Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And It Begins (again)

So I am done with recovery.  Over it.  Time to move on.

Yesterday I finalized a new training plan that will carry me to the next series of races and since I am not a big waster of time that new training plan begins today!

Here is my race schedule for the remainder of the year:

Tejas Sprint Triathlon - June 5th
Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon 70.3 - June 26th
Rev3 Cedar Half Rev - September 11th
Redman Triathlon 70.3 - September 24th
Rev3 Anderson South Carolina Olympic - October 9th

  • Joel @ Tri-Madness is known for doing  interviews with Pro Triathletes in his "Ten Questions With ...."  Series.  Well, today he went the other direction and interviewed an average MOP triathlete, ME!   So if you want to learn more about the man who runs this very blog jump on over to Joel's interview (Click Here).
  • This weekend was extremely productive:  The House is CLEAN!  Annie and I dug deep and got the house back to the no-longer-embarrassed-to-have-people-over-stage.  I even steam cleaned the carpets!
  • We saw The Hangover 2 on Saturday.  It had some funny parts but I would give it a ranking of OK.   As you expect from a sequel it recycled some of the funny moments from the original movie and went even more over the top with some of the jokes.  But as I was sitting in the theater I kept looking at the time even though I had nothing to do afterwards?
  • People came over for a cookout on Monday and the house is no longer clean ...sigh.
  • The Kestrel 4000 got a cleaning last night and is ready to be rocked.  This evening will be the first time I have been on the bike since IMTX and I cannot wait!
  • Annie and our friends tried to sit outside under a tree yesterday while I was cooking on the grill.  It was 95 degrees.  They last about 10 minutes.  The Houston summer is in full effect!
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cubs 10-0 on Saturday afternoon.  No real reason for typing this other than I wanted to see it in print.  Scores like these do not happen to the Pirates!
Thanks for Reading,


Friday, May 27, 2011

Random Thoughts ...

  • It has been 5 days since IMTX and I am feeling wonderful.  The legs have been feeling good since Sunday morning and the soreness wa completely gone by Tuesday.
  • A HUGE Thank You to all of you that commented, emailed, or tweeted about the IMTX Race Report.  It was very cool and I am appreciative!
  • I have only done one workout since the race and that was a 4mi with the LifeTime Fitness Run Club on Wednesday evening.  It was your typical Houston day with 95 degree heat and dripping humidity.  The first two miles felt a little labored but after that I found my groove and held a 6:15pace for the final mile with a sprint at the end.
  • After this week I am going to start training in earnest again.  I figure the body will be completely healed up and I do not want to lose all of my IM fitness so back at it.
  • Annie has been freaking killing it the last couple of weeks - she has been putting long swims at the pool and running like a mad woman.  She has a Sprint Tri next Sunday and is going to do so good.  It is hard being married to a crazy triathlete that gets up at 4am and goes to bed at 8pm (-: 
  • Pretty sure I am done with The Biggest Loser.  I love the show and the premise but I am so sick of every single freaking thing these people do being treated like they cured cancer.  It is more the production than  the contestants that has tired me.  I mean this year they were jumping out of a building, (queue dramatic music) yeah it is cool, but all the contestants tried to parallel the meaning of jumping out of a building with "letting go" or "overcoming obstacles" ... blah, blah, blah ... this is just one minor example.  I mean can't it just be fun to jump out of a freaking building?  Why does it have to have some symbolic meaning in association with weight loss?  I seriously think the producers encourage the contestant to say these things and after years of this they have hardened my heart - I'm out.
  • Have you ever seen the show with Monica from Friends called "Cougar Town"?  Annie and I have caught a few minutes of a few shows and it is an absolute train wreck.  The dialog is beyond awful - it makes me want to ram scissors in my ears.
  • On Monday Annie and a bunch of our friends are running in a 5k that finishes in Minute Maid Park.  We did it last year and the post race spread was the best I have ever seen.  However, this year will be different because I am not running.  Instead I have been put in charge of ... wait for it .. wait for it ... WATCHING CHILDREN!  Yep, no one saw that coming right?  3yr old and 5yr old boys - they will probably end up watching me!
  • Next Race:  Well, I have two options.  Do the Sprint Tri with Annie next Sunday or do Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 on June 26th.  Or a 3rd option is to do both!  The BSLT is considered one of the more difficult 70.3 races out there because the bike course is crazy hilly.  You go up and down canyons!  What do you think I should do?
  • Hope every one has an awesome holiday weekend!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ironman Texas Race Report

Jeff Irvin
Ironman Texas: May 21, 2011
Overall Time:  12:19:51
Overall Place:  584/2165
The Woodlands, TX - 91*F/Freaking Hot

On the first Tuesday of December 2010 I woke up at 4am and went to swim.  This was the first day of training for Ironman Texas.  That day was pretty uneventful as far as workouts go but it was the first step (or stroke) of what turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my entire life.  It seem like it was so long ago.

My goal in this post is to share the outcome of this journey with all of you.  However, I must warn it will be long.  Grab a comfy chair, a sandwich, and a cold beer because this sucker is going to make War & Peace look like a short story!


It has been less than two days since I crossed the finish line and heard Mike Reilly announce, Jeff Irvin You Are An Ironman, and it is still a completely surreal experience.  I have been trying to write this race report since last night and really still have no idea where to even begin?  I guess we will just jump right in from the beginning!

Friday - Practice Swim & Bike Check

The practice swim was scheduled for 8am on Friday morning at Lake Woodlands.  The water temperature was 76 degrees and the talk of the morning was whether the swim would be wetsuit legal or not.  If the temperature was above 76.1 then it would be a non-wetsuit swim.  However, the twist was that you could still wear a wetsuit except you would not be eligible for Age Group awards or a Kona slot  AND you would have to walk over a different timing mat as you entered the swim start.  It was supposed to rain that night so we would not know the temperature until the morning.

The swim practice was awesome because Annie and I got to hang out with my Trakkers Teammates Rachelle and Anne.  And also blogger buddies IronBob, Shannon, and Ryan (White Hot).  A bunch of friends from my Tri Club, BeginnnerTriathlete, and Houston Racing where there and everyone was in a great mood - just a fun time! 

"Hey Shannon, do these funky tan lines make my butt look big?"

My good buddy Patrick and I jumped in and did about 800m just to get a feel for the water.  It was a little chilly at first but after 100m or so I was warm and pretty much decided I was going to swim sans wetsuit and use my TYR Torque Swimskin.

League of Extraordinary Tri-Geeks Uniforms?
We then headed to breakfast and then to check our bikes and gear bags in at transition.  This was an extremely smooth and easy process.  From there it was a quick lunch and then time to relax in the hotel room and stay out of the sun and off of the feet.  Bob even texted me to make sure this was occurring - he is always looking out for me!!  Thanks Buddy!

Bike Racked in First Full Row - Rockstar Parking!
A little later Jason arrived and stopped by the hotel.  He was going to be staying at our house which is about 20 minutes from the Woodlands and taking care of our pugs, Ernie and Bailey.  He showed up when I was getting all of my nutrition together so we talked some shop for awhile.  Hell of a good dude!  A big thanks to Jason for making the 4hr drive from Dallas to support and volunteer.  If any of you are considering volunteering at an Ironman please read Jason's post (here) about his experience!  

We then headed off to dinner with my buddy Mike and his family and Rob from First Endurance.  You all know how much I love First Endurance nutrition and after meeting Rob I like FE even more.  Really cool guy who loves Endurance sports.  Contact me (or read any of my myriad of posts) about First Endurance if you want to learn about my IM nutrition.  

After dinner it was early to bed ...

Saturday - Race Day

.... and early to rise, 3am.  I had a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and a bottle of Ultragen.  I then laid back down for a 45m nap and got up again at 4am.  I did some stretching, had some EFS Drink, took some salt tabs and then Annie and I headed down to transition.  

We meet up with my buddies Patrick and Bobby:

And then something really bad happened as I was topping of my tires - the stem broke off the tube on my front wheel.  I was a little freaked but Patrick stepped up and grabbed a spare tube from my hands and changed it for me.

Personal Bike Mechanic Patrick!
He got the tube changed at NASCAR pit crew pace and I slapped on the adapter and BOOM!!!  This one exploded so loud that people were ducking for cover - Pinch Flat! The first thought that came to my head was, Oh Shit!  The second thought was that I only had one tube left on my bike and would have to ride with out a spare.  Then I remembered I had two spare tubes in my special needs bag which had yet to be turned in - whew!  Disaster averted!  Take away - bring extra tubes!!!  Second tube went on without incident and Bobby keep the mood light by showing us his new haircut:

We then all made the mile walk over to the swim start and met up with our tri club and just tried to stay loose and have some fun:

Chris, Me, Patrick, Bobby, Mike, Demi & Jama

Chris was having a lot more fun then the rest of us:

Then it was time for body marking:

We all hung out for about a half hour and discussed our swim start plans.  It was then announced that the water temperature was 79 degrees and it would be a non-wetsuit swim.  Patrick and I had talked about this scenario and we decided to not wear the wetsuits.  My guess is about 400-500 people elected to wear wetsuits.  In hindsight our decision was probably not the correct one.

The Swim

I positioned myself about half way out and right in the middle.  I originally wanted to stay to the right with Bob but I got in the water early and all the other people coming in carried me to the middle.  I looked over at my friend Jama, who was right next to me, and we talked about how this was going to hurt.

Picture 2400 people in an area that can hold about 400 and you are envisioning the swim start.  With a couple minutes to go you hear Ozzy Osborne screaming I -AM -IRONMAN over the ridiculously loud PA system and I am grinning ear-to-ear thinking, This is F**cking Incredible

7:00 AM - BOOM!!!


As you can see from the pictures above the swim start was absolutely insane.  It was pretty much like this for the first 1000m or so.  People were climbing over you, you were climbing over people - I never had a chance in 2.4mi to every really find a rhythm.  The only way I can describe what occurred in the water is to flash back to the days of WWF Steal Cage Matches - it was like this except with 2400 swimmers all just trying to survive.  The first and second turn buoys were like large traffic stops except no one wanted to stop!  

After the second turn buoy we began to head back north towards the canals and the contact wasn't as bad but still not good.  It was like this until we hit the narrow canal and then it got much worse:

The Woodlands Canal - Saturday, May 21st!

The canal was nothing short of violent (but it was cool because spectators were cheering all over the place).  My swim time put me squarely in the middle of the pack and the bruises on my body prove just how congested this part was of the swim.  It was one of the worst and most awesome experiences all at the same time.  The good news was that I got out of the water feeling great and ready to ride.  My time was about 5 minutes longer than what I expected but I never expected this much contact so I was overall pleased with the performance.

I wanted to kiss the ground!
Wouldn't have been smiling like this if I knew about the swim cap crease across my head!
Swim Recap - If I had to do this over again I would have worn my wetsuit.  The temp was still cool enough (79 degrees) that I would not have overheated and the time savings a wetsuit provides would have allowed me to get ahead of the middle instead of being caught up in it.   I also would have started at the front and to the right in my wetsuit and sprinted for about 500m.  This would have allowed me to get out in front and find a rhythm that I was unable to utilize.  Another reason we did not use a wetsuit is because we were told that the people who used one would not be in the AG rankings and thus be listed in a separate ranking.  This was not the case as wetsuit swimmers were ranked right along with everyone else.  Those who choose the wetsuits made the right decision.  The lesson from this is that if you can use a wetsuit do it!  Also, it would have given me some extra padding to absorb some of the beating (-: 

Swim Total:  1:25:57

Transition #1 

This was extremely well organized and the volunteers were great.  We got out of the water and had a long snaking walk towards the changing tents where we grabbed our bike gear bags.  I found my bag and proceeded to sit down in front of the tent since I was not changing clothes.  The TYR Torque came off easy and I dried my feet and head.  I went to put on my GPS tracking device which was attached to a race belt with my number and it was loose.  For some reason I decided this would be a good time to adjust the belt and it came undone.  I fiddled with it for a little bit and eventually said screw it and just tied a knot around my waist.  Wasted so much time.

I then decided to use the porto to take a pee.  There was a line so this cost me a few minutes.  I did not care because I really had to go.  After the quality pee I grabbed my bike and navigated to the bike out location.  This was hard work as my bike was in the first rack at the back.  It was easy to find but I had the longest distance to the mount line out of any other racer.

T1 Time: 10:06

The Bike

Awesome Pic!

I stayed in the small ring and spun at about 100rpm's for the first 5 mi.  My legs were feeling great and I was extremely optimistic that I would be able to hit my bike goal of 6h 03m and a 18.5 mph/avg.  That is what I trained for and knew by holding back at this speed that my legs would not be cooked and I could get through the upcoming marathon in great shape.

The plan was to hold a 20mph avg for the first 56 miles and then take it easy as the headwind would be strong for the last 56 miles and would require some suffering.  This plan was going well until Mile 11 at the 1488 intersection when a police officer decided to halt bike traffic and make us all stop so that cars could pass.  I looked at my watch and by the time he let us go 4.5 minutes had passed.  My average speed went from 20.2 to 18.2 mph when I looked at my garmin again a couple of miles later.  Needless to say people were ticked off! Personally I did not really care, stuff happens and I can only control my attitude at this point so no big deal.

The first 55 miles were pretty uneventful.  We went through the hills of the national forest and across a couple of bumpy chip sealed areas but I had ridden the course many times so it felt like another Sunday long ride to me - just a bit slower.  At mile 56 I was at my goal pace of 20mph and stopped to grab some more EFS Drink at special needs.  

It was around mile 60 that my stomach began to really hurt.  I was afraid that I had screwed up my nutrition  but going back over everything I was spot on?  By mile 65 I could no longer stay in aero because of the stomach pain.  It was here I decided I was going to stop at the mile 70 bottle hand up and use the porto.  

Well, this was probably the best decision I made all day.  I hit the porto and just unloaded - it was awesome.  According to my watch it cost me 5 minutes (had some TP difficulties) by the time I mounted the bike again but it probably saved my race.  It was not a nutrition problem it was just a I had to really GO problem!

At about mile 75 or so I got held up by police again for 2 minutes at the 105 intersection.  This time I was more frustrated because it took a little longer to get the legs going again after the stop.  These stops should not happen on an Ironman.  Since this is a first year race and bugs are to be expected I will not make a big deal out of it but traffic stops cost me over 7 minutes on the bike - hopefully they work this out for next year.

About mile 80 we hit some headwind but it was nothing compared to some of the days we had training on the course.  I was able to find a nice pace and spin my way into the bike finish.  The crowds cheering us on heading back to the Woodlands were spectacular.  

Annie and our friends were waiting at Bike-In and I was happy to see them!
Bike Recap - I hit my time goal right on the nose. I could have easily done this ride 20-25 min faster but it would have resulted in an extra hour plus on the run - my mantra was to not cook myself on the bike - mission accomplished!  Aside from the police stops and the bathroom interruption the bike was perfect.  This is just an excellent course and I feel so blessed to have the option of riding here on my weekends.  It was an honor to share my roads with all the out-of-towners and to hear how much they all loved it.   The weather was hot and humid but was mostly overcast with a couple of sprinkles during most of the ride.

Bike Time:  6:01:17

Transition #2

I walked the length of transition with my friend Scott recapping the joys of my ride.  It was great to see him, Jason, Steve, and Dave volunteering at T2.  It is amazing how a pat on the back from some good friends can lift your spirits!

I had to hit the porto for another pee before entering the changing tent.  When I was in there I realized how damn hot it was. It had sprinkled some on the bike and the humidity had come on strong and the sun was out now.  I was sweating profusely and decided I was going to change pants and socks in the tent.  Others all had the same thought as the male nudity level was at an uncomfortable level.

Once again the volunteer in the tent was spectacular.  Opened my bag and handed me everything and made sure I was alright - just a wonderful experience.

I filled up my handheld water bottle and decided to go take another pee - would rather have a longer T2 time than add the pee break to my marathon time.  

T2 Time:  11:19

The Run

You will all undoubtedly read other race reports that describe the run at Ironman Texas using words like Carnage, Brutal or even Hell-like.  Well, these words would all be pretty accurate descriptions of what occurred on this hot and humid Saturday afternoon.

My goal for the marathon was to finish between 4-5 hrs based upon how hot it was going to be on the course.  When I took my first step out of transition and began to slowly jog I knew right away that some pain and suffering were in store for me in the near future.  I immediately cleared these negative thoughts from my head and started to smile.  As the pictures will show I kept this smile for the next 26.2 miles.  I cannot control the weather but I can control my attitude.

Luckily for me the incredible spectator and volunteer support made keeping the corners of my lips turned upwards very easy.  The marathon course is three 8.5ish mi loops.  It takes you along the plush neighborhoods and up and down the canals that are lined with restaurants and bars.  It has a rural section and an urban section seemingly steps apart.  You really could not ask for a better venue to do a 26.2 mile death march under the unrelenting Texas sun.  

Loop #1 started and I was feeling very good.  The plan was to take it easy on this loop and to utilize walk breaks through the water stations.  Around .75mi in I began to feel both of my quads begin to tighten up.  I have learned through previous race experiences that when this happens to me I need to stop running and walk the quad cramps out for a few hundred yards.  This worked to perfection and that was the last of any type of cramps for the rest of the day.

About 5mi in I was feeling awesome and was holding a decent pace running along the canal.  I knew Annie and all my friends were going to be waiting within the next mile and I could not wait to see them.  Here I am at about mile 6:

Still feeling strong!
It was shortly after this picture that I ran under the bridge and I saw Annie and the Kingwood Tri Club cheering like a bunch of crazy people.  It was so Awesome!  I actually got a little emotional when I saw all of them and am thankful I was wearing sunglasses so my man-card is still intact.

Here are some shots of all my awesome crew of supporters:

Ruth Ann, Elizabeth, and Jim taking in some hydration.
Chris, Patrick, and Annie showing how darn hard spectating can be!
Ruth Ann and Patrick helping Chris decide which hand is optimal for consuming beer!
The guys at the KTC tent swapping digits
Big Smiles from the Ladies!
The gals taking a cheering break!

Around mile 15 the suffering really began to set in.  This was the first time in the entire race when I experienced negative thoughts and really wanted the run to be over.  Other runners were in really bad shape.  People were vomiting and cramping all over the place. I quit talking to other runners because they were all in bad shape and I didn't want to catch the negative vibes.  I felt like I was the only person still running at this point.   However, these thoughts were very short lived because around mile 16 at the water station I experience the greatest thing ever - chicken broth!  Wow, is all I can say!  I told Annie this stuff was the elixir of life at some point during the race.  I got a second wind and from there I negative split the rest of the race.

By the time I was around mile 20 I was in a zone and just kept on moving.  I hit the canal again and got a final boost from seeing everyone:

Suck it up ButterCup!

Ruth Ann's sign says, "Jeff Irvin:  From Fatass to Badass" -  love this shot!
The last 4 or so miles were pretty darn painful.  My feet were on fire and I ran into Trakkers Teammate Anne Moore and we ran together for a little while.  We pushed each other to keep on moving and I will be forever thankful to Anne for keeping me focused.

Around mile 24 I decided it was time to finish this damn thing off in style and pushed a sub -8min pace only slowing down to toss some ice water on my head at the last two water stops.  I finished off those last two miles with a combined 8:30/mi split and am probably more proud of this than any other thing I did that day.  It hurt and it hurt bad but I just keep thinking of all the hours of training and all the people who were pulling for me and I dug deep and tuned out the considerable pain. 

Here are the finisher chute pics:

Almost There
A couple more steps ...
Jeff Irvin, You are an IRONMAN!

Once I passed  under the finish two extremely nice volunteers walked me around and got me some water and made sure I was okay.  I saw quite a few folks being pushed away in wheelchairs and began to feel very fortunate that I was still upright and feeling rather well.  I made it to the end of the shoot and immediately saw Annie and she had tears streaming down her face.  Seeing her at this point was an even better feeling then crossing that line.

My friends were right behind Annie and they all set me down on a big fountain:

At this point all I wanted to do was take my damn shoes and socks off!  My feet were pretty much ripped to hell but I once the shoes came off everything felt good.  Then I was given my favorite things in the world - COOKIES:

Thanks Katy these were AWESOME!!!


My IronCrew!

Run Recap - The last 10mi of this run was probably one the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. My legs were trained but the heat was draining.  Most people would probably think a 3-loop course would mentally be tough to handle, not me.  I loved this run course and I loved the support from the crowd.  It was one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of and I will volunteer for IMTX every single year from here on out - that is if I am not racing (-:

Run Time:  4:31:14

Summary of Ironman Texas - This race was held in my backyard.  I live literally 18mi from the start of the course. When I originally heard that the race would be held in The Woodlands I was excited because this is such a great place and has a huge endurance community.  I was skeptical as to how the non-Endurance residence of The Woodlands would support this race since it would significantly screw up traffic and parking in their town.

Well, my skepticism was completely off base because they stepped up and completely blew away all expectations.  I spoke with many an Ironman vet after the race and they were all just blown away by the spectators and volunteers.  Every single one said it was the best experience they have ever had in terms of crowd involvement.  The Woodlands receives a huge "A+" for the effort!

The swim was tight, the bike was beautiful, and the run was electric.  The heat made this one of the toughest Ironman courses on record (Click here for proof) but in hindsight I am glad it was hard because I trained hard and it made the experience that much more rewarding.  

If you are thinking about doing an Ironman in the future and are not afraid of a little heat then I would highly recommend you consider Ironman Texas.


I hope you enjoyed my race report.  I might be more exhausted from writing this than actually doing the race (not really). 

I want to thank my friends who haven't seen much of me in the last six months.  Thank you for being there:  Ruth Ann and Patrick, Elizabeth and Jim, Annie and Chris, Dave and Jen, Yvette, Steve, and Trey.  I also want to thank my training partners: Dave, Patrick, Mike, Katy, Bobby, Chris, Steve, Bob and Frank. My cousin Bonnie and Rick for driving in from Austin to cheer and all the members of KTC that came out to support, especially Tina and Scott for setting everything up.  Also a big thanks to all the members of the LifeTime Fitness Run Club.  

Also a huge thank you to all of my blogger and twitter friends.  When I was out there on the course I thought about many of you time and time again.  When I finished the race and saw the hundreds of comments on Twitter I was absolutely blown away by you guys. Almost lost my man card again! Very touching, thank you all so much!

It is a very good feeling knowing you have such great people in your life,  Thank you all!

I want to save the most import thank you for last - my wife Annie. She was my biggest supporter from day one and even kicked my butt every now and again when I didn't want to train.  She was 100% on-board  with this crazy dream and it never could have been done without her.  We discussed the time commitment that was going to be involved with my training and she never complained, not once. When I was waking up early and going to bed even earlier she was there to encourage me and never made me feel guilty about leaving her with house work and chores as I went on 7hr bike rides.  She was my rock and she deserves all the credit for getting me to the starting line.  I love you Annie, you are the best!

Best Shot of the Day!

Thanks for Reading,


Friday, May 20, 2011


If you are in a stalking mood on Saturday morning at 7am CST please login and use these options to follow me about the Ironman Texas course.

Option #1:  GPS Tracking - I will be wearing a small device for the Bike and Run courses.  This device will allow you to see where I am on the course at all times.  This device uses cell towers so if you see me stop that probably means I am currently in a poor cell area or taking a pee.

Here is the link: http://www.trackmyathlete.com/vemap.aspx?name=050281

You can also enter this link into your iPhone, iPad or Blackberry devices.

Option #2:  Ironman.com.  On race morning an Athlete Tracking option will  be available on the main page of this link.  You can track by name (Irvin, Jeffrey) or race number (#1320).

Option #3:  The Twitter - My wife will be logged into my Twitter account (@JeffIrvin) and will be giving live updates.  Considering the bike is one big 112mi loop this 6hr + portion of the race may be a bit slow on the race updates side since she will only see me at the start and finish.  However, she will probably update you on her choice of shopping, coffee, breakfast, shopping, lunch, shopping, cupcakes, random snarky remarks on other womens idea of fashion, and shopping.

Thanks in advance for all the positive race vibes that you all undoubtedly will be sending!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

IMTX Goals

Many, many people have asked what my expected finish time for Ironman Texas will be.  I have had a hard time answering this because I just do not know?

Why am I so unsure?  

The Weather.

If it is a typical hot (90+ degrees) and humid (80%) South East Texas day then my day is going to be longer.  If the winds continue to blow out of the SSE like they have been all year then it is going to make for an even longer day.

If the winds are about 15mph sustained from the SSE these means the last 50 or so miles of the bike course will be into a direct headwind.  I have rode into this headwind many a times during the last year of training and it is pretty soul-crushing.  

But if the winds are out of the North or NW this means the humidity will be lower and the ride home will have the wind at our backs.  This is what every racer on Saturday is praying for!

Taking all the above into consideration and the fact that this is a first year race and you can see how I really am not sure of what my finishing time will be?

Instead of a finishing goal time I will post a Finishing Goal RANGE:

Lake Woodlands - It is a mass start in a pretty narrow lake with one loop that finishes swimming down a canal which will be lined with spectators.  I expect contact throughout the entire 2.4mi and figure it may slow me a little.   It is probably going to be one of the best Ironman swim venues for spectators.  The water temperature will be above the legal limit for wetsuits so I will instead be wearing my TYR Torque Swimskin with my Team Trakkers Kit underneath.  The lack of wetsuits will also slow the field some as well.

My 70.3 swims have ranged in the 35-37 minute range and my swim fitness is a little above average right now.

Projected Swim Finish:  1hr 20m.

The course begins in the Woodlands and heads north through the rolling hills of Montgomery and Grimes Counties.  The harder sections of the course begins once you cross over 105 and start North through the State Forest.  This part is challenging but shielded from the wind.  Once you get out of the woods you will past a little town called Richards and then make a left turn and start the ride back to the Woodlands.  This section of the course is chip sealed (bumpy) and puts you directly into the winds from the South.  You will remain in this headwind until a few mies from the finish.  

If the winds are less then 10mph or from the North or NW then my bike split will be around 6hrs.  If the winds are out of the South then my bike split will be 6.5hrs.

Projected Bike Split:  6-6.5hrs.

The marathon is a 3-loop course around the more plush areas of the Woodlands.  We will run along the canals lined with restaurants and bars and then past some multi-million dollar mansions.  Spectators will have an abundance of areas to view the run from and also a plethora of eating and drinking options.  Makes me wish I was a spectator for this because they are going to have a blast!

My goal for the marathon is to go as hard as my legs and heart will allow.  If the legs aren't cooked from the headwinds on the bike I'd like to do it in 4hrs.  If it is hot & humid and I am really hurting the I'd be cool with 5hrs.

Projected Run Split:  4-5hrs.

Swim - 1h 20m
T1 - 10m
Bike - 6h - 6.5h
T2 - 10m
Run - 4h - 5h

Finishing Goal Range:  11h 40m  - 13h 10m

Probably will fall someplace between this range!

Thanks for Reading,


Monday, May 16, 2011

Ironman Nutrition Plan

As you all know I am a big fan of First Endurance nutrition for all of my training and racing.  There is a reason for the FE love:  First Endurance is owned by Triathletes and they make products specifically for Triathletes.  This may sound like a marketing ploy and at first I too was skeptical, until I used the products.  You can go back through the many, many posts on this blog and read about all of the different types of gels, drinks, bars, and salt tabs I have sampled over the years.  They all are average (at best) when compared to the First Endurance product line.

Since FE has done such a remarkable job of differentiating itself from the other nutrition companies I will be using them for most of my race at Ironman Texas on Saturday.  PowerBar Perform, Bars, and Gels are the official IM sponsor so they will be the on course provided nutrition.  I will use this when my FE supply is depleted.

I read an article by Pro Triathlete Michael Lovato after he raced Kona last year and he described his IM nutrition in detail.  He is a little bigger than me so my calories won't be as high as his but I am going to use a similar plan based on his recommendation.  Find that article HERE.

Here is my plan:

Race Morning:

Wake up at 3am and eat a whole wheat bagel (250 calories) with peanut butter (2 spoons - 200 calories) and wash down with a cup of coffee (black) and 2 scoops (320 calories) of Ultragen Recovery drink.  I am aware Ultragen is a recovery drink but I have been training with Ultragen before my longer swim and bike workouts and it has really agreed with me. I like the calories before long efforts.  Then I will go back to sleep until 4:30am.

At 4:30am I will wake-up again and have a banana (135 calories).

I will then walk to transition with a 24oz bottle of EFS Drink (200 calories/2000 electrolytes) and sip on this as I walk to the swim start.  About 10 minutes before we enter the water I will have 2 shots of EFS Liquid Shots (200 calories/600 electrolytes) just to keep the blood sugar level from dipping.

Total Calories before race:  1,305 in 3.5hrs or 372 per hour.

Bike Nutrition:

3 bottles of EFS Drink with 200 calories per bottle (600 calories total). Large drink every 30 minutes.
2 flasks (10oz) of EFS Liquid Shots (800 calories total).  Plan to take every 45mins, should actually only be about 8oz total.
Alternate between water and Ironman Perform at each bottle hand-up.  (200 per bottle x 4 = 800 calories)

Total Calories on the bike:  2200 in roughly 6hrs or 366 per hour.

Run Nutrition:

Begin the run with my Nathan's hand held bottle.  This will be filled with water and I will refill at each station with Perform or water.  I will also carry a 5oz flask of EFS Liquid Shots in my tri jersey.  This is 500 calories and I usually will take a hit every 30 minutes.  This will get me through 2.5hrs and then I will just live off the course.  Each refill of Perform will be about 180 calories in my hand held.  My stomach does very well with perform, especially if I sip between each aid station as opposed to downing large amounts of liquid at each station.

I am choosing to run with the hand held bottle because I train with it and since it is going to be hot and humid I would prefer to constantly take in liquid as opposed to my stomach getting sloshy at each aid station.

Total Calories on the Run:  ???  Estimate will be around 180-200 per hour so if it takes 5hr then 1000 calories.  If it takes only 4hr then 800 calories.

Another key nutritional requirement for what is more than likely going to be a 90 degree day with Texas-sized humidity will be my sodium intake.  One of the main reasons I use FE products is because of the large quantities of sodium in both EFS Drink (1100+ Electrolytes) and Liquid Shots (1500+ Electrolytes).  On a hot day this is essential.  Many Ironman participants complained when PowerBar Perform because the exclusive on course sport drink replacing Gatorade - I though this was great because Perform has over 600mg of sodium per 20oz bottle. Gatorade is like a quarter of this amount.  This is like taking two (2) Salt Tabs per drink.  This is essential on hot & humid days!

Now I have an extremely high sweat rate so I am going to have a few salt tabs on the course just to be safe.  I will keep some in my bento box and in my run special needs bag but really I do not intend to use them.  They are just more of a fall back if I begin to cramp.

So this is my plan.  I have been practicing and tweaking it for over 6 months and am pretty confident it hits my nutritional needs.

Feel free to critique and tell me your plan but with the race 5 days out I am not changing a thing!

Next post will be my Goals and then tracking information.

Thanks for Reading,


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rumbling, Bumbling, Stumbling

  • Nine Days out from IM Texas and all is well even though I quoted Chris Berman in the header, which is probably cool according to the ladies:
  • Taper is going awesome.  All this free time is pretty darn cool.  If anyone wants to play Words With Friends my user name is: Jirvin94
  • I stopped to pick up some PowerBar Perform at a GNC in the Woodlands Mall today and ended up spending a half hour playing with puppies in a pet store.  Puppies are awesome!
  • More Good News on the Rev3 front.  In August of 2012 Rev3 will be hosting  a Half Rev and Olympic distance race at the Dells in Wisconsin.  Finally a reason for me to grab the passport and leave the great country of Texas!  Might just have to be the location for the 2012 Endurance Blogger meet-up???
  • A HUGE Good luck to all of my Trakkers Teammates racing Rev3 Knoxville this weekend!  Very jealous I am not there!
  • I sold the Felt B14 yesterday.  The buyer was a young guy and this was his first Tri Bike.  The Zebra fit him perfectly!  And I was happy to send the Zebra off to what is going to be a good new home. Ride her well Danny!
Tip a 40oz in memory of the Zebra!
  • Now I have "Walk-Around-Cash" for Ironman Texas week - I am coming for you Ironman Branded Fragrance: 
Smells just like your laundry room
  • Did a 2hr run on Monday when it was 95 degrees.  It was pretty tough but I am feeling much better in the heat now.  It is probably going to slow me down some but I am not fearful of it.  Anyway, after the run I showered and jumped in the car and went right to the barber shop.  Head shaved!  It felt like I lost 5 pounds (the scale disagrees with this feeling).  Sorry no pics of a bald(ing) Jeff right now.  Soon.
  • All the little nagging pains (hip, knee, shoulder, achilles) have all pretty much disappeared over the last couple of days of taper?  AND my legs feel wonderful.  I am a little afraid this feeling is coming too early and I will be sluggish on race day.  Probably going to up the intensity on a few workouts through this weekend just to wear myself down some.
  • Found out we get to do a practice swim in Lake Woodlands the day before the race.  This lake is quite murky (aka: loaded with duck shit and mud) and it will be good to experience it before the big day.
  • TRACK-A-JEFF:  My race number is #1320.  You can follow on Ironman.com using this number or my last name.  OR you can track me real time using: MyAthleteGPS.com.  A day before the race I will put up a link that gives you a map and it will show you where I am on the course at all times.  Also, Annie will have my iPad so she will be doing live Twitter updates on my account:  @jeffirvin
That is all I got for today.  Will be back in a couple of days with my IM Nutrition Plan and then my time goals for the race.

Thanks for Reading,


Sunday, May 8, 2011

This Should Be Fun ...

Forecast for Ironman Texas:

Mr. OneHourIronMan probably has already checked this 1000x!

If this forecast ends up being accurate then all of us racing are going to be in for a very, very long day.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Fun with Numbers...

18 - the number if days until Ironman Texas.

21 - the number of weeks I have been training for Ironman Texas.

318 - the number of total hours spent training during this plan.

143,112  -  the number of meters (88.9mi) spent swimming.

2229.24  -  the number of miles my butt has been on an Adamo saddle.

516.11 -  the number of miles spent running (only 4.5 mi were done on a treadmill).

641 - the number of miles spent riding during the month of March (largest bike month).

128.95 - the number of miles spent running during the month of April (largest run month).

2  - the number of times I was sick (Bronchitis then Flu) and missed training for extended periods.

8 - the number of consecutive days missed at one point while sick.

4 - the number of times I rode over 100mi.

6 - the number of times I order nutrition from the First Endurance website.

5 - the number of times overnight travel for work made training difficult.

67 - the number of bad movies watched while on the bike trainer.

17 -  the number of times I rode parts of the IMTX bike course.

1 - the number of weeks in the training plan until I begin taper.

1,000,000 - the number of times I thought my wife is a saint to deal with me and IM training!

Thanks for Reading,