Monday, May 18, 2015

Ironman Texas 2015

OF COURSE you're gonna get a race report!! But I'll make it short, I promise!! Ok, I don't promise. You know how I get carried away with details. Grab some popcorn, I'll wait...
Lots of pictures this go round too (thank you Anissa!!!)
p.s. my OCD, I hate when all the pictures are different sizes so if you're OCD too, SORRY!!!

Ironman Texas takes place in The Woodlands near Houston, Texas. It's May. It's Texas. I can guarantee you that this race is and always will be HOT and WINDY. Having done my first Ironman here in 2012, I knew what was coming for my 7th in 2015...

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After a few days in Austin I arrived in The Woodlands on Tuesday. I spent the night in the RV near the expo so I could check-in first thing Wednesday morning. I wanted to be all set and ready; confident! I was one of the first athletes to collect my packet and holy swag bag! I'm impressed. I picked up a few necessities and done. Officially ready to race.

#ironmantexas goodies 😄😄😄 @ironmantri #triouradventure #ironman

I spent the next few days relaxing and prepping my gear.

The infamous layout. It's only Wednesday and I'm READY!! #ironmantexas @teamzootse @team_zoot @rudyprojectna #triouradventure #triathlete

I got to catch up with my buddy Mike from Ohio and meet a fellow Zoot Teammate, John. Great people in my life! Thursday, Kim and Anissa drove over from Austin. We had a great time leading up to race day. Lots of laughing, more relaxing, and food food food.

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And finally, Friday I did a practice swim in the lake and took care of bike and gear bag check in. I had my normal doubt at this point fighting with confidence. But I remember, TRUST your training. TRUST your ability. You can do this Lisa. You can so do this. Dinner by 5:30pm, chicken breast, rice, broccoli, and salad. And cookies. I always need my cookies. Perfect!

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I slept great both Thursday and Friday night. Early wake up on Saturday for my oatmeal, shower, potty, braids, and bagel. I took my time out the door making sure to grab everything (remember I forgot my special needs bags in IMAZ!!). I did end up forgetting my ice water bottle in the freezer. No big deal though, plenty of cold water on the course! The girls dropped me at transition. I loaded my nutrition, water, and final bike check. Solid. The girls met me back at the front and walked me to the swim start. I'm feeling nervous and excited. You can do this. There's no not doing this! A few final words from Kim, then JG, and it's go time...

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One of new favorite pictures!! <3

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Big deep breath and I hit the water with ease.

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^ I totally saw Anissa here and even gave her a thumbs up.

Swim: 2.4 miles in The Woodlands Lake, rolling wave start, 81* water temp, wetsuit optional
Even with the new self seeded rolling wave start, it was a crowded swim with lots of face full of elbows and feet. I opted for the wetsuit (there's no way that water was 81*!!). I figure 140.6 is uncomfortable as it is, why add more unnecessary discomfort? I say if it's wetsuit optional and you are more comfy in wetsuit than without, WEAR IT! I had a pretty standard Lisa Ironman swim - 1 hour and 38 minutes. Nothing crazy to report though, YAY! I really can't complain about this swim at all. It's a decent course; probably not the cleanest water but *shrug*. The rolling wave start spread the field out a little. There were plenty of buoys to site, very obvious turns, and lots of support out there. Although I took the beating, it was a pretty good swim.

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T1: A short run from the swim exit to gear bag pick up and in to the changing tent. Swim gear off, bike gear on.
5 minutes 50 seconds through a muddy pit <--- for real! LOOK!



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See y'all in 6-7 hours!!

Bike: 112 miles, one loop through the Woodlands and north, mild hills, windy, getting hot
I go back and forth between loving the one loop or two loop more. One loop, you only have to do it once. Two loop, you get to see all your buddies racing. One loop gets lonely but at least it's done when it's done. Eh, who knows. Gotta bike it!!
No day on a bike is without wind and today was no different. Only here, you are guaranteed 70 miles of headwind that gets stronger as the day continues. Some people claim this route is hilly. I don't know, it's just that bad to me. There are no real climbs, just some false flats.

I like to start my 112 miles with an easy hour building into a steady pace. Knowing the first half was with the wind, I figured I better get on it. I kept a solid pace and felt strong. Nailed all my nutrition (which included Honey Stinger Waffles, eGel, Gu, and 1/2 bagel with peanut butter at the half way point). Kept hydrated (which included 1 Nuun and a few sips of Gatorade from the course). I was rocking it. As the wind got stronger, my pace slowed, but I still felt strong. I was definitely controlling my power so I could run a solid marathon. The last 12 miles were hell though. The wind had really picked up and it was definitely hot. I was really over it; ready to give my bike away. Hey guess what though, NO FLAT TIRES! And no funky growths down below. In fact, my new Team Zoot kit hardly chafed me. With a 17mph average, I biked 6 hours and 34 minutes.

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Back into transition where I happily handed my bike off to a stranger in a volunteer shirt and rushed to grab my run gear. ^ look at that smile! Took a moment with Kim and Anissa <--- not even sure what we talked about?? But it was great to see their excited faces. Bike gear off, run gear on, and out the tent. T2: 5 minutes 35 seconds

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Run: 26.2 miles, three loops in The Woodlands and Waterway, HOT
This is definitely one of my favorite Ironman run courses. It's so populated and lively!! But then the back half is peaceful and gorgeous. The run paths are incredible in the Woodlands and everything is so upscale and pretty.

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Coming off the bike running it was really hard to find my legs. When I finally did I met up with JG and we decided to run together. We opted for a run/walk but soon it became more of a WALK/run. We were both having a bit of a rough time and I decided - I'm going to have fun no matter what!! So I danced and had fun with spectators and other racers. All smiles, all day!

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^ Sometimes the Coach needs coached...

Nearly to our half, I found my legs and ended up breaking away from JG. Walking hurt so I just kept a super slow shuffle. I kept a giant smile on my face even when I felt down. Even when no one was looking. Just smile Lisa. Smile and enjoy this day. And I did. I posted on FB, "Y'all know I wanna break that dang 13 hours but it wasn't happening today!! Instead I danced with every man in undies, every girl in a tutu, highfived every kid, petted every dog, thanked every volunteer, SMILED so much my face hurts, and posed for every strangers camera 😉 I had FUNNNN!!" And I did. I wonder how many pictures there are out there of me. Ha ha!! I was enjoying the day so much. I mean, heck, this is my anniversary Ironman!! I was able to finish strong and HAPPY. 5 hour 35 minutes for the marathon.

Total time: 13 hours and 59 minutes. Glad to see I beat the 14th hour.

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Besides a slower than desired run and still not breaking 13 hours, I had a great day! Nothing crazy happened and while it was super windy and super hot, I had a great happy race! I also had an amazing support team out there. It's become the norm for my mom to be there so it was rough her not being able to be there (because she's budgeting for 2 weeks with me in California for her race and 3 weeks with me in Spain). HOWEVER, Kim and Anissa drove over from Austin and were my left and right hands. These girls were awesome and I love them and appreciate them!!! Add all the support coming from friends on FB, emails, texts, and calls + my newest friends and Team Zoot on the course + Instagram and Twitter friends + family and friends not on social media + all the spectators and new friends on the course... I felt the love from all over the world <--- REALLY! I hope you all know how much this love means to me. THANK YOU! It's part of what keeps me coming back.

The Woodlands is an incredible venue for Ironman. I really wish the hotels would ease up on prices but otherwise, the community is welcoming and there's plenty to shop and see and eat. Volunteers and spectators are incredible. During one strip on the run, people were 17 rows deep cheering and screaming us on. There's Catapult Corner with crazy music and dancing, Hippie Holloway with drums and... hippies, and a multitude of support along the way.

This Ironman was a special day for me. 3 years and 7 Ironman on my way to Kona. I met some amazing people that I feel are going to be a really special part of my life, got to race with some of my best friends, and I just had a very humble happy day. Thank you again for being a part of it.

An amazing day at #ironmantexas today. I didn't PR and didn't even come close but dang I had a great time!! It was super fun to see some Instagram friends on the course too!!💛 #triouradventure #mycheekshurtfromsmiling @teamzootse @team_zoot @

Lisa McCombs, you are a 7 x Ironman!!! WOOHOO!! Hearing that will NEVER get old!




Next up, Ironman Barcelona in October!!

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