Come on down Ironman number 12!

Come on down Ironman number 12!

Finally I got to choose the Ironman races I wanted to enter. In the past I have entered because friends were doing the race. 2012 saw me meticulously going through the statistics and choosing races that suited my strengths and weaknesses. I selected Texas and Frankfurt, both for their calendar timings, easier bike and harder run.

I was amped to get out to Texas and on a course I had done before. I went out with Endurance Sports Travel who were amazing from pick up to drop off. With nothing to worry about but racing I got on with my last wee training sessions and laying out my kit ready for racking. On even short runs and rides it was evident that this was going to be another HOT race. 20 minutes running in my Rocket Science cooling suit left sweat dripping off my knees.

Come race day the water temperature was 82 meaning it was not a wetsuit swim. I had my first Maxifuel gel of the day, caffeinated, to give a kick. I got in a better position than last year yet the canal at the end of the leg was packed. I shaved 10 minutes off my swim but wasn’t near my goal time.
Fire in my belly to make up the time I had lost in the swim I hit the bike and stuck to my segmented goal times. As the day progressed my Garmin was reading high 90’s with a fast tail wind. Rolling through the Texas countryside was pleasant. The feed stations came frequently and were themed which made for a good laugh; my favorite being the cowboys.

It was a different story as we turned to weave our way back to the Woodlands. The wind that was so fun behind was menacing in front. Bunches formed and unfortunately I got pinged for drafting in the last 20 miles. With a four-minute penalty just before transition I decided to use it to my advantage and take on the last of my Maxifuel Viper, finish off a Viper Active bar and have my last salt tablet.

My plan was to run hard until I burst. But the sun beat down in the mid-afternoon and all I could manage was the Ironman shuffle for the first five miles. I kept sliding iced sponges into my Headsweats visor to keep my head cool and hoping it would lower my boiling core temperature. I could feel the hairs on my body sticking out as I was trying to sweat in the humidity. My skin was crusty with salt. I kept Maxifuel Viper gels going in and waiting for the caffeine to keep me going. They worked like a dream and when the course went down by the canal a breeze was found. I cooled down enough to pick up the pace and held it, sliding just under a four-hour marathon.


I finished in 11 hours and 21 minutes, my second fastest time. I was 50th woman including the professionals, I was 330th overall in a sold out field of 2,500 athletes. Yet I was 12th in my age group, so no Kona slot. I have done 12 Ironman’s now so can apply for the Legacy Lottery, a silver lining to the cloud.

Now I have time to recover well with good hydration and protein and get ready for Ironman Frankfurt on July 8. I think I am addicted!

Penny

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