Monday, April 30, 2018

Ironman Texas Race Report

Ironman Texas was the first race post Korey Stringer, that I actually had my hydration plan figured out. I wasn't nervous about repeating the events of IM Los Cabos because I knew that Dr. Rob Huggins and the team at KSI had given me everything I needed to solve my bloating problem. I also felt confident that if it started happening again, that I would be able to correct it, and not continue to go downhill and end up in the medical tent, like before.

The Woodlands was an awesome race venue. I'd absolutely recommend it for an ironman, especially if you're looking for a PR. My support crew at this race was supposed to just be Ryan and my mother-in-law. However, the first night at dinner, my sister Heather showed up! If you guys don't know how awesome Heather is, just watch this video. She's the one dancing amongst the Wattie Ink crew with my 2 dog faces.

Then the next day, Gina showed up! If it was ever in question how much I love my sister, here's this:

And just when I thought that was all of the surprises, on our way to the race start in the morning, my brother Carl gets out of his car with the 2 giant dog face cut-outs that Ryan had made for me. I have to admit, I was excited to see Carl, but I was a little distracted by my cute dogs' faces on giant poster boards. I've always known that my dogs were meant to be famous, but it was funny to see all of the athletes and spectators wanting to take pictures with them on race morning.

The swim was ok. I thought I would be able to swim under an hour since I've been swimming so well in training recently but I came out with a 1:02. The swim is such a short portion of the race though, that I try not to let it bother me, and just focus on what's coming next. The second half of the swim course goes into a narrow canal where spectators can walk next to their swimmer (if they can find them in the masses), but Ryan always finds me, so I heard him cheering and out of the corner of my eye, I could see my dog faces, which made me really happy.

I hadn't done a flat bike course since my first ironman- IM Arizona in 2015. I knew I was due for a bike PR, but I didn't know I was capable of a 5:09 bike split. This is where I really started putting my new nutrition and hydration plan into place. I had it all worked out for the mid-80 degree day that it was supposed to be, but the first couple hours on the bike were actually still relatively cool, and I forgot to take this into account at first. I got a little bit bloated in the first hour, but then I made an adjustment, and was able to fix myself and decrease the bloating. I backed off the fluid, but still focused on taking my salt sticks, and getting the right amount of calories from the shot bloks I had with me and grabbing bananas at aid stations. Potassium is my biggest concern because that's the electrolyte that I tend to excrete at a higher rate, so even though I wasn't sure what kind of effect the bananas would have on my stomach, I knew I had to take them in anyway to correct my electrolyte balance. 

Even though it was 2 loops out-and-back on the bike, I didn't get to see my crew halfway through because we stayed out on the highway. I was actually a little bit relieved about this because I didn't want them to see me bloated on the bike and get worried. I had it under control this time.

This is what my face looked like after my 5:09 bike split:

The run is my favorite part so I'm always excited to get off my bike. And I hadn't seen my crew in a while, and I missed them and their shenanigans. 

Sometimes I write things in my race plan, like "don't go under 8:00 pace in the first 5k," and then blatantly ignore it. This was one of those times. I just felt good and my legs felt like they wanted to be fast so I let them. They weren't bloated so they wanted to celebrate. I felt pretty good the first 2 loops (out of 3), but I could tell that my stomach was upset about having to take in all those calories without fluid on the bike. I had a hard time getting anything else in my body from that point on, and I ended up puking most of the third loop. I didn't stop to puke though, just let it come right out in stride. I've kind of always wanted to do that, and it was just as cool as I thought it would be. 

I knew I wasn't getting on the podium at that point, so I didn't let it bring me down. I just kept looking for my crew and kept a smile on my face. 

After what I went through at Los Cabos, I'll never take an Ironman finish for granted. I thought I was capable of a 10:15 at this race, but I still had a few things to work out with my nutrition. Still, I knocked off 30 minutes from my Ironman PR, and it will never get old coming down the finish shoot and hearing Mike Reilly say, "YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!" 

Being fast is important to me, but it's not the reason I do this. The best thing about being an ironman, is you get to continuously prove to yourself that you are capable of doing anything you want to do, if you work for it. And hearing my athletes and family and friends say that they're inspired by what I do, is everything.

Last but not least, I think it's pretty obvious what a great husband I have, but what he does behind the scenes for me is even more meaningful than what you get to see in pictures. Most of it we'll keep between the two of us, but my results on race day are the product his hard work and passion, just as much as mine.

No comments:

Post a Comment

New Bio, who dis?

As I've witnessed myself shift and change, I've been experimenting with some new coaching strategies. Most of my athletes know that ...