Ironman Texas finally came and Ironman Texas finally finished.  I crossed the finish line a little after 9 p.m. on Saturday evening in the Woodlands.  Let's just say it was windy and not too hot.  Here's how it all went:

Prep:
- Woke up at 4:00 a.m.  Iron-fiance Brittany also got up super early to join me in getting ready for the insanity.
- Difficulty finding a parking spot, but finally found one and heading into transition.
- Left my SAG bags in the appropriate place.

Swim
- Got into the water with 2,000 other people that others have said are "crazy/stupid/ridiculous."
- Cannon goes off at 7 a.m.   It is all arms, legs, churning water!
- Mile 0-1.2: Swimming.  More swimming.  More swimming.  And more swimming.
- Finally get out of the water at around 8:15ish

T1
- Grabbed bag and headed into the transition tent.  Felt like a Turkish sauna.  Got everything together and hopped on the bike.

Bike:
- The first 5-10 miles are still in the Woodlands.  You can feel the seething eyes of drivers stopped at the stoplights just wishing that they could get through the intersections.
- The "rolling hills" continued all through the course going south to north with the wind at our backs.  It was great.  Averaged around 19-20 mph. 
- Going through the Sam Houston National Forest was decently fun.  Good shade, good cover, bad roads.
- Mile 50: I catch up with Mindy.  I rode with her during Beauty and the Beast.  Really cool woman who is 47, but looks about 30.
- Mile 58.5: it is time to pick up the bike SAG bag.  Get off the bike and get more nutrition and then get back on.
- Mile 59-107: Riding straight into the teeth of the wind in more of the "rolling hills."  They weren't rolling.  They were big hills.  Over and over and over.  Averaged around 15-17.  It was not pretty.  Just ugly.
- Mile 108-112: READY. TO. BE. DONE. WITH. THE. BIKE

T2
- Decently dehydrated.  Grab run gear and get ready to run.  Change outside the tent to avoid the sauna.

Run
- Mile 0.2: Who the heck put this hill here?!?!?!?!  AND WHY!
- Miles 1-5: Running at a 10:30 min/mile pace.  Decently tired, but having fun.
- Miles 5.1-17: BACK. MUSCLES. CRAMPED... WON'T. BUDGE!.
- Mile 6.2: See Brittany, mom and dad for the first time across the Woodlands River.  Screaming and happy.  That puts a huge smile on my face!
- Mile 8: See Brittany, mom and dad up close on the other side of the river.  Brittany later says, "I really was worried.  You looked horrible and I was afraid you might not be able to finish."
- Mile 8.6: Time to run up the tiny hill next to the run start.  WHO'S IDEA WAS IT TO PUT A HILL HERE?!?!?!?!?
- Mile 9.5: Running back over the bridge.  Going up is not awesome.  Going down, you guessed it, awesome!
- Miles 10-16: Continuing to run the second loop and all I can think about is Pei Wei Dan Dan noodles!!!
- Mile 16: Keep looking for Brittany, mom and dad.  Can't find them and start to get sad.
- Mile 16.1: Hear Brittany, mom and dad start screaming for me and running beside.  Sadness now moves to HAPPINESS!!!
- Mile 16.5: MY GPS WATCH RUNS OUT OF BATTERY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Really!
- Mile 17: The back has loosened!!!  Thank you three cups of Ironman Perform at each aid station.
- Mile 17.6: Hill. Again. Stupid. Last time.
- Mile 18: Start running with John Lindsey.  Just met John, but we're instant friends. We're both a bit tired by now and ready for the finish line. We are starting the run-walk routine.  I'm on my third loop.  John is on his second.  
- Mile 18.1: Find out the reason why John is running Ironman Texas: 10 months beforehand, his wife put a newspaper down on the kitchen table during breakfast and said, "You need a new challenge!"  It was a story about the Ironman World Championships in Kona.  So, without knowing how to swim or ever doing a triathlon, John learned how to swim and ran two sprint triathlons.  John is awesome and an inspiration.
- Mile 19-21: John and I speedwalk/run through some very, VERY weathly neighborhoods.
- Mile 22:24: The finish is coming.  The finish is coming!
- Mile 25: Can hear the finish line with the music, the crowd and the words, "______ you are an Ironman!"
- Mile 26: Start high fiving EVERYONE!
- Mile 26.2: "Colin McElroy, you are an Ironman!"  The second greatest words I've ever heard next to Brittany saying yes to my proposal.  CHALLENGE ACCOMPLISHED!

Post-race
- Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington gives me my finisher medal!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Go into the medical tent and get an IV.  Feels really, really good to get more fluids!
- Talk with the medical professionals about why they volunteer.  Really cool doctors and nurses!

Mission accomplished!  Ready for my next challenge!


 



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