I’m having a hard time knowing where to begin. So I’ll begin with the end, spoiler alert, I am an Ironman. Through six months of hard training I had a day full of pretty good decisions that got me across the finish line. It really was the victory lap of my training. I’ve split this into two blogs – the lead up to the race and the race itself. So here is part 1, pre-race.
On Thursday the hubs and I headed down south with the car packed. We dropped off the dogs as soon as the boarding facility opened and hit the less-than-open-Dallas-traffic road. We made pretty good time through downtown and before we knew it we were in The Woodlands!
A quick stop for lunch and we walked over to the athlete check in. We got branded as well as all of the Ironman “stuff” they give you. I shopped through the Ironman store and got the name shirt as well as a cycling jersey and tri shorts, a pint glass and a coffee mug. Brian on the other hand refused to purchase anything MDot related until post race.
As we were outside I quickly realized I was sweating my butt off already. Serious swamp behind. It was hot. And the high wasn’t even close to what it was going to get on race day. As soon as race day showed up on the 10 day forecast, everyone, including me, got excited. A high of 85 was predicted which would be a blessing with the humidity. As we got closer it just kept getting hotter for race day. Not that we didn’t know going in that it was going to be hot, but it sure was a tease. So we walked around a little and checked out the venues. I ended up at the Quintana Roo both and hung out for a while. I LOVE my bike and love how supportive these guys are so it was super fun to hang out for a while.
Back to the hotel to get everything out of the car. We were staying at the SpringHill Suites and at first we were pretty bummed that we were in a room with two beds, but quickly realized that is the ideal situation for a race trip. After unpacking and a quick nap we headed back to the host hotel for the welcome banquet.
The banquet was super fun and I’d recommend that to anyone. It was good food, fun to be around other athletes and helps build the excitement for race day. Before we went into the room I had tweeted if there was anyone else there, and @Stuckey_Brett said that he was. I told him what I was wearing and at that point we went inside where the cell phone service was gone. We ended up at a table with a few Triple Threat teammates and 3 guys we didn’t know. Had some great conversations and during a break I tried to see if I could get cell service. I could and I saw Brett’s reply and what he was wearing. I turned to Brian absolutely floored – we had sat at Brett’s table! What are the odds in a room that big! When he came back to the table I asked if it was him and he laughed. It’s so awkward in public to come out and say “hey I think I know you from twitter” but so glad I realized it before we got up. Such an awesome coincidence and so much fun to meet him!
Woke up the next day and headed out for a short ride to the swim start, which was about 5-6 miles from our hotel. Joined up with our friend Brian who also happened to be at the same hotel! I’m telling y’all, I love this community and how small it really is. The ride itself sorta sucked, the roads were busy (Friday morning traffic in a major US city) and it was already humid. Hello sweating! Seeing the swim start was nice, we walked around for about 15 minutes before making the trek back to the hotel.
After a quick shower, got the bikes and gear bags all set to go and headed towards the expo again. I had some issues with my bike dragging and I wasn’t sure what the cause was. Thankfully since Quintana Roo comes to every US Ironman, I can take my bike over there and they are there to support ALL athletes, not just their elites and pros. After Mac showed me how to set my back wheel correctly, I was set!
We rode our bikes over to the transition area and was still one of the early ones to drop off the bikes and bags. Ironman decided to have the athletes numbered by last name and not age group, so Brian and I were racked right next to each other. We also got a fantastic racking spot – right across the pros and last rack on the way out. I was pretty excited about that!
One of the things I’ll recommend is getting some colored duct tape to mark your bags. When they are all lined up and identical it’s hard to really pick yours out when you are running up through transition. I spotted my bags super easily which helped make for quick transitions.
While we were dropping our bags off we actually got to run into Ron from @PunkRockRunner! Super fun to get to talk to him and talk about the race a little. I swear race weekend was like a little summer camp where I got to meet and see a bunch of people I only get to see at races. It was fantastic and filled my heart with excitement and happiness!
After a quick lunch it was back to the hotel for feet up and lots of naps. We had set our reservation for dinner months in advance at 5:00 pm at Benihana. Yes, I said that, Benihana. Before you sit and call me crazy, this is the perfect pre-race meal for us. Loaded rice, a solid protein, extra salt with the soy and some veggies. It sits well and digests perfectly. we had fantastic company with Susan joining us! It was so good to have an opportunity to catch up with her and her training. If you didn’t know, she’s going to be racing Ironman Arizona with her triathlon bestie, Carlos, who is fighting for his life against cancer.
We were back to the hotel super early, to get our feet up. I set out my morning stuff and spent some time painting my nails to pass the time. After a quick visit by Sarah and Ann, it was lights off and we were asleep!
Ironman Texas – race recap here