Race Report from Ironman Texas, by Philip Deeter. In addition to being a member of District Multisport, Philip is a professional masseuse, USA Triathlon Level One Coach, and team partner -- learn more at his website, The DEETERmined Athlete.
Some big wins, and some really disappointing mistakes. Here's how it went down:
Pre-race: My training was consistent and I added more strength into my plan over the past four months. My knee was a little weird (the one injured in my 2015 bike accident), but no real pain to speak of. I just have this odd, movable lump above the knee. The PT said to listen to it, and I have been over the past four weeks. Overall, I felt pretty good and slept (and ate) well the whole week.
Swim: I have never been kicked, slapped and pushed so much in a swim! The course is pretty narrow, and I expected some contact, but not like this. After the first turn, I was able to break free for a bit and get into a groove. But as we made the turn into the canal, it got sloppy and bumpy again. I got out of the water in 1:35, an average time for me. What I discovered after was that my pace was the fastest I've ever swam! But it doesn't matter how fast you go if you don't swim straight. Adam Rippon in a beaded evening gown looks straighter than my Strava. Lesson learned? Keep up with the frequent trips to the pool, but add open water swim sessions to improve.
T1: Not my best, but not bad either. I ate a bit to make sure I started off on the bike well.
Bike: Cloudy and no wind to start. I eased into it and felt strong. After 10 miles, I was into a consistent groove. By the three-hour mark, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Despite feeling like I was holding back, my pace was well above anything I had done in previous Ironman events. My HR was steady and I just felt great! I told myself not to push because it might get hot. And then, it did.
The temp climbed as the clouds burned off, and the wind kicked up . After mile 75, I realized I had been so focused on my pace that I had fallen behind in my nutrition and hydration plan. Then I didn't want to eat and the wheels started to fall off (ed. note: not literally). I limped along the last 25 miles and what had started so well, ended poorly. I still had a 16 min PR for the bike, but I knew the run was going to be difficult.
NOTE: Cheating was rampant. Draft packs of 15, 20 and 30 riders were common. It was pathetic. The race officials also measured the bike course two miles short, but never announced that fact to the riders before the race. IM Texas is supposed to be the North American Championship. But the bike course was more like a joke. I NEVER saw a single race official on the course ... just several crashes with riders helping other riders.
T2: I was a mess, had to go to the bathroom and just tried to rehydrate and regroup. I think it tied my slowest T2 ever.
Run: I use the term loosely.
At IM Boulder, I was very dehydrated coming off the bike (altitude), so I walked the first three miles, drank and drank, and later was able to run the remaining 23 miles at a good clip. Not the case in Texas. It wasn't until Mile 12 that I was hydrated enough to be able to take a deep breath and feel like I had the energy to run. I picked it up at Mile 13 and got my planned pace back. I hoped I could at least run the remainder. But after another bathroom break at Mile 19, the course was dark ... really dark. I feared that I would trip and the glow sticks weren't cutting it. I really needed a head lamp. So I walked until I reached town.
I was really feeling down. I had guarded hopes that this might be a breakthrough race for me.
But I tried to focus on the things I did well all season.
I saw Ripley and Chris as I started the run and got kisses from both! And despite the late hour, I didn't feel beat up or destroyed ... for better or worse. Then, as I approached Mile 25, a big Texan with his friends shouted out, "Hey, dude! Are you ever going to do another one?!"
I looked over and instantly yelled back, "Lake Placid this July!"
As I passed him, he laughed a big Texan laugh, and yelled, "Holy shit! Another IM and he's still smiling during this one!"
At that point, my mood lightened and I was happy. I was about to finish my 10th Ironman and, despite some warts, it was a success ... because I was doing what I loved, and still smiling while doing it.
See you in Lake Placid, my friends. I'm going to be laser focused!