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Ironman Texas - TriathlonFull Ironman


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The Woodlands, Texas
United States
Total Time = 15h 29m
Overall Rank = 1741/
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 280/
Pre-race routine:

At least I have a few years before the kiddos are old enough to start asking why the heck did you blow so badly so early in the run. So I have some time to make up a pretty good story!!!! I'm thinking its gonna involve a half bottle of bottom shelf rum, a case of pbr, 17 chicks in bikinis, a bear and some sauerkraut. ha!




Got into town on the 18th and met up with Justin (trin2bfast) at packet pick up. The volunteers were super. Very short wait, maybe three people in front of me. Checked in with USAT, then my volunteer (a very feisty 60ish year young woman) escorted me through the process. I thought about asking her if she wanted to go get a beer but she seemed busy.

Once I was all checked in we cruised around the expo. Lots of good stuff. The IM store had some pretty cool IMTX gear. Unfortunately the majority of it was sold out by early Thursday morning. Seems they missed a pretty good opportunity to sell a lot more gear. Took it easy the rest of the day.

Thursday morning I picked up the bike from the TriBike Transport tent. What a great service, highly recommend these guys if you've got an out of town race. I walked around the expo area, stopping by the wheel rental tent. Kinda wanted to rent a set again but figured that's a lot of beer money. The decision not to rent wheels would come to haunt me later on. Fire ants suck.

The Thursday dinner was pretty cool. Got to meet a bunch of folks from here... cool to puts faces with usernames.

Friday a few of us hit the swim course. Water was cooler than I thought it would be. Got the feeling this thing might go legal, unthinkable! Wednesday at check-in the water temp was 80. Friday it was 76.8. Good thing I packed the suit, but was good to go either way. The swim was good. I felt nice and relaxed.

Packed up the bike and run bags and brought them down to transition. Did a walk through of transition and headed back to the hotel. The nerves never really showed up on Friday. I was feeling good about everything. Grabbed dinner with Justin around 6 then hit the rack. Slept like a log.









Event warmup:

Dropped the garmin off at the bike and walked the mile or so to the swim start. Pretty awesome sight and feeling walking down there with all the other athletes. This is it man.

Got body marked, loads of sun screen and just hung around waiting for Jarrett, my dad and the kiddos. There they are!!!! I was so freak'in happy to see them. Its been a long few months and was so so happy to share this moment with them. Hung around for a few more minutes couple high fives and we hit the water.
Swim
  • 1h 28m 22s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 05s / 100 yards
Comments:

The deep water mass start was AWESOME!!!

I got in the water with about 10 minutes to go. The heaviest traffic was outside then inside so I took the middle about half way back from the line. Treaded water on my stomach (thanks for the tip TJ!) and waited.

The gun went off and away we went. Pretty uneventful for the first 50m. Then it was on. Solid kick face, lots of contact and so on. FUN!

I think I was to far outside for a while and this probably cost me some time. But it was cool as heck turning to breathe and look across the sea of athletes making their way down the course.

At one point just prior to entering the canal some lady lady grabbed my right arm pretty hard. So I stopped and asked her if she was ok. She said yeah, sorry about that, blind athlete. Wait... what? I expected a lot of things out there, but not that! rock on lady!!! (and this wouldn't be my only cool encounter with a blind athlete during the day)

We hit the canal and things got pretty tight. The spectators on the banks started getting pretty thick and really loud. AWESOME!!! I was pretty much up against the right wall for the majority of the canal.

Got to the stairs and climbed on out. Nice.


What would you do differently?:

Pick a tighter line. But overall I had a blast!
Transition 1
  • 03m 8s
Comments:

took some time to find my bag. finally did and got going. tore it open and popped the lid on. ran through the tent. got to my bike. put my shoes on. saw the family. asked jarrett what time it was.. 8:30.. damn, slow swim. oh well. off we go.
What would you do differently?:

next time i'd tie a really short piece of off color string to my bag. it'd be easier to find then having to pick up a few bags and read the numbers on it. overall though ok.. looks the the top ten in teh a/g avg'd about 2:56 so 3:08 is good to go.
Bike
  • 6h 49m 52s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.40 mile/hr
Comments:

The first 65 miles were awesome!

Had to stop once to take a leak and then at 1488 we got stopped by traffic cops to let the cross traffic go for about 4 minutes. It was irritating. People were yelling at the cops to let us go. I just stood there and talked smack to whoever would listen. By the time we got rolling there was easily a couple hundred athletes stacked up. The irony of all those training miles alone and here i am in the peloton during the freakin' race. I made you proud Tony! ha!

So. Mile 65. I hear a loud pop and think ahh great I'm flat. No big deal lets get it changed and get on down the road. But I didn't feel flat. I looked down and everything seems to be ok. I ask some chick next to me if the tire looks ok. yep. Good to go. Well, no. I'm not going anywhere. whats up? I go on as far as i can when I come to a little hill and drop my chain. really? I couldn't get it back on with my foot so I hop off. Nothing is working. oh no. Mechanical, busted spoke and its a mess. I'm now at the mercy of the support guys. ugh! So I'm thinking well at least I get to meet some folks up at CDA in a month. There's no way I'm giving up all this training for a spoke. I'd hit it.

Then my ankles start feeling really weird. Then they start hurting. Then I look down and ahhhhh... I'm standing in a fire ant mound. HA! So I brush off the ants on my ankle and I see the ants on my shoes but do nothing about them. Well a few seconds later I have my shoes off and I'm killing ants like crazy. A bit bloody but not feeling the bites, I'm good. Shoes back on. Move a few steps up the hill... right into another mound. awesome. Repeat the process over again. You gotta be kidding me.

A short time later the tech shows up. I'm now really really happy! Dudes name was Mark. Thanks bro! He throws a 404 on and off I go.

Nope. About 50 feet and I realize the gears are skipping. Thankfully I caught him before he took off. A few more adjustments and I'm back in the game, for real this time.

Hit special needs. Made a new bottle and off we go. I was disappointed but knew there was still a long way to go so tried to make light of it, smile and move on. At some point the sun really started blazing and I remember feeling it on my arms.

Somewhere around mile 85 I had a bit of chaffing starting so I look down to grab the small tube of aquaphor in the bento box... it's not there. ha! Oh well.

The last 22 miles were pretty weird. Traffic was getting pretty heavy. At times we were passing cars and having to ride down the middle of the road through stopped traffic because there wasn't a shoulder.

Somewhere around mile 95 (maybe) we turned directly into the wind. That sucked. Somehow I either missed or there wasn't a 110 mile board. It was torture wondering where transition was. Finally I rounded a corner and there it was. The only thing I could think was damn, I still have my shoes on. Then I realized I was done with this bike... ahhhhhh! Then I saw my old neighbor and great friend yelling at me to get moving... HA! awesome!!!

I wish there were bars in the T2, it'd be nice to sit down in the a/c and have a beer.


What would you do differently?:

Skip the bike. Come out of the water and just go run.
Transition 2
  • 06m 14s
Comments:

6 minutes in transition. Really? But on this day, go figure.

Another awesome volunteer grabbed my bike when i hit the line and I was off to the run gear bag. Grabbed it and headed for the tent. Uh-oh, forgot the Garmin on the bike. (I turned it on at mile 100 so I wouldn't have to wait for a signal on the first mile of the run.) I run back to the rack, grab it and head for the tent. Get to the tent, thrown my socks on, shoes on get sunscreeend up.

Overall though, I felt great leaving T2. Here it comes...the f'ing Ironman Run. AWESOME!!!!
What would you do differently?:

Not forget the garmin. Don't take so damn long!!!!
Run
  • 7h 01m 24s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 16m 05s  min/mile
Comments:

I could take all the time spent thinking about the swim and bike over the past three months and it may be close to all the time I spent thinking about the run. With the kiddos always running around, work, training, etc… it can be difficult to find time to just sit and think. I can’t tell you how many times I’d find myself spacing out in the peace and quiet of a bathroom at home, the office or somewhere thinking about the run. Sometimes 15 minutes would go buy and all of the sudden I’d be pulled back into reality by a scream from the kids or something.

I also never in a million years would have guessed an 11 minute pace would be impossible. I mean 11 freaking minutes. Come on....really?

I felt great coming out of the tent. This is it, we’re here. The crowd was great, volunteers were awesome, again. I looked down and saw 8:30. Whoa buddy, back it off. Backed off to 10:30 and held there for a few minutes.

Then I knew something wasn’t right. I don't know how or why or what, but I knew something was really wrong. Less than a mile into the run and I know I’m in trouble. NO. yep. F+CK! yep. Ok. Let’s walk a bit and see how we feel. Ran into Spidey and chatted a bit about our day. We were both in the same boat but he was on lap two, lucky bastard. Played leap frog with him for a few miles then he was gone.

This really can't be happening. I'd run a few hundred yards, maybe then walk the same. The crowds were pretty thick from mile 4 to the finish where the we'd start the next lap. It really didn't bother me much passing the chute. It was actually pretty cool to look at and watch people cruise on in. The crowd was amazing.

But shortly after passing the finish it got pretty quiet. Kind of nice because i didn't feel bad for walking again. I did catch the race clock at the finish line, it read 10:32.

Lap 2. Things were now really going south mentally. I couldn't do a simple time/distance equation in my head. And I began to think I wasn't going to make it in by midnight. This was completely inaccurate but I couldn't process the math in my head. I began asking people what lap they were on and damn if most weren't on lap three. So my math must be right and I'm in some serious trouble. How could this have happened? This is an absolute nightmare. Forget 14 hours, forget 15 hours, how on earth am I not going to finish this by midnight. Oh no.

The last half of the second lap had the craziest crowds. I saw smilford in his grass skirt acting like a fool, awesome! Aaron walked with me for a little bit which was encouraging. It got really loud along the canal, very cool. But I just kept thinking I might not make it. But I can't f'ing quit. I can't.

Got to special needs and tossed my garmin in the bag. Traded the visor for a prana band. Put new socks on and off we go. Ummm, no. I couldn't get up. A volunteer saw this, ran over and pulled me up. Thank you.

Ok, for real this time... off we go. I come around past the chute to start the third lap. Gonna get a look at the clock and see how much trouble I'm in. HA! I had to stop and put my hands around my eyes like Tiger lining up a putt in order to see it. 12:40... I felt like a first grader... no more flash cards needed!!! I can do math in my head!!!! This really sucks and its not what I ever imagined, but I'm not going to let the kiddos down... at least I'll finish this damn thing. We'll worry about the how the heck we got to this point later.

The third lap was a lot slower than the previous two. Don't get me wrong,. it was tough and it sucked. More physically by this point than mentally but I'll take that any day.

One of the most memorable parts of the entire day was walking down the overpass close to mile 18 (i think) where the swim start was and a blind 60 year old athlete passes me. I don't know man, just seeing him slowly pull away into the dark made me think how fortunate I was and what an incredible reminder that know matter how bad things suck, I'm really lucky to be out here.

The last three miles were rough. I knew I had to pass two more aid stations and I was dreading that. I didn't want to see them, didn't want anyone asking me if I wanted perform. They were so incredible all day, but I just wanted to get through them. By the end all I could do was whisper thank you to them all. I felt terrible about that but it was all I could do.

Finally arrived at the finish on Market Street. A couple things stick out... Nick your breath smelled like rotten beer, nice! KK slapped me on the backside. nice! I turned around to see if anyone was behind me. Nobody. People were yelling "its all you" and things like that. Pretty crazy scene. I came aroud the last corner into the chute and there was Jarrett, the kiddos, my dad and Mike. The one thing a couple of you told me was to take it really slow in the chute. That I did. I walked over and gave them all a huge hug. And then went on in.




What would you do differently?:

Maybe try not to have a run split longer than the bike split. That would be nice. HA!

I don't know. I know everyone says the bike this and that. I get that. I know. But I don't think I hammered the bike. Heck I was on the side of the road for at least a 1/2 hour through the ride. So I don't really know what went down. A combination of a lot of things, I 'm sure.
Post race
Warm down:

Felt pretty bad but turned down the invite to medical. My catcher stayed with me for a while but I finally convinced him I was good to go. I walked out of the finisher's area and thought hmmmmm, maybe I'm not good to go. Started feeling really awful so I walked on over to medical. BP was a bit low (66/40) so they checked me on in. A little while later I felt better and was on my way.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not really sure right now.

Event comments:

Some really amazing volunteers out there!!! Thank you all!!! Great race!

So grateful to have such an amazing wife that put up with all this crap for the past several months (years maybe).

You peeps up on The MG are so AWESOME!!!! Thank you!!!




Last updated: 2010-06-28 12:00 AM
Swimming
01:28:22 | 4224 yards | 02m 05s / 100yards
Age Group: 205/
Overall: 1243/
Performance: Average
Suit: none
Course: point to point course. the last 1/2 mile in a 25 yard wide canal.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 79F / 26C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
T1
Time: 03:08
Performance:
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
Biking
06:49:52 | 112 miles | 16.40 mile/hr
Age Group: 260/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: one loop. flat for the first 30 miles. then some rolling hills through ~ mile 85. then flat again.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks:
T2
Time: 06:14
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Bad
Running with bike Average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
07:01:24 | 26.2 miles | 16m 05s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 280/
Performance: Bad
Course: 3 flat loops.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2011-05-24 9:45 AM
in reply to: #3514877

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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: RE: Ironman Texas

Congrats on becoming an Ironman.  Heck of a RR.  From the sounds of it, you did a great job controlling the things you could control, and letting the stuff you could not wash over you, and still appreciating others (e.g. the blind racers and thanking all the volunteers).

 

Nice going.  Enjoy the rest and recuperation and the family.



2011-05-24 10:38 AM
in reply to: #3514877

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Pro
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Houston
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
Congratulations Ironman! I know you felt like crap but you looked so good on the 2nd loop when we saw you behind the finish! I know you were suffering but it was good to see your face out there in the dark. I was hoping the smack on the butt would get you moving, you were SO close! Lots of hard work, time to bask.
2011-05-24 10:59 AM
in reply to: #3514877

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Master
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Redlands, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
Great job!
2011-05-24 11:00 AM
in reply to: #3514877

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Pro
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Wherever the trail takes me, WA.
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas

It's funny how often we take for granted the 4th discipline of racing... The mental part of it!  You pushed through the day and overcame some great odds!  Stuck with it through a kick in the face, a broken spoke, etc.... Like you said you trained too hard, and too long to give up!!! Way to get it done!

 

You are an IRONMAN my friend.  No one can ever take that away!

2011-05-24 12:36 PM
in reply to: #3514877

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Master
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Maryland
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
Wow, I am in awe, how you did this, so tough...I mean you. It is hard not to have teary eyes here at work while I read this. John, you are incredible! I am so happy for you that you could share the finish with your wife, kids, and father...congratulations! The ants, the mental haze, the HEAT, amazing!!
2011-05-24 8:31 PM
in reply to: #3514877

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Expert
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Greer, SC
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
Dude, that was a pretty awesome performance out there.  As usual, you had me laughing through your entire RR.  I was pretty impressed following you online, but to read about all the other things you had to deal with just puts me at a loss for words.  You had so many things that could have absolutely ruined your day, but you kept your focus and at mile 20 of the Ironman run, that's not easy to do.  Congratulations on a well earned title of IRONMAN!!  Way to go buddy!


2011-05-24 9:43 PM
in reply to: #3514877

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Veteran
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Yorktown, VA & Langley AFB
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas

Congrats John!  In the true spirit of Ironman, you over came the odds, fire ants, the run and mechanicals to press through and finish.  You are mentally unbreakable!  Such an inspiration!

Thanks for the RR, very enjoyable read!  Again, Way to go Ironman!

2011-05-24 10:31 PM
in reply to: #3514877

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Pro
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Oklahoma City
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
What I knew about you before reading this RR:  1.  You, and you alone, helped someone I love get much-needed medical attention on the course, at a point in the run when you too were having a rough time.  2.  You are an Ironman.  Those two things alone make an impression, especially the first.

What I learned about you reading this RR: 1. You carry with you a generous dose of humor to match your humanity, and can certainly turn a phrase.  2.  You can mention beer 4 times while reporting on a race in which you didn't even drink a beer.  3.  Your race was even tougher than I imagined!  4.  This one I don't know for sure, but I've decided you were one of the older more "seasoned" fellas listing through the third lap who managed to croak out a heartfelt thank you at the RWB aid station despite looking three steps from death's door.

In sum: you are a heck of a human being.  Congratulations IRONMAN!

2011-05-25 8:21 AM
in reply to: #3514877

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Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
you are one tough man.  I don't know many people who could push through that mentally or physically, you literally willed your way through an entire marathon after a 4200yrd swim and 112 mile bike!  Congrats iron man.  Very impressive and inspirational.
2011-05-25 8:31 AM
in reply to: #3517575

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Master
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Houston
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
Congrats on becoming an Ironman! Sucks about the spoke and all the troubles along the way but that's part of what makes the race what it is, a mental challenge.  Was good walking/talking with you a bit on the course! No IMFL for me, I actually signed up for IMTX again even after I swore off IM immediately after the race didn't take long for me to become a liar.
2011-05-25 9:15 AM
in reply to: #3514877

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Pro
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Sarasota FL
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas

Way to gut it out!

 

And for what it's worth, I have been DYING to read your RR becuase you are always hilarious.  This one didn't disappoint.



2011-05-25 10:44 AM
in reply to: #3515377

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Extreme Veteran
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Kingwood, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas

You are one tough hombre John!

I would have called it a day after the fire ant incident Wink

2011-05-25 11:34 AM
in reply to: #3515963

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Henderson, NV
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
swbkrun - 2011-05-24 9:00 AM

It's funny how often we take for granted the 4th discipline of racing... The mental part of it!  You pushed through the day and overcame some great odds!  Stuck with it through a kick in the face, a broken spoke, etc.... Like you said you trained too hard, and too long to give up!!! Way to get it done!

 

You are an IRONMAN my friend.  No one can ever take that away!

Congrats John!  I really like what Steve said.  You find your demons during out there and at some point your body is going to say "STOP!".  It is what you do then that makes you an Ironman.  Well deserved John.  How was that first beer?

Chet
 

2011-05-25 11:46 AM
in reply to: #3514877

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Master
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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
Ironman!!

So, that was a lot to overcome to get the finisher's chute...One fire ant bite is too many for me. much less a swarm. A busted spoke is just one of those things..

I know how great it must have felt crossing that line at the end - Congrats again! Careful. these things are addictive!

2011-05-25 1:14 PM
in reply to: #3514877

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Member
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Cypress, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
Awesome job John.  Great report!  Your humor and wit in your writing always makes me laugh.  Congrats Ironman!!! Drink a cold one or six, you deserve it.
2011-05-25 1:17 PM
in reply to: #3514877

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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
Congrats on your accomplishment! Way to tough it out.


2011-05-25 2:27 PM
in reply to: #3514877

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Champion
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MA
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Subject: RE: Ironman Texas

Congrats Ironman!

Well done overcoming all obstacles thrown at you and finished well.

Fire ants....sounds nasty...glad we don't have them up here.

I'm glad to see you enjoyed the finish chute

Recover well and savor what you have accomplished.

2011-05-25 5:31 PM
in reply to: #3514877

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Elite
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SE
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
One word: Awesomeness
2011-05-26 11:40 AM
in reply to: #3514877

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Champion
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Frisco, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
Way to go fatty!  I am super impressed!  Sorry I missed you man. 
2011-05-26 1:57 PM
in reply to: #3514877

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Expert
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Auburn AL
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas

Congrats John

You prepared well and seemed focused thru your training.  Chalk it up to a tough day.  Way to hang in there.

2011-05-26 3:14 PM
in reply to: #3520422

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Master
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Subject: RE: Ironman Texas

AWESOME!  You beat my 7:03 IM marathon record, by the way.  ; )

I wonder if the ants added to your discomfort.  Way to tough it out on a hard day. 



2011-05-26 7:58 PM
in reply to: #3514877

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Master
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Roswell, GA
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
Amazing day. Amazing race report - felt like I was right there with you. You may not think you were "thinking" but your report says otherwise. You got thru that race riding the coat tails of your amazing positive attitude! Did I mention amazing? Congrats!
2011-05-27 9:15 AM
in reply to: #3514877

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Master
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Apex, north carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
John, I am so proud of you I can't explain it.  We started this crazy journey together from the smack talk on our first halves to this.  Time splits don't matter, paces don't matter, you crossed that finish line.  You are an IRONMAN!   You were dedicated and sacrificed and you did it!!!
2011-05-27 10:33 AM
in reply to: #3514877

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Pro
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Norwalk, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas

Every once in a while you get to read one of those race reports that make you go WOW, this is one of them. AWESOME!!!

 

Congrats Ironman!!!

2011-05-27 7:25 PM
in reply to: #3514877

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Elite
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Lacey, Washington
Gold member
Subject: RE: Ironman Texas
Dude, that is perseverance--you pretending to be Army and not Navy out there?? (just kidding, just kidding)  Seriously what to keep on going cause you are an IRONMAN! Rock it!!
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