This race recap was written the week after my first Ironman Race. I have it broken down into two main sections. The Race Prep and the Race Recap. The race prep was done in a similar manner to the IMTX 70.3 where everything was laid out and checked the week leading up to the race so that when we were in the hotel the night before I had very little that I actually needed to do other than fill bottles and lay out cloths. This also made my gear drop-off the day before very easy as well since everything was already checked and bagged.
Race Prep: (2 transitions)
Bike Bag: Helmet and Socks
Run Bag: 8 gels, pickle juice, socks, visor and race number, run shoes
Bike Special Needs Bag: 1 CO2, bag of tailwind (500 cal worth)
Run Special Needs Bag: M&M’s, Socks, pickle juice
Race morning bag: Tri Suit, Wet Suit, Swim cap, Goggles, timing chip, sandals, shirt for pre race, race numbers (tri tats), body glide, anti fog (cat crap)
Breakfast bag: Ensure plus, 2 cliff bars, bottle of water
Bike nutrition bag: pre mixed 35 oz bottle of tailwind (300 cal), 2 24 oz bottles of strong mix tailwind for diluting on course (500 cal each), 3 waffles, 6 gels, 5 salt tabs, race tracker (beacon)
Notice that all my bags have a batman theme going on with the duct tape. This was a recommendation to make it easier to find the bags in transition etc.. I recommend putting much more on the bags than I did. The tape helped me during the race at each transition but also when I stopped for the special needs the volunteer picked up the wrong bag and I was able to point it out right away.
Friday was busy. Gear drop off in the woodlands then back to Katy to load the car and family when school got out.
Once we checked into the hotel we had plans to join the group for dinner but found the kids took it upon themselves to change and hit to pool by the time I parked the car. O well….
I had everything bagged and ready to go so I laid out my cloths and filled by bike bottles and was ready.
Saturday morning: I woke up at 3:30 a little early, took my time eating breakfast and had a cup of coffee. Then the alarm went off to get everyone else up. This took a lot longer than planned and we left the hotel late. I didn’t need to go to T2 for anything because I loaded everything in the bag for drop off Friday. Only T1.
We parked in the Orange lot close to T2 and talked the mile to T1. I left my pump in the car because Jay had his and Aimee’s hands and stroller were already full.
By the time I got into T1 the pro’s were lining up and I was just arriving. I loaded all my nutrition on the bike. Clipped on my shoes (hate walking or running in them) panicked when I couldn’t figure out where Jays pump was. (text I think Belen had it last)…. Ended up borrow in someone else’s.
The second set of Pro’s just started and the AG’s are lining up and I’m still at my bike. Send Aimee a text to meet me at the T1 entrance so I can hand here off my stuff. As I’m running over I make it in time to jump into a photo with the group then run out to meet Aimee and give here my shoes and shirt. I never heard the water temp but judging by the mass of people not in wetsuits I assume it’s optional. I already decided to go without but didn’t want tobe at the back of the pack. I run back in and get directions from my team mates Marty and Belen on where to run to. Cut in line and into the water. I’m off.
At the start of the swim there was fog so you couldn’t see more than a few buoys’ and even cutting in the line at the start I was catching a lot of people. I stayed to the outside which may have ended up being the straightest track. The Buoys’ looked like they zig zagged a bit. At the turn around point I started to get leg cramps which is unheard of for me swimming unless I’m doing hard intervals. I know it isn’t good and the best I can figure is the extra kicking and change in range of motion from constantly sighting. I tried to swim longer lengths between sightings and ran into a few people and somehow drifted right at one point. I can’t stand people touching my feet when I swim so that was motivation enough to keep my technique and have a long pull through on my stroke. I started to sight off land marks as far down the course as I could to get a straight line. Sighting off of the swimmers wasn’t working because I was swimming a faster pace than those around me and I could now see the buoys were not straight and neither was the shore line. The swim was ok for me considering the leg cramps at 1:14:54
This was uneventful since I didn’t need to change. All I needed to do was put on my helmet and then carried my socks to my bike where I put them on. I took a quick pit stop at the green house (didn’t want any issue on the bike) waved to Aimee and the boys and was off. Time 5:30
It turns out I got on the bike at the same time as another team mate Chris but didn’t see him. He called out to me and we passed back and forth during the first mile as we snaked through the streets of the woodlands.
For the most part I can’t complain about the bike course much. I had a plan of riding 17-18 mph and had no issue with holding a 22mph average for the first half. There were a few rough patches and I lost both my rear mount 23 oz bottles within a mile of each other. This was with rubber bands over them in an attempt to make them more secure. (Update: It’s been determined through some trial and error that the bottles didn’t launch out but rather fell out the bottom on my cages when I hit the bumps) This was the back bone of my nutrition for the bike. I had solid food but was planning on it being more of my backup which turned out to be needed. I pulled water and Gatorade off the course with a few extra gels (lost some of those as well on the bumps. In total I had 300 cal from tailwind. (Water Gatorade mix ???cal) 3 waffles and I think 4 gels maybe 5. Stopped at special needs which I was not planning to do and grabbed a 500 cal baggy of tailwind. Dumped in my aero bottle and any water I had to try to mix it. I found out at breakfast the next day this is when Marty passed me.
The plan was to fuel and hydrate heavily on the bike because it was easy to do so that I was not dehydrated when I got off. Didn’t go as planned but I rolled with it.
At mile 65 or so I started to get tight in my back and cramp in my quads. Must be because there is almost no opportunity to coast and I’ve pushed harder than planned. I made an effort to drop my pace down to 19-20 mph with it slow on the overpass both ways. This dropped my average pace but I knew it needed tobe done. I still had a Marathon to do and it was hot. My watch picked up 93 F during the bike.
I also saw team mates Victor and Jay cheering at mile 70. I almost missed them but they made sure I heard them. Saw them again at mile 80. They were looking from phone to the road so someone must have been coming up on mile. 70. I don’t know how they got around and back to the run course with the road closures but hats off to them for making it in the time they did.
I dismounted and tried to run in my shoes. (ouch) I took them off at the first thing I could find to lean against and ran in my socks. The socks protected my feet from burning but I did read a few reports of people who burned their feet on the sidewalk. In the change tent I found I chafed under my arms (???How???) must have been during the swim, maybe from the tri suit but it didn’t seem possible. I took my time and drank a pickle juice to fight leg cramps. Put Vaseline under my arms, fresh socks, drank some water. A Quick pit stop and I was off. Time 10:26 (a little slow)
Out of T2 moving fast for the first 10 feet were I got sun screen put on. I could already feel the burn where it didn’t get good coverage at T1. Run plan 10-10:30 pace walking the water stations. I mostly kept to the plan well on the first loop, right up until I got stopped on the second lap due to the weather. More on that in a bit.
On the 1st loop I saw team mate Kristy at mile 1ish cheering on the runners. Sara and Agustina were at aid station 6. They hadn’t seen anyone else on the team at that time. I had no idea where anyone else was on the course. I stuck to my plan I saw Gordon and Rosa at the boat house and Aimee with the boys right across them. Well… I saw two boys for high fives. I asked where Levi was and Aimee points to the starfish laying on a blanket in the grass. He was passed out cold. I guess all the action was tiring to watch 🙂 Zach ran with me for a bit cheering as only an 8 year old can.
On loop 2 I saw Victor, Jay, Stephanie and I believe a few others (I was a little out of it) Victor asked what I needed and I asked him to make it rain. He said he would see what he could do. Well…… He over delivered. More on that in a bit.
I saw jay at mile 12 something he told me I was keeping a good pace.
Then the lightning hit. I’m a Florida boy so that wasn’t much of an issue but it was a good storm moving in. Then the rain hit as I was coming up on the short out and back where I saw Jay again just before entering the waterway. I ran past the boat house looking for Aimee and the boys but they were already seeking shelter in the car and I noticed that something must be getting blown out of the trees because I keep feeling these sharp pains on my shoulder….O wait. It’s hale! and it starts coming down hard with rain drops the size or marbles. I haven’t run in a downpour like that since I lived in Asia. It felt good but I kept the plan and walked what was now the abandoned aid station on Timberloch. This is when the wind hit hard and almost blew me over while crossing the bridge over the water way. As soon as I made the next turn I was directed into a parking garage by a very stern talking official. At least he looked official. Who wears dress pants and a polo to an Ironman and yells like that. After some thought and looking at the others I decided to follow his directions and went to the garage where I found Laurie. First person I’ve seen since Chris on the bike. My Garmin shows I was there for 7 mins. It felt like a lot longer. The temperature drop on the watch was from 99 F to 66. That means most likely 93 or 95 F peak temp.
After my 7 minutes of waiting time was up it was time to start moving. Now it was like running a normal marathon with all the people from the garage crowded on the waterfront walkway. My pace started getting to fast so I slowed it down and I was really starting to feel it in my quads now. I looked over and saw Belen on the other side of the waterway
I made it to lap 3 now I just need to keep moving. I think this is where I saw Din …(Maybe it was lap 2) the rain was mostly stopped and the Volunteers and cheer squads were back on course. Everyone who was in the woodlands deserves a medal after all that. On the last lap I was walking more but trying to only do it on inclines and then run at least twice as long as I walked. I was still walked the aid stations and on the flat neighborhood roads and waterfront paths I made a point to keep running. I didn’t want to waste the nice flat surface. I saw Aimee and the boys at the boat house and let her know I was on the last lap and kept it strong and controlled until the last mile. I picked up the pace and kept it strong. As I headed for the finish there was an uphill. I had no idea how long it was going to be but I was going to get in front of those walking it so I didn’t finish in a crowed. I made the turn on to Waterway Ave and (%##@%@) another hill. Suck it up! I pushed down the hill made the turn and pushed for the finish. First full Ironman Done… Time 5:08:39 less the 7 mins of stopped time and I was within 12 mins of my stretch target.
Total time 11:25:19
Ironman adjusted my time to 11:19:53 overall and a marathon time of 5:03:13. this is what they determined was acceptable for the time they stopped the race.
I would also like to note for those reading this. The bike route was cut short by 17 miles due to the local politics interfering with the race as well as flooding in the area. It goes to show that no mater how you prepare that you have tobe mentally able to adjust your plan on the fly. This is where your training long runs and rides come to benefit you because they have given you the tools to adjust on the fly.