I am so blessed to have a family of friends in The Woodlands so going down early for IMTX was seamless and made a lot of sense. I had a couple of stressful family situations in the first week while there but after that it was business as usual. I’ve been so blessed to work with Tim Floyd of Magnolia Masters when I’m down in the Woodlands and always see a good improvement in my swim when I get to swim with the group. It’s amazing what both swimming with people and swimming constant stroke correction can do for your swim.
I actually slept well the night before the race thanks to a non-drowsy supplement that chiropractor Dr. Stephen Clouthier recommended during one of our visits. Thanks so much for that as well as the NET session. I felt much calmer going into this race than I was expecting. 4am wake up call to be able to get some calories in me before the race which started at 6:30. I had my new usual which was 4 blueberry muffins. I was able to eat ok which was a good sign of my nerves being at bay.
The water temp was 81 so I didn’t feel the need for a super long warm up. I got in and did a couple of fast pickups and went back to shore to watch the guys start. I got the position in the water I wanted next to Bree Wee who I had planned to swim behind. I got a good start and we got into one long pace line. After a couple hundred yards I saw Alicia Kaye swimming next to me. A little bit later I looked up and saw that Bree had let the front pack go. They were too far away for me to surge and bridge the gap so I resigned myself to swimming on Bree’s feet. When we turned to go back she started following the buoy line, which went in then out so if you sighted off the last buoy it was a shorter distance. It is completely legal to go as far to the outside of buoys as you want, you just can’t cut inside them. My coach said that I better leave feet and go off the last buoy if someone decided to go the long way and follow the buoys. I usually don’t have the confidence to leave feet once I’m on them but I had him in my head telling me I had better do it. I ended up coming out of the water 15 seconds in front of Bree, someone I use to only dream of being able to swim with.
It was so humid my glasses kept fogging so I just pulled them away from my face a bit and put them back on every now and then. I knew that the first 20 miles had a ton of turns and I didn’t want to kill my legs. Before I hit the first long straightaway, my power was 13 watts under my target but I didn’t worry because we planned to push higher than goal during the “long” straight stretches. I will never know for sure how that all shaped out since I lost my Garmin somewhere between mile 25-30. I caught other women along my way and legally sat on their wheels before passing them. I caught Keat somewhere and legally drafted with her until an age-group male passed us. She didn’t go with him so I passed her and told her we should work together and go get a free ride off this guy! She didn’t end up going with me but the guy slowed down about 15 miles up the road and Keat and 3 other age group men caught back up. This was another learning experience. I could feel the guy was slowing down and I’m sure my power was much lower than it should have been (by 50ish watts) and I should have passed him but lacked the confidence. I am slowly gaining that confidence which will help in future races. I was in a group of 6-7 going through the last aid station and I learned quickly that I am very grateful that women generally don’t ride in huge packs. We caught up to Alicia Kaye (3rd) towards the end of the bike so I set myself up in a great position for the run. My legs were so fresh since I got to legally draft the last 20-30 miles of the race. I also got to have my own course marshal (draft buster) go with me for the last 30+ miles of the course. I’m grateful that they are out there to catch people who are trying to gain an unfair advantage, but they always make me so nervous that I’m going to be doing something wrong! It’s like driving with a police car behind you the whole time. I also learned a hard lesson that haunted me for the rest of the race. I love my XRCEL nutrition and have never felt better with any other nutrition but, I was behind in nutrition since I am not used to being in a legal pace line and I wanted to be really careful about drafting, so I decided to down a whole bunch the last 10 miles. This was, I think, my downfall. I usually drink plenty of water between taking in nutrition but didn’t at the end of the bike since I was trying to get as much down as I could. I think the carb/sodium concentration was just too high and so this delayed gastric emptying. I believe the sodium I added to my liquid nutrition was the main problem as the extra sodium encouraged the fluid to stay in my GI system.
Somehow I entered the tent after Keat but left before her. I NEVER gain time in transitions but I guess I have my system down now.
I started out with an escort (3rd place). I told myself, my coach, and my husband I was not going to ever let my bike escort go again! The escort was the best ever! He called ahead and told the crowd “third place female coming through! Let’s hear it for her!” Keat came along side me and passed me. I didn’t realize at the time (more learning) but she definitely was trying to “break the rubber band.” She put in a surge to drop me and leave me thinking there was no way to go with her. I’ve done this plenty of times in running races and recently on the bike in triathlons. I don’t know why I didn’t see this happening to me! From the beginning of the run, my stomach was off and didn’t feel so great because of my massive nutrition intake on the bike. I felt so bloated and egh. On the second lap I had an emergency stop in the port-a-potty. The last lap I heard reports of many of the pros slowing down and that Keat had dropped at mile 13. I had been passed several times and was frustrated at myself but kept pushing as hard as I could in spite of how I felt. I passed a pro back at mile 6 so I ran myself back into 6th. Zach (from fantasytriathlon) told me that I could catch one more, “they’re slowing down!” so I put in a “surge” (you can’t call many things a surge during the last 3 miles of an Ironman). There are two spots on the course where you double back on yourself before the finish line so I was keeping my eye out for Alicia Kaye (5th). On the first turn around I saw that I could catch her if I just kept it up. I called for water at the aid station but didn’t get any. Just past the aid station my sister sprinted up to me with a cup of water! Oh how amazing that was! I saw my mom cheering for me one last time. Everyone kept telling me “Emi (my daughter) is waiting for you at the finish line for a hug!” I really could only see the path in front of me and nothing else was registering. The second turnaround was a hairpin turn, which was my downfall. If it had just been a straightaway to the finish I wouldn’t have collapsed. As it was, I went down. I don’t remember going down, I just remember sitting with a lot of people around me. Apparently my sister was looking for me then saw me collapsed with 8 medical personnel around me. She told me later that they asked her “does she usually talk like this?” Meredith “oh yes! She’s fine!” Med people “so she usually slurs her words?” Meredith “she’s fine, she can just run with me to the finish.” I remember that I kept trying to stand up and when I tried to take a step, I would collapse and they would catch me. I remember yelling at them “stop catching me! If you wouldn’t I could keep going! You’re catching me too early!” Somehow that made sense to me at the time. They had me sit there and gave me some water and Gatorade that just came back up. They poured water on me and stuffed ice in my trikit. After some time, I finally said “I have to go and finish NOW.” It took all the will power I had, plus some heavenly power for me to stand and not collapse. I started going and they sent a medical guy on a bike with me (I got a bike escort again, just not the kind I ever want again). I saw Amy, one of my best friends from college, again. Thank goodness for seeing her and having her cheer me in! I did hear later that Scott had gone out to find me since everyone was waiting at the finish line and didn’t know what was happening. I got to the finishing chute and the crowd carried me the rest of the way until I absolutely collapsed at the finish line.
Even though I view this race, especially collapsing on the run, as a failure to execute my race plan, it is nice to know that I truly know why I am doing this and what keeps me going. Even though this race didn’t go as planned, I still have a plan in place to try to qualify for the world championships this year. I will be doing Boulder 70.3 on June 11th and then IM Vineman on July 30th. We will reevaluate after that and if I am close with points I will do IM Sweden on August 20th.
I am truly so blessed and lucky to be doing what I love! I had so much help getting to the start line of this race and truly appreciate everyone that was involved in that. I would have to go on forever with everyone involved but have to thank my amazing husband who came down to The Woodlands early to keep my sanity during this stressful time, my sisters who did the race with me and even helped me on the course, my parents who brought Emi to cheer and did a lot of cheering themselves, my homestay who is a family away from home (I love you guys!), my coach David Tilbury-Davis, Amy, Chiropractor Steven Cloither, Eric Oliver, Tim Floyd of Magnolia Masters, Bryanna at QR and so many others!
Thanks as well to my sponsors, with out them I wouldn’t be able to do this and chase my dreams! Still hope to showcase you guys in Kona this year! XRCEL, Quintana Roo, AudioFlood, TriSports, Beyond Exercise, Blueseventy, Bonk Breaker, Buckeye Running Company, Reser Bicycle Outfitters, Impact Health and Spine Center.
1. Have the confidence to leave feet/wheel when you need to.
2. It’s ok to key off people, it’s not ok to base your race and success on others.
3. The will of the mind can overcome so much.
4. Don't down a bottle of nutrition, that was supposed to be over 1 hr, in less than 30 minutes; especially when salt is dissolved in it.
If nothing else you should listen to this song... Theme song for 70.3 Boulder!
Crashin, hit a wall, right now I need a miracle!