IMTX - The day before
For those of you unaware of all the drama surrounding Ironman Texas this year, I'll give you a quick recap. A couple of months ago, local political BS resulted in the loss of permits for the bike course (long story). Ironman scrambled to come up with a bike course last minute and had a 112 mile course when the floods hit and damaged a portion of the bike path that was part of the route. That led to last minute changes, and a 94 mile bike course that winds through the city. If you've never been to The Woodlands, it's really busy around here so we now have a 94 mile bike course through town on busy roads. I'm not sure how that's going to work out.
After all the bike course drama, yesterday it was announced that due to the floods, the water quality in the canal where we finish the swim isn't safe so they had to change the swim course. We now finish by the swim start. This gives us two different transition areas and it adds a mile to the bike.
So that's where we're at now, the day before the race. A 2.4 mile swim, T1, a 95 mile bike, T2 and the old 26.2 mile run course. It was images of the run course that drew me to this race so I'm happy it's the same. We had a chance to run one loop (it's a 3 lap run) last week and it's a great route along the canal and should have lots of spectator support. Some of it is on a running path, and I think that's going to get pretty crowded on lap 3. It's basically all concrete so it's going to be a pounding. I hope I hold up.
I'm not too nervous right now, but I will be tomorrow. I always am. I feel like the Ironman distance has gotten the best of me since 2010 so my confidence isn't very high right now. I nailed IMWI 2010, but since then I've come up short of what I feel I'm capable of. It's been a combination of not executing my race plan, mistakes, bad luck, getting sick, etc. But none of that really matters. What matters now is tomorrow. The past is the past. What I need to do tomorrow is forget about everyone else, focus entirely on myself and execute my plan, be mentally strong and push myself to my limits.
Ironman Texas is known for being hot and humid and tomorrow looks to be another toasty one. The high is the upper 80s with a real feel in the mid 90s. There's a chance of thunderstorms, which I'm hoping hit while I'm on the run. I've had some great long runs in the rain so I would welcome a storm. If it hits on the bike, things could get ugly. The course is busy, has a lot of turns, and lots of concrete which can get slippery when wet (my only crash in a race came at Hyvee a few years ago on wet concrete in a corner).
I did what I could for heat training at home, and I've been here for a week and have had a chance to do some training in the heat, but the heat concerns me. I've struggled in the heat in the past, but I have a new fueling plan based on my sweat test results. I've only had a couple of chances to test it out, but those workouts went well so I think I may have a solid plan. I thought about increasing my power target with a slightly shortened bike course, but I've decided to race it as though it's the full distance and save my legs for the run. I think the 18 miles missing from the bike will shorten my ride about 50 minutes, which is less time to deal with the heat. I think I'm better off pacing conservatively rather than taking risks on a hot day. There is a ton of time to be made up on the second half of the run if I feel good.
If you happen to be following along online, I'm #726.