Approximately five to six months ago after the dust had settled from Kona World Championships I realized I wasn’t done. Kona had not gone as planned due to getting pretty sick the few days leading up to the race and while I crossed the finish line extremely proud of myself I still felt like I had more in me. So I turned to my husband and said I wanted to do Ironman Texas, thankfully he loves me dearly and accepts my crazy and went with it. Next up I shot a quick text to my coach saying, “oh by the way I’m gonna do Ironman Texas”, luckily she also was super on board with it.
Fast forward five months and many many hours and miles of swim, bike, and running it was finally time to see what I was made of.
Brandon and I flew into Texas on Wednesday so that I would have time to check in, relax, and do all things pre-Ironman. Luckily all flights were very easy and even the slightly longer layover in Denver was a blessing because it gave both of us time to catch up on work.
I won’t bore you too much with the pre race stuff as for the most part it was fairly standard. Arrive in Texas, head to the hotel, put bike together (try to only swear a few times), get checked in, check out the village, and stay off your feet as much as possible.
One of the highlights of my trip was getting a chance to hang out and meet my girl Valerie. We became friends over social media and I was so excited to meet her. She is just as awesome in person as I thought, and turns out she would be a huge motivator for me out on that run course.
For the most part I tried to just stay off my feet beside ensuring that my bike was working properly and getting in the water. I was glad for a chance to put my wetsuit on and get into the water on Friday as I hadn’t worn a wetsuit since Whistler 70.3 and hadn’t been in the open water since Kona.
Despite being very murky, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, the water was really lovely. Great temperature for a race and it was nice being able to wear a sleeveless wet suit.
As I prepped myself for the next day Brandon did the same by going to Walmart and purchasing a bike so that he could ride out onto the bike course and all over the run course. For those of you that don’t know my husband straight up deserves the sherpa / support team of the year award. He is unbelievable and I am so grateful to him for everything that he does. Secondly, he ended up going downstairs to the front desk after the race before we checked out and asked if any of the maids had children who would like the bike and ended up donating to a women who worked two jobs and had six children.
Alright, lets chat race day!! What an amazing day! Honestly, I’m a little unsure how i will put the words down for you guys in an intelligent manner. Despite the early alarm, the hotel only having Decaf coffee when I first woke up, and then spilling one of my nutrition bottles all over myself and the floor it was a great morning. Everything went very smoothly and I am pretty sure it was the easiest drop off of my nutrition I’ve experienced at a race. We had about a 20 minute walk from T1 to the swim start that prior to the day I thought I would dislike but turns out I liked having the time to walk rather than just sit there and stew in my own thoughts.
The gun went off right at 6:45 am I believe, just as the sun was coming up. Gosh it was just a beautiful morning. The water temperature was perfect and due to the rolling start I was able to find some clean water to just swim in. I know they always say to find feet but because I am not a strong swimmer I always end up feeling like I’m getting hit in the face or just all over the place so I prefer to have my own open water.
I had lined up somewhere pretty close to the 1:10 mark as while I was unsure if I could do it that was my goal. I had been stuck at the 1:15 mark for two years and I was praying that all the hard work I had put in was going to pay off and get me that 1:10 I was searching for.
For the first time in my life I felt strong in the water, and for the first time I was actually passing people!! Me! Passing people, I couldn’t believe it. Normally in these swims I feel as though I’m being overtaken more than doing the overtaking. When I came out of the water and glanced down at my watch seeing those magical 1:11 numbers I was floored!!!
In standard Ironman fashion the volunteers were amazing! I ran passed my gear bag and they instantly starting shouting to someone to get it to me ASAP. Other than that transition went very smoothly and it was time head out on the bike.
Honestly, I was very excited about the bike. It was similar to Ironman Arizona in which I had a stellar bike and I had spent the last year doing bike courses with such gnarly elevation gain (CdA 70.3, Whistler 70.3, and then Kona) that I was excited to see what I could do on a flat course. On top of that Coach Heather and I had worked really hard on the bike during my 5 month build to Texas with me gaining significant amounts of power output even since my race in Kona so I was excited to put it to the test!
I had a riot on the bike course, and it was made all the better by seeing Brandon on the overpass around mile 60 or so. My mantra on the course was “this is your day”, my cousin had commented earlier on a post I had done on instagram that she said she just knew it was going to be my day. So I took her advice and made it my day. My mom asked me what I thought about during this bike and that
Despite the fun I was having on the bike course I kept willing myself to the run for a couple of reasons 1) running had been going so well I couldn’t wait to run and 2) well no matter how much fun you are having on the bike that seat gets really old as you get passed 100 miles.
Similar in fashion to T1 T2 was pretty simple.
I stuck my hat on my head, grabbed my GUs, stuck my feet in my shoes, and went off on the run. Legs felt like I could fly; I thank all the miles and minutes spent at 70.3 and 10k pace that brought this about. Looking down at my watch I noticed that I was running about 6:40 – 6:45 min/miles and for one second I thought oh boy I should slow down. Then instantly changed my thought process, said eff it lets see long you can hang on and go for it. So go for it I did!!
I didn’t really know where I was place wise until I came across Brandon around mile 5ish, at that point I am not sure if I was in 5th or if I had moved into 3rd at that point by then all I knew is I was feeling strong and just needed to hang in there.
The run course was so much fun. People everywhere, spectators making a racket, music blasting, and the most amazing volunteers! Their spirit raised all of ours out there on the run. From what I’ve heard some people thought it got pretty hot out there on the run course but I didn’t think it was unbearable, maybe it is because my body was just so happy to be warm and in the sunshine it was like “bring it on baby”!! Now mind you it was still warm out and if you missed an aid station drinking water you were screaming for the next one. I kept up my nutrition, drank at every aid station, and in learning from Kona I did everything I could keep myself cool so I think that helped a lot.
As I started the third loop I came across Brandon again who confirmed a couple of things 1) that there were two Kona slots 2) I was in third and 3) I was gaining fast on the girl in second. Basically as long as I hung in there with the pace I was running, about 7:20 min/mile, I should manage it. That was all I needed, there was no way in hell I wasn’t going to get that slot. Pretty sure at mile 23 I ran passed Jen Rulon and as she tried to cheer I cut her off saying “I’m like 0.25 away from 2nd place I have to go for it!!!”.
By mile 25 all I could do is pray that I had moved into second place because I was thinking holy hell there is nothing left in my legs right now to go much faster. Thankfully someone confirmed it for me and I knew I just had to keep my legs moving and keep it up for about another mile.
As I rounded the corner towards the red carpet and as a smile splayed across my face I looked up to see my girl Valerie screaming at me!!
It was so awesome to see her there to bring me towards the finish line. I’ve mentioned it before but there is something very special about that red carpet, and no matter what people say about Ironman, the race, complications, or try to bring it down that feeling is something you cannot away from anyone. In fact it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it, and because of that I pray that no matter what you never let anyone take it away from you.
On that note, I sit here celebrating the fact that I worked really really hard for the success of the day, hour and hour and hours of sweat, pain, and going for it, and I am beyond excited for the next bit of training to come. Kona, I’ve got big goals for you so you better watch out!!!
Before I sign off I want to give thanks to all the people that made this day possible:
My amazing Husband: you’ve all heard me brag about him over and over but seriously I could not do this without him.
My family: who sat on the couch for 10 hours the day of the race watching the tracker and sending Brandon splits and distances that I needed to run, and for their excitement in me going to Kona. My sister literally stayed up until 4 am as she is Vietnam right now to watch the tracker.
My Coach Heather: who puts up with my crazy, gives hard workouts, never stops believing in me, and pushes me on constant basis.
My In-laws: for their love and support.
The Where Your Feet Take You Sponsors Second Skin Gear, Infinite Nutrition, Roka, and Rudy Project for supplying me with the best gear and nutrition.
To all the volunteers out there all day on race day you are the real heros!
Cheers Everyone and thanks for continuing to follow along this crazy fun filled Journey.