Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas
Since this blog is brand new, and was created after my first 70.3, I thought it would be worth a post to recap this race before too much time passed and I forgot all of the awesome details of this day.
I woke up at 4:30am. I felt like I didn’t sleep a wink that night. Nerves kept me awake, but I felt like I had energy. I showered and put on my Sun and Ski team kit and started preparing breakfast. For a suite, our room was really lacking. There were no pots, no pans, no cooking utensils…nothing! Thankfully, since we camp quite a bit I had most of our cooking supplies packed with us. Our pan is really small and is mean for the outdoors so it sometimes smokes a bit. This made me really nervous that I would be the guy at 4am on a Sunday morning that set off the fire alarm in the hotel and made everyone evacuate, so I didn’t make the breakfast I was hoping for. I still cooked eggs, but no bacon for us. Breakfast consisted of 2 eggs, an avocado, and a strawberry banana smoothie. We quickly packed up and headed back to Galveston.
When we arrived at Moody Gardens, I couldn’t believe how far we had to park! I rushed out of the car with the gear I needed to finish setting up transition. It felt like it was a 20 minute walk from the parking lot to transition. In transition I had:
- bottle of water to wash off the salt when I exited the swim
- 3 bottles of GU Roctane already on my bike
- 2 Pineapple Chia Amrita bars already cut up into pieces on my bike, a Chocolate Maca Amrita bar for when I finished the bike,
- A bottle of GU Roctane to sip on after the bike
My wave started at 7:56am. That was almost an hour after transition closed! The waiting game is killer especially when it is your first big event. Hadel and I gathered off shore so we could watch the pros head out. By 7:20am I was ready to head to the start. I ran into an old coworker who was also doing his first 70.3. It was nice to just chat and keep our minds occupied before the appointed time arrived. When it was our turn I jumped in the water. The water felt good compared to the cold lake waters I’ve been practicing in. We didn’t have much time to tread water. I decided I wanted to be further in the back so I didn’t get run over by the stampede that is the mass swim start. As I was making my way back, the gun went off. Everyone took off and I started. As I started to swim I realized I couldn’t see clearly out of my goggles. They weren’t fogging, the lenses just weren’t clear. This made sighting very difficult. I figured I just needed to make it to the first turn buoy and I would be ok. As I tried to find my rhythm, I started to get disoriented. Maybe it was the waves, or other people swimming sideways, or my goggles, or just that I’m a poor swimmer, I ended up swimming sideways and was inside the buoy line. I felt that I was off course, took a breather and pointed myself in the right direction and continued. The rest of the swim was pretty straightforward. At around 800 meters the wind and waves felt like they picked up. It was a little freaky being pretty far out from land and feeling the waves over my head, but I pushed the thoughts down and just kept swimming. As I turned around the last turn buoy I felt confident that I was on target. I kept going and reached the swim exit. This was my first time seeing wet suit strippers. I didn’t really know what to do, but they instructed us to lay down, throw our feet in the air and WHOOSH off came our wet suits. It was kind of fun. I made the run into transition and caught a sight of Hadel and April cheering me on, which was really cool.
I quickly washed the salt off of my face, and out of my mouth with my water bottle. I was really nervous going into the race that the salt would dehydrate me. I remembered midway through the swim that I had forgotten to put on sun screen. I knew I would be out for a long time so I made sure to take the time to throw on sunscreen before I headed out. I grabbed my aero helmet, bib number, socks and shoes and started to head out. One of the pain points of my Suunto Ambit 3, is that there isn’t a quick release function. I exited transition and remembered I didn’t put my watch on my bike. So before mounting my bike I had to take some extra time to make sure my watch was on securely so I could monitor my heart rate and power output. Watch was in, helmet was on, shoes were clipped in and off on the bike!
I was a little nervous going into the bike. Galveston is famous for it’s wind. If I was lucky, I would probably get a cross wind the entire way. If I was unlucky I probably would get swirling headwind both ways! As we made our way out to the San Luis pass, I kept careful watch over my wattage to make sure I didn’t push too hard. It wasn’t long onto San Luis pass that I looked up and saw a really cool green blur coming the opposite direction. The pros were on their way back and it was easy to pick out Lionel Sanders crushing the bike course. I kept on going trying to focus on my own ride. The winds were mostly cross winds with the occasional in your face head wind. Some gusts were so strong I felt my bike sliding across the road towards the grass. Rests stops were approximately 15-16 miles apart and I made sure to drink a bottle of GU Roctane in between each rest stop. That may have been too much because I was peeing constantly. At the first rest stop I stopped to refill my Profile Design FC Hydration system and to pee. There really wasn’t anywhere to lean my bike against, so I laid my bike on the ground. After using the restroom and eating a few pieces of one Amrita bar, I picked up my bike and was off again. Between the first and second rest stop I finished my bottle of GU Roctane really quickly. I made it to the 2nd rest stop and quickly refilled my aero bottle with more GU Roctane and once again laid my bike down so I could go pee. It was then that I realized what an idiot I was. When I laid my bike down, I watched as my drink and Amrita bar pieces poured out of my aero bottle. I quickly picked up my bike and leaned it up against a port a potty, used the restroom and started off again. I made it to the last rest stop and did my same routine. I knew I was using up a lot of time stopping, refilling, and using the restroom, but since this was my first go around I really wanted to take my time and not push too hard. The last 15 miles felt like forever. The winds had picked up and my legs were getting tired. But, I finally made the turn off of San Luis pass and through the neighborhoods that led back to Moody Gardens. I completed the bike and now it was time for the run.
I entered T2 feeling pretty tired. Man I still have to run a half marathon! This was the part I was dreading the most. As I racked my bike, I grabbed the Chocolate Maca Amrita bar. This had more calories in it and was what I needed to give myself some energy for the run. I threw on my shoes, sunglasses and visor and I was off to finish this thing!
The run course was 3 loops. It was a winding, meandering, and twisting course throughout Moody Gardens. At this time now it started to feel really hot. The amazing volunteers out at this event were handing out Gatorade, water, coke, and sponges. Just at the first mile there was already a stop. I stopped and poured cold water over myself and grabbed a sponge. I felt I needed to manage my temperature if I was going to get through this. The run really was brutal. This is really where the majority of my internal negativity surfaced. The feeling of finishing the first lap and knowing you had 2 more of those to do was awful. Also the feeling of approaching the fork in the road – If you’re on your third lap go left, if you’re starting your second or third lap go right, was painful to see others go left while I had to go right. The second lap was really difficult. I felt myself slowing, I took longer breaks at the rest stop and my mind kept weighing me down. I finally started my 3rd lap. Finally it was almost over, just one more time. This was by far the worst lap. My body was exhausted, my head hurt, my legs were exhausted and it felt like everyone was done with the race. But I came this far and was not going to give up. I kept pushing myself and finally it was over! I felt terrible directly after the event, but now looking back on it, I need to train much harder and I’m starting to look forward to my next event!
If you made it this far and want to see my video recap, I have shared it below. Video thanks to iRewind. Thanks for stopping by!