There were a few goals of this race. 1. Qualify to Kona. Check! 2. Break 10 hours. 3 measly minutes!! 3. Win the overall amateur title. Came in 5th, 2nd in my AG. Want more? Read on, my fellow readers, read on. You may need a cup of coffee or a glass of vino!
Ironman Texas 2.0 was Saturday in the Woodlands, TX. I was excited for the race, but not as nervous as usual- which enables things to go down a bit more smoothly, like my pre race breakfast!
I flew to The Woodlands on Wednesday and was picked up by Sarah and whisked away to our next door neighbor home stays. I can't say enough good things about both of our home stays. We were literally next door to each other and both families were just spectacular. Familiar with racing and my family was exactly like me...no coffee and keep the house at 80 degrees. Was I in Texas or paradise? Did you say you make smoothies every morning with kale and cherries? What a warm welcome over a hotel. THANK YOU to Nancy and Eric for hosting me and for cheering me on all day long Saturday and then indulging in a massive pizza with me après race. I hope to one day be able to return the favor.
Pre race fuel: large bowl steel cut oats, brown sugar, banana, packet of Justin's nut butter, 2scoops Cytomax with water. About 900 calories.
Swim: 2nd in the AG 1:03:22
After walking to the swim and waiting in the bathroom line one last time, it was time to get in...only 10 minutes to go, the pros were already off. I decided to start all the way to the right and front. I prefer to start away from the buoy line and work my way over in clear water as opposed to getting smashed from the start. Perfect plan, I was off and running and not getting pummeled Kona 2012 style. I have definitely been working on my swim and was really pleased with a 1:03...2 minutes better than last year. I tried to keep my focus on the effort and not let up and day dream. Seeing Sonja as i swam down the canal was super and definitely made me smile. I think there is definitely a quicker swim to be had without much more energy used so that is what I will work towards. Thank you Stanford Masters!!
Again, only a 3 minute improvement from last year. Kind of disappointed with this one to be honest. I was really gunning for a 5:10. I thought that this was an EXTREMELY achievable goal. I was on pace, hitting 66 miles in exactly 3 hours, but then the head winds started, I got a bit fatigued and the average went way down. I packed one flask that I always use for gels and another that I use for water but have also used for gels with water added. I used it for all gels for the race and the spout was not wide enough for the gel to come out...1st obstacle...no problem, I just unscrewed the cap each half hour and guzzled like that and then put the top back on. Nothing we can't overcome right?!! I kept the nutrition up and took a water bottle for hydrating and keeping me cool at each aid station. As the back side saw the winds pick up, it also saw the drafting pick up. A group of 20 guys passed me and I said to one of them "Hi guys!! Draft much?!!". To which the reply from one was "little bit". The wind was strong and it was oh so tempting, but I chose to stay on my own and watch them fly up the road using 30% less energy than I was. Did I mention I later saw most of them on the run? The drafting Marshall's were out and I saw them give some cards out to the group of guys, but it is just so frustrating to see that and to have guy after guy come by and have to observe the other part of the drafting rule which is that I have to drop back after being passed by said gentleman...thus slowing my roll a bit. Not an excuse for my time, I lost my edge on the back half of the course (and I will be working on that!). I had the usual low spot around mile 70-90. Do those miles not move for anyone else out there? Once you get to 90 you can see 100 and then you turn into the Woodlands and you can smell the barn! I did a flying dismount which could have been disastrous but with a heavy lean of the bike and some careful breaking, I managed to stay upright and fly into transition with my bike caught by an awesome volunteer!
Total calories on the bike 180 calories first bottle of Cytomax, then only water and 1500 calories of gels. Yes, all one flavor. I can handle that monotony like a champ. Mmmm, yes please may I have another strawberry vanilla slam gel?!! But not at least for three more weeks please.
Run: 3:35:11 3rd Best in AG
The race was more challenging than last year in my opinion, with no cloud cover throughout the entire day and no shade out on course. You would see people running from one side of the street to the other I searched the odd tree with some shade. There is one section that has some shade and the volunteer was not wrong when he was telling people, you will be so happy to be on that mile section. Sir you were SOOOO right, it was the only reprieve. Going out today even with just a minor sunburn (some things not even a 100 SPF can prevent) my skin was like, get indoors right now!!!
I was so thankful to have support from Sarah, Sonja and my home stay out on course. I know that there is a better race inside of me so I will be back at it making sure that it can show up soon! The other awesome thing on the run course were some of the signs, like "suck it up, buttercup", and "don't be fooled, you are NO where near the finish".
Today was filled with food, friends and a very swollen flight home. Seriously, my ankles have disappeared and my feet feel like they may explode with water. Gonna be wearing my double wide shoes tomorrow!
Next up is Escape from Alcatraz in 3 weeks in San Francisco, our backyard. I haven't done this race for at least three years and I am excited to take it on again!