove, I'd come in contact with 2-3 swimmers. Kicks to the face, elbows to the head and body, and inappropriate grabs were constant throughout the entire swim. Even had a few hands go where no man had gone before...HA!

Had to clear goggles many, many times because of the contact...even once in the canal, which is close to the end of the swim. Those were quick, though, b/c I didn't want to get swum over again. I also became very good at anticipating and deflecting blows to the face and head.

I did inadvertently quintuple kick combo somebody. Accident! Sorry! Somebody came up on me and I was kicking, trying to break free from a group. I felt my heels hit a chest, right above the diaphragm, 5 different times, all hard. Then I felt that person kind of crumple, or maybe fold. Oops! I turned around, but too many ppl to know who it was. I know that hurt. I have heels, and I will use them!

Another thing that made this swim difficult was breathing. Due to the sheer number of athletes, I kept getting "swamped" and ended up swallowing tons of water. I'm sure I had my fill of pee, bird poop, and pretty much everything else that is in a small, shallow lake out in the heart of Texas. I started the bike very well hydrated.

The cooler weather was great in that everyone got to use a wetsuit, but I think that was also the problem. In the past, the swim was broken up into a non-wetsuit and wetsuit start, thus reducing the overall volume of swimmers. This time, everyone started at the same time.
What would you do differently?:

My strategy was terrible. I started in the front, a little closer to the shore than the middle of the lake where the buoys were at. I was hoping to hit the last buoy at an angle, away from the inside line, but the contact behind me and my inability to swim straight pushed me against the buoy line. I got sucked into the mass, which was a no holds barred MMA slugfest...THE washing machine. It was kind of like a black you go, out you do not. It was especially rough rounding the buoys b/c it got very crowded.

I also got flustered with each kick to the face. I never got knocked really hard, but did get a bloody lip and had to reseal goggles many, many times. In my opinion, athletes went into that swim expecting a brutal swim...and that's what they got. Self fulfilling prophesy, in a sense.

In hindsight, I'd probably make a concerted effort to stay away from the inside line and swim wide to avoid the contact.
Transition 1
  • 03m 50s

Ran out of the lake and into T1, straight to my bag. Skipped the wetsuit strippers, opting to take off wetsuit myself. Left leg of suit got stuck on ankle, but only for a second or two. Then, grabbed my bag, ran into the changing tent, put on helmet and glasses and bolted out with my cycling shoes in my hand.

The volunteers were there, ready to lather you up with sunscreen...and I let them! They globbed it on my back and neck. Wetsuit hickey, there you are...and you sting!
What would you do differently?:

In my rush, forgot to neck a bottle of UCAN. This could have been a contributing factor to my crappy bike ride, but I'll allocate more blame to the sinus infection. I could make up for that nutrition with some backup gels and tabs I was carrying, if need be.
  • 5h 32m 7s
  • 112 miles
  • 20.23 mile/hr

Never felt good on this ride. Ran out of T1, put on shoes, and started to try to get out of the mass of cyclists. Meep! Meep! About a half mile in, a lady (about 10 bike lengths ahead) went down HARD. She ended up on her back and I slowed down. The volunteers were on her pretty much right away, though, so I wished her luck and kept on. I really hoped she could keep going. It's too damn hard just getting to the start line healthy and strong to end it like that.

Control what you can control, I told myself. Let's settle in and race your race. Don't follow the hammers (I was tempted) and stick to your plan. This was my first race with a power meter and I was excited about it. The problem...I could not hit my power for shit. I hoped to average 170 watts for the entire ride, but ended up averaging 145. What a disappointment. I just didn't have it in me today.

I followed my plan and underpowered the first 50 miles, but I just felt drained the entire time. I loved the ride in the first 50, then in the second 50, I struggled to even maintain 120 watts. Many times, I felt like stopping the bike, throwing it into the woods, and ending the race. I was disgusted. All this hard work, all this training, all that blood and sweat, down the f'n drain b/c I got sick two days before the race. Could not have been worst timing. I could scream...even right now. I am pretty sure I shed a tear or two in frustration. I can't remember, though, and I'll deny it ever happened if asked! Sun got in my eye. ;)
What would you do differently?:

I'm not sure. I was on plan through 50 miles, but I just could not maintain even a semblance of what I had done in training.
Transition 2
  • 04m 59s

Dismounted bike right before the line and handed it off to a volunteer. Bless them! Put on socks and shoes, and took off helmet, shoving it into the bag. Ran out.

Once again, I let the sunscreen girls have their way with me...and boy, they did. They were out there having fun, saying dirty things, and really caking it on. Thank you!
What would you do differently?:

I had planned to put on socks and shoes and grab a baggie in which I had stuffed everything else. This would have saved maybe a minute. I could put on hat, number, and store nutrition on the go. I just decided to sit for a minute, regroup after that ride, and then run.
  • 3h 46m 22s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 38s  min/mile

I have to say I was glad to get off the bike. I'm guessing that's what it must feel like to be a cheap hooker on coupon day at a brothel...ouch!

The run was great. I was glad to get off the bike and do something that I'm decent at. I settled into my pace, running a 7:40 min/mi in the first mile. Perfect. Maintained effort through the first 8 miles, then started to feel some fatigue creep in, but nothing too bad. Roll with it, man, roll with it. Do what you can do. And I did. I slowed down some, but I just did what I could and was happy with the effort.

I got passed, but it was mostly by the Pros and a handful of AGers. A few bastards with calf sleeves passed me (couldn't see age!), but I let them go b/c, well, I was tired! :)

During the last half mile, there was a guy chasing me down. I thought he'd catch me, but I had a little extra energy and used it before he could catch up to me and make it a race to the finish line. I looked him up and he was in the 50-54 AG. He finished 10 seconds behind me. Glad I didn't have to fight it out with him at the very end.

Some cool things about the run. I got to run right behind Docherty for a few mins. I was on my first lap and I think he was on his third! Ha! I slipped in behind him, and imagined that we were going to duke it out at the finish. I'm stupid, yeah, but things like that will get your mind off the suffering at hand.

The support out on the course was amazing! People kept yelling out my name and that really helped alot. The posters out there were awesome. Had to see them 3x, but they mostly made me smile each time. The costumes were also great. Of note: guy in speedo with the present on his crotch, girls cheering and really shakin' it, the "your mom is easy" posters, and the guy offering swimming lessons at the swim start.
What would you do differently?:

I think I ran well today. Not my greatest run, but good for an IM. I took longer than I should have in the aid stations. Something to keep in mind for the next one.
Post race
Warm down:

The awesome volunteers walked me through the chute, I got a pic taken, and then went to get food and drink.

I did the obligatory post Ironman waddle, then found a place to sit and eat while I waited for Steve. I got to meet and talk to a few guys and we exchanged stories. Fun times.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

If I had to identify a limiter, I'd have to say getting sick was the main culprit. I really expected to go 10 hours, maybe eek in a few mins under, but it is what it is. After I realized I wasn't going to make my time, I enjoyed the race and atmosphere and started thinking ahead to the next one.

Event comments:

The volunteers were amazing and really made this race what it was. Without them, no race and no good time. Kudos to Ironman for a well run race. The venue was excellent.

Last updated: 2013-10-30 12:00 AM
01:13:08 | 3862 meters | 01m 53s / 100meters
Age Group: 105/335
Overall: 555/2437
Performance: Below average
Suit: Xterra Vortex 3
Course: Lake Woodlands - Very crowded start. Course had you swim out and back, then turn into a narrow canal. Each segment approx 1300 meters. - Several kayaks to hold on to if you did not want to tread water the entire time.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Average
Time: 03:50
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
05:32:07 | 112 miles | 20.23 mile/hr
Age Group: 69/335
Overall: 386/2437
Performance: Below average
Avg Speed: 20.1mi/h | Max Speed: 35.3mi/h | Avg HR: 131bpm | Max HR: 158bpm | Cadence: 87 | Power: 146W | Max Power: 460W | Calories: 3,250 | Elapsed Time: 5:33:58
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: With a few exceptions, the IMTX course is not a bad course to ride. The first 30 miles are somewhat easy going, with some wind to your back. The ride through the Woodlands forest is breathtaking. The road is chocked full of cracks and holes, but they were marked and easily visible. It's also cool and shady here. The next 30 had you go straight into a headwind. The road is still decent, though, and there's plenty of shade. Miles 50-80 are HORRIBLE. No trees to block the wind. This portion is also a very jarring and rough ride (chip seal). There are some grooves in the road, but they're 1-2 inches wide and hard to ride in. Lots of gusts here, too. The last 20 or so are on highway, with a little wind to your back.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 87
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:59
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
03:46:22 | 26.2 miles | 08m 38s  min/mile
Age Group: 40/335
Overall: 228/2437
Performance: Average
1 7:37.0 | 2 7:27.3| 3 7:28.5| 4 7:42.2| 5 7:38.1| 6 7:39.1| 7 7:47.9| 8 8:09.3| 9 8:24.2| 10 8:51.5| 11 8:43.2| 12 8:48.9| 13 9:13.7| 14 8:36.9| 15 8:30.5| 16 8:27.7| 17 8:25.7| 18 8:48.8| 19 9:07.2| 20 10:15| 21 9:50.1| 22 9:54.7| 23 9:22.6| 24 9:36.6| 25 10:02.| 26 8:41.8| 27 1:10.1
Course: Three loops around the Riverwalk. Very scenic, very well supported, very concretey, and a little shade. Tons of aids stations, all with anything you could wish for. Ice, cold water, cold sponges, fruit, gels, etc. Very well managed, too. At mile 8, you start a dirt trail and it ends with a short, steep climb up a hill. Kind of a cruel joke in that you have to run up it 3 times.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
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

2014-05-20 12:10 PM

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Whispering Pines, North Carolina
Subject: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas

2014-05-20 12:42 PM
in reply to: #4998826

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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas

Wow!  I know you were sick and didn't hit your power target, but that's a FAST bike for a low power.  Way to make the best of the race even though things weren't perfect.

2014-05-20 1:13 PM
in reply to: #4998826

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Wilmington, NC
Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas

Sorry that it was not what you had for as far as result.
Really sucks that you got sick b/c you busted your in training and are worth way more than 10:40.

Next time. Right?
2014-05-20 1:42 PM
in reply to: #4998826

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The Woodlands, Texas
Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas
Awesome job! Congrats!
2014-05-20 4:53 PM
in reply to: rach5928

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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas

Awesome job and super speedy race!! Hope you feel better soon

2014-05-20 7:33 PM
in reply to: Socks

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Extreme Veteran
In front of computer when typing this.
Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas
Great race report- loved the swim description! I'm so sorry you got sick because I was very excited to see you have the race of your life. Well, I guess you got the "I got sick two days before an Ironman" race out of the way so no need to do that again. Your training was amazing and kept me going when I got sick of training for my little half, so thanks for that. Now you get to analyze and fuss over everything and plan for the next one, which is fun too in a way. I still think for an old, sick guy you had a great race...not many people can throw down a 10:40, even healthy, so congrats on that. Next one will be sub 10 :-)

2014-05-22 5:37 AM
in reply to: 0

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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas
What a great RR!

Had a blast following you through your training arc. If you're able to go 5:32 on the bike at 145watts you're gonna be fast as on a day when you're not sick.

Congrats all the way around and see you at B2B.

Edited by alltom1 2014-05-22 5:38 AM
2014-05-22 12:19 PM
in reply to: alltom1

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Whispering Pines, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas
Originally posted by alltom1
Had a blast following you through your training arc. If you're able to go 5:32 on the bike at 145watts you're gonna be fast as on a day when you're not sick.

Thanks, ppl. I did all the little things to make sure I was as aero as possible. Latex tubes, new tires, helmet, tight fitting kit, body position, no stops, etc. etc. It paid of, it looks like. I was aiming for 170 watts, ended up with less than 150, and somehow still managed to go over 20. Was aiming for 21, but it is what it is.

This event was a lot of fun! Highly encourage you to race it if you're considering an Ironman.
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