swim 59:07 8th
bike 4:29:55 4th
run 2:57:07 1st
I might have to put some Texas longhorns on the front of my bike to show my allegiance to Texas after the month I had there. It was an absolute blast. I met so many wonderful, hospitable and gracious Texans. I got to spend a month in the perfect training location with my awesome friends Roberto & Jeannine and to cap it off I came away with 'The Texas Double'. The win in both the Ironman 70.3 Texas and Ironman Texas - North American Championships. With this win, I've managed to keep my 9-year streak alive. 9 consecutive years of winning at least one championship race per year (World, Regional or National).
The second half of the swim, the course turned to head down through these narrow, winding canals. It was the first swim I’ve done where spectators can line either side of the canal and cheer within meters of the swimmers. It was awesome. I've always felt that the swim leg feels so isolated from the world, like it's not really part of the race. But this race was different. It seemed a bit more interactive if that's possible with a swim. Lauren Brandon got straight to work on us all, she did what she does best, fired up her secret underwater jets and left us for dead. I think she was through T1 and onto her bike while I was still humming the pre-race American anthem a few strokes into the swim leg. She finished the swim in 48:19. A minute faster than the pro men. Meredith was next, 5min ahead of me and then there was a group 2-3min ahead of me. I exited the water in 8th feeling in control and ready for the race to begin.
I expected this race to be like most of my others, put my head down, ride the bike leg solo, chasing down the uber swimmers, passing a few athletes here and there till I get to T2 as close to the front of the field as possible. That's my go-to race plan. That wasn't how this one played out though. This one played out a bit more like Ironman Frankfurt. Some pro men interfered at some point along the way and then eventually age group men became a significant factor in the womens race. Through the second half of the bike leg any previous goals I had of continuing to push ahead in my race were obstructed by people on the course interfering. For me, any group dynamics at all is a foreign scenario on the bike, let alone when it includes males with a completely different set of rules. The race from that point became a frustrating tussle. Trying to spike my watts to get around everyone and continue on with my own race... and the deflating feeling of having age group men slip steam (they are legally allowed to draft for 25sec at a time) up behind me, sling shot around, leaving me to have to sit up and make an effort to get out of his 12m zone. Of course as soon as I do this, the next one sling shots around, and again and again. Frankfurt was about a thousand times worse. But both races leave no room for women to fairly race each other. At this point the womens race gets put on hold, the safety car comes out and brings the field back together until they're free to race again a couple hours later.
I rolled into T2 with Meredith, Michelle and Jodie. Kimberly, Lauren and Jen were ahead, out on the run course already. By the time we made our way through T2 I was onto the run course in 4th place about 5min off the lead. I felt great running and it was difficult to run “slow” enough. I imagine that's a common problem for most during the marathon. Tapering and adrenaline do amazing things. Plus racing a half just three weeks prior makes IM pace feel even slower (at least at the start till it eventually grinds you down). I was ticking off 4min km’s on the flat concrete paths around The Woodlands. I took the lead before the end of lap 1, on a three lap spectator filled, scenic course.