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Texas Ironman Race Report

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Texas Ironman Race Report:  05/19/2012

I woke up Saturday morning (4:20) feeling fresh and ate a bonk breaker bar, and bagel with cream cheese to get a good amount of nutrition in before the race.   I arrived to the transition area at 5 a.m. and got my bike set up with my nutrition for the day and checked out my bike to make sure that everything was working properly.  Left transition and went to the swim start at 6 a.m.  Got body marked, dropped off my special needs bags, and then got into my tri suit.  My plan with attire was to wear compression tri shorts underneath my FSR shorts, and then a one piece tri suit over my FSR shorts and tri top.   I wanted to wear the compression shorts for the run because they are white and I figured they would be cooler in the sun.  I also felt like having on two pairs of shorts during the bike would give my thighs and quads extra support.  The tri suit was more of a mental thing and I figured having a one piece suit would create less drag in the water.  I ate ¾ of a power bar at 6:15 a.m.  and took a Gu Roctane about 6:40 along with a bottle of water.

The swim start was at 7 a.m. and I got into the water at 6:45.  It was a little sooner than I wanted to enter the water, but I found a kayak in the middle that I was able to hold on until 5 minutes before the start.   Last year I started towards the right and about 8 rows back.  This year I wanted to be up towards the front just behind the first row so I could hopefully get out to a good start and draft on the leaders.  When the race started the guy in front of me immediately goes into a back stroke.  I don’t know if he panicked or if that was his plan but I had to go around him and on top of him to get by.   By that time I was stuck and had to deal with the chaos.  I had my goggles hit and knocked off or sucked tight to my face at least five times which I had to adjust.  I swallowed a little bit of the water during the race which I believe came back to haunt me on the bike.   At the first turnaround of the swim it opened up enough for me to get into a good rhythm.   My goal was 1:12 and I completed it in 1:12:38 which was 71 in my age group but faster than last year by almost two minutes.  I quickly ran into the transition tent, immediately got out of my tri suit, and took off with my shoes and helmet.   I figured I could run faster, barefoot, to my bike which was almost at the bike exit.   T1 was 2:54 which is over a minute faster than last year.

I got off to a good start on the bike and took a Gu Roctane chased with water.  My nutrition plan for the bike was water in the aero bottle which I would drink with gels or when needed along with a gel every 30 minutes and two enduralytes every hour.  I also had two bottles on my saddle cage with a mixture of Heed and Perpetuem.   I was averaging about 23 mph for the first 10 miles of the course and just slightly over 70% of CP30.  At the first aid station I went to get a bottle of water and hit a bump in the road.  When I did I heard something hit the road and I thought maybe it was another bottle, not knowing it was my bike computer.  I went through the intersection at 1488 and took the first left turn when I realized it was my computer.  It was such a disappointing moment for me.  I couldn’t decide if it was worth turning around, not knowing if it would be easy getting back across the intersection or even having much luck finding it.  I decided to keep going but felt like my goal for sub 10 was probably not going to happen.   Then at mile 14 I lost my flask which had about 2-1/2 hours worth of nutrition.  I decided to keep going as I had brought a few extra gels and figured I could get more from my special needs bag if needed.  I rode the bike at an effort that was slightly easier than the first 10 miles.  I had a watch with my overall time and I could still calculate my speed every 10 miles and determine how I was doing as far as miles per hour.  As I approached mile 20, the bad luck continued, and couldn’t keep anything down.  I probably threw up every 5 minutes on the bike until about mile 80.  Sometimes it was a little spit up and sometimes it was a good amount.  I think it was a combination of swallowing some of Lake Woodlands and the Heed and Perpetuem which seemed to upset my stomach.  I couldn’t keep much down and I knew I was going to have to constantly drink to not get dehydrated.   What seemed to work was taking small sips of water or Perform.  I was drinking two bottles of water/Perform every 10 miles which is way more than I’m use to but I never felt like I had to pee or bloated so I kept drinking.   I forced the gels down even though I didn’t want to take them but knew I would be in more trouble if I missed them.  Experienced this in 2008 at AZ IM and my race ended early on the run.   At mile 90 I was starting to fade a little and my lower back was getting tired and tight.  I was able to figure that I would be off the bike around 6:36 so I was content with that and decided to ride at a comfortable effort in The Woodlands to give my legs a break for the run.  I made it back at 6:34:36 and my bike time was 5:19 which was faster than last year by a couple minutes so I was extremely pleased and optimistic at this point that my sub 10 hour race was still very possible.  This split was 39 in our age group.  I had about a four minute transition but figured it was important to get comfortable for the run so took a little extra time.

I started the run feeling alright and it took about two miles for me to get into a good rhythm.   I brought a flask with water and 200mg of caffeine and drank that over the course of 20 minutes.  This was part of my plan in case I needed it on the run and since I wasn’t sure how much damage I did on the bike I wanted to have the boost for the run.  It seemed to block out any feeling of fatigue and I felt alert and happy.  I ran between 7 and 7:35 pace for the first eight miles and felt comfortable.  I drank water and Perform at every aid station and took a cup of ice down the shorts to keep the body cool.   At mile eight I started to get a side cramp on my right side (rib cage area).  I was concentrating on breathing to hopefully do away with the cramp and then came up to the aid station and grabbed a cup about half full with coke.  I figured maybe it would help with the cramp and make me feel a little better.   Between aid station 8 and 9 the cramp went away.  It was probably me concentrating on my breathing that did away with it, but I wasn’t sure so I took a full cup of coke at aid station 9.  When I got on Lake Woodlands (about the bridge) something was going on in my head that wasn’t normal.  I turned into North Shore Park and I don’t really know how to describe what happened, other than I lost all control of my body and went straight to the ground.  I didn’t feel any pain but I my hands tucked into my chest and my legs were locking up and I was shaking on the ground.  I couldn’t get any control of my body and thought I was having a seizure or something.  Fortunately I was 50 yards from the medical tent so within seconds I had paramedics and volunteers over me holding me down and drenching me with water and stuffing my shirt with cold sponges.  It was an emotional moment because I thought they were going to put me in the ambulance and my race was over.    About five minutes later I was feeling much better and I asked if I could get up and continue.   They said I was allowed to continue as long as I didn’t get an IV.  They wanted me to sit in the ambulance and I told them I was fine and that I cramped up and felt okay to continue.   I had to come back to the medical tent before getting back on Lake Woodlands and they said I could proceed.  Looking back I was dehydrated because I lost 10 pounds when I weighed myself at home .  The sugar and caffeine in the coke was probably too much for my body to handle in an already dehydrated state.   By the time I got to New Trails I started running again and my first mile was just over 8 minutes.  I started running upper seven minutes again and felt normal and comfortable with the pace.  Every time I arrived to an aid station I slowed down to get in as much as I could.  I took two cups of water, one cup of Perform, cup of water on the head, ice in the hat, ice in the shorts, and two sponges to stay cool to the next aid station.   At this point I was determined I was going to finish with a PR.   I probably lost about three minutes on the run because I stopped in the bathrooms to pee.  My mile splits are faster than the results show but that is because I stopped.   I felt strong for the last couple miles and kicked it in with 7:20 pace.   My run time was 3:31:33 and 10 minutes faster than last year.

Overall time was 10:10 which was 20th in age group and 104th overall.   I wanted my PR to be sub 10 but I’m blessed to have been able to finish with all of the challenges I dealt with.  I’m looking forward to a long recovery.

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