- My goal for the race was to kick ass on the swim, do well on the bike, and just get through the run. I made myself promise that, should the heat get to me on the run, that I would slow down and avoid the medical tent and IVs. I'm just not used to the heat anymore and one day wasn't worth getting a heat-related illness.
- The swim was great - it was crazy, but what sticks with me was the feeling of being one of the purple caps (women) weaving my way past all the green caps (men). I remember thinking how INSANE the swim was with all the contact, but laughing and taking it all it. I mean, who does this sort of thing??? This was MY Ironman experience and I was going to enjoy it. Really, the swim was crazy but I loved it. That probably makes me crazy, but I'm ok with that.
- I love the bike course. When I got to the national forest, I made myself breathe in the pine-scented air and ENJOY the scenery. Enjoy riding with people. Enjoy the easy hills and my awesome high-altitude conditioning. This was the LAST TIME I was going to ride here, one of my favorite places to ride in Houston, and here I was, doing my final ride here - my final ride in Texas - during an Ironman. The whole ride, really, was great. I stayed within my HR limits but still came in 11 minutes faster than I'd anticipated.
- Transitions - should I ever do this again, I definitely know what to expect and where to improve. The changing tents were a bit overwhelming.
- I will forever make sure that my socks are in my cycling shoes and NOT in my running shoes.
- I need to figure something else out nutrition-wise for the run when its hot. My stomach mildly acted up during Lonestar and it most definitely did NOT like my Infinit during IMTX. I think it has to do with it being concentrated, as I can tolerate it at normal strength without problems. Definitely thinking about trying to live off the course for future races because for long events, I just can't carry enough drink mix in a practical manner.
- The run..... I still have VERY mixed feelings about how much walking I did. I stayed with my plan of avoiding medical assistance. If I did push and ran more, I'm 90% sure that I would have been in real trouble. For some reason, I think that walking makes me less of an Ironman, I guess. Even though I'm pretty sure that walking was actually harder than if I just sucked it up and ran it. But given that so many people I knew, people who live there and are acclimated to the heat, had issues. Several puked, needed IVs, and were really hurting. I was slow, but I was fine. I executed my plan. I raced smart and inside my box. I kept my promise to Will about not pushing too hard. That right there is a victory. I just need to be happier about it. Maybe I will be, in time.
- The volunteers were spectacular. The spectators were great. I loved the yellow signs on the bike (my favorite was "This sounded like a good idea a year ago") and all the funny signs that one family did for a racer on the run (Brent).
- The race planners did a spectacular job. I felt safe, which is what matters most when I am racing. They really planned things well and had nice touches (like portable ice machines for each bike aid station - they used 45,000 lbs of ice on race day!).
- Still not sure if I'd do another IM distance. Definitely not a hot race, but maybe (just maybe) CDA. The race was FUN, but I need to remember how challenging (mentally) the training was and how many lonely, cold hours I had from January - May. I need to remember how I had no time (zip, zero!) to do anything fun during that time. I think that moving forward, the HIM distance is best for me. I feel like I can train for that and still have a life. Balance is good.
- I now have life-long bragging rights that I am an Ironman. :)
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Final Thoughts on IMTX
Its been 5 weeks since the big day - here are some (rambling) thoughts about my experience: