Tuesday, 03 January 2012 12:44

Ironman Texas Training - Week #2 VLOG

Ironman Training Week #2 is over and done with and I'm already on day 2 of Week #3.  I am enjoying the journey but to already be into the third week is sort of scary because I am trying to truly enjoy this journey.  That being said I am starting an offline journal as well with just one word per day to sum up the day before it starts and one to sum up the day when it ends. I have always said the race is the reward for the hard work and this is going to be more miles and harder (I am assuming) than anything I have ever done and I want to have memories of all kinds. Here is the Video Blog of Week #2:
Stats for Week #2, Overall and 2012:

Week #2                                Overall For IMTX                    2011

Swim                   3.1mi (2.1hrs)                     8.9mi (5.6hrs)                          177mi Bike                     110.6mi (5.5hrs)                274.6mi (14hrs)                        4208mi Run                     35.5mi (5.1hrs)                   83.07mi (9.6hrs)                     1287mi   Thank you for watching the video blog.  Constructive criticism is always welcomed so how can I make the video blog better?
Published in Train
Monday, 26 December 2011 12:22

Ironman Texas Training - Week #1 VLOG

The first week of Ironman Texas training is in the books and it was a successful week overall.  Watch the video to see and hear what happened in the first week, what Week #2 is shaping up to look like and a few shout outs to some helpful folks.
  Week #1 Stats: Swim:  5500 yards (3.125 mi); 1.9 hours Bike: 106.8 miles; 5.5 hours Run: 26.57 miles; 3.7 hours Strength/Core:  1x   Thank you for reading and watching.
Published in Train
Sunday, 11 December 2011 20:26

2011 Review and 2012 Preview

Today on my run I was thinking a lot about what 2011 meant to me and what I have coming up in 2012.  On a cool crisp day I was out there for an hour with nothing but my thoughts and I smiled the entire time.  2011 was just a terrific year in terms of racing and one that provided lots of challenges and a way for me to learn to overcome those challenges.  As I put my 2012 race calendar together I realized how much better 2012 was going to be and self high-fived myself. Here is a recap of what happened in 2011:
  • Started the year with an easy PR at the 15k distance.  It was easy because I had never raced that distance before.  I wound up finishing 3rd in my age group with a 1:09 finish (7:21/mi pace) but bigger than that was that I got to race with Shannon and Allison.
  • In February I ran the Stonebridge Half Marathon where I finished 6th in my age group with a time of 1:36 (7:22/mi) and started what has turned out to be a great friendship with Greg.
  • [caption id="attachment_4850" align="alignright" width="290" caption="First 70.3 Race In 2011"]ironman_california_2011[/caption] Competed in and finished my first 70.3 Ironman race in Oceanside, California.  I had a blast and realized how important all the friends on Twitter, Facebook and through this blog are.  The amount of well wishes before, during and after was truly amazing and humbling.
  • In May I travelled to The Woodlands to volunteer for Ironman Texas.  Jeff and his wife Annie were gracious enough to allow me to pug-sit and what a weekend.  The energy of the race was incredible.  The ability to see Shannon during the event was awesome as well as high-fiving Jeff in T2 and then seeing Juan come across the finish line.  This was the even that wet the appetite to race Ironman distances in 2012.
  • In June I travelled to Boulder, Colorado for the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference and got to meet some awesome people who include Beth, Amanda and Jill.
  • In July I raced the Disco Olympic triathlon in a revenge match with the event.  This event was my first open water swim event and was handed my lunch, but in 2011 I broke through and finished 5th in my Age Group.  I also learned from Jeff Irvin about the beauty that is EFS Liquid Shot.
  • In September and October I raced Olympic distance events in Austin, Texas and Rockwall, Texas to help me prepare for 70.3 Austin in late October.  At both races I had great company in my coach, Greg, Robert or Juan.
  • Late October I raced 70.3 Austin as my second half-ironman race of 2011.  My goal for this race was to go sub 5:30 and I accomplished that with a finishing time of 5:28:06
  • Ran the Las Vegas Marathon in December to a time of 3:31:28.  The race itself was a mess but I set and 8 minute PR and met so many bloggers that it made up for the disaster that the race was.
A Preview of what I am going to call:  2012 The Year Of Epicness
  • [caption id="attachment_4851" align="alignright" width="184" caption="First 140.6 Distance of Year and Career"]ironman_texas_triathlon[/caption] I am going to start the new year by trying to defend my Top 3 status at Bold in the Cold as well as try to improve upon my 6th place showing at the Stonebridge Half Marathon
  • In March I am heading to Puerto Rico to race 70.3 San Juan.  I am Puerto Rican so this is a special race for me as I'll get to race on the island upon which my father was born.
  • In May I will be heading to the start line of Ironman Texas.  I have a terrific support crew that will be showing up and I will be able to race with Juan again.
  • In August I am heading to Maine to race 70.3 Old Orchard Beach and much cooler than that is that I will be able to spend an entire weekend with her and her.  I am actually staying with Jen's parents so I am very excited to take in all of Maine and spend quality time with two people I highly respect and whose friendship I value tremendously.  There is also a rumor that Team Oravec (Matt and Heather) will be there.....doesn't get more epic than that?
  • In October I will head back to Austin to get another training day in prior to the big race in November.
  • [caption id="attachment_4852" align="alignright" width="300" caption="November 18, 2012 will be epic for many reasones"]ironman_arizona_triathlon[/caption] November brings with it Ironman Arizona.  This race was on my list of races for 2012 since prior to 70.3 California in 2011.  I was fortunate to get in and cannot wait.  The race is taking place on November 18, 2012 which happens to be my father's birthday.  My father passed away on November 8, 1996 just 10 days prior to his 50th birthday.  Racing on what would have been his 66th birthday will hold special meaning.  In addition to that I am going to have the pleasure of staying with Emily, Pita and Peanut.  I have promised EMZ that I will learn every song from Cheap Trick between now and then.  Why you are asking yourself right now and the answer is that at the Las Vegas marathon they headlined.  I looked at Emily and asked who they were because I never heard of them and the face she game me was priceless.  Oh and let's not forget that I will be able to hang out with Colleen and Tom of Team Kingery while out in Tempe since Tom is racing IMAZ as well.
So 2012 has been setup and I look forward to traveling the country to meet as many people as I can and along the way put some miles on my bike and running shoes as well as swim farther than I ever have.

How Did Your 2011 End Up?

Are You Ready for 2012?

Published in Race

REGISTERED .....The gauntlet has been thrown down and I am racing my first Ironman.

Three different words to describe my feelings that could have gone into the post:  I AM NERVOUS?  I AM EXCITED?  I AM SCARED? But what I really am is SPONSORED.  On Friday I was able to land, what I hope to be the first of many, sponsorship deals.  I had wanted to race Ironman [caption id="attachment_2932" align="alignright" width="324" caption="I Am Registered!!!!!"]Ironman-Texas-2012-Woodlands-Triathlon[/caption] Texas from the moment I was down in The Woodlands volunteering.  The camraderie amongst the athletes, the smiles and pain on the athletes faces, the joy and euphoria of finishing was all something I wanted.  And then reality set in and the cost became more and more daunting to pay. I thought about how I could race these events with a sponsor and how awesome that would be.  I thought that if I could get one sponsor I could be enjoying my time training instead of worrying about the fact that the race cost as much as it did.  Well, it has happened and I want to tell you about how it all happened. As you may know I work as the head of sales and marketing (sounds more glamorous than it is) for a social media company in Bedford, Texas.  As the head of sales I go to a number of different networking meetings trying to meet business owners and leaders to market to them about our service.  It was at a networking meeting where I met Susan Seddon and Eddie Weber.  I did my elevator pitch to them about our services and they were quite interested.  We setup a meeting at their club and I could not wait to present our product. When I showed up to the meeting I was provided a 200 calorie protein shake that filled me up like never before.  How did 200 calories just make me feel like I ate 7 plates of food?  I was impressed, but I was not here to eat but to present and present I did.  I went through the pitch and there were smiles and head nods and I just knew I had them. They then presented to me what they do and I shook my head and nodded, and I'm sure they felt the same way.  We got him. As the meeting was breaking up they asked me for a proposal, but not just any proposal.  They asked to not only supply them with a proposal for social media services but also how we could work together to sponsor me as a triathlete.  Sure I said as calmly as I could but in my mind I thought:  REALLY!?!?! I got home and did my job first and put together the proposal for social media services, then sat starting at the laptop screen.  What do you ask for?  What is enough?  Do I believe in this product?  Do I want to be sponsored by this company?  Do I want to pigeon hole myself so no other sponsors come along? [caption id="attachment_2924" align="alignright" width="230" caption="David Beckham On cover Of Sports Illustrated"]David-Beckham-Herbalife-Los-Angeles-Galaxy-Sponsor[/caption] I thought about it for a while then just started typing.  It was all coming out so fast that I did not want to stop.  I typed and typed and typed then read.  Great Jason, this is all about what you get but what do they get?  I then typed it all out for them on what I would do for them.  I did not hit send.  I read and re-read and thought ok I can live with this and hit send. A few days, maybe even a week, goes by and I thought well that was great practice but nothing is coming of this.  I called and asked about social media, I showed up at the club and asked about social media.  Sponsorship was a pipe dream so why go down that road.  Then the phone rang and it was Eddie and we chatted.  I thought I got a sale on social media and his statement to me was we are interested in working with you as a triathlete and sponsoring YOU!!!  You want to do what? Calmly (probably not but it makes for a better story) I said that is great news.  I am excited and I am looking forward to working with you as well. I put my proposal down on a formal contract and sent it out to them then didn't hear back.  Man, this is tough.  Finally the phone rang and Eddie asked me to come down to the club on Friday to finalize everything but to first have a conference call with his wife Carla.  I did as asked and when we finished the conversation and they still wanted me to come to the club on Friday I was ecstatic. I am happy to say that I am sponsored by Carla and Eddie Weber of Nutrition Addiction of Grapevine, Texas which is fueled by Herbalife.  You may know of Herbalife since David Beckham and the LA Galaxy are sponsored by them.  There are a number of athletes sponsored by Herbalife that you can see here, or if you are just interested in the triathletes click here. In addition to racing Ironman Texas in 2012 because of the sponsorship I will be able to register for Ironman Arizona as well and looking to make 2012 an epic year of racing. Wonder what I will be wearing?  Well wonder no more as this is my racing suit for the rest of 2011 and all of 2012. [caption id="attachment_2911" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Herbalife Triathlon Race Suit"]Herbalife-Triathlon-Trisuit[/caption] Thank you again to Carla and Eddie.  I am excited about this sponsorship and I hope that it goes past 2012. Well, since you can't get something that you don't ask for I will end with this:  If you are a company and want to be a sponsor of Team Baha in 2012 please contact me using the contact form on this page. Let the training commence.
Published in Race Reports
Saturday, 11 June 2011 17:00

Ironman Texas Race Report by Jeff Irvin

Many of you know who Jeff is, but if you don't he is the author of Dangle the Carrot, a blog about the life of a triathlete.  It was early on in my blogging life that I met Jeff and I was drawn to his honesty in his abilities and his honesty about life.  He was willing to share the trials and tribulations that he endured while training for Ironman Texas.  I asked questions, I read his posts and picked up little pieces here and there.  He provided great insight and more. The more is that he let a stranger into his house during Ironman Texas, and that stranger was me.  I got to volunteer at the race thanks to Jeff and he also provided room in return for me to watch his and Annie's two Pugs, Bailey and Ernie.  The dogs were great and provided no troubles at all and allowed me to be reminded of my pug Ginga from back at home. One of the best parts of this race was getting to see Jeff come in off the bike with a smile as wide as Texas (#winning.)  He looked to be in great shape after the swim and the bike and heading out on the run, but I'll let him tell the rest of the story: ===========================

Ironman Texas Race Report

Jeff Irvin
Ironman Texas: May 21, 2011
Overall Time:  12:19:51
Overall Place:  584/2165
The Woodlands, TX - 91*F/Freaking Hot
On the first Tuesday of December 2010 I woke up at 4am and went to swim.  This was the first day of training for Ironman Texas.  That day was pretty uneventful as far as workouts go but it was the first step (or stroke) of what turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my entire life.  It seem like it was so long ago.
My goal in this post is to share the outcome of this journey with all of you.  However, I must warn it will be long.  Grab a comfy chair, a sandwich, and a cold beer because this sucker is going to make War & Peace look like a short story!
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It has been less than two days since I crossed the finish line and heard Mike Reilly announce, Jeff Irvin You Are An Ironman, and it is still a completely surreal experience.  I have been trying to write this race report since last night and really still have no idea where to even begin?  I guess we will just jump right in from the beginning!
Friday - Practice Swim & Bike Check
The practice swim was scheduled for 8am on Friday morning at Lake Woodlands.  The water temperature was 76 degrees and the talk of the morning was whether the swim would be wetsuit legal or not.  If the temperature was above 76.1 then it would be a non-wetsuit swim.  However, the twist was that you could still wear a wetsuit except you would not be eligible for Age Group awards or a Kona slot  AND you would have to walk over a different timing mat as you entered the swim start.  It was supposed to rain that night so we would not know the temperature until the morning.
The swim practice was awesome because Annie and I got to hang out with my Trakkers Teammates Rachelle and Anne.  And also blogger buddies IronBob,Shannon, and Ryan (White Hot).  A bunch of friends from my Tri Club, BeginnnerTriathlete, and Houston Racing where there and everyone was in a great mood - just a fun time!
"Hey Shannon, do these funky tan lines make my butt look big?"
My good buddy Patrick and I jumped in and did about 800m just to get a feel for the water.  It was a little chilly at first but after 100m or so I was warm and pretty much decided I was going to swim sans wetsuit and use my TYR Torque Swimskin.
League of Extraordinary Tri-Geeks Uniforms?
We then headed to breakfast and then to check our bikes and gear bags in at transition.  This was an extremely smooth and easy process.  From there it was a quick lunch and then time to relax in the hotel room and stay out of the sun and off of the feet.  Bob even texted me to make sure this was occurring - he is always looking out for me!!  Thanks Buddy!
Bike Racked in First Full Row - Rockstar Parking!
A little later Jason arrived and stopped by the hotel.  He was going to be staying at our house which is about 20 minutes from the Woodlands and taking care of our pugs, Ernie and Bailey.  He showed up when I was getting all of my nutrition together so we talked some shop for awhile.  Hell of a good dude!  A big thanks to Jason for making the 4hr drive from Dallas to support and volunteer.  If any of you are considering volunteering at an Ironman please read Jason's post (here) about his experience!
We then headed off to dinner with my buddy Mike and his family and Rob from First Endurance.  You all know how much I love First Endurance nutrition and after meeting Rob I like FE even more.  Really cool guy who loves Endurance sports.  Contact me (or read any of my myriad of posts) about First Endurance if you want to learn about my IM nutrition.
After dinner it was early to bed ...
Saturday - Race Day
.... and early to rise, 3am.  I had a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and a bottle of Ultragen.  I then laid back down for a 45m nap and got up again at 4am.  I did some stretching, had some EFS Drink, took some salt tabs and then Annie and I headed down to transition.
We meet up with my buddies Patrick and Bobby:
And then something really bad happened as I was topping of my tires - the stem broke off the tube on my front wheel.  I was a little freaked but Patrick stepped up and grabbed a spare tube from my hands and changed it for me.
Personal Bike Mechanic Patrick!
He got the tube changed at NASCAR pit crew pace and I slapped on the adapter and BOOM!!!  This one exploded so loud that people were ducking for cover - Pinch Flat! The first thought that came to my head was, Oh Shit!  The second thought was that I only had one tube left on my bike and would have to ride with out a spare.  Then I remembered I had two spare tubes in my special needs bag which had yet to be turned in - whew!  Disaster averted!  Take away - bring extra tubes!!!  Second tube went on without incident and Bobby keep the mood light by showing us his new haircut:
We then all made the mile walk over to the swim start and met up with our tri club and just tried to stay loose and have some fun:
Chris, Me, Patrick, Bobby, Mike, Demi & Jama
Chris was having a lot more fun then the rest of us:
Then it was time for body marking:
We all hung out for about a half hour and discussed our swim start plans.  It was then announced that the water temperature was 79 degrees and it would be a non-wetsuit swim.  Patrick and I had talked about this scenario and we decided to not wear the wetsuits.  My guess is about 400-500 people elected to wear wetsuits.  In hindsight our decision was probably not the correct one.
The Swim
I positioned myself about half way out and right in the middle.  I originally wanted to stay to the right with Bob but I got in the water early and all the other people coming in carried me to the middle.  I looked over at my friend Jama, who was right next to me, and we talked about how this was going to hurt.
Picture 2400 people in an area that can hold about 400 and you are envisioning the swim start.  With a couple minutes to go you hear Ozzy Osborne screaming I -AM -IRONMAN over the ridiculously loud PA system and I am grinning ear-to-ear thinking, This is F**cking Incredible!
7:00 AM - BOOM!!!
UTTER CHAOS!
As you can see from the pictures above the swim start was absolutely insane.  It was pretty much like this for the first 1000m or so.  People were climbing over you, you were climbing over people - I never had a chance in 2.4mi to every really find a rhythm.  The only way I can describe what occurred in the water is to flash back to the days of WWF Steal Cage Matches - it was like this except with 2400 swimmers all just trying to survive.  The first and second turn buoys were like large traffic stops except no one wanted to stop!
After the second turn buoy we began to head back north towards the canals and the contact wasn't as bad but still not good.  It was like this until we hit the narrow canal and then it got much worse:
The Woodlands Canal - Saturday, May 21st!
The canal was nothing short of violent (but it was cool because spectators were cheering all over the place).  My swim time put me squarely in the middle of the pack and the bruises on my body prove just how congested this part was of the swim.  It was one of the worst and most awesome experiences all at the same time.  The good news was that I got out of the water feeling great and ready to ride.  My time was about 5 minutes longer than what I expected but I never expected this much contact so I was overall pleased with the performance.
I wanted to kiss the ground!
Wouldn't have been smiling like this if I knew about the swim cap crease across my head!
Swim Recap - If I had to do this over again I would have worn my wetsuit.  The temp was still cool enough (79 degrees) that I would not have overheated and the time savings a wetsuit provides would have allowed me to get ahead of the middle instead of being caught up in it.   I also would have started at the front and to the right in my wetsuit and sprinted for about 500m.  This would have allowed me to get out in front and find a rhythm that I was unable to utilize.  Another reason we did not use a wetsuit is because we were told that the people who used one would not be in the AG rankings and thus be listed in a separate ranking.  This was not the case as wetsuit swimmers were ranked right along with everyone else.  Those who choose the wetsuits made the right decision.  The lesson from this is that if you can use a wetsuit do it!  Also, it would have given me some extra padding to absorb some of the beating (-:
Swim Total:  1:25:57
Transition #1
This was extremely well organized and the volunteers were great.  We got out of the water and had a long snaking walk towards the changing tents where we grabbed our bike gear bags.  I found my bag and proceeded to sit down in front of the tent since I was not changing clothes.  The TYR Torque came off easy and I dried my feet and head.  I went to put on my GPS tracking device which was attached to a race belt with my number and it was loose.  For some reason I decided this would be a good time to adjust the belt and it came undone.  I fiddled with it for a little bit and eventually said screw it and just tied a knot around my waist.  Wasted so much time.
I then decided to use the porto to take a pee.  There was a line so this cost me a few minutes.  I did not care because I really had to go.  After the quality pee I grabbed my bike and navigated to the bike out location.  This was hard work as my bike was in the first rack at the back.  It was easy to find but I had the longest distance to the mount line out of any other racer.
T1 Time: 10:06
The Bike
Awesome Pic!
I stayed in the small ring and spun at about 100rpm's for the first 5 mi.  My legs were feeling great and I was extremely optimistic that I would be able to hit my bike goal of 6h 03m and a 18.5 mph/avg.  That is what I trained for and knew by holding back at this speed that my legs would not be cooked and I could get through the upcoming marathon in great shape.
The plan was to hold a 20mph avg for the first 56 miles and then take it easy as the headwind would be strong for the last 56 miles and would require some suffering.  This plan was going well until Mile 11 at the 1488 intersection when a police officer decided to halt bike traffic and make us all stop so that cars could pass.  I looked at my watch and by the time he let us go 4.5 minutes had passed.  My average speed went from 20.2 to 18.2 mph when I looked at my garmin again a couple of miles later.  Needless to say people were ticked off! Personally I did not really care, stuff happens and I can only control my attitude at this point so no big deal.
The first 55 miles were pretty uneventful.  We went through the hills of the national forest and across a couple of bumpy chip sealed areas but I had ridden the course many times so it felt like another Sunday long ride to me - just a bit slower.  At mile 56 I was at my goal pace of 20mph and stopped to grab some more EFS Drink at special needs.
It was around mile 60 that my stomach began to really hurt.  I was afraid that I had screwed up my nutrition  but going back over everything I was spot on?  By mile 65 I could no longer stay in aero because of the stomach pain.  It was here I decided I was going to stop at the mile 70 bottle hand up and use the porto.
Well, this was probably the best decision I made all day.  I hit the porto and just unloaded - it was awesome.  According to my watch it cost me 5 minutes (had some TP difficulties) by the time I mounted the bike again but it probably saved my race.  It was not a nutrition problem it was just a I had to really GO problem!
At about mile 75 or so I got held up by police again for 2 minutes at the 105 intersection.  This time I was more frustrated because it took a little longer to get the legs going again after the stop.  These stops should not happen on an Ironman.  Since this is a first year race and bugs are to be expected I will not make a big deal out of it but traffic stops cost me over 7 minutes on the bike - hopefully they work this out for next year.
About mile 80 we hit some headwind but it was nothing compared to some of the days we had training on the course.  I was able to find a nice pace and spin my way into the bike finish.  The crowds cheering us on heading back to the Woodlands were spectacular.
Annie and our friends were waiting at Bike-In and I was happy to see them!
Bike Recap - I hit my time goal right on the nose. I could have easily done this ride 20-25 min faster but it would have resulted in an extra hour plus on the run - my mantra was to not cook myself on the bike - mission accomplished!  Aside from the police stops and the bathroom interruption the bike was perfect.  This is just an excellent course and I feel so blessed to have the option of riding here on my weekends.  It was an honor to share my roads with all the out-of-towners and to hear how much they all loved it.   The weather was hot and humid but was mostly overcast with a couple of sprinkles during most of the ride.
Bike Time:  6:01:17
Transition #2
I walked the length of transition with my friend Scott recapping the joys of my ride.  It was great to see him, Jason, Steve, and Dave volunteering at T2.  It is amazing how a pat on the back from some good friends can lift your spirits!
I had to hit the porto for another pee before entering the changing tent.  When I was in there I realized how damn hot it was. It had sprinkled some on the bike and the humidity had come on strong and the sun was out now.  I was sweating profusely and decided I was going to change pants and socks in the tent.  Others all had the same thought as the male nudity level was at an uncomfortable level.
Once again the volunteer in the tent was spectacular.  Opened my bag and handed me everything and made sure I was alright - just a wonderful experience.
I filled up my handheld water bottle and decided to go take another pee - would rather have a longer T2 time than add the pee break to my marathon time.
T2 Time:  11:19
The Run
You will all undoubtedly read other race reports that describe the run at Ironman Texas using words like Carnage, Brutal or even Hell-like.  Well, these words would all be pretty accurate descriptions of what occurred on this hot and humid Saturday afternoon.
My goal for the marathon was to finish between 4-5 hrs based upon how hot it was going to be on the course.  When I took my first step out of transition and began to slowly jog I knew right away that some pain and suffering were in store for me in the near future.  I immediately cleared these negative thoughts from my head and started to smile.  As the pictures will show I kept this smile for the next 26.2 miles.  I cannot control the weather but I can control my attitude.
Luckily for me the incredible spectator and volunteer support made keeping the corners of my lips turned upwards very easy.  The marathon course is three 8.5ish mi loops.  It takes you along the plush neighborhoods and up and down the canals that are lined with restaurants and bars.  It has a rural section and an urban section seemingly steps apart.  You really could not ask for a better venue to do a 26.2 mile death march under the unrelenting Texas sun.
Loop #1 started and I was feeling very good.  The plan was to take it easy on this loop and to utilize walk breaks through the water stations.  Around .75mi in I began to feel both of my quads begin to tighten up.  I have learned through previous race experiences that when this happens to me I need to stop running and walk the quad cramps out for a few hundred yards.  This worked to perfection and that was the last of any type of cramps for the rest of the day.
About 5mi in I was feeling awesome and was holding a decent pace running along the canal.  I knew Annie and all my friends were going to be waiting within the next mile and I could not wait to see them.  Here I am at about mile 6:
Still feeling strong!
It was shortly after this picture that I ran under the bridge and I saw Annie and the Kingwood Tri Club cheering like a bunch of crazy people.  It was so Awesome!  I actually got a little emotional when I saw all of them and am thankful I was wearing sunglasses so my man-card is still intact.
Here are some shots of all my awesome crew of supporters:
Ruth Ann, Elizabeth, and Jim taking in some hydration.
Chris, Patrick, and Annie showing how darn hard spectating can be!
Ruth Ann and Patrick helping Chris decide which hand is optimal for consuming beer!
The guys at the KTC tent swapping digits
Big Smiles from the Ladies!
The gals taking a cheering break!
Around mile 15 the suffering really began to set in.  This was the first time in the entire race when I experienced negative thoughts and really wanted the run to be over.  Other runners were in really bad shape.  People were vomiting and cramping all over the place. I quit talking to other runners because they were all in bad shape and I didn't want to catch the negative vibes.  I felt like I was the only person still running at this point.   However, these thoughts were very short lived because around mile 16 at the water station I experience the greatest thing ever - chicken broth!  Wow, is all I can say!  I told Annie this stuff was the elixir of life at some point during the race.  I got a second wind and from there I negative split the rest of the race.
By the time I was around mile 20 I was in a zone and just kept on moving.  I hit the canal again and got a final boost from seeing everyone:
Suck it up ButterCup!
Ruth Ann's sign says, "Jeff Irvin:  From Fatass to Badass" -  love this shot!
The last 4 or so miles were pretty darn painful.  My feet were on fire and I ran into Trakkers Teammate Anne Moore and we ran together for a little while.  We pushed each other to keep on moving and I will be forever thankful to Anne for keeping me focused.
Around mile 24 I decided it was time to finish this damn thing off in style and pushed a sub -8min pace only slowing down to toss some ice water on my head at the last two water stops.  I finished off those last two miles with a combined 8:30/mi split and am probably more proud of this than any other thing I did that day.  It hurt and it hurt bad but I just keep thinking of all the hours of training and all the people who were pulling for me and I dug deep and tuned out the considerable pain.
Here are the finisher chute pics:
Almost There
A couple more steps ...
Jeff Irvin, You are an IRONMAN!
Once I passed  under the finish two extremely nice volunteers walked me around and got me some water and made sure I was okay.  I saw quite a few folks being pushed away in wheelchairs and began to feel very fortunate that I was still upright and feeling rather well.  I made it to the end of the shoot and immediately saw Annie and she had tears streaming down her face.  Seeing her at this point was an even better feeling then crossing that line.
My friends were right behind Annie and they all set me down on a big fountain:
At this point all I wanted to do was take my damn shoes and socks off!  My feet were pretty much ripped to hell but I once the shoes came off everything felt good.  Then I was given my favorite things in the world - COOKIES:
Thanks Katy these were AWESOME!!!
COOKIES!
My IronCrew!
Run Recap - The last 10mi of this run was probably one the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. My legs were trained but the heat was draining.  Most people would probably think a 3-loop course would mentally be tough to handle, not me.  I loved this run course and I loved the support from the crowd.  It was one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of and I will volunteer for IMTX every single year from here on out - that is if I am not racing (-:
Run Time: 4:31:14
Summary of Ironman Texas - This race was held in my backyard.  I live literally 18mi from the start of the course. When I originally heard that the race would be held in The Woodlands I was excited because this is such a great place and has a huge endurance community.  I was skeptical as to how the non-Endurance residence of The Woodlands would support this race since it would significantly screw up traffic and parking in their town.
Well, my skepticism was completely off base because they stepped up and completely blew away all expectations.  I spoke with many an Ironman vet after the race and they were all just blown away by the spectators and volunteers.  Every single one said it was the best experience they have ever had in terms of crowd involvement.  The Woodlands receives a huge "A+" for the effort!
The swim was tight, the bike was beautiful, and the run was electric.  The heat made this one of the toughest Ironman courses on record (Click here for proof) but in hindsight I am glad it was hard because I trained hard and it made the experience that much more rewarding.
If you are thinking about doing an Ironman in the future and are not afraid of a little heat then I would highly recommend you consider Ironman Texas.
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I hope you enjoyed my race report.  I might be more exhausted from writing this than actually doing the race (not really).
I want to thank my friends who haven't seen much of me in the last six months.  Thank you for being there:  Ruth Ann and Patrick, Elizabeth and Jim, Annie and Chris, Dave and Jen, Yvette, Steve, and Trey.  I also want to thank my training partners: Dave, Patrick, Mike, Katy, Bobby, Chris, Steve, Bob and Frank. My cousin Bonnie and Rick for driving in from Austin to cheer and all the members of KTC that came out to support, especially Tina and Scott for setting everything up.  Also a big thanks to all the members of the LifeTime Fitness Run Club.
Also a huge thank you to all of my blogger and twitter friends.  When I was out there on the course I thought about many of you time and time again.  When I finished the race and saw the hundreds of comments on Twitter I was absolutely blown away by you guys. Almost lost my man card again! Very touching, thank you all so much!
It is a very good feeling knowing you have such great people in your life,  Thank you all!
I want to save the most import thank you for last - my wife Annie. She was my biggest supporter from day one and even kicked my butt every now and again when I didn't want to train.  She was 100% on-board  with this crazy dream and it never could have been done without her.  We discussed the time commitment that was going to be involved with my training and she never complained, not once. When I was waking up early and going to bed even earlier she was there to encourage me and never made me feel guilty about leaving her with house work and chores as I went on 7hr bike rides.  She was my rock and she deserves all the credit for getting me to the starting line.  I love you Annie, you are the best!
Best Shot of the Day!
 
Published in Race Reports
This may be the best race report I ever write because it will be from the perspective of a volunteer and not that of the athlete going over the course, hydration/nutrition, PRs, etc. It was an epic weekend and let me say that if you have the chance to attend an Ironman race GO.  If you have the opportunity to volunteer DO IT.  It is like nothing you have ever seen, heard or felt before. Friday [caption id="attachment_2273" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Transition Area at Ironman Texas"][/caption] My Ironman Texas weekend began with a late wake up.  I was intending on getting up at 3am and having breakfast and then the trainer for 3 hours with a 30 minute run.  I hit snooze and got out of bed at 545a and decided to go for a run instead.  My legs felt like lead but I got in a 40 minute run and then started packing my bag.  It was actually kind of nice to not have to calculate calories, bars, electrolytes, etc but I did calculate my traveling food for the 4+ hour ride.  I packed fruit and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The drive was uneventful and I got into The Woodlands around 1pm.  I went straight to Juan's hotel (well not stright.)  I actually went to the wrong Residence Inn and was banging on Rm 114 and yelling to wake-up.  I texted Juan and he told me he was there and I quickly realized I was at the WRONG Residence Inn. Over to the right one and picked up Juan to go to the bike-drop off.  While in the room we went over all his gear, hydration, nutrition and plan for the next day. The expo is small and really lacks anything as WTC wants to keep only WTC licensed vendors in there so the expo here looked just like he expo in California.  While walking from transition to the expo I ran into Coach and we chatted and she had the look of a killer and somebody ready to beat the course into submission.  We then ran into Shannon and made plans to have dinner with her and her family/friends at 4pm. From there I went and met The Carrot.  It was like seeing an old high school friend you had not seen in years.  We know each others stories and have chatted via blogs, Twitter and email that there was no awkward how are you doing moment.  We just started chatting and of course it went right to nutrition/hydration, gear and everything else tri-related. At one point I asked he and Annie about an alarm being on at the house and they said no but that the code was......  Then Annie made the funniest comment of the day right there.  She says....so I just gave my alarm code to my house to a stranger from the internet.  And I chimed in not only that but he is from New York too.....good times. [caption id="attachment_2278" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Pro Bike that never started race"][/caption] Dinner with Shannon and her family was great.  We laughed and I ate as if I were racing.  Juan and I split pizza and pasta and ate it all.  After dinner we went back to the hotel, checked everything out again and I headed to Jeff's house, where I was greeted by Ernie and Bailey and it was like being home with Ginga.  The pugs are great company. Saturday I woke up at 3:30am and had a bowl of cereal and some toast (Yes, I brought my own food and even shopped before I got to Jeff and Annie's house.)  I checked directions and made sure I had everything and out the door I was around 4:45am. Picked up Juan at 5:15a and dropped him off at transition then headed back to the hotel to take a nap.  I set my alarm for 7:45a so that I could be at the swim by 8am.  I got to the swim area right at that time but never saw any of the people I was there to see exit the water.  I walked around and that is when I saw another friend from here in Dallas who was also volunteering. We talked for a while and hung out at the mount line for the bike.  After the last athletes went out it was now time to find bike handlers.  I walked for almost an hour and covered at least 3 miles.  Finally at 10:30a the sign for the group went up and I checked in.  We were given instruction and at 11:30a it was go time. We line up and the racers either hand you the bike or throw it at you.  Either way you have thousands of dollars in your hand.  By my calculations there were ~20 bike handlers with ~2500 bikes.  Figure we each handled 125 bikes (although go getters like me probably handled more.  I was loving it so I was running the bikes back to the rack and then running back to get more bikes.)  125 bikes at $3000 per bike means I handled ~$375,000 in my time there. It was phenomenal to be in T2.  Some of the sights and sounds: [caption id="attachment_2277" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Last male swimmer out of water who missed cut-off time by 20 minutes"][/caption] Female Athlete Says:  Thank you for taking my bike.  Please get rid of it.  As a matter of fact put it on eBay right now. Male Athlete Says: Whoa.  What are you doing with my bike.  No. No.  Oh, ok.  Thank you so much. Female Athlete Says:  Man that was hard (tears welling up in her eyes.) Male Athlete Says:  Woooo!!!!!  Wooooo!!!!!!  Let's get this done. So many stories to be told from T2 but I will always remember speaking spanish to the Mexican athletes to take their helmets and shoes.  I will always remember the British woman, who as she handed me her bike, helmet, gloves, shoes, camelbak say Cheers after each handoff.  I will always remember the faces and the thank yous and the 'I am doing this' look on their face. But the best memories will be:
  • High Fiving Coach C as she ran out of T2 and looked determined and strong.
  • Grabbing Juan's shoes and helmet as he ran out of transition and cheering him on.  He told me about his drafting penalty but had a huge smile on his face.
  • Seeing Jeff as he handed his bike off to another handler while also hearing Annie cheering loudly like a proud wife.  I gave Jeff some encouragement and off he went.  He had a huge smile as he took off.
  • Running up to grab Shannon's bike and basically barrelling people out of the way so that I could handle her bike.  I took her helmet and shoes and gave her a big hug.  I was so happy for her as she was in great spirits and ready to run.
  After our shift I began to head out to the finish line where I ran into Rob, who is the husband of Coach C.  He told me she was in 3rd place but struggling and that was a total surprise to me since she looked great in T2.  He told me she was dehydrating and threw up a few times.  My heart sank for her as I knew she poured everything into this race to qualify for Kona.  As I walked with Rob I heard my name yelled out and it was Shannon.  She was smiling and looking great.  I then ran into Shannon's parents and spoke with them for a bit and lost Rob.  Off to the finish line I went. [caption id="attachment_2276" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Last female swimmer who missed cuf-off time by 15 minutes"][/caption] At this point I was calculating times for Jeff and Juan.  I found a great spot at the end of the finish chute and just hung out there.  Before I knew it I saw Coach.  She was in a wheelchair and I was stunned but being who she is she high-fived me and pulled me in for a hug.  I think she needed the comfort of a familiar face.  I gave her a kiss on the cheek and told her:  You Are A Rockstar Superhero.  I held back tears until she pointed at her watch and told me I raced to an 11:06.  She was excited but then told me they were taking her to the medical tent for IV b/c she could not hold anything down.  I was so proud of her and proud that I was an athlete of hers. Now my head was on a swivel.  Looking for the last run down the chute and the finish line so I would not miss anybody.  I kept calculating and calculating in my head.  I saw Shannon again and again she was looking strong. Seeing the athletes stream out of the finish line with smiles and tears was incredible.  Family members running up for hugs and almost knocking the athletes over.  Athletes telling them not to hug them out of comfort (most listened) or for sweat (no family member cared.)  I was getting inspired and then Juan ran by and I yelled like a school girl at a Jonas Brothers concert.  Juan came through and our friends who drove down that morning and his sister were there all smiles. Afte dropping Juan off at the hotel I ran back to see Shannon finish.  At this point it was dark out and the runners were performing on fumes.  They had been on their feet for 13-14 hours at this point.  The beauty was that there was no quit in them.  They kept moving forward and I developed a chill even though it was 90+ degrees out along with 100,000,000% humidity out. [caption id="attachment_2274" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Blind Athlete's at mount line to prepare to ride 112 miles."][/caption] I exchanged texts with Lesley of Racing it Off and my wife along with BDD.  They kept telling me where Shannon was and her pace.  Sure enough she came around the corner.  I ran with her for about 20 feet and wished her well and told her she was doing great.  I then ran to the finish line and waited. She came across the finish line and her Mom and Dad were right there and gave her great big hugs.  I hugged her and then walked her to the athlete lounge.  I ran to Juan's room after that and he and I split some pizza and a beer.  Finally at around 11p I left and headed to Jeff's. It was an absolutely epic weekend and as Kevin of Ironman By Thirty pointed out....it is better than the Super Bowl.  I couldn't agree more.  I am ready to put my body and mind into a 140.6 race and training for it will be long and hard.  The difference between myself and a majority of the athletes and today's race is that I know what the reward will be because I saw it first hand this weekend.   [caption id="attachment_2279" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Athletes finishing up after racing for 13 to 14 hours."][/caption] Sunday I woke up early and packed up my things and headed out the door.  The entire time I kept trying to figure out if Coach could make Kona.  Was there the possibility that being in 5th place could net her a slot.  I just did not think it would happen and my heart sunk for her.  I know the work she put it and I know she was ready for this.  She will tell you that if she did not get the slot it was only because it wasn't her time.  She is gracious that way. About half-way into the drive I got a text from one of the athletes on our team and it read 'She Made Kona'  and I yelled.  I also did something you shouldn't do and that was text back 'F*CK YEAH' and fist-pumped.  She did it.  She fought her way to the finish line and qualified for Kona.  True inspiration and motivation.

Have you ever volunteered at a race event?  What was you experience?  Will you do it again?

Published in Race Reports
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 13:08

Ironman Texas Training - Week #4 VLOG

Week #4 of training is in the books and the week had a few successes.  I was able to swim the 1,000 yard TT at a pace of 1:45/100y and the beauty was that I swam 1,050 yards at that pace.  I am very excited about that and think that I can still go lower than that to probably 1:42 per 100 yards. In addition to the success on the swim I have been working hard on pacing for both 70.3 Puerto Rico and for Ironman Texas.  Taking in a bunch of advice about not starting to fast and being prepared to walk I have been training to do just that.  I am setting out on my runs that are short at :15 slower than my goal pace for Puerto Rico.  If it is a longer run than I am going out at :30 slower than my goal pace for Texas.  Once I hit a heart rate of 160 I bring the pace back down so that my heart rate slows.  The benefits are evident as I'm running right at the target pace for both races when the run is done. My legs feel good and as of today I still have all of my brain cells.  The week coming up is going to test that notion but I'm ready to become the Athlete I Want To Be.  The bricks in that wall are starting to stack and it is strong.

How Is Your Training Coming Along?

 
Published in Train
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