Thursday, April 27, 2017

IRONMAN Texas 2017!

We did it! It was a day full of challenges and happy times. Short story: Jeff finished the 140.6 miles of IRONMAN Texas in 12:17 (49 mins. faster than 2014!) and I finished in 14:49. For more photos, click on the photo above.  For the long(er) story, keep reading:
Challenges (for me):
1) The morning rush--I had a technical issue with my bike that had surfaced sporadically during my training and on Thursday (the day before we had to check in our bikes), it was back.  Jeff fixed it a bit, but we wanted to have the bike techs look at it and thought they'd be at bike check-in.  They weren't, but I was informed they'd be there in the morning.  When we arrived in the morning, I got in the bike tech line as soon as I could but it was not moving.  Soon we were informed that they had gotten lost and were on their way.  Shortly after 6 (40 mins before the start), my bike was checked and we started the 20 min. walk to the start after saying a very quick goodbye to the kids.  It was not the start I imagined, but we made it.

2) The swim--I decided not to wear a wetsuit since the race was wetsuit optional and I was worried about overheating in the 78.8 degree water (it's never good to start out the long day dehydrated). I felt really good at the beginning of the swim and thought with the significant improvements I've been seeing in the pool that I'd have a decent swim. That was until the wetsuit wave caught up to me (they had to go last) and I suddenly found myself in the middle of a group of much larger men who were swimming over me. At times in open water I'm prone to panic and this situation brought it back. Luckily they have kayaks that you can hold onto so I took advantage and calmed down. After that, I was a bit shaken and I think my stroke fell apart and my tendency to veer left got even worse. Since that was about .4 miles into the 2.4 mile swim it made for a long time in the water. At the end, we swam down the waterway (canal) in The Woodlands and they had just laid mulch the day before so that smell was all we breathed in. Needless to say, I was thrilled to get out of the water. Looking back, I'm just so grateful I made the time cutoff, as I had no idea I was so close.

3) The WIND!: The course was 2 loops on a wide open toll road that runs north south. By the time I got out there, the winds from the north were in full force (~15 mph with 24 mph gusts). That made for a very tough ride each time we had ride the 20 mile stretches that headed north...but it sure was a lot of fun when we were heading south!

Happy times:
The rest of it! I literally had a smile on my face for every other time. I was just so happy to be out there and ticking the miles away. The run course of this race is AMAZING with spectators everywhere cheering you on, acting crazy, blasting music, and basically telling you how awesome you are (by name) every time you run by. The views are great and diverse...if you're not running by the lake or waterway, you're in a wooded path or running through a neighborhood with million dollar homes. The thousands of volunteers were so helpful and supportive. I got to run with one of my swim friends for a bit and also saw many of my other friends on the course. Last but not least, our family that came to support us made it such a special day.

I'm sure I will glean many more lessons as I take time to reflect on this first phase of Project Becoming our Best and let my body heal (overall it feels pretty good considering what I put it through) and I'll be happy to share. It's been a tremendous experience for our entire family and I thank you all for being part of it.

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