Monday, May 23, 2011

Ironman Texas Race Report

Jeff Irvin
Ironman Texas: May 21, 2011
Overall Time:  12:19:51
Overall Place:  584/2165
The Woodlands, TX - 91*F/Freaking Hot


On the first Tuesday of December 2010 I woke up at 4am and went to swim.  This was the first day of training for Ironman Texas.  That day was pretty uneventful as far as workouts go but it was the first step (or stroke) of what turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my entire life.  It seem like it was so long ago.

My goal in this post is to share the outcome of this journey with all of you.  However, I must warn it will be long.  Grab a comfy chair, a sandwich, and a cold beer because this sucker is going to make War & Peace look like a short story!

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It has been less than two days since I crossed the finish line and heard Mike Reilly announce, Jeff Irvin You Are An Ironman, and it is still a completely surreal experience.  I have been trying to write this race report since last night and really still have no idea where to even begin?  I guess we will just jump right in from the beginning!


Friday - Practice Swim & Bike Check

The practice swim was scheduled for 8am on Friday morning at Lake Woodlands.  The water temperature was 76 degrees and the talk of the morning was whether the swim would be wetsuit legal or not.  If the temperature was above 76.1 then it would be a non-wetsuit swim.  However, the twist was that you could still wear a wetsuit except you would not be eligible for Age Group awards or a Kona slot  AND you would have to walk over a different timing mat as you entered the swim start.  It was supposed to rain that night so we would not know the temperature until the morning.



The swim practice was awesome because Annie and I got to hang out with my Trakkers Teammates Rachelle and Anne.  And also blogger buddies IronBob, Shannon, and Ryan (White Hot).  A bunch of friends from my Tri Club, BeginnnerTriathlete, and Houston Racing where there and everyone was in a great mood - just a fun time! 

"Hey Shannon, do these funky tan lines make my butt look big?"

My good buddy Patrick and I jumped in and did about 800m just to get a feel for the water.  It was a little chilly at first but after 100m or so I was warm and pretty much decided I was going to swim sans wetsuit and use my TYR Torque Swimskin.

League of Extraordinary Tri-Geeks Uniforms?
We then headed to breakfast and then to check our bikes and gear bags in at transition.  This was an extremely smooth and easy process.  From there it was a quick lunch and then time to relax in the hotel room and stay out of the sun and off of the feet.  Bob even texted me to make sure this was occurring - he is always looking out for me!!  Thanks Buddy!

Bike Racked in First Full Row - Rockstar Parking!
A little later Jason arrived and stopped by the hotel.  He was going to be staying at our house which is about 20 minutes from the Woodlands and taking care of our pugs, Ernie and Bailey.  He showed up when I was getting all of my nutrition together so we talked some shop for awhile.  Hell of a good dude!  A big thanks to Jason for making the 4hr drive from Dallas to support and volunteer.  If any of you are considering volunteering at an Ironman please read Jason's post (here) about his experience!  

We then headed off to dinner with my buddy Mike and his family and Rob from First Endurance.  You all know how much I love First Endurance nutrition and after meeting Rob I like FE even more.  Really cool guy who loves Endurance sports.  Contact me (or read any of my myriad of posts) about First Endurance if you want to learn about my IM nutrition.  

After dinner it was early to bed ...

Saturday - Race Day

.... and early to rise, 3am.  I had a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and a bottle of Ultragen.  I then laid back down for a 45m nap and got up again at 4am.  I did some stretching, had some EFS Drink, took some salt tabs and then Annie and I headed down to transition.  

We meet up with my buddies Patrick and Bobby:



And then something really bad happened as I was topping of my tires - the stem broke off the tube on my front wheel.  I was a little freaked but Patrick stepped up and grabbed a spare tube from my hands and changed it for me.

Personal Bike Mechanic Patrick!
He got the tube changed at NASCAR pit crew pace and I slapped on the adapter and BOOM!!!  This one exploded so loud that people were ducking for cover - Pinch Flat! The first thought that came to my head was, Oh Shit!  The second thought was that I only had one tube left on my bike and would have to ride with out a spare.  Then I remembered I had two spare tubes in my special needs bag which had yet to be turned in - whew!  Disaster averted!  Take away - bring extra tubes!!!  Second tube went on without incident and Bobby keep the mood light by showing us his new haircut:



We then all made the mile walk over to the swim start and met up with our tri club and just tried to stay loose and have some fun:

Chris, Me, Patrick, Bobby, Mike, Demi & Jama

Chris was having a lot more fun then the rest of us:


Then it was time for body marking:


We all hung out for about a half hour and discussed our swim start plans.  It was then announced that the water temperature was 79 degrees and it would be a non-wetsuit swim.  Patrick and I had talked about this scenario and we decided to not wear the wetsuits.  My guess is about 400-500 people elected to wear wetsuits.  In hindsight our decision was probably not the correct one.

The Swim

I positioned myself about half way out and right in the middle.  I originally wanted to stay to the right with Bob but I got in the water early and all the other people coming in carried me to the middle.  I looked over at my friend Jama, who was right next to me, and we talked about how this was going to hurt.

Picture 2400 people in an area that can hold about 400 and you are envisioning the swim start.  With a couple minutes to go you hear Ozzy Osborne screaming I -AM -IRONMAN over the ridiculously loud PA system and I am grinning ear-to-ear thinking, This is F**cking Incredible

7:00 AM - BOOM!!!

UTTER CHAOS! 


As you can see from the pictures above the swim start was absolutely insane.  It was pretty much like this for the first 1000m or so.  People were climbing over you, you were climbing over people - I never had a chance in 2.4mi to every really find a rhythm.  The only way I can describe what occurred in the water is to flash back to the days of WWF Steal Cage Matches - it was like this except with 2400 swimmers all just trying to survive.  The first and second turn buoys were like large traffic stops except no one wanted to stop!  

After the second turn buoy we began to head back north towards the canals and the contact wasn't as bad but still not good.  It was like this until we hit the narrow canal and then it got much worse:

The Woodlands Canal - Saturday, May 21st!


The canal was nothing short of violent (but it was cool because spectators were cheering all over the place).  My swim time put me squarely in the middle of the pack and the bruises on my body prove just how congested this part was of the swim.  It was one of the worst and most awesome experiences all at the same time.  The good news was that I got out of the water feeling great and ready to ride.  My time was about 5 minutes longer than what I expected but I never expected this much contact so I was overall pleased with the performance.

I wanted to kiss the ground!
Wouldn't have been smiling like this if I knew about the swim cap crease across my head!
Swim Recap - If I had to do this over again I would have worn my wetsuit.  The temp was still cool enough (79 degrees) that I would not have overheated and the time savings a wetsuit provides would have allowed me to get ahead of the middle instead of being caught up in it.   I also would have started at the front and to the right in my wetsuit and sprinted for about 500m.  This would have allowed me to get out in front and find a rhythm that I was unable to utilize.  Another reason we did not use a wetsuit is because we were told that the people who used one would not be in the AG rankings and thus be listed in a separate ranking.  This was not the case as wetsuit swimmers were ranked right along with everyone else.  Those who choose the wetsuits made the right decision.  The lesson from this is that if you can use a wetsuit do it!  Also, it would have given me some extra padding to absorb some of the beating (-: 

Swim Total:  1:25:57

Transition #1 

This was extremely well organized and the volunteers were great.  We got out of the water and had a long snaking walk towards the changing tents where we grabbed our bike gear bags.  I found my bag and proceeded to sit down in front of the tent since I was not changing clothes.  The TYR Torque came off easy and I dried my feet and head.  I went to put on my GPS tracking device which was attached to a race belt with my number and it was loose.  For some reason I decided this would be a good time to adjust the belt and it came undone.  I fiddled with it for a little bit and eventually said screw it and just tied a knot around my waist.  Wasted so much time.

I then decided to use the porto to take a pee.  There was a line so this cost me a few minutes.  I did not care because I really had to go.  After the quality pee I grabbed my bike and navigated to the bike out location.  This was hard work as my bike was in the first rack at the back.  It was easy to find but I had the longest distance to the mount line out of any other racer.

T1 Time: 10:06



The Bike

Awesome Pic!

I stayed in the small ring and spun at about 100rpm's for the first 5 mi.  My legs were feeling great and I was extremely optimistic that I would be able to hit my bike goal of 6h 03m and a 18.5 mph/avg.  That is what I trained for and knew by holding back at this speed that my legs would not be cooked and I could get through the upcoming marathon in great shape.

The plan was to hold a 20mph avg for the first 56 miles and then take it easy as the headwind would be strong for the last 56 miles and would require some suffering.  This plan was going well until Mile 11 at the 1488 intersection when a police officer decided to halt bike traffic and make us all stop so that cars could pass.  I looked at my watch and by the time he let us go 4.5 minutes had passed.  My average speed went from 20.2 to 18.2 mph when I looked at my garmin again a couple of miles later.  Needless to say people were ticked off! Personally I did not really care, stuff happens and I can only control my attitude at this point so no big deal.

The first 55 miles were pretty uneventful.  We went through the hills of the national forest and across a couple of bumpy chip sealed areas but I had ridden the course many times so it felt like another Sunday long ride to me - just a bit slower.  At mile 56 I was at my goal pace of 20mph and stopped to grab some more EFS Drink at special needs.  

It was around mile 60 that my stomach began to really hurt.  I was afraid that I had screwed up my nutrition  but going back over everything I was spot on?  By mile 65 I could no longer stay in aero because of the stomach pain.  It was here I decided I was going to stop at the mile 70 bottle hand up and use the porto.  

Well, this was probably the best decision I made all day.  I hit the porto and just unloaded - it was awesome.  According to my watch it cost me 5 minutes (had some TP difficulties) by the time I mounted the bike again but it probably saved my race.  It was not a nutrition problem it was just a I had to really GO problem!

At about mile 75 or so I got held up by police again for 2 minutes at the 105 intersection.  This time I was more frustrated because it took a little longer to get the legs going again after the stop.  These stops should not happen on an Ironman.  Since this is a first year race and bugs are to be expected I will not make a big deal out of it but traffic stops cost me over 7 minutes on the bike - hopefully they work this out for next year.

About mile 80 we hit some headwind but it was nothing compared to some of the days we had training on the course.  I was able to find a nice pace and spin my way into the bike finish.  The crowds cheering us on heading back to the Woodlands were spectacular.  

Annie and our friends were waiting at Bike-In and I was happy to see them!
Bike Recap - I hit my time goal right on the nose. I could have easily done this ride 20-25 min faster but it would have resulted in an extra hour plus on the run - my mantra was to not cook myself on the bike - mission accomplished!  Aside from the police stops and the bathroom interruption the bike was perfect.  This is just an excellent course and I feel so blessed to have the option of riding here on my weekends.  It was an honor to share my roads with all the out-of-towners and to hear how much they all loved it.   The weather was hot and humid but was mostly overcast with a couple of sprinkles during most of the ride.

Bike Time:  6:01:17

Transition #2

I walked the length of transition with my friend Scott recapping the joys of my ride.  It was great to see him, Jason, Steve, and Dave volunteering at T2.  It is amazing how a pat on the back from some good friends can lift your spirits!

I had to hit the porto for another pee before entering the changing tent.  When I was in there I realized how damn hot it was. It had sprinkled some on the bike and the humidity had come on strong and the sun was out now.  I was sweating profusely and decided I was going to change pants and socks in the tent.  Others all had the same thought as the male nudity level was at an uncomfortable level.

Once again the volunteer in the tent was spectacular.  Opened my bag and handed me everything and made sure I was alright - just a wonderful experience.

I filled up my handheld water bottle and decided to go take another pee - would rather have a longer T2 time than add the pee break to my marathon time.  

T2 Time:  11:19

The Run

You will all undoubtedly read other race reports that describe the run at Ironman Texas using words like Carnage, Brutal or even Hell-like.  Well, these words would all be pretty accurate descriptions of what occurred on this hot and humid Saturday afternoon.

My goal for the marathon was to finish between 4-5 hrs based upon how hot it was going to be on the course.  When I took my first step out of transition and began to slowly jog I knew right away that some pain and suffering were in store for me in the near future.  I immediately cleared these negative thoughts from my head and started to smile.  As the pictures will show I kept this smile for the next 26.2 miles.  I cannot control the weather but I can control my attitude.

Luckily for me the incredible spectator and volunteer support made keeping the corners of my lips turned upwards very easy.  The marathon course is three 8.5ish mi loops.  It takes you along the plush neighborhoods and up and down the canals that are lined with restaurants and bars.  It has a rural section and an urban section seemingly steps apart.  You really could not ask for a better venue to do a 26.2 mile death march under the unrelenting Texas sun.  

Loop #1 started and I was feeling very good.  The plan was to take it easy on this loop and to utilize walk breaks through the water stations.  Around .75mi in I began to feel both of my quads begin to tighten up.  I have learned through previous race experiences that when this happens to me I need to stop running and walk the quad cramps out for a few hundred yards.  This worked to perfection and that was the last of any type of cramps for the rest of the day.

About 5mi in I was feeling awesome and was holding a decent pace running along the canal.  I knew Annie and all my friends were going to be waiting within the next mile and I could not wait to see them.  Here I am at about mile 6:

Still feeling strong!
It was shortly after this picture that I ran under the bridge and I saw Annie and the Kingwood Tri Club cheering like a bunch of crazy people.  It was so Awesome!  I actually got a little emotional when I saw all of them and am thankful I was wearing sunglasses so my man-card is still intact.

Here are some shots of all my awesome crew of supporters:

Ruth Ann, Elizabeth, and Jim taking in some hydration.
Chris, Patrick, and Annie showing how darn hard spectating can be!
Ruth Ann and Patrick helping Chris decide which hand is optimal for consuming beer!
The guys at the KTC tent swapping digits
Big Smiles from the Ladies!
The gals taking a cheering break!


Around mile 15 the suffering really began to set in.  This was the first time in the entire race when I experienced negative thoughts and really wanted the run to be over.  Other runners were in really bad shape.  People were vomiting and cramping all over the place. I quit talking to other runners because they were all in bad shape and I didn't want to catch the negative vibes.  I felt like I was the only person still running at this point.   However, these thoughts were very short lived because around mile 16 at the water station I experience the greatest thing ever - chicken broth!  Wow, is all I can say!  I told Annie this stuff was the elixir of life at some point during the race.  I got a second wind and from there I negative split the rest of the race.

By the time I was around mile 20 I was in a zone and just kept on moving.  I hit the canal again and got a final boost from seeing everyone:

Suck it up ButterCup!







Ruth Ann's sign says, "Jeff Irvin:  From Fatass to Badass" -  love this shot!
The last 4 or so miles were pretty darn painful.  My feet were on fire and I ran into Trakkers Teammate Anne Moore and we ran together for a little while.  We pushed each other to keep on moving and I will be forever thankful to Anne for keeping me focused.

Around mile 24 I decided it was time to finish this damn thing off in style and pushed a sub -8min pace only slowing down to toss some ice water on my head at the last two water stops.  I finished off those last two miles with a combined 8:30/mi split and am probably more proud of this than any other thing I did that day.  It hurt and it hurt bad but I just keep thinking of all the hours of training and all the people who were pulling for me and I dug deep and tuned out the considerable pain. 

Here are the finisher chute pics:

Almost There
A couple more steps ...
Jeff Irvin, You are an IRONMAN!

Once I passed  under the finish two extremely nice volunteers walked me around and got me some water and made sure I was okay.  I saw quite a few folks being pushed away in wheelchairs and began to feel very fortunate that I was still upright and feeling rather well.  I made it to the end of the shoot and immediately saw Annie and she had tears streaming down her face.  Seeing her at this point was an even better feeling then crossing that line.

My friends were right behind Annie and they all set me down on a big fountain:


At this point all I wanted to do was take my damn shoes and socks off!  My feet were pretty much ripped to hell but I once the shoes came off everything felt good.  Then I was given my favorite things in the world - COOKIES:

Thanks Katy these were AWESOME!!!

COOKIES!

My IronCrew!

Run Recap - The last 10mi of this run was probably one the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. My legs were trained but the heat was draining.  Most people would probably think a 3-loop course would mentally be tough to handle, not me.  I loved this run course and I loved the support from the crowd.  It was one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of and I will volunteer for IMTX every single year from here on out - that is if I am not racing (-:

Run Time:  4:31:14


Summary of Ironman Texas - This race was held in my backyard.  I live literally 18mi from the start of the course. When I originally heard that the race would be held in The Woodlands I was excited because this is such a great place and has a huge endurance community.  I was skeptical as to how the non-Endurance residence of The Woodlands would support this race since it would significantly screw up traffic and parking in their town.

Well, my skepticism was completely off base because they stepped up and completely blew away all expectations.  I spoke with many an Ironman vet after the race and they were all just blown away by the spectators and volunteers.  Every single one said it was the best experience they have ever had in terms of crowd involvement.  The Woodlands receives a huge "A+" for the effort!

The swim was tight, the bike was beautiful, and the run was electric.  The heat made this one of the toughest Ironman courses on record (Click here for proof) but in hindsight I am glad it was hard because I trained hard and it made the experience that much more rewarding.  

If you are thinking about doing an Ironman in the future and are not afraid of a little heat then I would highly recommend you consider Ironman Texas.

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I hope you enjoyed my race report.  I might be more exhausted from writing this than actually doing the race (not really). 

I want to thank my friends who haven't seen much of me in the last six months.  Thank you for being there:  Ruth Ann and Patrick, Elizabeth and Jim, Annie and Chris, Dave and Jen, Yvette, Steve, and Trey.  I also want to thank my training partners: Dave, Patrick, Mike, Katy, Bobby, Chris, Steve, Bob and Frank. My cousin Bonnie and Rick for driving in from Austin to cheer and all the members of KTC that came out to support, especially Tina and Scott for setting everything up.  Also a big thanks to all the members of the LifeTime Fitness Run Club.  

Also a huge thank you to all of my blogger and twitter friends.  When I was out there on the course I thought about many of you time and time again.  When I finished the race and saw the hundreds of comments on Twitter I was absolutely blown away by you guys. Almost lost my man card again! Very touching, thank you all so much!

It is a very good feeling knowing you have such great people in your life,  Thank you all!

I want to save the most import thank you for last - my wife Annie. She was my biggest supporter from day one and even kicked my butt every now and again when I didn't want to train.  She was 100% on-board  with this crazy dream and it never could have been done without her.  We discussed the time commitment that was going to be involved with my training and she never complained, not once. When I was waking up early and going to bed even earlier she was there to encourage me and never made me feel guilty about leaving her with house work and chores as I went on 7hr bike rides.  She was my rock and she deserves all the credit for getting me to the starting line.  I love you Annie, you are the best!

Best Shot of the Day!

Thanks for Reading,

Jeff

69 comments:

  1. Proud of you. ...great result.

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  2. Jeff. I'm in awe of you. This is amazing. I followed all day. Peanut loved seeing each time you neared the end of each part. "mom he's almost done!" then shed click someone else's name and say,"omg he's waaaaaay ahead of him!" awesome. Annie rocks for all the photos incredible. Love the swim cap crease & love the degree temp listed as "freaking hot".
    You. My. Friend. FREAKING. Rock.

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  3. Let me clarify. You were way ahead of the other guy. ;) wanted to make sure I wrote that right. ;)

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  4. Awesome report and congrats on becoming an Ironman! Chix broth, who knew! Go Team Trakkers!

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  5. For the rest of your life, you. are. an. ironman.

    Well done!

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  6. This is super! Well written report and I have enjoyed taking the journey with you! Kudos to you!!!

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  7. Damn you Jeff, you made my eyes well up! Awesome, awesome race my friend. I am so freakin' proud of you. I knew you were going to do well. Love all the wonderful pics and especially the one with the fatass to badass poster as you are running by. Congrats!

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  8. Congratulations - FANTASTIC job!

    LOVE the last pic - awesome!

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  9. Legendary - digging deep in the run portion of the marathon when others weren't. You're phenomenal!!

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  10. Congratulations on a smart race and a great finish! And smart move to thank the wife... they really do put up with a lot : )

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  11. Way ,Way better than War and Peace. Great recap. Very nice soldier !!! You have a great attitude and it showed. CONGRATS !!

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  12. Super awesome, amazing and incredible accmoplishment. What a journey! Congrats on being an Ironman. I truly can't comprehend this distance. I love that you are smiling ear to ear in every picture and enjoying every moment!!

    Congrats!

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  13. Awesome recap! What an achievement, you are now an ironman!

    You had an amazing race, and if you factor in the heat it seems like you did even more amazing. It sounds like you nailed fueling and hydration perfectly, which seems really difficult over the length of an ironman.

    And that pic of you and the sign "from fatass to badass" might have to be framed, that is a great pic!

    That pic of

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  14. Wow, congrats on your race! That's truly inspiring and incredible!

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  15. First off Dude. You are looking super skinny - even if you have the wicked tan lines to deal with.

    Patrick's shirt is fricken awesome. #Winning and fueled by tiger blood. Epic.

    I can't imagine swimming 2.4 miles sans wetsuit. I thought the cutoff was 78 for wetsuits. Did that change?

    I can't believe they stopped you for traffic. How many athletes bunched up in that 4.5 minutes? I can imagine there was a bit of vocalization about that. I can't imagine if that 7 minutes cost someone a Kona slot.

    Way to execute your plan. It sounds like you had a perfect race strategy, went out there, and nailed it.

    "26.2 mile death march" - It's not a death march, it's a victory lap.

    I can't believe how good (and happy) you look in all the pictures. You look like you were having a blast and never in pain.

    Awesome shot at the end of you and Annie.

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  16. I am so excited for you. A few thoughts:
    - I am officially terrified of my IM swim
    - What the hell are they stopping people for in the middle of an IM? I hope no one missed the bike cut-off by 5 min as a result of that.
    - I am officially terrified of my IM swim
    - Gutsy run Jeff. you are amazing.
    - I am officially terrified of my IM swim
    - That ending picture freaking ROCKS.

    I am officially terrified of my IM swim

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  17. awesome!!! just simply freakin awesome. you ROCK!

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  18. The Reilly announcement made me tear up and it was downhill from there :) I was following the tracker for a bit of the day and I think somewhere around the third hour of my 3 hour training ride I thought to myself, "Wow, Jeff from DTC and IronBob are still out there... all day long..." What an achievement, especially in that weather! I also love your mantra - I can control my attitude. Love it. Congratulations!

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  19. Good thing I'm not a man, because I would have just lost my man-card! Inspiring, you are, Jeff Irvin! I am proud of you. Thank you for sharing your day with all of us!

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  20. Congrats bad ass Ironman! And Kudos to bad ass wife Annie for the support! I loved the RR and following your progress through your blog and twitter.

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  21. Well, thank goodness I don't have a man card, because this race report totally brought tears to my eyes!! What an incredible day - you just absolutely KILLED it out there! Every second of your training paid off, you have so much to be proud of. Congratulations!!

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  22. Congratulations, Jeff! I followed you online all day on Saturday. My wife and friends that we had over were just amazed that you were still moving out there hour after hour. You ROCK! Way to go, man! What a life accomplishment you just completed. You're an IRONMAN! Thank you for such a great race report. I hope you are blessed with incredible rest and recovery.

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  23. GREAT job Jeff. YOU ARE AN IRONMAN. The BiG QuEsTiOn is,,,, Where will the Carrot be dangled next???

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  24. I read EVERY word of your race report and LOVED it!! You are such a ROCKSTAR!!! I totally got teary eyed towards the end...what you did was just amazing!!

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  25. That last picture is priceless!

    Amazing job, Jeff! Thanks for the tips on what you did throughout the day and how it helped. Chicken broth, eh? I always keep reading about it and go, "Gross!" I betcha I will have my chicken broth moment as well. Is it the salt that just brings you back to life?

    Race report gets an A+ in my book. Imagine if you didn't have to stop on the bike? You woulda KILLED your bike time! You should totally tell the race officials about those delays and how they should fix it.

    So now the biggest Q: What, where, and when will the next 140.6 be?

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  26. Awesome, epic recap and you ARE an Ironman! Congrats!

    We had an Oly in my backyard last year where bikes got stopped by cops and competitors were furious. You did great holding it together at an IM.

    Oh, and the cookies are great! What a nice touch.

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  27. Simply amazing. You look like you are just eating the day up in all those pictures. Talk about the power of planning and preparation. You killed it. Congratulations Ironman!

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  28. Wonderful report! Congrats! Love the picture of you and your wife!

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  29. Awesome race report!! I totally felt like I was there! :D Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment!! Way to stay strong and SMART in the heat!!!

    Go Team Trakkers!!!!!

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  30. Great report!
    Thanks for hanging out with me and being my family for the week!
    What's next?
    Great Floridian is only $350......

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  31. You are amazing. Simply amazing. You had me laughing, crying and you inspired me to be the best I can be. Amazing recap. You are truly an ironman!

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  32. Congrats again man! Awesome to read your report and "share" the day with you. I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for you. Jeff, you are an Ironman!

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  33. Awesome job! Great race recap. I hope to do an IM someday. Good on ya!

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  34. That was an awesome, awesome race report. I loved it. And your cap line made me laugh so hard.

    Congratulations on being prepared with the spare supplies, racing smart, and becoming an Ironman!

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  35. I absolutely love this race report! :) The feeling of crossing the finish line after your first Ironman is like nothing that words can describe, although I felt your WHOLE race through this post! You had such an amazing attitude during training and racing that I knew nothing would stop you from crossing that line!

    Pictures are great... and yes, that last one if the best. It's funny, I think I have the same one of Tom and I after his first! :)

    So freaking proud of you - now you can walk the rest of us through our training this year!

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  36. Awesome race, awesome report! I LOVE THE COOKIES! Your bike tube story is my nightmare.... I hear you on the wetsuit thing, it is good protection against battering! OTOH, it really is more enjoyable to swim without one, so I see why you made that choice. I've done Florida 70.3 a couple times (very very slowly), and definitely don't think I can ever register for a really hot full IM race - I am full of admiration that you got this one done with such a positive attitude and really considerable speed!

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  37. Congrats and what an awesome report!

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  38. Fantastic Jeff! This is just perfect! Lovely report as well, I didn't miss one word. Some really good photos you have here. All the respect in the world to you. Rest well and be very proud.

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  39. amazing!

    again HUGE Congrats....you did freaking great!

    fantastic attitude during pre-game and the race when things went seemingly wrong you took it in stride and didnt let it get you down. Those flats! and that swim....I though I chose a congested tight swim venue. I thought your plan and goals for the bike to allow the run was just super smart and you executed beautifully.

    Way to go

    D

    ps
    cant even believe you kept the man card itact I dont believe that :)

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  40. SPECTACULAR JOB, JEFF!!!!

    Great way to totally kill the day. Fantastic race report!

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  41. Great report man. I am super anxious to race now!!! Your report might have been one of the most positive ones I have read... ever! Great attitude, great mental focus and great choices throughout the day. Not once did you make a stupid decision, you took extra time when you needed it and you were smart the whole day.

    Great job man, I know the fans are my elixir, without them, I would fail at every race haha!

    Annie, great job with the updates.

    Truly an epic journey buddy!

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  42. Congratulations! Great race and recap! You IronPeople are amazing....

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  43. Congratulations, Ironman!!!! Great race report. Now the questions is...did you sign up for 2012??

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  44. Jeff- this has been THE coolest race report I have ever read. I have complete admiration for the hard work you have put in and the results you have gotten. i hope I can follow in your foot steps one day. YOU ROCK!

    Having only competing in short distance and watching Iron distance on TV your race report gave me a good reality check. I am glad that you talked about walking through transistion, getting off the bike at special needs, taking pee and "unloading breaks", and walk breaks on the marathon. Your race report gives me a new perspective of how the race goes for REAL PEOPLE. YOU SIR ARE A BAD ASS

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  45. Wow Jeff, congrats, I'm really happy for you!!!

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  46. Okay, I am crying here. What a great race report! Congrats Ironman Jeff! You Rock!

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  47. I think IMLou from 2010 takes the cake as the worst drop out rate. I think it was 28%. It didn't matter if you had trained in the conditions (I did)!

    I think you did great. I missed you crossing the finish line. I saw Anne and didn't realize you'd be right with her at the finish. Congratulations and have fun resting and basking!

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  48. awesome jeff, just plain awesome. way to push through that furnace and finish so strong!! congrats Ironman. you have deserved some well deserved time off!

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  49. LOVE it, Jeff! Congrats, you are an Ironman!!

    You really held all three legs together nicely. You raced a smart race. And it's so cool that you had a great support system there with you. Love the picture of you and Annie at the end!

    YES!!!

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  50. Congratulations. Such a fantastic recap too. Loved this... "stuff happens and I can only control my attitude at this point so no big deal." I think you had a lot of success because of this attitude! Very inspiring.

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  51. Great result Jeff, but you worked for it! My favorite photo is the cruiser behind the practice swim sign - wonder if someone rode the course on that?

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  52. Congratulations - really and truly. Your report brought tears to my eyes! Congrats!!!!

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  53. We spoke of this but I have to say it again. The smile is GOLDEN. There is no wiping it off your face and I just love that.

    You are a true inspiration for me and for that I THANK YOU.

    Keep pushing your limits and getting better.

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  54. I am so proud of you, what an epic day!!! Congrats!!! you are a rockstar

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  55. Well done Jeff from Dec till 140.6

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  56. I am totally impressed by your dedication and mostly your ATTITUDE!!!
    Just freakin' awesome.
    I am truly inspired.
    Congratulations IronMan!!

    Gotta love that Texas heat!!

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  57. Awesome RR, some many things I can take away from this including just keeping my attitude up during the race! So when are you getting the Ironman Tattoo! Congrats on an amazing time as well! you beat the course!

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  58. Way awesome race report. Not only are you a bad ass, but you sure looked like one. Damn Dude, you looked like Macca out there with your bad ass shirt zipped half down. Your attitude was perfect. Seriously, you did great.

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  59. Way cool race report, I LOVE your positive mental attitude. And a negative split IM run is a pretty huge accomplishment. Nicely done!

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  60. It was good running with you for a bit on the course. I guess your GPS was working! Are you in for next year?

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  61. What.
    A.
    Great.
    Race!

    You killed it! I was hanging on every word. Congratulations on a race very well done!

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  62. Truly impressive, Jeff! Nailing an Ironman... and finishing it with such a stellar run :) I love that thing you kept telling yourself... "can't control ––, but I can control my attitude"... that is a keeper of an expression if ever I heard one! Seeing you all smiles throughout this race is inspiring! And dude, you are one peeing machine! Holy heck! And there really is NOTHING quite like a museum-quality dump when you really need to unload! Aren't you glad you listened to your body?

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  63. This is the one I've been waiting for so sorry I'm commenting so late. It's been awesome reading about the journey and even better reading that it's done and dusted. What's next? Every time I've emailed you about a weekend of riding in SoCal you ignore me...

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  64. Best RR evah! And best line, " I hit the porto and just unloaded - it was awesome!". Ha!

    Way to keep positive attitude. My coach always says smiling and thanking the volunteers goes a long way to helping you through a race mentally. Good stuff.

    I'm so excited for you, I could feel the pride and joy in your RR and you deserve big congratulations.

    I laughed at the chix broth analogy. I had a Dr. Pepper moment like that recently.

    Bonus points for thanking the wife! Spouses rock!

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  65. waaaaaaay behind in the blog reading here but just wanted to say congrats!!

    Sounds like it was a great experience and you did awesome! Loved reading this, it brought back a lot of memories of IM Louisville :)

    Thumbs up on the positive attitude - it goes a loooooong way, esp. in a race like this!

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  66. Great race report. It's the first time I have been to your blog, it won't be the last! Great work on the IM I feel proud of you and I don't even know you! Need to get my ass ov to the states to race one of these days. Well done again
    Johan
    Ps I'm the guy from the Longwaytogo ironman blog.

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