2024 Ironman Texas

Race Report

Trip wise everything went super smoothly. Arrived Wednesday, no delays or issues with baggage or car rental etc. Thursday, fun little cruise around the Airbnb in Spring and did packet pickup, and had a nice evening with the Fillnow folks. Prepped some of my bags and had a good amount of sleep. Friday got up and went to the practice swim, did a really easy few hundred yards (15 mins) and felt OK. I picked out some landmarks to sight off. I used my wetsuit and felt very normal. Had some breakfast, got to meet Natasha from NVDM as mentioned, and took it easy. Had some pasta for lunch and in the afternoon did bike drop off, and took it easy for the rest of the day. Ensured I was getting in plenty of hydration (LMNT + water) and carbs. Friday evening got to bed really early (9pm) since I knew I was going to be up at 4am, ended up waking up at 2:30 and felt ok. Found parking pretty easy, got into T1, loaded nutrition/hydration. I had a minor issues getting air into my rear disc, but got it sorted out pretty easily. Walked over to Swim start, got into my wetsuit, and started just behind the main pack. Also no real delays, issues or surprises 🙂 

Hopped into the water around 7:42, (so ~ 4 mins back from AG start), it was still a little dark so at first struggled to see my sighting marks but as the sun started to rise more, I had a decent idea of where to go. In terms of fatigue, my arms were already fatigued by the first turn 🙁 Pace wise I felt I was doing OK and I felt much more in control of my swim. I had decent technique, didnt have any water in my goggles, was sighting every 6 or so strokes. So things were considerably better than last year 🙂 Again, I feel like my wetsuit restricts my movement maybe too much. I 100% pulled/put it on correctly (and the same way I did in the pool over the past few weeks). So not sure what is up there. On the second third of swim back up the lake, got on someone’s feet and just drafted almost the entire way back to T1. They were swimming a very similar pace to me, and sort of wish I had done this for the first third. I think it is the first time I really understood the benefit and advantage and gained some really nice experience. Planned swim time was 1:05, and had 1:03.

At T1 I used the wetsuit strippers, grabbed my gear back, put on my helmet while running and pretty much didnt stop in the changing tent, I did miss my rack and had to go back, but max 10 seconds delay, got my bike and it was pretty smooth sailing out onto the roads. Overall, nothing really interesting to report, took on some nutrition and hydration, had a power target of around 215 and felt like I was really close. My HR was a little high around 160bpm, but thought it was just adrenaline. We got to the Hardy Toll road and big group in front of my\e pulled away as they rotated, I am sure you heard the rumors, but due to the strong headwinds, there were literally large pelotons of bikers 🙁 I was pretty bummed I count get onto the back of their pack and draft legally, so just rode alone for probably 45 mins or around 15 miles into the headwind. Eventually a large peloton caught me and became a little frustrating since they were 100% not legal, but I could not pull away when I went to the front of their pack, but was too fast to sit behind them due to the (legal) draft zone being so advantageous. So I literally was being pulled along but was far enough back to avoid a penalty but still getting an aero advantage. At the turn around of the people in the pack discarded a water bottle outside the waste zone and was given a 5 min penalty, so at least some payback 🙂 Its actually the first time I called someone out, and asked them how long they had been riding like that, and if they knew they were not allowed to draft … it was pretty frustrating. After the turn around kept pushing decent power but could also feel some slight cramping in my inner thighs, and quads, so had back down the power a little. I was consuming what I had planned, 2L hydration + course water, & 250 – 300g CHO) I was sweating, it was hot, but because of the wind it didnt feel exceptionally bad or unbearable. Riding down wind was super fun and fast … I had one or two scary moments with big gusts, but overall it was good. Stopped at bike special needs, refueled and took off again, nothing really interesting, but just couldn’t hold the power I was hoping. My legs were tired, but also not entirely toast, and even though I knew I wasn’t putting out the power, I was hitting my time goal/and MPH, so I wasn’t as concerned. After another head wind lonely ride into the wind, another super fast return and taking in all my hydration, and 80% nutrition, I got off the toll road and headed back to T2, I took in a gel as planned about 20 mins out and felt OK, legs felt reasonable. I was hoping to get back under 5 hours, but also didnt want to stomp on the pedals for just a few minutes. Planned time was 5:00 hours and got back in 5:03. T2 was pretty quick as well, no real hiccups or slow downs, took a second or two longer to get my shoes on, but got out onto the run course.

As planned I set off around 7:30, and set auto lap on my watch to every mile, this helped me ensure my pace was consistent. I took in water, ate salt chews on mile 3, and had a gel. Overall was sticking to my plan and felt reasonable, but at about mile 6 or 7 I noticed my HR was creeping up so backed off the pace just a little since I still had 20 miles to go and felt that pace wasn’t sustainable so dropped it to around 8:00 min/miles. And then at around mile 11 I literally just hit a wall. No real running cramps or GI issues, I wasn’t even over heating drastically, literally my muscles were just not moving in my legs. I went from walking just aid stations, to having to walk between aid stations, I had zero mental issues, I was 100% committed and never once thought I wasn’t going to finish, I just didnt have any stamina left in me to keep running. I reset my expectations I gave myself a simple goal of running just 9 min/miles, then after 2 – 3 miles, readjusting that exaction to beating last years time of 3:45, then just trying to get in under 4 hours. I was in a pretty disappointing place. I felt like I had set myself up pretty well on the swim and bike, and the run literally just imploded 🙂 Every time I felt a small surge of energy I picked up my pace, but within half a mile I was having to walk again. I was resorting to cola on the run course, water and still took in gels, but just feel like I wasn’t absorbing any of it. Around mile 20 I did some napkin math and was doing everything to get my run in under 4 hours 🙁 But that was just proving too difficult. I was just shuffling along, I even saw some humor because at some point I felt like I was 6 min/miles and looked at my watch and was doing 10 min/miles. It was just total leg muscle fatigue 🙁 I crossed the line and felt alright. I was ultimately happy I was done, but disappointed not to hit my run goal.

Looking back I feel like this race is almost a carbon copy of the past two, I feel like half way through my bike power fades, and that might be just setting me up for a bad run. Even though at the time, it doesn’t feel that bad, maybe that is the cause? Maybe it is a nutrition, hydration, heat problem? In my past couple of long workouts I am using the same hydration/nutrition strategies, so nothing was new … Similar to Nice, I got on the run course and not for one minute I didnt believe in myself and in my ability or body battery that I could not run a 7:30 pace marathon. I just don’t understand how I go from 8:00 to 10:00 from one mile to the next 🙁

I am actually not too sure where to go from here 🙂 During the run I was in a pretty unhappy place, but got over it really soon after, I was happy and healthy, relaxing in the athlete tent, got to cheer Jason on and Amy, I did feel like something had gotten away from me, and I was really hoping to have given myself a shot of sub-10. 

A super small bummer which you probably noticed was that my new watch didnt record correctly 🙁 No idea why, I did multiple tests, even used it on Thursday for the warm up ride, no problems. Then come race actually everything *looked* like it was working correctly, it just record any GPS tracks. Luckily I had laps turned on for the run which gave some insight, and I used the Garmin head unit on the bike, so it was mainly the swim data which would have been interesting. I spent some time yesterday and today trying to troubleshoot it, but doesn’t seem to be fixable. So what I have is that 🙂

Overall, hope this gives some context and insight into the weekend. I really enjoyed myself. During the headwind ride, or run, I wasn’t sure I was going to come back. After the race I walked down to Hippie Hollow and hang out for a while. I think I might sign up for the race again next year. I still have not had my redemption 😉