Ironman Texas swim recap was posted yesterday and so we will pick up the story where that left off.
I got out of the water and up the stairs and saw the clock read 1:34:xx. I then heard somebody say: There goes Jason Bahamundi and I turned around and thanked them but had no clue who they were. I then saw Susan Lacke (whom I met on Thursday night and was everything and more than I thought she would be. Thank you for spending time with me on Thursday and again on Saturday after the race….see you at IMAZ.) who completely ignored me because I was not wearing a wetsuit but seeing a familiar face helped me tremendously. Rounding the corner I saw another familiar face in Annie Irvin (Jeff’s wife) and that made me smile again. Shannon was there but I don’t recall seeing her or saying anything to her but thank you for the great pic. I ran up called out my bib# and was directed toward my bike gear bag.
Doing some math I though that to get to 11h30minutes that I would have to be 14 minutes faster on the bike and run. Then I thought about what Coach said and that the race started at the bike not the water. Forget the water and ignore it. I adjusted my goal time to 11h40m and said to myself that I was going to ride for 6 hours and run for 4 hours. Not ride for 5h53minutes and run 3h53minutes. It was over and I needed to stick to my plan.
I ran into the tent although I saw many walking and when I got in there I was stunned. I am not sure what I expected to see but what I saw was not it. I thought maybe there were chairs spaced out with few athletes in there and volunteers at their feet handing them gear, but I saw tons of athletes and chairs packed like sardines. I found an open seat immediately and jumped into it. I sat down and threw on my helmet, then my socks and shoes. Race belt was next and then sunglasses.
I took out the sunscreen spray because I did not want to get lathered in that goopy stuff they put on you, nor did I want to wait in line and lose precious seconds. I sprayed my legs and then my left arm and the pain was searing. I looked and noticed that I had a major chafe and what must have been caused by the string from the swimskin. Holy cow did that burn like mad. Up and out of the seat and running out the back-end of the tent. Handed my bag to one of the thousands of volunteers and off to my bike I went.
I grabbed my bike off the rack. Popped the HoneyStinger into my mouth and ran to the mount line. Went to look at my watch and it had not recorded the swim at all. I got it set to record before I started pedaling and was off. As I started down the chute I looked at my right hand and saw 135. That was my target heart rate for this entire ride. I knew it would climb a bit with headwinds and or hills but overall I wanted to be right at 135bpm. As I turned the corner I saw Karen along with a friend of ours and just yelled out: Hey Honey…..see you in a few hours and off I went.
The first 40-45 miles were going to be a tailwind and so I knew that I would be able to go faster with less effort and thought that if I could keep my heart rate around 130 bpm that I would be setup for a good second half of the ride. As we passed sections there were so many people out there cheering for us and I would thank them for coming out and rooting for us on this journey.
After 5 miles the watch beeped and it was time to start the nutrition/hydration plan. My plan was to drink every 15 minutes and eat a HoneyStinger every two hours. I had 1500 calories of Herbalife Prolong (1000 calories in my Speedfil and another 500 in a bottle on the back of the saddle) along with 400 calories of EFS Liquid Shot in my torpedo. There were another 400 calories of EFS in a bottle in my shorts pocket. Lastly another 480 calories of HoneyStinger in the bento box. All in all if I drank/ate all the calories I would consume 2780 calories over 6 hours or ~460 calories per hour which is a lot more than I normally would take in but the heat of the day was going to really sap my energy so I wanted to be prepared. If I didn’t eat/drink them all there would not be a problem. I wound up eating only 320 calories and drinking about 1800 calories for a total of 2120 calories for 350 per hour.
Within moments of drinking the first few sips after 15 minutes I felt my stomach grumble. I knew that being jostled in the wrestling ring known as the Ironman swim was what caused this. I had drunk (swallowed?) a large amount of water and my stomach was not happy. I also knew that if I did not take care of this right away that the ride would be horrible and I would be questioning myself all day. It was at Mile 12 that the first aid station popped up and I got off my bike, handed it to a volunteer and jumped in the porto-potty. I spent about 2m30s in here but when I got out I felt GREAT. I was relieved and the best part was the volunteer put a water bottle in my empty cage and that set me up for a perfect ride, even if I did not know it then. I got on my bike, she yelled out rider in and I was off again.
Having read the Endurance Nation article about the ride and where the three troublesome spots were (Miles 45-50, 55-60, 65-80) and having spoken to Neil (Susan’s boyfriend) on Thursday I was prepared. Neil had warned me that the trouble spot was really at Mile 50 where you crossed into Grimes County. Sure enough Mile 45 was tough but not harder than I expected and at Mile 50 you hit the chip seal and that was exactly what Neil had warned me about. The thing about it though is that this was not the worst chip seal I have ever encountered and just kept on pushing and checking my heart rate every 15 minutes when the watch beeped.
I was staying in my planned heart rate zone very well and was also hydrating right on plan. I even adopted the method of drinking water immediately after taking in either the Prolong or the EFS Liquid Shot. I would then also pour water down my back to cool off as well as pour some into the opening of my aero helmet. This helped tremendously as I never felt hot the entire ride. I was having the time of my life.
At one point I came up on a guy named Mack and as I passed him he said I will see you later. I thought he meant on the run but within 10 minutes he was passing me on my left going down one of the larger downhills. He yelled: I told you so and I could not stop from laughing. I then yelled back well I hope you go down faster here than me since you have at least 60 pounds on me. We laughed a bit and then when I passed him for good he said: It gets hard at Mile 55. Enjoy the day. I thanked him and told him the same.
It was then that a guy named Rico passed me and I thought to myself. Hold back. Don’t go into a leap-frog mode with him. Let it go. Follow the plan, stick to the plan. I let him go and knew that I would see him again, whether on the bike or the run but I would see him again. This happened quite a bit and I just kept telling myself that I would catch them all on the run. I was feeling great and just kept on riding. My legs never truly hurt, like when you are riding the trainer.
I also think I benefited tremendously from training on the trainer with 5-6 shirts and creating an atmosphere of heat and humidity in my garage. The weather never bothered me, nor entered into my mind about it being too hot or too humid. Everywhere I have read that people were getting beat up by the heat but it never entered my mind.
As I got past the half-way point I came up on a guy who gave me the greatest compliment I received on the course and it absolutely made my day. I came up on him and as I was passing him he asked me if I was a runner. I told him that I was and he just said: oh sh*t. I asked why he asked the question and said what he did he said I am too. Didn’t think twice as I passed him by and then he came up on my left after a few minutes and said: I said that to you because you look sleek and in great shape ready to run a great marathon. I thanked him and mentally fist-pumped. That absolutely made my day.
Now I was hooked up with this guy and we conversed for about 30 minutes, even if he was illegally drafting. He would ride up on me and get right next to me without passing and we would chat and then he would fall back. Then he would catch up and talk and fall back. Finally I picked up on what he was doing and I picked up my pace because he was using me to pull him.
I then came up on another rider and he asked me where the next aid station was and I said I had no clue but I hoped it was soon because my water ran out and I needed more. I was worried about grabbing water from the aid stations but the volunteers were well-trained and the riders were respectful of each other out there. We saw the next aid station tents and we cheered audibly. As I grabbed the last water bottle, which was at Mile 90, I was ecstatic to know I was only 22 miles from being done. Then my watch started to really beep.
The beeping really threw me off because I knew it wasn’t 15 minutes. I looked down and it said low battery. I forgot my charger at home so I did not charge my watch the entire weekend. I was worried that I would not have a watch for the entire ride and really wanted to focus on my heart rate. If I had no watch on the run, not a big deal but I wanted to have a good bike to set up the run. Oh well, what could I do at this point. Just keep on riding and smiling.
Finally at Mile 100 I felt the full feeling of all the liquid and food I had consumed. I burped once and then again and on the second burp all the liquid came flying out. There were white specs and I had no clue where that came from. It was all over my arm, but like the getting out of the porto-potty at Mile 12 I felt so much better. But then at Mile 102 I threw up again. Now I knew my stomach was settled.
At Mile 109 the greatest words to ever hear from a volunteer: Only 3 more miles to go. I looked at my watch and knew I was within a decent area of my goal time. As I got within ear shot of the transition I took my feet out of my shoes and they thanked me profusely. It felt great to wiggle my toes and to know that within seconds I would be getting off the bike and starting the last part of my journey to Ironman.
I came into transition and saw Shannon with her arms up yelling my name and it got me so fired up, that I threw my bike to somebody and yelled. Jeff then came up to me and told me to slow it down with a laugh but I was so amped up and ready to run that I just kept on going. Toward the end of the transition area Scott (aka BDD – great surprise that he came down for the weekend) came up to me and asked me how I was feeling and I looked at him and said I feel GREAT.
6:05:44 (18.37 mph) –> Goal 5:50 — 6:00
First 56 miles: 2:58:30 (18.82 mph)
Second 56 miles: 3:07:14 (17.95 mph)
Overall Heart Rate: 134bpm Max Heart Rate: 154bpm
Division Rank: 204 (moved up 80 spots from the swim)
Gender Rank: 1025 (moved up 529 spots from the swim)
Overall Rank: 847 (moved up 367 spots from the swim)
And for those keeping score at home:
#1s on the bike: 2x
#2s while on the bike course: 1x
#3s while on the bike: 2x
Thank you for reading. Come back tomorrow for the run recap.