It’s so much easier to blog about a great result rather than a crappy one, but it’s the crappy ones that we can learn from the most. Man it bites though… Going into Ironman Texas I felt ready. I got in my mileage and dialed in my nutrition (after my flail at NOLA 70.3). I’ve done this before… it’s been 6 years, but “it’s just like riding a bike” right? Famous last words…
I felt relaxed on my ride over to The Woodlands. I was on schedule and with a ‘Train Wreck’ from Emily’s Coffee I was feeling GREAT! I found a phenomenal parking spot right next to the expo (which is a HUGE deal for those who have attended IM TX) and the line wasn’t too crazy long for packet pickup.
It’s all relative. I do miss walking right up to the pro line, but I met some nice folks on the way like Mike with Sea Suckers and another Mike who was racing. Lots of Mike’s! We were just chatting about needing sunblock when a woman came by offering sunblock to those in line! Are they psychic?!?! Or did they just not want us to look like this!?!?
After getting my gear, I stopped by the Zoot tent to pester Jake and check out their goodies until I found my friend, Caroline Lauver from the DC area, who I was staying with and her friend, Andy Lipscomb. Then it was onto the PowerBar tent for snacks! Too bad it wasn’t one of these and air conditioned though! It felt HOT outside!
When I got to the house we were renting, I quickly settled in and set up just about everything so I could relax at dinner with a fellow teammate, Scott Boylan, and his family and friends at The Grotto. Good thing I left early because parking was a nightmare! The food looked delicious and I don’t get to see my teammates often so I figured it was worth the effort. About 1 hour after we ordered I asked the waiter if it was coming out soon. Turned out that they had messed up one of our group’s entrees and held back our order while they fixed it. Since they held my pizza back so long, they were remaking it. Ok…. Only problem is everyone else got their food and were close to finishing by the time I got my food. For those of you who know me well, I get very hungry very quick and am not so happy when I am hungry. Needless to say, it took a LOT of willpower to not wig-out. I was hoping they would offer a free dessert, but no. I left tired and angry. As I got to my parking spot easily a half mile away, I remembered I still needed to go to the grocery store… CRAP! I was tired and grumpy. Good thing I happened to park in the HEB lot! When I got back to the house I shared the story with Andy since Caroline had already gone to bed.
The next morning I woke up early to get ready for the practice swim offered at the swim start since normally it is illegal to swim there – they obtained permission for the race. Caroline made some yummy blueberry pancakes before we left. I got there just in time to swim for the last 15 minutes and managed to catch Kelly and Derick Williamson on their way out. She looked GREAT! Unfortunately, they were about to close down the open swim so we didn’t get to chat long. After a quick swim I ran into another friend and Team Red, White and Blue Ambassador, Dori. I finally got to meet her hubby and son!
Then it was time to head to transition to drop off all of my gear. I anticipated horrible parking so I drove down to the mall since I planned on going there afterwards anyhow. I rode my bike over about half a mile to transition with my bags hanging all over me. Waiting in another line was a new experience as pros are often allowed to bring their gear in on race morning. It was nice to see photos taken of every bike for security purposes.
However, it was NOT nice to see how packed the age group racks were…
I’m sure all bikes were bumped quite a bit. Always a good reason to check your derailleur and brakes before the race and possibly even during. As I dropped off my swim to bike bag and bike to run bag I made sure to tie a pink ribbon on the top so I could see it quick in the seas of bags.
Next up, LUNCH! I jogged back to the mall and was pleasantly surprised to find a Cheesecake Factory! As I placed my order I realized I forgot my wallet… back to the car I go, but lucked out by finding a to-go parking spot right outside! I was so hungry I ate in the car. I could not possibly wait until I got home.