Ironman Texas 2015
Having raced in the Woodlands once before I knew the potential for it to turn into a “death march” was very real. So on race morning I was prepared (so I thought) for what was to come.
Ok, I would love to say the cannon went off and I setteled right in comfortably with the leaders but that isn’t quite what happened. My last thought before all the mayhem started was “man these guys around me sure look muscular”. The first few minutes felt like what I imagine being in a UFC fight might be like! I got elbowed in the face(thanks Chris McDonald for that), which caused my goggles to fill with water(one goggle remained full for the entire swim). There were many forearms to the back of the head and I was sure that at least one of the guys in the group(about 15 guys) was trying to kill me! The pace was pedestrian but the effort was very high due to sighting every other stroke, constantly having my legs pushed down and the all the boxing/wrestling. In hind sight I should have done everything I could have to swim off the front alone even if it meant a greater physiological effort.
It sure looks calm at the front!
I struggled in T1 and lost some time to most of the guys I swam with but I stayed calm and I was finally ready to dish out some punishment of my own! The first hour I rode behind Jordan Rapp(at a more than legal distance) with about 6 or 7 guy’s behind me. Around the one hour mark the calmness and intelligent pacing was shattered as the “incredible hulk”(Lionel Sanders-all green outfit) came flying by. Jordan decided to try and match Lionel’s pace. I also briefly increased my pace, but ultimately Lionel rode away. I caught back up to Jordan and when I looked back the guy’s that had been behind were gone. Before long I realized Jordan was having a bad day so I decided to push on alone. I will spare you some of the details and just say I felt strong all the way to T2 for the first time ever even with a strong headwind most of the second part of the ride, meanwhile the temperature was steadily rising. I was focused on getting in the calories(looking back way to many-550 an hour), and at the second to last aid station I fumbled the water bottle hand off and suffered my way to the next one.
The run-DNF at mile 18
Starting the run my legs felt amazing and even though it was hot I knew that wasn’t going to be the issue. As I ran the first few miles I had to slow myself down, knowing it is easy to go out to hard. My stomach felt unsettled from the start and I tried to drink as much liquids as possible at each aid station. Normally I would take a gel at the third aid station and then every 3 miles or so but I knew this time I should pass, opting for cola and water. It wasn’t until mile 9 that I finally got a gel down but it only added to the swirling discomfort in my belly. By the end of the first lap I was in eighth place with my legs still feeling great. The guy’s in front of were dropping like flies but I was now entering new territory when it comes to stomach pain. “It will be fine” I told myself as I forced down another gel. At the end of the second lap I moved in to 5th place(less than 2 minutes from third), when things got serious. I will spare you some of the gross details but after 3 pot-a-potty visits (blood in the toilet), the pain in my stomach became so intense I couldn’t even walk. It was over, so close but so far away. I know I did several thing wrong that led to this DNF. I took 2 asprin toward the end of the bike(I know that can be bad for stomach) and I took too many gels and not enough water on the bike(rookie mistake). I was VERY disappointed(mainly because I NEEDED a paycheck), but overall this race was conformation that all the hard work I have been putting in is paying off!! I am now more motivated than ever and excited to take another shot at it at IM Coeur D’ Alene in 5 weeks.
Special thanks to Bob, Eve and Sandra the most amazing homestay ever!!!! As well as Luise(my girlfriend), my dad and my sponsors: Trisports, Triflare, Infinit Nutrition and HuubUSA.