On Saturday, April 22, 2017, my twin sister Megan and I completed Ironman Texas. In these next few blog posts, I hope to capture our experience from the race. Warning - much like our Ironman Texas finishing time, these posts will be long! So long in fact that I’ve broken it down into three parts:
Part 1: Pre-Race
Part 2: Race Morning, the Swim and the Bike
Part 3: The Run, the Finish and Post-Race
I know most people probably aren’t interested in all of the detail I will go into, but it could be helpful for someone who is considering doing an Ironman one day. Ok, let’s get started!
This was my first Ironman and Megan’s second. There were a couple of reasons that we wanted to do Ironman Texas.
First, I grew up in Clear Lake, which is about 1 hour south of The Woodlands. My parents and sisters still live there. We had hotel rooms in The Woodlands for Friday and Saturday night, but it was nice to have a home base at my parent’s house for the other nights. Second, Megan did Ironman Texas in 2016. It was a pretty crazy year for the event with a shortened bike course and weather delay, and Megan knew that she wanted to do the event again so that she could say she had completed the full distance. Plus, we had the added benefit of being familiar with the course. So last June, we made the decision to do Ironman Texas together in 2017.
I finished up work on Wednesday with a completely unexpected surprise party from my co-workers. I came home to MDot cupcakes from my friend and training partner, and then woke up the next morning to a huge sign in our yard from our friends. It was an awesome way to start the Ironman Texas weekend! I was so motivated, encouraged and blown away by all of the gestures, texts, calls, posts, etc. in the days leading up to the race.
After 11 months of training and preparation, my husband Chad and I hit the road for The Woodlands on Thursday, April 20. For most of the 5 hour drive we binged the S-Town podcast, but we also took some time to record this conversation about the Ironman.
Once we got to The Woodlands, we headed to the Bikes and Life tent in Ironman Village to drop my bike off for a tune up. I bought my bike off of Craiglist in February and it’s in great shape, but I wasn’t sure when the last time it had been tuned up so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to get it checked out before race day. The Bikes and Life guys were great to work with and I highly recommend them!
Megan found us in line and once my bike was dropped off, we headed over to Athlete Check In to sign waivers; get our athlete wristband, swim cap and timing chip; gear and special needs bags; our sweet Ironman Texas backpacks, posters and flags.
Then we headed into the merchandise tent and I picked up a good bit of M-Dot merch. I was a little worried about buying so much before I even finished the dang thing, but I knew that certain sizes and items get cleared out over the weekend and the next time we would be back would be Sunday morning. Plus, it gave me even more incentive to actually finish the race!
Before heading home to Clear Lake, we stopped at Grimaldi’s for pizza. While there, we saw Mike Reilly (the voice of Ironman!!) picking up an order to go. We introduced ourselves and got a picture with him and told him that we would see him on Saturday night!
Once we got to my parent’s house in Clear Lake, we unloaded the car and I started the process of getting all of the gear bags prepped and ready. Chad was amazed by the amount of bags involved with an Ironman.
After a good night’s sleep, I spent Friday morning going over everything one more time to make sure I had everything. Megan came over to my parent’s house and we headed north to The Woodlands at about 10:30am. Once we got to the The Woodlands, we knew we needed to:
Drop off our bikes and gear bags
Check out the post-race free mDot tattoo situation at Lululemon
Check into our hotel rooms
Get last minute supplies from the grocery store
Prep nutrition and organize gear
Once we got back to Ironman Village, I headed in to pick up my bike from Bikes and Life while Megan stayed with her bike and our gear bags. Thankfully she rifled through my bags and discovered that my helmet was missing! There had been some question about what helmet I was going to use and when I made the decision, I slapped my race number sticker on the helmet and put it in my duffel bag, rather than the bike bag. Thankfully Megan discovered my mistake and I hightailed it back to my car to get the helmet.
After we dropped off our bikes and bags in the transition area, we headed across the street to the Market Street shopping center to get lunch at Chipotle and then check on the M-Dot tattoos at Lululemon.
On Sunday morning, Lululemon hosts a finisher’s party with breakfast tacos, beer and free M-Dot tattoos. We knew we both wanted to get the tattoos, so we figured this would be a pretty easy and convenient way to get it done. Unfortunately the tattoo list was already full, but we got on the waitlist and the super friendly folks at Lulu told us to stop by on Sunday morning and they might be able to squeeze us in.
Next we headed to our hotel to get checked in. It was about 85 degrees at this point and I was already worn out! It felt good to get settled in our rooms and spend some time with our feet up. Megan even let me take a spin in her Normatec boots! My legs did feel really good after that.
At 5pm we headed to Whole Foods for dinner.I love their veggie pizza but unfortunately they didn’t have too many pizza options out that night. We both got cheese pizza and I got a small container of baked ziti as well. #carbs I don’t think either of us were really hungry but we knew we needed to eat.
Next, we went to H-E-B to pick up cookies, Uncrustables, Pringles, Sour Patch Kids and chapstick. Once back in the room, I prepared my Special Needs bags with the items from the store and got ready for bed.
I was in bed by 7:30 watching a "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" marathon on TLC and fell sound asleep from 8-11pm. I was wide awake from 11pm-12am, but then fell back asleep until 3:46 am...four minutes before my alarm was scheduled to go off.
Next up...Part 2: Race Morning, the Swim and the Bike