Ironman Texas has come and gone, and my mind has been chock full of thoughts. Obviously, since this is my third post about it, huh? My lasting feeling when I reflect back on the race is shock. I had hoped for a good day, but you never know what to expect. Yes, I trained to the best of my ability, but I truly feel that having a good race is as much up to luck as it is preparation. You never know how your body is going to react to the effort. Your stomach dictates so much on race day and you just can’t count on it cooperating. Add on top of all of that, the heat got turned on in Texas the day before the race, so none of us were properly heat acclimated. So, I feel very lucky that everything came together in my favor on race day. That being said, of the things that were in my control, I feel like these were the game changers for me.
Mike has an incredibly sensitive stomach, which makes him the royal taste tester for all things nutrition. About 5 weeks before race day, he started using Tailwind Nutrition and he said that he liked it, so I started reading about it. I liked the simplicity of an all-in-one drink mix (hydration + calories). So, I switched to it and my body tolerated it well. It was just a tad light for me and found I needed a little bit of solid food every couple of hours, but it was a great fueling solution. The reason I didn’t mix a stronger concentration bottle is because I didn’t want to overload my stomach with a gut bomb. I felt a lighter solution with some solids was a safer combination.
In addition to that, I am a HUGE fan of Dr. Stacy Sims and read her book ROAR, which is full of so much useful information about nutrition.
I was fortunate to be selected to be part of the Bicycle World Racing Team this year and it is led by professional triathlete Natasha Van Der Merwe. She is a wonderful resource to have at my disposal. She offered me some feedback and modifications to the training plan I was following, which was really helpful. I learned a lot from just that little bit of feedback. I also attended a Galveston 70.3/IMTX clinic she held at Bicycle World Houston and it was full of REALLY useful information. I found the portion of her presentation regarding troubleshooting INCREDIBLY helpful and committed it to memory. I tapped into that on race day when I got a stomach cramp during the run.
The swim analysis I did with Gemma Hollis of Push Glide Kick, LLC was also an invaluable investment in my training. With her help, I developed a level of swim confidence that I never had before. I’m not fast, but I feel like I have gotten to my swim to a place where I am moving at a slightly faster pace with much less energy expenditure. For me, that is all I can ask for. I will never be the first out of the water, but I call it a win if I can have a good swim that doesn’t put me at the back of the pack and can set me up for a good bike and run.
This isn’t really a necessary thing, and not in the budget of a lot of athletes, but Mike gifted me with a major bike overhaul this year. The new chain rings and crank allowed me to have a more efficient translation of power from my legs to the bike; the new cockpit was lighter and more aerodynamic; and the electronic shifting allowed me to always be in the right gear at the tap of a finger.
Above all the things listed above, I couldn’t have made it through my training and the race without my support crew. Triathlon can be a solitary sport, but it doesn’t have to be. For me, having training partners to share this journey with makes it all more enjoyable. My best friend and training partner Jacy was always pushing me to be stronger and faster. My teammates on HissyFit Racing are the most encouraging and loving group anybody could ever hope for. My brand partners who believe in me and provide me resources that I might not otherwise have been able to access. Zoot Sports for providing me the most comfortable kit to race in, the Saris family for providing me the best training and racing equipment with the CycleOps Hammer and PowerTap power pedals, AltRed for helping me perform at my best and, of course, Bicycle World for keeping my bike in tip-top shape and providing SAG support to my team when we go on group rides.
I wouldn’t have even been able to attempt this race without my family. I have to admit that when Mike and I started training for Ironman Texas in January, I was nervous. I didn’t know if we were going to be able to balance training between the both of us. I thought we’d both be compromising to the point that both of us would end up unhappy with our training and races. By the grace of God, we were able to find a great routine that allowed us both to get in the training we needed. I’m grateful to have a daughter who is willing to tolerate me riding the trainer for hours on end on the weekends. Last, but certainly not least, my mother-in-law Marcie. This whole crazy idea of racing together would not have been possible without her. She is an amazing grandmother, so Mike and I didn’t have to worry once about Maddie while we were racing.
So, that’s a wrap! No more writing about Ironman Texas! Now it’s time to look ahead and put together the rest of my race schedule for this year! I am superstitious and refuse to register for any races until after an Ironman is over, just in case I decide I hate triathlon during the long day! 😂 I know I’ll be racing TriWaco, the Kerrville Triathlon Festival and Waco 70.3. There may be some others mixed in there. I just haven’t figured it out yet!