Category Archives: At the Races

Kōkua: Helping Others One Triathlon at a Time

Posted by on Thursday, September 5, 2013 @ 11:04 am | Leave a reply

By Nicole Clark

Back in February, I heard from my husband, Nick Clark, about the potential for a Newton Running Ambassador Team. Then, I noticed the application on Facebook to apply for the inaugural IRONMAN Foundation Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon team. It took me about a week to finish up the application process and another month until I received an official email stating that I was chosen to be part of the team.

Being part of this team is quite an honor. We have more than 40 teammates from around North America with one common goal: to give back to the communities in which we are racing. Our team motto is kōkua, which means “extending loving, sacrificial help to others for their benefit, not for personal gain…” This sums up exactly what our team is all about. I wanted to be part of a team that wasn’t focused on PR’s, splits and power, although that is perfectly fine, I felt like this team was going to be more than just that.  I love training, racing and being at different venues, but raising money for the different charities and community outreach programs for select IRONMAN races has been an amazing experience to be part of.

Kokua

I am fortunate enough to live in a great community. I have amazing friends and family all over the country who have supported this experience. I reached out to a local restaurant in Louisville, Colorado, Lucky Pie, where they support fundraising events. They were kind enough to allow me to host a silent auction social. We had wonderful local business who donated for the event, ranging from teeth whitening, local triathlon shop packages, to autographed Craig Alexander Newton Running visors. We also had representation from Newton Running, Ironman and IMF teammates.

The monies raised by my teammates and I will go to local Henderson charities served by the IRONMAN Foundation at the IRONMAN World Championship 70.3: Coronado High School Band, Coronado High School, Clark County School District, Foothills High School, Student Council Getting 2 Tri Foundation, Grant a Gift Autism Foundation, Green Valley C.H.A.N.C.E., Green Valley Women’s Basketball, Green Valley Wrestling, Greenspun Junior High, Henderson Lacrosse Club, James Gibson Elementary, Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation, Pinecrest Academy, SECTA Student Organization of Latinos and Somerset Academy of Las Vegas.

I qualified back in September 2012 at Branson 70.3 for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships 2013.  What a great set up for the year ahead. This made fun planning for upcoming races. Leading up to Vegas, I raced the Boulder Tri Series and Kansas 70.3. I had the opportunity to race Vegas two years ago, while living in Florida. Now that I live in Colorado, with the ability to train at altitude and really knowing how to ride hills while also having the advantage of knowing what the course is like, I feel like I am a little more seasoned and prepared for a great race. I’m really looking forward to having fun, enjoying the weekend with family and friends coming to support me and meeting new teammates at our charity project.

Ironman 70.3 World Championships donation page
Nicole Clark’s Blog
IRONMAN Foundation Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team
Share

Training with KPeasey

Posted by on Thursday, August 15, 2013 @ 8:32 am | Leave a reply

By Kyle Pease

Brent and Kyle Pease are a team of brothers from Atlanta Georgia who compete together in athletic competitions — despite the fact that Kyle is relegated to a wheelchair, the result of Cerebral Palsy at birth. Brent, his older brother, pushes, pedals and paddles Kyle in 5k’s, 10k’s, marathons and triathlons to encourage those who witness their efforts that anything is possible. Through their foundation, The Kyle Pease Foundation, the duo raise funds to promote success for persons with disabilities by providing assistance to meet their individual needs through sports.  

story_profile_pic

The following is from Kyle Pease’s blog: Where There is a Wheel There’s a Way:

I’ve been finding it difficult to fall asleep at night knowing that everything that Brent and I have been working toward is just around the corner. Up until this point, the greatest moment of our running career occurred recently at the Peachtree 10K, where we became the first assisted pair in the long history of the race to compete. It doesn’t get any better than the local crowds cheering our names as we traveled 6.2 miles through the familiar streets of our hometown Atlanta…or does it?

Now, just two months later, Brent and I will make Pease history as we try to have the word “Ironman” etched next to our names. For this, we will cover 140.6 miles through the water and roadways of rural Madison, Wisconsin — 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles on the bike, and finishing with the 26.2 mile marathon. Our goal is to break the 17-hour mark, which of course would make us forever IRONMEN. But even though Brent and I are hoping for a time between 14 and 16 hours, I’ll be honest anything this side of 16:59:59 is good enough. But that one second, is the second that differentiates an Ironman from a couple of guys who competed to truly becoming Ironmen.

601356_690503014308926_868084656_n

Now, as strange as some people find it, I have been training harder than I ever have in my life. Many people think that I have the easy part. Although Brent may agree with them while he’s paddling, pedaling and pushing me for 140.6 miles, it is important for me to be prepared for this, too. I have never sat on a bike for nearly nine hours and the average human body is not likely to fare well without proper preparation. Brent and I are training far longer and more often than we normally do in order to get both of our bodies used to the many miles and hours out on the course. I’ve been eating better than I normally do and have been trying to increase my liquid intake. I’m struggling a bit there, as I don’t really enjoy drinking water, but it’s very important to stay hydrated. It would be a shame if Brent was up to the task, but I wasn’t. It’s important to me to not let my brother and my teammate down.

My trainer, Matthew Rose, (yes I have a trainer) tells me to visualize the shoot. The thought of 45,000 screaming fans lining the shoot at the end of the race is something I just can’t imagine, despite his efforts to help me mentally imagine what it will be like. That is the golden carrot hanging just in front of me that will motivate and inspire me and subsequently inspire Brent to the finish line.

Yet, there’s one very important thing for my readers and our fans to remember, becoming an Ironman is not and never will be for or about Brent and me. It’s about our Foundation and the people who we are hoping to inspire: People who see what we are about to accomplish and believe that anything is possible through our efforts.

We are very proud of the Kyle Pease Foundation and take great pleasure in seeing the looks on the faces of the athletes who compete with us. It is exciting to know that through the efforts of a few, we have impacted the lives of many. Although Brent and I will be thrilled to wear the Ironman medal around our necks on the evening of September 8th, we really know that the medal symbolically hangs from the necks of all those friends, fans, athletes and sponsors of the Kyle Pease Foundation. We know that through their continued inspiration and efforts that the only thing that will not be humanly possible is finishing in a second more than 16:59:59. Off to Wisconsin!

1017311_671601256199102_719400926_n

 

Share

Never Give In: Running the Inca Trail Marathon

Posted by on Monday, July 29, 2013 @ 9:16 am | Leave a reply

Never Give In: Running the Inca Trail Marathon

How tough could running the Inca Trail be? Getting to the Inca Trail was much easier than Antarctica. No boats, no hurricane, just a 5-mile hike into the start line the day before the marathon. We arrived on a Saturday, a few days before the race, in a cute, little, town called Cusco, Peru. Here, we would spend several days acclimating to 12,000 feet and drinking lots of coca tea. The locals consider coca tea leaves to be the miracle plant for acclimatizing. Everywhere you go in Cusco, there are coca tea leaves, which you either chew or use to make tea.

Peru Marathon

I didn’t experience any significant issues going from 7,000 feet to 12,000 feet. Some people get nauseated, headaches, decreased appetite and even fatigue. We did several 4-5 mile downhill runs over the next couple days to get used to running in the altitude. Tuesday we hiked into our race camp near the start of the Inca Trail. We slept in tents and prepared for a 4 a.m. race start time. The park entrance into Machu Picchu closes at 3:30 p.m. every day. An early morning race start would give us 11.5 hours to reach this gate, which lies 2 miles from the actual finish line inside Machu Picchu. Those runners who don’t make the cutoff either camp out for the night on the Inca Trail at make shift camps set up by the race organizers, Andes Adventures, or take a path down to a different finish line below Machu Picchu.

Race night was short and not the most ideal preparation for a long running day. A 2 a.m. breakfast cooked by the Peruvian porters consisting of porridge, pancakes and bananas was definitely a good start though! There would be over 30 porters that would assist us on race day. They would carry our 22kg ration of gear we used for camping and assist us along the race course with water stops as well as encouragement and any other issues that might arise.

In the 18-year history of this race, only once had it rained!  We can now make that twice! Within the first hundred yards of starting the marathon, raindrops began to fall, turning the trail into a rocky, muddy mess. The biggest obstacle to navigate in the first couple hours of darkness was the huge “cow pies” on the trail left by the farm animals that inhabited and roamed the first mountain pass. What a slippery mess they were! Once again it was the Newton trainers that served me well. I chose a lighter trainer shoe on the trails over the Newton trail shoe, but that is just my preference.

Peru Marathon 3

The toughest challenge may not have been the climate or the elevation. We would climb about 10,400 feet and descend 11,000 feet over the course of the day. I experienced some swelling in my fingers that was very noticeable as I reached Dead Woman’s Pass at 13,799 feet. After the race, I realized I wasn’t the only one experiencing this. It is common at these elevations to experience swelling in your extremities. My fingers looked like little sausages, but quickly went away after I descended to lower altitudes. The high altitude affected my normal race appetite also. I found myself not drinking and taking in the energy gels as planned.

Each of these marathons has been a great learning experience. I have become much better at listening to my body and adapting to the different challenges I face during these runs. Instead of only consuming my normal nutrition that had served me well in training runs, I had to switch it up and grab a cup of chicken broth. That seemed to work very well for me. My body was probably craving a little more sodium than usual. Despite my lack of thirst, I knew I was behind in my water intake and had to keep up on my hydration. My hydration pack made that much easier, since there was little effort needed to just take sips frequently along the way. Your hydration pack is crucial in these races. I had mine under my running jacket during the race so I didn’t have to remove my hydration pack each time I needed to put my jacket on or off. A hydration pack should just feel like a part of your body. The last thing you need to worry about is something bouncing on your back or chaffing you.

So what was the toughest challenge? The rocks and stone steps that lined the 26.2 miles of the Inca Trail were probably the biggest challenge of the day. Climbing the two-foot steps, which never seemed to end, provided a huge challenge to the hamstrings. I can’t even tell you how many false summits there are on that course. You think you are at the top and you get there and realize, “You’re not!” After all the long climbs, there would then be a long rocky descent, which entailed never-ending pounding to your feet on uneven stones. The descents were a true test of how well you had trained your quads. This was the first marathon that I wore my 110% Play Harder Compression Soxs during the race and not just for recovery after. I think it made a huge difference in how fresh my legs felt at the end of this grueling 9-hour run. You can bet you will see me running the longer distances in them in the future as well.

I never set out to win the Inca Trail Marathon. I just wanted to have the best possible race for me that day. The number “3” has been following me for a while, 3rd place overall female in Kenya and Antarctica Marathon! I am always thinking to myself, “Is today going to be the perfect race?” We must admit, we all dream of that perfect race or perfect competition. My training is always purposeful; I fuel my body nutritionally and prepare mentally for success as an athlete, especially as an endurance runner. The Inca Trail Marathon wasn’t the perfect race for me, but I was the best female runner given the circumstances on that course, on that given day. That race proved age is not a barrier and certainly, as the 4th place finisher overall that day, gender is not a barrier.

Peru Marathon 2

What do I remember most about that day? It probably isn’t standing on the finish line with my first overall female marathon win. It is the memories of me trying to race the porters on the descents and still not being able to keep up with them as they descended the stone paths with a 100-pound pack on their back. It was the reality that all the hikers I would pass on the Inca Trail that day would take 4-5 days to complete the Inca Trail, something I would complete in just 9 hours and 18 minutes. It was sharing my iphone the night before the race with two young Peruvian girls so they could play games and escape their isolated reality for a while. It was donating my clothing, as well as my brothers’ clothing, to the nearly 40 porters that would assist us on race day so that their families would have clothing. Or maybe it was waiting at the finish to not only see my mom run an 11 hour 20 minute marathon, but also to be on the podium with me as the 3rd place overall female.

The victory on the Inca Trail was not only a personal victory, but more importantly, a victory for prostate cancer awareness! Next stop is the Sunrise to Sunset Marathon in remote Mongolia at the end of this month. Following Mongolia is New Zealand and Athens, Greece later this year. In the end, I hope that I inspire others and teach the world to Never Give In. Never Give In despite the odds, despite your circumstances, despite your age, despite your gender, despite what others might say.

NEVER GIVE IN!

Sig

 

Join Team Winter or make a Donation!

Share

Just say “Yes”: Winter’s World Marathon Tour for prostate cancer

Posted by on Friday, July 19, 2013 @ 9:14 am | Leave a reply

Very few can truly say they grew up in Newtons. In 2007, the year that Newton Running Company launched, my foot was too small for them. I was just 8 years old and already a seasoned runner, competing in 5K’s and 10K’s. My foot swam inside a size 5. I was left to stare in envy at my mom’s pink Newtons.

I remember my mom coming home from the 2007 Ironman World Championships, where she volunteered in the medical tent as a physician. She had a shiny, new pair of pink running shoes. Little did my mom know that when she bought one of the very first pair of Newtons, she would be supporting research of the cancer that would steal her husband and take my dad. A portion of the proceeds from that shoe benefited prostate cancer, a cancer unfortunately all too well known to the co-founder of Newton Running, Jerry Lee.

Jerry and Winter

In 2008, I attended Ironman Lake Placid — my first Ironman! I was just 9 years old, overlooking the Olympic Oval full of bikes. I crossed the finish line with my idol, my mom (when kids were still allowed to cross the line with parents). I was dressed just like her, pink Newtons and all. I knew then, Ironman Lake Placid would be on my bucket list! It was there that I remember meeting a man who slipped that first pink pair of size 5 Newtons on my feet. Newtons have never left my feet since. I now call Jerry Lee and his company “family” and I race for him as well as my dad and the 1 in 6 men affected by prostate cancer around the world.

IM LP

The following year, 2009, would redefine my life. I would now have to live without my dad physically by my side. I made a vow with my brothers, that we would chase prostate cancer to the end of the world and stomp it out like it stomped our dad out! It was the birth of Team Winter. I had completed an Olympic Distance Triathlon just months before my dad’s passing. It was the last race he would hug me at the finish line. It was a race many said I couldn’t finish and that I was too young. Little did the critics know, that was just the beginning for me.

Memorial

Now, at age 14, I have four marathons, on four continents, under my race belt. It hasn’t been easy though. The journey to the start line of these marathons is the real story. Running the marathons has become the easy part! “You’re too young,” “You can’t run our marathon, but you can run our 5K,” “Wait until you get older,” “You must be 18 years old,” “NO!” Over and over, these are the responses that I got when I set out to become the youngest person to run a marathon on all seven continents.

It is all part of my dream that I began planning at 10 years of age, a World Marathon Tour for Prostate Cancer Awareness. I wanted to achieve this world record in memory of my dad and the men and their families affected by prostate cancer. I guess it’s a good thing my mom taught me “Never take ‘No’ for an answer,” never accept, “You can’t,” “You won’t”, “You shouldn’t”. If I had let these thoughts enter my mind, my marathon tour probably would not have got very far. I honestly can’t even tell you how many “No’s” my mom and I got from race directors around the world. I lost count, but never lost faith and hope.

Eugene Marathon, in April 2012, would kick off my World Marathon Tour. The Newton trainer has always been my favorite distance running shoe. This shoe would help me run my first marathon at age 13 in 3:45:04, just 5 minutes shy of a Boston Marathon qualifying time. Next stop was Kenya, the Amazing Maasai. It was my first trail marathon and despite a strong field of Kenyans, I placed 3rd overall female. I took over 20 pairs of my old Newton running shoes that I had worn over the years and donated them to the young Kenyan runners, many of whom ran in sandals made from tires. It was incredible to run against the Kenyans who have become some of the fastest runners in the world.

Winter Running

 

Winter in Africa

My next two marathons would challenge even the seasoned runners. After consulting Newton, we decided to bring out the retired Newton all-weather trainer. This proved extremely beneficial as I headed to the “End of the World”. My 3rd marathon would take place on the rugged, frozen tundra of Antarctica. What could possibly top that marathon? Well, the cancellation of my original South America marathon, Galapagos, had me now facing the “toughest marathon in the world”, Peru’s Inca Trail Marathon.

Winter in Antartica

How does anyone even train for such a race on the Inca Trail at nearly 14,000 feet? My run coach, Mark Hadley, was not even fazed by the change in races. He quickly put together a running plan filled with hill runs and more hill runs. Never once did he doubt or question my ability to tackle such an extreme marathon.

As an Olympic hopeful for the 2018 Winter Olympics in aerial skiing, I fortunately live in Park City, Utah, where I’m consistently training and running at 7,000 plus feet of elevation. I did as my run coach said and faithfully put in all the long runs. Not to forget, recovering with ice baths and foam rolling! I threw in a lot of cross training with swimming, mountain biking, aerial ski training and lots of weight training to maintain a really strong core. I had just come back from setting a world record for the youngest person to run 26.2 miles in Antarctica in March. How tough could the Inca Trail be?

Sig

Check back here next week to find out!

 

Join Team Winter or make a Donation!

Share

Tim Berkel – IRONMAN Cairns Race Report

Posted by on Friday, June 14, 2013 @ 12:52 pm | Leave a reply

Tim Berkel running his way to a 2nd place finish!

Tim Berkel running his way to a 2nd place finish!

About a month ago, I had a rethink of my season, and made some mid-season alterations to my calendar, and my focus for the remainder of 2013. Rather than bore you with the details of the next six months, I’ll try to cover these races as they happen.

Several weeks ago I began my preparation to do an Olympic distance race (i.e. Port Douglas 5150) on one weekend, then back it up the following weekend with the Cairns Ironman 70.3.  The reason I decided to do these races is that it had been such a long time between races and also coming off a chest infection, I just wanted to see where I was at in terms of fitness.  The 5150 was mainly a hit-out event, and I was preparing myself to have a good crack at the Ironman 70.3.

So the 5150 race was great, I felt good and enjoyed it, I got a 6th place there, which was what I expected for the field of athletes, and my ability in short course racing. I spent the week in Port Douglas (about an hour drive north of Cairns, Queensland) training with Clayton “Clayto” Fettel and Joey Lampe. I had recovered so well and was feeling on top of my game.  Clayto was racing the full Ironman, while Joey and I had booked our start for the Ironman 70.3, which was being held simultaneously with the full distance event in Cairns.

Then, in a moment of sheer stupidity, the thought came into my mind to give the Ironman a crack.  With no proper Ironman-build in my training, and only six days from race start, I tossed out the idea to my Team.  Weirdly enough, I got the support of my coach, manager, and wife, which mutually supported the idea, and with less than six days to go, I got the go ahead to do Ironman Cairns. My preparation for this race was not what I usually do, as it was all about the 70.3 distance, so it was to be interesting to see how the body would hold up.

Race morning/wife’s birthday, I was lucky enough to see a nice clear ocean , which I was told was infested with Croc’s (the reptile, not the fluorescent foam shoes) and only a little whisper of breeze. My swim was pretty crappy and I came out further back than I normally do due to missing two weeks of swimming (as I had a chest infection leading into this race).  So after a quick transition I was onto the bike and looking forward to a scenic ride up the coastline and seeing the gorgeous tropical North Queensland …I wish!!!

It was “balls to the wall” to play catch up to just get back onto the main pack of riders I was expecting to come out of the water with.  So I caught New Zealand ‘s Cam Brown, Matty White and Todd Israel around 15km mark.  Knowing that Luke McKenzie, Clayto, and Chris “Macca” McCormack weren’t in that group, I knew I had caught onto the group riding in equal forth.

Another 15km up the road we caught Macca. Feeling quite good, I was driving the group up into Port Douglas.  Macca took a turn up front and I was sitting second with Cam, Matty and Todd still intact.  We approached a bit of a tight spot on the road, and we naturally bunched up, and there was a Technical Official sitting off the back of our group.  He rode up to me and issued me a drafting penalty. It was a silly mistake, where I wasn’t able to drop back quick enough in a technical section of the course.  He might not have had the best angle to see it, but he made the call, and I had to cop it.

It was a little disappointing as I felt I had been off the front of my group for most of the ride and this happens in such a silly spot. So I then decided to surge forward and haul a$$ up the road as I had to get into the penalty box, knowing I didn’t want to lose the ground I made to even catch these boys in the first place.  Plus I knew I still had Luke and Clayto out front, which is a scary combination, as they both are strong cyclist.  In my angered state, I was able to gain around 2 mins by the time I jumped into the penalty box (…with a gorgeous view might I add).

When I saw the boys go past, I might have uttered a few choice words, and I apologize to the Technical Officials which were staffing the Penalty Box.  My emotions may have gotten the best of me in that situation, but I had already worked so hard after a poor swim, to have to claw myself back again.  After my penalty was served, I was out of the box on a mission.  I caught the boys back at around the 130km mark.

On the ride back into T2 us boys were having a little friendly banter when Matty White decides to pull a turn… Coming past me, he says “I’m a #@%ing cheat”.  LOL.  Makes the ride a lot more enjoyable when you have good guys out there, keeping you motivated, and talking a bit of smack.

Back into the transition I was told a few splits and McKenzie was 21:58 up the road.  Geeeeezzzz, I thought to myself – I’ve got a bit of work, and it was going to have to happen quick smart.  So Macca and I ran together for a bit, before he took off.  I let him go, but soon caught back up to him. Macca didn’t seem his usual self, which was understandable due to him being in hospital at the start of the week with a Kidney infection.

We ran together for around 4km and Macca was feeling worse, poor guy. I then dropped Macca and whilst running I saw McKenzie on the way back from the Yorky’s Nob loop, and it was pretty clear to me he had a massive lead. I thought to myself the only way I was going to make time up was to run hard into the head wind.

I overtook Clayto which put me in second place.  I kept getting splits from the awesome spectators lining the course.  It’s a long run into town, then multiple loops along the foreshore, so the end of the race is full of spectators.  I was consistently reducing the 21:58 deficit that Luke built on his Swim/Bike combination.

I ended up crossing the line in second, and was only 4:38 back, taking over 17 minutes of Luke’s lead at T2.  I ran a 2:44:24 marathon which was over 10 minutes faster than the second fastest Marathon of the day.  I guess looking back now the results it could have been a little different if I didn’t get my drafting penalty.  As I could take 4 minutes off my time, and possibly fresher legs at not having to play catch up twice during the bike leg.  But all-in-all, I can’t complain and I have lived and learned from my mistakes …until next race!

Well done to Luke McKenzie on a champion effort. Also, I take my visor off to Macca – legend, and tough as nails!

So for me now the game plan is a few easy days then back into it as I head back to the states for a couple of races in a few weeks.

Thanks again to my wife-Bel, family and supporters, my Manager (Mike), the doggies. Sponsors; Scody, Giant, Newton Running, Daikin Air Conditioners, Endura, Shimano, Oakley, Garmin, Blue Seventy, Altitude Training Systems, Continental Tyres, Hypnotic Zoo, Scicon.

Special mention to my Coach-Grant Giles. Thanks for always believing in me and pushing me to succeed when I thought I possibly couldn’t. He is a great mentor, friend, and supporter and the number one coach. Go Team Aeromax!!!

 

Cheers,

Tim

 

Share

Race Preview: Ironman Texas

Posted by on Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 10:49 am | Leave a reply

Ironman Texas

by: Alex Weber

I chose to race Ironman Texas, first and foremost, because I wanted my first ironman race to be in my home state of Texas.  I get sentimental with races sometimes and felt like I wanted this accomplishment to be close to home.  The course had a reputation for being flat and spectator friendly, which I was also really excited about!  If you are from Texas, or anywhere in the south, it is especially easy to travel to the race and there are lots of options for hotels and restaurants nearby.  Even if you are from out of town, IAH international airport is only about 30 minutes away from the race venue. This race is a great excuse for out of town athletes to experience Texas and all the state has to offer.

Check In

Check in for the race was very organized with lots of volunteers.  Everything was clearly labeled and explained, which a relief was since this was my first 140.6. The race packets also had lots of great “goodies” inside.  Keep in mind that the expo/check in is located outside though which can get pretty warm (May in Texas).  If you are racing but still want to do some shopping at the expo, I would suggest going earlier in the day and taking fluids with you to stay hydrated.

Swim Preview

The swim course was pretty simple with only a few turns, therefore only having a few opportunities for bottlenecks with the swimmers.  The first turn is about ¾ of a mile out, leaving time for the athletes to spread out and get in a groove before having to take a sharp turn.  The first turn was the only congested part of the swim course.  Beware that once athletes take the last turn into the canal part of the swim, the water can get pretty choppy since the canal is not very wide.  However, it is most likely that the athletes will be spread out enough by then to eliminate some of the waves.  Also, athletes should plan on warm water temperatures and most likely not needing a wetsuit if they feel comfortable swimming without one.  The course is only one loop which is much easier than having to do two loops that require more energy to enter and exit the water multiple times.

[CLICK FOR SWIM COURSE MAP]

Bike Preview

The bike course is also one large loop, with sufficient markers and volunteers stationed at possible points of confusion.  The majority of the course is flat and fast, which allows athletes to get comfortable in their aero positions and race at a good pace.  It is very important to remember fluids on the bike course as the weather has the potential to be very hot.  Aid stations are located every ten miles with sufficient water, energy drinks and food for the athletes but it is important that athletes always have enough water on them.

I felt pretty good on the bike up until around mile 90 when my body hit a little wall.  In order to stay focused and encouraged, I started to treat the aid stations as small “goals” that I had to reach.  By mentally giving myself shorter goals along the long course, I was able to distract myself and keep pushing to the transition area. The course is not very spectator friendly for those who parked in the race venue area at the Woodlands Waterway because traffic makes it hard for spectators to get in/out with cars.  The best place for spectators to see the athletes is at the beginning of the course (before athletes leave the Waterway) and when they return to T2.  A significant amount of the course winds through quiet, country roads with very few cars or people, thus it is important that athletes have enough nutrition and bike maintenance supplies.  However, other parts of the course are on busier roads where the only the shoulder or right lane is blocked off for the riders.

[CLICK FOR BIKE COURSE MAP]
[CLICK HERE FOR BIKE COURSE ELEVATION PROFILE]

Run Preview

The run was definitely the best part of the race.  The course was three loops and very spectator friendly.  Part of the course runs along the canal while the back half winds through neighborhoods.  The course was pretty flat and very well marked, with no confusion for the athletes and aid stations promptly stationed at every mile.  To my surprise, I felt pretty good on the run, giving the credit to the awesome people out there cheering and my Newton shoes of course!  The last mile before the finish was amazing with the huge crowd and winding finish, definitely making all of the hard work worth it in the end.

[CLICK FOR RUN COURSE MAP]
[CLICK HERE FOR RUN COURSE ELEVATION PROFILE]

Transition Preview

Transition was well organized and clearly marked for the athletes.  Lots of volunteers were available in the changing tents which was helpful.   I actually took quite a long break in T2 and had a quick chat with some of the volunteers while I ate my peanut butter sandwich (15 minutes to be exact!).  They were more than happy to have the company in the tent.  Always be sure to thank the fantastic volunteers along the way!

Summary & Tips for Spectators

The whole race venue is great for spectators, with the Marriott hotel located right next to the expo and lots of good restaurants and a movie theater right in the area.  However, trying to drive around on race day could pose problems for spectators.  The bike course uses one of the only roads that leads into the Woodlands Waterway area (where all of the race activities occur) so spectators could find themselves in slow moving traffic if they want to leave/return during the race.  I would suggest spectators parking in the race venue area and planning on staying in the Waterway area all day.  Spectators could bring a bike to ride around the course area in order to cheer on the athletes.  Lots of restaurants, shopping and a movie theater will provide entertainment while the athletes are racing.

Overall, Ironman Texas was a great experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in racing.  It was a great venue, volunteers, course and spectators and I would definitely race it again.

Have you raced Ironman Texas? What did you think?

Share

Day one of the 2013 Boston Marathon!

Posted by on Friday, April 12, 2013 @ 9:08 pm | Leave a reply

The entire Newton Running crew had a very busy day for the opening of the 2013 Boston Marathon expo today! While the expo crew was inside the Hynes center getting shoes on feet, Brandon and the Ginger Runner were out on the street getting soaked and meeting people. Here’s a brief recap of a day that was soaking but didn’t really dampen our spirits.

Share