Ironman Texas 2022
10 days before the race and the beginning of a sinus infection. Off to the doctor. Seven days before the race. Back to the doctor. 3 days before the race. Sick and only 60% sure that I could start the race. 2 days. 70%. 1 day. 80%, but going to start the race regardless of wake-up. Simple nutritious food, rest, and LOTS of medicine were key.
Race morning started early with a fuzzy head, sinus problems, and willingness to toe the line to see what the day was going to hold.
The weather predictions, leading into the race, were was close to perfect as could be hoped of in an April Texas race: 70 – 84 degrees, 12 – 18mph wind, and largely overcast skies. The morning started overcast with winds that started moving the flags early. At 7:05a I stepped into the water with a 78bpm heart rate ready to start the day.
Devin Logsdon, a teammate, offered the following advice knowing that I was going into the race much less than 100% healthy: 1. Get out of the water. 2) Get off the bike. 3) Finish the race.
400 yards into the swim, I was already coughing. At 1800 yards, I my race was in question. Every bump, problem, or interruption led to a coughing fit – fellow competitors knock off goggle, removed my wedding band, and stopped my watch twice. As a veteran, I changed my swim and found open water to relax and find my own Zen swim this carried me the remainder of the swim. My sinuses, and lungs had a maximum limit below normal. A mantra of “1. Get out of the water.” repeated for the last 1/3 of the swim. While a PR swim was within fitness reach, my health put me at my close pre-race prediction of 1hr25min. I reached transition at 1 hr 24 min 05 second.
The transition was a time to rest and refuel. This meant a refill of meds, a change of clothes and a few deep breaths to help move on to the next stage. The tent walls are moving…from the wind.
I’m a cyclist, first and foremost. On race morning, I stated to my friend: “I want to hold 17mph.” After the swim, the truly felt like a silly statement. But, I hopped on the bike and started pedaling.
The bike course was designed for me. 20 miles of warm-up, 80 miles up and down the Hardy Tollway, and 12 miles back to transition. But, the wind. The wind had now grown and were at steady 20-25 directly into your face heading southbound. This meant a that once on the tollway, there was a STRONG headwind for mile 20 to 40 – this was heartbreaking hard work. This meant a eye on heart rate and a definitive redline at 155bpm (working but not burning lots of matches). Mile 40 – 60 was assisted by a STRONG wind and a urge to push past the redline – control and refueling. Rinse and repeat for the remainder of the bike ride.
Health Note: To stay healthy, I stopped at every aid station if only for a minute….Liter bottle of water on the body, ½ liter of water and ½ bottle Gatorade in the body….and a final liter bottle of water on the head and body. This provided cooling and hydration and some nutrition. Glukos gel (9) were housed in a bottle and used before bonk – salt tablet helped the cramping. This combo was greatness and proven in other races. Special needs supplemental nutrition (oatmeal cream pies x4) and a big bottle of pickle juice. Calorie deficit overall on the bike, but known and planned for
Strong winds and a solid game plan provided what I needed while maintaining and heart rate that allowed me to breath. Between health and bike condition, it meant a 17.5 average – very satisfied. Now, “2. Get off the bike”
Transition: The body is broken and the run is likely not going to happen. Full change to running clothes, rehydrated, calories, Vaseline, and sun protection. “3. Finish the race”.
Day turned hot and the sun started shining. Pre-race I planned for walking in the first two miles. I knew I was calorie deficit, and likely dehydrated. So, oatmeal pies, uncrustables, and a large bottle of pickle juice. By mile 2, I was ready to run. People were already dropping (literally) from the heat/humid/hard bike. By this time, I was assessing my own health. The lungs were done – the rest of the body felt good. To meet my “healthy” goals, I need to run….but reconciliation was needed.
The run needed to be a walk. My goal were, in order: Enjoy IMTX and finish the race. This was decision that needed to be made without ego. So, ego was set aside and I walked……for a LONNNNNG TIME.
Health: Medicine reload, salt tablet. 2:1 water:Gatorade consumption and a squeeze bottle of 6 Glukos gels.
I had 16:59:59 to finish. I could have used all of it. But this is not training, it’s a race. I put myself on racing walk pace of 15:30 – 16:00 and crossed the line and blistered feet at 15:10:18. “3. Finish the race”
This was not the race that I wanted. But it was the race the I had to have based on race condition and my personal health.
I met my goals: Enjoy IMTX and finish the race.
As much a possible, I finished the race on my terms.