I was in an interesting place going into Ironman Texas this year. My last 2 ironmans(Malaysia and Western Austrailia) didn’t go very well and I have a long painful history with Ironman Texas(DNF the last 2 years). So combine those things with an all time high level of fitness, improvements in aerodymnamics, bio-mechanics and muscle balance(if you have been following along you will no I have been working VERY hard to overcome some major muscular imbalances), and I was left feeling very confident but desperately in need of a solid performance. So I made the decision that I would bike at my own controlled pace(something I have never done in an IM), with the hopes of running around 2:50 for the marathon. On other courses this might be a good way to compete for a top finish, turns out it was not the best tactical decision on this day.
Swim-55:20-29th out of the water
I feel like every swim race report goes exactly the same, so here goes. The cannon went off and I felt great for about 500 meters at which point I found myself slowing down and eventually yo-yoing off the back of a large group of guys. The water in Lake Woodlands was warm and murky, not the kind of water you want to be drinking(and yes I am sure I drank my share). I swam solo for a while but was surprised when I actually caught back up with the group that had dropped me(they must have slowed down). I swam the rest of the way at the back of that group and felt surprisingly comfortable coming out of the water.
Bike-4:23:53-18th off the bike
I came out of the water at the back of what turned out to be the 3rd big pack of guys. I made my way quickly through transition, hopped on my bike and it was on! Several of the guys around me immediately put the pedal to the metal and for about 10 minutes I followed along well above what I told myself would be a smart pace. I am actually extremely proud that I eventually backed off and let those guys ride away(even if it was a tactical error). Self control while on my bike isn’t really a strength of mine so the fact that I put my head down focused on getting aero, being efficient and getting my nutrition in was a minor victory in and of itself. As I mentioned before, my conservative plan on the bike would give me the best chance at a solid day and a good run. Turns out a flat windy bike course with a large field of strong bikers is not the best time to go it alone and that is all I will say about that! For the first time ever in and ironman I experienced no major implosion toward the end of the bike(all though the last 35 miles were into a strong head wind which made for a long slow slog home). My hydration and nutrition were perfect(thanks Infinit Nutrition for that), and I can honestly say I have never felt that good coming off the bike.
Run 2:56:09 Finish 8:21:3-14th Overall
Starting the run I knew I had alot of time to make up and I was mentally ready for alot of pain. The cool temps made for fast running conditions although I was hoping it would be hot, VERY hot. Being a smaller guy from Tucson I was prepared for the worst Texas had to offer, but sadly it was 75 degrees and cloudly, a huge relief to anyone who might have ridden to hard I’m sure. The miles ticked away and slowly the good feeling I had in my legs early on began to fade. My Infinit Custom Run mix and their new Tripwired(lots of electrolytes) were the only things I consumed on the run(other than water). My energy never faded and my stomach felt amazing(all things considered) all the way to the finish. While the last miles were not easy, this was definitely the best I have ever felt from start to finish in and ironman(there must be something to that whole pacing thing). While this kind of performance did serve a much needed purpose, I didin’t show up to finish 14th. My confidence is growing along with my fitness and the many other facets that make for a truly amazing future performance are falling nicely into place. I will be lining up at IM Cairns in 7 weeks ready to lay it all on the line for a top finish. Thank you to my amazing partner Luise, our awesome homestay in Texas(Bob, Eve and Sandra), my team Maverick Multispot and all of our amazing sponsors! Congratulation to everyone who raced honestly and finished!