Saturday May 19th was the second annual IM Texas race. A buddy of mine and I drove down to the Woodlands to volunteer for this event on Friday. When we arrived I could feel the Ironman presents in the air. The town was quite and most all competitors were tucked away somewhere off their feet, hydrating and mentally preparing for the 140.6 mile challenge which waited for them the next morning.
We walked around athlete’s village and visited several booths. This for me was a perk to not racing the next day. I was able to take my time and speak with people about current and new products. There is usually a couple familiar faces so begin able to catching up with them was a bonus. I also got a chance to sit and do a small 10 to 20 second video recording to promote chocolate milk as a recovery aid. Once the link is made available I’m going to be looking for votes. For every vote I get $1 is donated to challenge athletes. I hope I can get them a few bucks. The video was non scripted I had a few minutes to think of something to say. I shot from the hip and well we’ll see what happens. J It’s for charity so I just had to do it.
Friday evening we made it a point to hit the bed early. Volunteering for an event like this is its own experience. We would have to be up at 4 a.m. and our day would not end until after midnight. I was going to carry a backpack and camera with me to try and capture some IM moments for the 10 plus people I knew doing the event. I had signed up for early mooring volunteering duty which would give me most of the day to support the athletes I was following.
Saturday morning came around and the IM buzz was in the air. There were a few people who I spoke to that stated they just could not get to sleep last night. That is a very common issue for athletes. I can’t stress how important it is to get good night’s sleep two nights before the race. This way if you run into any pre race night sleep issues you body will still be well rested.
After checking in and getting our volunteer shirts we headed to transition 1. I was able to run into all my fellow try junkies that morning. I also got a chance to run into some other non tri junkies. The excitement of race day started to get me going. My yesterday’s thought of how nice it was not to be racing so I could visit with the vendors turned into a man I wish I was racing.
The race kicked off for the pro field at 6:50 a.m. they were followed by a non wetsuit wave at 7:00 a.m. and a wetsuit wave at 7:10 a.m. first up was the 2.4 mile (3862 meters) swim. A few in the pro field would be touching land in under 50 minutes. Some amateurs would start hitting land at the 50 minute mark.
Athletes would have to run into transition 1, grab their bike transition bag and hit the changing tent. A quick change into their preferred bike gear and head on out onto the bike course. By the time the last of the swimmers were coming to land the sun was out and in full force. It was going to be a hot and humid day for the athletes.
I spoke to a few of the athletes after the event and was told that the first have of the bike had a tail wind and the second half of the ride had a head wind. This would cause the athletes to push a bit harder on the second part of the bike which could in turn kill their quads and hams for the run.
As I cheered the athletes intoT2 I could tell it was going to be a long day for some of them. There were countless athletes who had lost a lot of salt. You could see the white salt residue on their race outfits as they were handing off their bikes to go grab their run bag. It’s hard for an athlete to recover from missing nutrition on the run if you miss it on your bike.
As the athletes hit the run course so did I. It was hard to see people who I was supporting coming in off the bike. Every one has a helmet on which makes it hard to tell people apart. I knew I would have better luck on the run course.
The run was brutal until about the 5 p.m. hour when the sun started to go down and finally some tree line shade was available. I clapped, cheered on and encouraged athletes all day long. Shouting reminders to hydrate and take advantage of the wet sponges. Sometimes we are so focused and tuned into what we are doing that we can forget the small but very important things.
The sun soon started to set and I found myself at the finish line. It was now 8 p.m. Who knows where the day went. Just moments ago I was waking up at 4 a.m. Never the less I was hanging on the finish line rails cheering the athletes through. The day ended in spectacular fashion.
One of the last athletes I saw cross the finish line was the firefighter who walked the marathon leg in full 60 pound gear. He was supporting all the fallen firefighters. He set a perfect example sheer determination and will.
There was also a local married couple from the DFW area who crossed the finish line holding hands. This lady is a great person who I’ve had the privilege of meeting and volunteered for a non prof organization here in the DFW area.
The Tri Junkie group I was supporting had several first timers all of which finished. Lisa one of our members sacrificed her time to help a couple Tri Junkies complete their first IM. One member missed her nutrition and another member fractured his foot on the swim The three of them used each others energy and support to get through the marathon. And in classy fashion the three of them crossed the finish line together. Lisa had opportunity to go on and leave them be hind but, I’m more than sure that thought never crossed her mind. Outstanding! I have to give a shout out to several other athletes who also participated.
Unknown athlete – Not sure who this guy was but, he was a beast. No fancy equipment not even tri or cycling gear. He’s bike was just a bike with pedals on it. He wore basketball shorts and a white cotton muscle shirt. He swam, biked and ran in those clothes. Without all the average triathlon luxuries he got through the whole Ironman and finished in the 15:44 mark. Hat’s of to this guy. He’s an Ironman.
Kevin Costa - I’m so glad he had a solid race despite a flat at mile 70. Way to get it done!
Eric Herring – Welcome to the IM club. You’ve come a long way since I met you a few years ago. You looked strong out there on the course. Well deserved.
Billy Flores – Proud of you buddy. You’re a prime example of putting your mind to it and getting it done. Share you story will anyone you can in the valley. We need to bridge more people over into this healthy living life style.
German Madrazo - Congrats on your finish. Hearing your story last year was inspirational. Continue to do great things for the people in the valley. I’m looking forward to your next race.
Garrett Underdown – Great race. I know it wasn’t the perfect race for you but, still very respectable performance. I can only hope to be able to swim like you one day. I look forward to racing with you again soon.
Stephanie Mullin – Hard to miss on the course with your signature pink set up. Congrats on your strong finish.
Mitchell Burzynski – Congrats on anther IM event! You are always in cheerful spirits. I was upset at you when I saw you on the run you looked way to happy. You should have been in pain like us volunteers. J
Laura Bruner – Fantastic job this weekend! Congrats on becoming an Ironman. You had a solid performance all the way around. I’m glad you figured out the sock issue.
Chay Miller – Da man with the plan! Congrats on your finish! Yes, I know you’re one up on me. I’m sure I’ll hear it for the rest of the year. Ha! I’m glad you didn’t go with a full wetsuit I didn’t want to have to go pull you out of the swim. J
John Morgan – You through down another outstanding effort. Congrats on your 9:50 time. You never seize to impress me.
Sean Wahrmund – Congrats on your first IM finish! It was a very strong performance for your first time out. Looking forward to what you have next on your plate.
I’d also like to congratulate Pax, Jackie, Ron, Ray for getting it done this weekend.
I was able to find and take several pictures of the Tri Junkies I was supporting, people in local DFW tri club kits I recognized and a couple other amazing athletes. I’ve posed more pictures on my facebook page please feel to check them out.
Please forgive me if I missed anyone. There was a lot going on this weekend and I tried to mention all of those who I knew were competing.
Thank you for reading this blog entry. As always feel free to email me any questions or comments you may have.