Ironman Texas 2013 Race Report
So this was just an all-around fantastic weekend. From the time I knocked off of work on Tuesday, to my parents arriving in town on Thursday, to the banquet Thursday, and the race on Saturday I had the best time at my first Ironman. As I’ve told a few people it is worth every penny spent and every hour invested for that feeling you get crossing the finish line.
Well enough of the formalities and on to the race report. I was given the opportunity to sleep in my parents’ room to get enough sleep on Friday night. So in bed at 8 or 8:30 I went, and the alarm was scheduled for 4 but I was wide awake at 3:45. So up and at ‘em. Three cups of applesauce, a banana, and some whey protein down the shoot as priority number one. Then I sipped on some Perform as I put on my gear, checked and rechecked to make sure I had everything , and then checked Facebook for a while. Toby Kettle and I had planned to meet downstairs at 5:30 for the 5 minute walk to transition. At five I just couldn’t wait so I was headed to the lobby. I get antsy. I typically get to T1 when it opens, make sure I have time to set what I need, and then go find a quiet corner to chill. This wasn’t the plan for this morning and it was just weird. Anyway T-pain rolls downstairs with a couple of his kids and his step dad around 5:30 and we’re gone.
Once in transition it’s kind of business as usual. I’ve never done a full Ironman, but I aired up the tires per normal and checked to make sure they spun free and clear (note this ). Then I made sure my computer was picking up GPS, dropped my nutrition in my ride and run bags, and we left for the swim start. It’s about a mile walk to the swim start and once we got there it was a frenzy of activity. Drop you special needs and morning bags and warm up. We ran into some friends and we said hi, but the race day nerves were starting to kick in.
The plan in the water was to stay on the outside in what I’ve been told would be the cleanest water available. So we got in and stayed pretty much right at the dock on the outside. Needless to say things didn’t go as planned. When the gun went off it was the typical mass chaos of a mass start. I got pummeled from all sides. Take a couple strokes and look for open water, repeat, repeat, and boom all of a sudden I’m on the buoy line. Grrrrr!!!! Oh well, here I am so I might as well roll with it. I stayed pretty much a little to the inside of the buoy line the whole way out and it was intermittently brutal. It was like jumping one pod to the next and the scrum at the turn buoy was amazing. The way back in was clean. Everyone was trying to cut distance by hugging the shoreline. I just stayed a little to the right of the buoys and I fought no one until I turned into the Waterway canal. This is where things got crazy again. A couple thousand folks in a very narrow channel that is only 4 feet deep for the most part. It was a washing machine and the fact that people could stand up and walk was lost on few. I ran smack dab into the back of more than one swimmer. Finally the last red buoy and a sharp left to the stairs. Swim time= 1:28:55 about 9 minutes slower than anticipated.
T1 was a breeze. My bag was at the end of a section so I just ran to it, grabbed, and went without any volunteer needed. Once in the tent it was fairly simple. Priority one was get ahold of myself. Jim and Chris were there. Sweet a couple friendly faces. Belt on, helmet on, shoes on, grab 2nd half nutrition and roll. Apparently I dropped my MyAthleteLive tracker in here somewhere. That’ll be costly. Anyways out to grab my bike and let’s go. T1 time = 7:10
On the bike is where things started to crumble a little. At some point between the time I aired up my tires that morning and the time I grabbed my bike the front brake had been jarred so that the front left pad was rubbing. I didn't know this at the time, but about mile 5 I figured it out. Damn. So I pulled over to the side of Woodlands Parkway and yanked on it a bit. It gave me a tiny bit of clearance so I figured I roll with it. Mistake. Should have fixed the issue right there. Anyway it wasn't rubbing at the time so I proceeded on. Out the Parkway, take a right and head north. Tailwind. 24 mph with no effort really. Gotta love it. About 10 miles down the road I hear the brake again. Little tug and we're good. I seem to be in the middle of a good sized pack here. You can tell who has the plan to attack the up hills, who is playing it steady throughout, and who is attacking the down hills because we all keep leap frogging each other. At aid station #3 the folks in front of me decide to stop to grab their bottles, and not only stop but park the bikes caddy corner blocking people from going around. Really? Here is the first time when I sprayed myself down with a water bottle that it hurt down there. Really wasn't anticipating that. IM rookie. Finally as we roll into the national forest things started to thin out. Still the brake is rubbing periodically. So annoying. Boom, down through the Osborne section of the course. It's HEAVILY shaded and feels about 10 degrees cooler on this miserably hot day. We rolled on quickly here. I seemed to be around this dude in a Felt kit for the front half of the ride. Finally as we came into Richards I'd had enough of my brake so I pulled out the allen wrench and "fixed" it. Probably should have done this originally. Headed out into the wind now as we roll through the miserable box past Richards and then head directly into the wind going back towards town. It's here that I pass a couple friends. The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful until mile 90ish. See I had blown through special needs because I felt great. I should have grabbed my salt tabs. About the time I blew through there I started to need a salt tab every 30 minutes instead of the planned hour. So at mile 90 I was out. Oops. So from there I found 19.5 to be the ceiling on where I could go without cramping. You live, you learn right? As I said the rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. As I pulled into the chute I decided against a flying dismount and just came to a full stop. I could just see myself cramping as I threw my leg over the saddle. Not what I wanted to do. Bike time= 5:49:22
T2 again was fairly uneventful. Got in the tent and there were people sprawled out EVERYWHERE on the ground. The heat was a mother and it was very evident in T2, and it would only get worse. I put on more Vaseline on my underarms where I had started to chafe. Downed some Perform and chatted with Brian Reina for a bit while changing. T2 time = 7:45
So this “run” was just a sufferfest for me, as it appeared to be for a lot of the field. I have a 4 hour IM marathon in me, the heat on this day said "Not today". The plan was to run 8:30s out of the shoot and to walk every other aid station. So I came out running a 9 and grabbed my stuff on the go at the first aid station. OK, close to plan. As I came back from the little jaunt out the unpaved section of course to go up this little embankment I felt my stomach cramp up. Uh oh. I ran on. The next aid station I walked not sure what my stomach was doing I stayed to the plan (drink Perform, water on head, ice down shorts) and thought about the porta potty. I ran on. Over the bridge and into the park where the swim start was. I said no to the special needs folks here, but I was convinced I needed to do some business in a port a poty. Nothing. Huh. So I ran on. I think I stopped at every other potty for the first 13 miles before my stomach kind of settled. From there on my goal was to run aid station to aid station. I succeeded at times and failed at others. The electricity along the Waterway made you feel no pain, but there were portions of the course where all you could think about was the Med Tent and an IV sure sound good right about now. I ran into my friend Jim on the last lap and we kept each other going for a while. I had to stop at around mile 21 to walk a little and he was feeling good so on he went. As I came around the bend for the last out and back portion of the course (about the 2 mile mark) Brian Reina told me my ole pal Toby was at the top of the hill and that I should run him down. So with my last bit of energy I got my butt to the top of the hill, grabbed a Perform and a Coke on the run and pinched Toby on the rear as I went by. And off we went on a full sprint. After about a half mile the dialogue went like this:
Me: You could slow down you know
T: You first.
Me: OK (slows down)
Me after catching back up: Dude you didn't slow down
T: I didn't?
Me: I'm going to puke
As we go down the out and back of the chute.
T: Dammit you have the inside.
As we came up the stretch towards the finish there was a slower runner on our right and I kinda squeezed Toby thinking there was room on the other side of the guy. (Apparently there wasn't and that was my bad) We finished 2 seconds apart. Really the best part of an otherwise brutal day. The last 1.6 miles will be the lasting impression and fondest memories I take from the miles upon miles I put into getting myself to that point. Run time = 5:06:03 Total time = 12:39:15