Quick Video from the Start of the Run
For those of you looking for the stats, IM Texas was my 17th Ironman. I swam a 1:08, Biked a 4:56 and Ran a 3:15. Personal bests for the bike and the run, and an overall personal best time of 9:27:00. Managed to get the Age Group win (!) by 13 seconds over some amazing competition (5th place was a 9:30) and am extremely happy and grateful for the chance to have raced. There’s nothing like racing with your fellow teammates and in front of friends. Thank you all! The Backdrop
Before I get into the day, I should point out that this race performance is due to several factors. First, thanks to Coach Rich for pointing out that I should do a flat race instead of picking all the hilly ones. Duh! Second, I put on a serious body composition focus this winter, starting at Christmas, and managed to drop all the way down to 178 lbs before bouncing up to my race weight of about 182. Third, I worked with Jesse Kropelnicki and the Core Diet team (www.thecorediet.com) on a pre-race and a race fueling plan that really set me up to be my best. Pre-Race
I had fun hanging out with the Team and my fellow racers. I had spectacular lodging thanks to Kevin Barr of Energy Lab Nutrition (www.energylabnutrition.com). I flew in at midnight on Wednesday and was picked up by Ken Glah’s Endurance Sports Travel Team (www.endurancesportstravel.com) and then did a short ride and run on Thursday. Team dinner that night, then a big breakfast on Friday AM, followed by a short OWS on the course, our Four Keys Talk, bike check in, and then time for some bad kung-fu movies and hanging out! Heading into the race I was pretty nervous. I hadn’t raced since Kona of last year, and so I knew I’d be rusty. Add to that the fact that I was my lightest race weight and had some solid training and I could feel some pretty good pressure on myself. Don’t get be wrong, nothing unhealthy, but I was really curious to see how things would play out. The Swim - 1:08
I got in early in my skinsuit, and found a kayak. I hung on there for 15 to 20 minutes before the gun went off. My goggles totally fogged up because of the humidity. I couldn’t see more than 5’, much less a buoy. I was getting beat up pretty good, but this was mostly likely my fault for not being able to see. After 10 minutes I flipped over on my back and got some water in there...I think with my activity and the newer water, the goggles were good for the rest of the seemingly never ending swim. It was way longer than I anticipated, and while it was never too crowded, the canal portion simply took forever!!! I heard Mike Reilly announce that it was 1:08 race time and my heart sank...I thought my competitive day was over...but I kept rolling. T1 - 3:xx
I had a race belt, arm coolers and my helmet...so it was pretty clean. I got out, got sunscreen (not that you can tell now, ouch!) and found my bike. I was out on the bike course pretty quickly and was riding away. The Bike - 4:56:xx
Starting the bike, something didn’t seem right with my front wheel. It was kinda hard to turn, and at about mile 12 a fellow competitor told me it appeared to be going flat! Flashback to transition in the AM when I went to inflate it and when undoing the valve extender I realized I was actually removing the valve itself...so I tried to screw it back in but the humidity had made everything so wet I was clearly unsuccessful. I pulled over and will a neutral support guy holding my bike, I made a super fast front wheel change. My computer ride time was 4:53, I assume it was about a 3 minute change. I re-caught the guy who told me about the tire by mile 20 and said thanks. The rest of the trip out was pretty uneventful. I wanted to ride around 250 after the first hour of chilling but given the flat I was working harder than I wanted. I made a note to try and coast where possible to recover. My nutrition plan called for approximately 0.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight per hour. Thats 91 grams for those of you doing the math at home...I strove for this with either a powerbar (47) or 2 caffeinated powergels (54g) and 3 bottles of Perform (51g). Early on I had trouble keeping it all down, with some spectacular burps, but I knew I needed the calories and fluids and sodium in. In addition to the 3 x 190 mg of sodium in perform + my nutrition, I also took some S-caps Plus (have 30mg caffeine) every hour. After about 3 hours things got a bit easier as I settled in. My biggest goal on the bike was to pee twice to ensure I was adequately hydrated; I managed to pee three times, which had me pumped. Since I was carrying my food and using course fluids, I didn’t stop for Special Needs. Even though we turned around into a good 11-15 mph wind, the course was still fast. My aero position was awesome, even if I had to take two tylenol to make sure my back didn’t bother me too much. Note to self: More stretching & self care pre race! The second half of the bike really cleared out...after mile 80 I think I saw 3 riders, 1 of whom was just a guy pretending to race -- he even wrote his age on his calf. Some people. The final course changes had us on some rolling terrain, but it broke up the ride and many local folks were out. By the end of the bike I knew that I was at least in contention again...turns out I was in 11th place in my AG, passing 210 athletes on the bike. T2
This one had a few more moving parts. I had two volunteers however, so that helped a lot. I really didn’t plan how I was going to carry everything, and it turns out I never grabbed my clif bloks. I did have on my fuelbelt (www.fuelbelt.com) to carry my caffeinated gels and I had two bottles with a bit of perform powder and one packet of Gatorlytes (salt packet). The towel around my neck is a cooling cloth from Mission Skincare, it retained the sponge water and kept me pretty cool! The Run -- 3:15:xx
I ran out with a banana and ate that before the first aid station, then started drinking. The plan was to get in 2 more gels before ½ way in addition to a clif blok every 2 miles. Fluids were 4oz of perform every aid station. And I hit these pretty much spot on. I changed things up this time and ran with heart rate instead of pace, given the heat. I was confident that I had 3:10 run fitness, and about 3:15 on a hotter day...to see that actually happen had me stunned. The plan was to sit on about 145 bpms given my historical hot IM performances -- note these were all 3:30+ in Kona. I never looked at my pace, only my HR. The first lap was pretty close to 145, and ended up being 6:42 pace per mile for 8 miles....and that includes walking at every aid station!!! I dialed the HR back to 142-3 and tried to focus on eating and staying cool at each aid station. I put water in my Perform/Gatorlyte bottle and then would squirt that into a cup of perform at alternate aid stations...the other ones would see me eat a clif blok or a gel. I can’t say enough about Gatorlytes...this is the fourth race I have used them and in addition to my two bottles, I used three other packets in either Perform or Coke. One packet has 780mg of sodium, and it really helped me to empty my stomach of all the Perform I was drinking. I started having some Coke at the halfway point, and then really upped it in the final 6 miles. I never really ran “hard” at any point; I simply knew I was having the IM run of my life. I walked every aid station save for the last one at mile 25 as I was chasing a guy. I made my pass there and put on the gas for a few minutes. I hit the turn around at the finish and saw I had 100 yds and so I enjoyed the run up to the line. I saw 9:26:4x on the clock and sprinted to try to get in under the minute, but ended up clocking a 9:27 flat. Post Race
I got a fantastic massage and actually felt pretty good. No technicolor vomit, as my nutrition worked really well. Doing the math, I took in 10 gels, 2 power bars, 13 bottles of perform (bike only), a banana, one sleeve of Clif Bloks, and more Perform and coke on the run. This is almost double what I would normally take, and it totally worked. My biggest highlight was talking to my amazing wife Maura who was so happy for me that I couldn’t understand that she was trying to tell me I actually won my Age Group. All of a sudden it hit me what I had been able to do, on a day where I stuck with it and managed to realize my hard work and my true potential. I got to see quite a few EN folks finish, and then focused on feeding and answering the 500+ text messages I got. Today I am off to register for Kona and pick up my award before heading home. Special Thanks
In addition to all the folks/products I mentioned above, a special thanks to my teammates on Endurance Nation. You helped hold me accountable in December when I committed to losing weight. You kept me focused in the OutSeason when I hit lifetime bests for both my bike and run fitness. And you pushed me when I targeted Ironman Texas. This victory is as much yours as it is mine. To my amazing wife who has supported me for years being involved in triathlon as an athlete and business owner, thank you. To my precious girls, who inspire me and who actually want to go to Canada for Mount Tremblant instead of Kona (!), thank you.
To my good friend Vinu Malik of Fuelbelt, who still mentors me today more than 10 years after helping me through Ironman Florida, congrats on your 37th finish and thank you. And to everyone else who I missed, you have my gratitude.
To Rich Sawiris and the folks at Wheelbuilder.com (www.wheelbuilder.com) who turned around my PowerTap hub repair in less than a week so I could have it ready for race day.
I am planning on chilling out for most of June as I have several EN camps / commitments coming up.I am signed up for the Patriot Half as well, and plan to be there. I probably won’t get serious with the training until August, as I have quite a few projects to take care of around the house, and I really need a mental break as I transitioned quickly from Kona to the OutSeason to IM Texas prep. I hope to see you at one of our upcoming events!!! You can learn more here: www.endurancenation.us