Last month we had five athletes compete in Ironman Texas and boy was it a wild day! Even though our RTTC Fam was challenged by some crazy weather, they ROCKED it.
Racing in Texas offers many obstacles including heat and humidity. But this year severe storms rolled in during the run and Ironman had to activate its predetermined safety plan. Most athletes were stopped as they crossed timing mats so they could seek shelter during the worst of the storm (timing was stopped for waiting athletes and the finish line cut-off time was extended accordingly).
Tori Moffitt, Gretchen Placke and Pat Ward are three of our five Texas Ironmans, and we got the download on their perspective of the race. Check out their race recaps below - we couldn’t be more proud!
Tori: 3:15 the alarm goes off. I always chuckle because I’m not a get up early to workout kind of girl. Off we go at 4:30 to the race - I like to be there right as transition opens.
Mike Reilly was there at the swim start, talking to the crowd. He stated the water temperature was 81 degrees. I had a moment of uncertainty -read freak out- because I thought dang, I’m going to be dehydrated before I ever get out of the water! I was afraid I’d be the only one in a wetsuit (I wasn't). I was committed to wearing it, but for a hot second, I second-guessed myself.
Gretchen: Nerves were running high. They say never try anything new on race day but I wore a Roka swim skin I bought the day before. I just lubed all the edge spots and had no issues.
Pat: I can say I was more prepared than any other IM I had attempted (this was my 11th full Ironman). I flew in from Shanghai China May 10. Other than renting the car at the wrong Houston airport, my travel was as long as I expected: 32 hours door to door. I came to Houston a couple of days in advance to be sure I was over the jet lag in time for the event.
Tori: I start passing people right away. I site the buoys and start counting them, one by one. I am getting in to a groove when I take an elbow to the cheek. This would be the first of many encounters. I also got kicked in the face, goggles popped. Sometime in a pack of women I caught I get hit in the face so hard, I am certain my nose is bleeding. My face is throbbing. I keep swimming.
Gretchen: The swim was just that, nothing exciting. Had a bunch of people grabbing my ankles (umm I'm not giving out free rides). Also brown icky water to swim in means a brown stained tri kit for the rest of the day, it looked as though I spilt chocolate milk down my front.
Pat: Swim start was time seeded and I placed myself in the middle of the pack. Once the gun sounded we entered the water. I am not sure why but I had a racing heart rate I could not seem to get under control. I finally swam over to the side and rolled over to just get it together. Once I calmed down I had no issue the rest of the swim.
Tori: I’ve always been a back of the packer and not used to having so much company. It was hard to stay 6 bike lengths from people to avoid drafting penalties because the pack was so huge. The roads were packed with traffic and debris. At mile 75 I knew I was going to make it to the finish. Not that I doubted it, but I knew I had crossed the threshold of no return.
Gretchen: 88 turns made it seem to go by fast since you were not just straight for miles and miles. Saw some drafting but once again pretty tame (in my speed) on the bike. Made sure I took in my nutrition and drank my bottles (I actually peed on my bike which felt like heaven) cause it was getting HOT HOT HOT and humidity was high. I was not going to repeat my 2011 IMTX showing of puking and gagging on the run due to lack of nutrition.
Pat: I have been cycling in the crazy streets of Shanghai for three years, the 80 turns were right in my wheelhouse. I was strong and fast for 95 miles. My bike speed and power was the best of any IM I had previously done. The only thing that went wrong on the bike is I lost my pickle juice. This was to be my source of sodium for the entire race.
Tori: I was feeling great.
The clouds started to roll in around mile 14 and I was so thankful. Thank you Jesus for the cloud cover...and then the thunder rolled in. And then the lightning. Big, big rain drops fell quick, and the sky opened up! Oh, did I mention the wind kicked up too? It was comical to me, the fair weather athlete. Thunderstorms, wind, AND hail?! Oh yes, hail - marble sized, pinging me in the head. I had to run with my hand over my head because it was starting to hurt. I'm guessing the wind was around 35-40mph, making the rain feel like a million needles stinging my legs. No one ever told us to stop during the storm.
At mile 24 I came back in to the waterway. I knew at this point that I would become an IRONMAN. I slowed down, took it all in. I thanked every person standing on the course, in the rain. I had a permanent grin on my face.
Gretchen: The run was great. Loop one was super steamy, saw Sonja and she told me to keep icing, drinking and relax my shoulders. I walked every aid station, filling my front and back with cups of ice, putting it in my hat, drinking and getting sponges.
Loop two of my run was different. It got dark, windy, lightening was filling up the sky and the thunder made ya jump. Then the rain started falling hard and turning sideways...all the while the lightening and thunder seemed more fierce. Then the hail was striking me, but luckily I had my magic hat on so my face was safe! They stopped many on the course to seek shelter but I kept the course and kept moving. Water was up passed my ankles inmost spots.
I saw Sonja on my start of loop 3 and she said word on the street was I was gonna be stopped for a bit, but just keep moving till then. So on I went, the rain stopped and steam rose from the ground, and for some odd reason I was one of the few still running. I was not going to stop till I crossed that finish line.
About 2 miles to go the rain started falling again and it felt great. Sonja, Jessica and my family were all in the finishers shoot and I gave them all high fives. It was an epic day.
Pat: The run started well, the heat was intense, no salt started to affect how I felt. I saw Sonja and told her I had no salt. She zoomed ahead on her scooter and told me there was a Base tent ahead, my source of salt was found. The middle of the marathon was tough, the heat was a killer.
Then the storm came. It was crazy - the wind, the rain and the lightning. I was running through ankle deep water but I was picking up speed. The more it rained the better I felt. I was passing everyone, then on the wooded trail I saw hundreds of athletes stopped. I guessed a tree had fallen due to the wind, so I jetted through the woods and around what I believed was the issue. Then a marshal stopped me and said the race was halted due to lightning. I waited 16 minutes with hundreds of others for the race to be restarted. Once underway again, I felt pretty good and pushed the speed.
As you can see, it was a great day for our athletes even with the crazy severe weather! Tori finished her first full Ironman, Pat PR’d, and Gretchen PR’d her IM marathon time. Congratulations again to these awesome Ironmans!
IRONMAN TEXAS ATHLETES
Adriana Anderson - swim: 01:24:53 bike: 04:56:55 run: 04:23:43 finishing: 10:59:34
Tori Moffitt - swim: 01:30:47 bike: 05:36:07 run: 05:30:13 finishing: 12:59:25
Gretchen Placke - swim: 01:20:54 bike: 05:08:05 run: 04:43:55 finishing: 11:22:51
Emily Smith - swim: 01:33:44 bike: 05:16:32 run: 05:43:29 finishing: 12:46:56
Pat Ward - swim: 01:36:39 bike: 04:22:33 run: 04:22:15 finishing: 10:32:36
Interested in joining the RTTC Fam to elevate your training for your next race? Contact us at http://www.risingtidetri.com/reachout