Ironman Texas - Post Race Report

Ironman Texas - May 21, 2011

Any Ironman finish is one to be proud of. This one takes the cake on that saying.

The swim in Lake Woodlands:
To say the lake was dark, would be an understatement. The water temperature was 77-79 degrees, non wetsuit legal. The professional athletes got the usual 10 minute lead on the course at 6:50am. The age group start was set for 7:00am. Officials started allowing AG athletes into the water at 6:40am. Charlie and I were near the front of the line waiting to enter the water. We got in found our spot and treaded water while waiting for the gun shot. Kayaks were being used for people to hang on to, there was plenty of kicking and bumping just waiting for the start. Before I knew it the gun shot and we were off. The start and almost the entire duration of the swim was congested. This was a very small lake for 2200 athletes and very hard to see. I followed the crowd trying my best not to get knocked out or hurt too badly. The final stretch of the swim was down a small canal to the exit. Spectators lined the canal and cheered everyone in.

Swim time: 1:09:28 I was happy with this time given it was a non wetsuit, lake swim with lots of contact.

Bike course - rural farm roads and national forest.

The bike was my favorite part of this race. It reminded me so much of riding through Leon and Jefferson Counties. Rolling hills, canopied roads, and windy paths were all around on the course. You were always challenged with a small climb and change in wind direction and beautiful farm lands to look at. This course was exciting, fun, and ever changing. Towards the end of the bike the clouds began to break and the heat began to rise. Nutrition stops were placed every 10 miles on the bike course with water, Powerbar Perfom, gus, bars, and bananas. The only thing I wanted was water. I would grab a bottle and dump it over me to cool myself off. This helped for the distance of the aid station and that was it because the water bottle was to big to fit in my frame. Towards the last 5 miles of the bike I was caught by one of the biggest packs I've seen in Ironman racing. They just kept coming and coming, this was very discouraging to watch. We all spend so much time preparing and to see all those people cheating and catching a "break" puts a sour taste in my mouth. I let them pass and watched them get further and further away till I hit T2.

Bike time: 5:44:00 This was a PR 112 miles for me. I felt great and in my element the entire time.

From the first step off my bike I knew it was going to be a run for survival. The temperature had seemed to jump 20 degrees and the sun was shinning in full force. I took my time in T2, I drank some cold water, used the bathroom, and got lathered up by the sunscreen volunteers.

Run Course - Flat and ALL concrete, but it had the most energetic spectators I've ever seen.

This was a run for survival. Water stops were stationed every mile on the course and if not for this I would not have made it to the finish line. The stops were filled with ice, cold sponges, water, Perform, cola, cookies, chips, gus, anything you could think of they had and plenty of it. At the first stop I realized their was no sense in trying to keep my shoes and socks dry so I dumped ice into my shorts and stuffed a cold sponge down my back. My goal was to have a marathon PR and break 4 hours (still have yet to accomplish), from step one I knew if I wanted to FINISH that was not an option. I slowed my pace tried to stay as comfortable as possible and keep going from water stop to water stop. A portion of the run was on both sides of a river walk running through the heart of The Woodland Mall. The river walk was lined with restaurants, bars, and cheering fans at each location, this was another major part of what brought me to that finish line. One mile after the next, they ticked by. And before I knew it I was almost done and proud and happy to run through the finishers shoot. For the first time, I slowed took my time and high fived the spectators on my way down, while listening to Mike Riley announce Sandy Holt, you are an Ironman! And that makes it all worth while!

Run time: 4:43:23

Again, I couldn't have done this without the support of my family. My Mom has come to every Ironman and cheered me to the finish. Her love and support will never go unnoticed. Thanks Mom!

My right hand man through it all has been Charlie. He has been with me through all four Ironman training blocks and has crossed the line with me three times. His support and dedication has kept me going, forced me to push harder, dig deeper, and strive for something more. Congratulations on another amazing performance!! CJ time: 10:06:50

My brother Mike showed true grit and put together the best performance of the day. He came out of one of the toughest conditions day with a new Ironman PR and a new sense of pride. He worked so hard through this training season and it showed. Congratulations on a stellar performance! You earned this one fore sure. Mike time: 12:49:03

Result Book:

Till next time!

The 800 mile drive to Ironman.

The morning started early, CJ took me to pick up the rental. We lucked out with a Cheve Cruze. It has xm radio, sun roof, leather and a cd player. We got the car packed and bikes loaded by 8:30 and was on the road by 9.

We stopped in Baton Rouge for lunch at The Chimes. Great menu with a LARGE beer selection. Good thing I choose first shift on driving. I got to enjoy a pint of Redhook ESB with my blackened creole salmon sandwich. Yum yum.

Now I get to sit back enjoy the ride and think about race strategy.
Ian provided me with my race strategy last night. Again as with his St. Anthonys strat. I have bigger goals than he has laid out. Ian's time is 10:55. I am shooting for breaking 10:45. The forecast calls for partly cloudy high near 91. I will have to race smart and take in lots of fluids.

Looking forward to arriving in Texas and viewing the race course.

12 Days to go

Nutrition goal - ACCOMPLISHED!

This past weekend was my last long distance training for Ironman Texas. Saturday was a 2 hour 15 min run at very high heart rates. The set included a 20 minute WU to 175bpm then main set of 2 x 30 minutes at 175 with 5 min at 160 then 2 x 15 minutes at 180 with 5 minutes at 160, followed by a 5 minute cool down walk. My brother ran the entire workout with me. This helped keep me focused and motivated, I couldn't let my bro out last me. We both had terrific runs with no GI issues, cramping, or set backs.

After the run we all headed to the Panacea Blue Crab festival to sign up for the Mullet Toss. Everyone threw, Mom, Mike, Phoy, Madison, Ethan, me, Charlie and Willy. Willy won the competition throwing his mullet 124 ft. Ethan was a crowd pleaser, not only did he do a chest bump before the toss, he held his hand in the air when he finished (like he was a pro), then he licked his hand. Yep - he licked it. The announcer told everyone over the mic in case someone didn't see.

We then headed to St. George Island for the rest of the day. Had some beach time, beer time, watch the Kentucky Derby, then went to the Blue Parrot for dinner. Great times all round.

Sunday morning was a rough awakening. I was sore, tired, and not motivated for the long day ahead. But I got it together and finally took to the road. Again my brother hung with me for the workout. We both were feeling the day before. The ride was supposed to be 95 miles but we shortened it to 72 with a 20 minute aerobic brick. Nutrition went perfect. I took in carbo-pro gatorade mixture and ate 3 shot blocks, 1 GU packet and a snickers (YUM!). Only took in H2O for the last 10 miles. Mike and I transitioned straight into the run. It only took a couple minutes to find my legs and get into the rhythm.

Overall I am very happy with the final push. Now it is taper time (or what Ian considers taper).

The Final Push

Ironman Texas is in 15 days. This weekend is my last chance to make sure everything is ironed out. Nutrition is the most important part of training this weekend. Saturday is a 2 hour 15 minute run and Sunday is a 95 mile ride with a 40 minute Ironman-race effort brick. The plan is to take in everything exactly like I have planned for Texas. On the ride that will consist of trying to consume 250 calories per hour in liquid and solid form. Solid foods don't sit on me well especially at a higher effort so most of my calories will come from Carbo-Pro/Gatorade mixture and either a gu pack or a few shot blocks every hour. Then the run will be trying to take in enough nutrition to keep me going but not too much that will make me sick. I plan to take in 100-150 cal per hour on the run. Most of this will come from Gatorade (Ironman Perform in the race) and a gu at mile 2, 6, 12, 16, 20 and another depending on how I feel towards the final miles. The other thing I will carry is salt pills. I will take those depending on sweat rate and weather conditions.

I could not be happier or feel more prepared from the training this year. I struggled with knee pain last year and that took a toll on my mental and physical strength. But this year I worked through it and have given 110% effort and dedication to the plan. This will be race number five of the year, the "A" race. All the other races have gone according to or better than planned. My confidence has grown in my abilities and I look forward to the challenge ahead on race day. The goal is to place top two in my age group and qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

I will post later next week with details about this weekend training session.

Oh and the other added fun I will be doing this weekend is competing in the Annual Mullet toss at the Panacea Blue Crab Festival. Charlie is a multiple winner of the competition normally out-throwing the field by more than 10-20 ft. Let's see if he can take the title again this year.

St. Anthony's Triathlon Race Report

Saturday April 30, 2011

I arrived at the swim venue ready to get in my pre-race swim, bike, run. I was with Charlie, Austin and my bro, Mike (I'll refer to them as the three stooges). We grabbed our cap and goggles and headed down to the purposed swim start. Tampa Bay was quite choppy but we decided to get in anyways. For comfort, there were plenty of other racers out there warming up. I worked at planing my sighting, line and getting used to the water. Overall the swim went well.

Next we got into our bike gear and took to the road for a short ride and preview of the course. All seemed great, bike shifted gears with no problems, the wind was light and manageable and I felt strong and well tapered!
Once we got back to the cars we slipped on our running shoes and did a short WU and CD with a four strides mixed in. Again I was feeling good, light and quick on my feet. The atmoshpere was exciting. Seeing all the racers, transition, and the expo really got me pumped up.

Race Day - Sunday May 1, 2011

Walking to transition I quickly noticed the strong easterly winds, approximately 20-30 mph. It was dark and hard to see the bay but you could hear the waves crashing on the sea wall.

Not long after arriving in transition while setting up my bike, the race director was on the loud speaker announcing a change to the swim course. It had moved away from the pier and sea wall and shortened to 1000 meters. This seemed to be a great solution and allowed to still include a swim. The run from swim exit to T1 was quite long ~ 1/2 mile or so, but everyone seemed glad the race directors came up with a solution as apposed to canceling. After getting in a quick run warm up with the Three Stooges we all headed to the start.

Swim: The water was still fairly choppy but there was no sea wall or pier to crash into. My wave was the seventh to start. I lined up on the far left side with hopes of dodging all the chaos and having clear water. That didn't happen, this was one of the toughest swims I have had. The girls were rather aggressive. I decided to let them fight and I took to the outside and swam wide. This added a bit of time to my swim but it was better than being uncomfortable and risking a busted lip or loosing my goggles. 

T1: With the long run ahead, I ran controlled and focused on not going anaerobic. I found my bike right away, through on my new aero helmet and sunglasses and ran off with my bike in hand. This was the first race I was attempting a flying mount.

Bike: 'Flying' onto my bike was rather fun but the cobble stone road made it interesting getting my feet into the shoes. I waited till the turn onto the asphalt and had my feet in with no issues. Having such an early wave start there was minimal bike congestion. The course was very technical with lots of turns and speed bumps but the winds that were blasting in the morning didn't seem bad on the course. My heart rate monitor wasn't working properly so I road by feel. If my quads started to burn I backed off a hair. This worked very well. I had one of my strongest rides to date and felt comfortable and in control the entire ride.

T2: The dump and run. I found my spot with no problems, slipped on my shoes then grabbed my race belt and was off.

Run: Leaving transition was fun, the crowd was great. People were lining the sidewalk path screaming and cheering. I saw my brother coming in from the swim and we got a high five in there. This got me pumped up and excited to take on the 6.2. Again my HR monitor was not working so I had to go by feel. Shortly into the run I started having side stitches. I wanted to 'hurt' more than I was and found it hard to push the intensity up with the side pains but I held a steady pace and pushed through the miles. I was passed by 3-4 girls in my AG on the run. Mentally I tried to stay focused on my plan and run my race. I was able to do this till nearing mile 5.5 and another girl came up from behind. Her breathing was very labored so I decided to see if I could hang on. We fought for position and held onto each other till the finish shoot, then ahead of us I saw another girl in my AG so I found an extra gear and pushed on to catch her. I finally was at her shoulder while we crossed the line. For the first time I pushed myself to the limit of collapsing. I charged forward trying to slow but my legs couldn't keep up. I fell to the ground and immediately volunteers came over asking if I was okay. I only gave a thumbs up because I still couldn't breath. Soon after the girl I chased down came up to me and said, "hey, I know you." Turns out it was a girl from last year that had out sprinted me for first in our AG at Mad Dog Triathlon. I still didn't know if I got her or not. But I was so excited to know she was the one I had fought to catch.

Post race: I got to see the Three Stooges heading out onto the run and cross the finish line. All three of them looked great. Charlie was flying through the run, making it look effortless, Austin was all smiles, and Mike too looked very strong. We all gathered and partook in the free beer and pizza.

Sandy Holt
bib number: 454
age: 25
gender: F
location: Tallahassee, FL
division place: 9 out of 104
gender place: 70 out of 994
time: 2:22:18
pace: 0:
swim: 16:51
t1: 4:42
bike: 1:11:20
t2: 1:29
run1: 24:29
run: 47:56

Congratulations to Charlie for winning M30-34 AG, qualifying for Hy-Vee US AG nationals, and being the 2nd overall AG finisher!

I ended up beating that girl by 1 sec!

Thanks Mom, Phoy, Madison and Ethan for coming to the race and supporting all of us. Seeing all of you on the course throughout the race really helps to keep me motivated. And thanks Mom for a wonderful dinner on Saturday. Your sauce is to die for :) Love Ya, mean it!