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IMTX 05/21/2011

Ironman Texas 5/21/2011

So I am going to try to give a summary of what went down for my second IM.

I originally said it would be at least 5 years for me to do another IM. I felt they consumed too much time away from everything, but most importantly my family. Somehow or another, I got training amnesia and forgot about my 5 year rule.

My middle child Cameron told me that I should do another so she could see it (the kids didn’t go to IM 1). So when IMTX came around I was determined to do it. I thought Andi wouldn’t have any part of it, but she didn’t really object. So as I was traveling to Lubbock last year for Buffalo Springs 70.3, Andi signed me up for IMTX on 5/21/2011. I was excited.

In the off season, I worked on my run training and losing weight. I dropped from approx 210 to 178 and have maintained since December 2010. I took running more seriously and started to enjoy it more. I did the normal train all you can from December until May.

I trained less than my first IM, but I trained smarter. I worked less on the swim, because I felt confident about the 2.4 mile swim. I did my bike stuff, but my most intense work was done on the run. My Emerge group coach Daniel really helped me improve there.

Race Week: I headed to the Woodlands on 5/18/2011 to get settled in. We went to packet pick up and started to get excited. Andi and myself went down on Wednesday with everyone else coming in on Friday. We got our packets and headed to the IM Expo where we spent a small fortune buying goodies and some new kicks. Met some new people and talked to some old friends. Afterwards we enjoyed some Lupe Tortillas with Andrew Gale. Lupe’s food rocks, I could gain some serious weight in there. Me and Andrew put in a little run that night.

Thursday we the Woodford’s and Cash clans showed up. We hung out some and went back to the expo. Thursday evening heading back to the hotel (great 90’s song) we were in bumper to bumper Houston traffic and got rear ended. I got out and motioned to the guy that we needed to get off I45 and he shook his head yes. I pulled off and got out and he took off. Nice, I thought. I thought about chasing him down, but felt it wasn’t worth it. Luckily, my bike wasn’t on the rack or it would have been game over. So I was happy about that.

Friday, me and Andrew went over to the lake and went for a swim. The water wasn’t that clear, but not too bad. We went to bike check in and later we all went out for some good food. The entire Team Tuggle crew came in. I had a total of 16 people come and support me. I can’t put a value on how much that meant to me. My crew was the best in the west and I am eternally grateful. I headed to bed early.

Race Day: I awoke at 4am. I actually slept pretty well and was pleased. I had PB&J’s for breakfast and we left out at 5:30. A quick bike check and we headed for the mile walk to swim start. I met some people from ATX the day before and walked and talked with them. I saw Brianna and her family and they had made a cool Tri Doc sign (it was even green). I made it to the swim start and finally found the crew from Austin. We chatted, I put on my wet suit and Brian prayed for me. We got to take some pics and get ready to rock and rock. I headed down to the water.

Swim: The swim started at 7am. It was kind of funny/odd that people were standing around. The announcer was yelling at everyone to get in. I was doggy paddling in the lake wondering if they would delay the start because so many people were not in the water. 10 second count down started, no, they were screwed. BOOM! The race started. I had floated closer to the front than I preferred, but it was what it was.

I started swimming/wrestling/fighting along. The first 1500 meters or so was crazy. There were a bunch of jerks out there. People were hitting each other without regard. This was worse than I had seen before in all my tris. The narrow borders made it slightly challenging. Oh well, just rock and roll. At the first turn it lightened up some and became bearable. The swim back was ok, and then we turned up the canal. It was narrow, but had really thinned by then, so it wasn’t bad. I remember that I kept thinking, just keep your pace. I looked to the right and saw my homie Tommy Low taking pics. That was cool.

Swim Time Goal 1:30-1:40 Actual Time 1:31 Check

T1 I headed out of the chute and was able to see Brianna and her family as well as my friend Patrick. Gave some high fives and went in to change. Pretty uneventful as I headed out to grab my bike. I did like the soft grass in the transition area. I saw the family and the rest of the team on the right as I headed out to the bike start. I stopped and gave the beautiful Ms. Tuggle and kiddos a kiss.

Bike: I started out at an even pace. I had decided to really pace myself on the bike and not try to hammer too hard in the beginning. I had a pretty good ride. I was shooting for an average bike wattage of 130. It seemed like we had just started when I saw the 10 mile marker, nice I thought. The bike was pretty and mostly protected. It was overcast, Thank You Jesus! I stopped at miles 40 and 80 for quick breaks. The last 20 were pretty flat and fast coming back in. As I rolled around the finish of the bike I saw Team Tuggle and I yelled out ” I thought the world was gonna end today, I haven’t been training for the run and now I am screwed!” Of course I was joking, ………..sort of.

Bike Time Goal 7 hours Actual Time 6:52 Check

T2 I handed off my bike ( I tried to give it away jk) and headed to the tent. As I got my bag, I went in and sat down. That’s when the heat really hit me. I was smoking hot. The tent felt like an oven. I spent a few minutes in there just gathering myself and telling myself a marathon wasn’t that bad. I felt it was time to get going so I began the run.

Run: I saw the fam and Team Tuggle just as I went out. I thought I was fine, but no more than a half mile into the run, I had to stop and walk. My stomach was full and sloshing all over the place. I felt terrible to run. I thought I could walk it out. I walked most of the first of the three laps. I would try to run occasionally but just couldn’t get a rhythm going. As I was finishing the first lap I saw one of my training buddies Woodford and we high fived. I never saw the Team around the first lap, I was a little bummed about that. I made it through the first lap and headed out for number two. I saw Team Tuggle, I was really excited to see everyone. With about 16 people in my group, we had a great team. I talked to everyone and kept going.

I had began a run/walk by this point. I got to the run special needs bag and I grabbed some pickle juice (thanks to Andrew for telling me to get it). A few minutes later, Woodford caught me and said he was cramping badly. We walked for a while and then ran a while. We talked and ran/walked most of my 2nd lap, his 3rd. It was a really good thing, because it felt more like training and less like racing, so I felt pretty good.

As I was finishing my lap, I reported to Woodford that I would have to make up 15 minutes in my last lap to be able to hit my overall goal which was almost impossible because it would mean I would have to run faster than I did on my first two laps and being 13 hours in I didn’t feel very fresh or energetic. So I told Woodford, that 15 minutes longer than my goal would still be a PR and I would take that. I ran with him till the split and he headed down to the finishing chute. (Way to go Woodford!)

Lap 3 is always a good thing, because each step doesn’t have to be repeated and it feels good to mark off areas as done. I found Andi and the Team, everyone was cheering, and I told them I was ready to rock it out. They were asking how I was feeling and I told them that I was feeling better than I had all day on the run. I was pacing good by this point. I told them I would see them soon and kept on. Shortly later I realized that I was not going to make my goal……… on my own. I spent several miles praying and asking God to give me strength to finish strong and knowing I needed his help.

I kept this up and was making good time. It was dark now. There was a stretch on the back of the lake that went down a path that had no lighting, so they had glow sticks on the ground. It was cool. The volunteers were really cool to be there and cheer us on in the dark. Around mile 22-23 a woman past me and I thought, there is my pacer. So I started running with her. Come to find out, I had met her through Andrew Perrow the day before.

She looked strong and I didn’t know if I could keep up, but I was determined to try. We talked for a while and she told me her goal and I told her mine, it was 15 hours. I told her, that holding that pace we could still do it. So we kept on. We stopped a few times during aid stations, but kept up a good pace.

As I was coming down the last stretch, I realized I was gonna hit my goal (Thank you Jesus for giving me what I didn’t have). It was a great feeling. The finishers chute was really long (that is a good thing….. you get to take it all in) At this point Vanessa (my new friend) was running very strong again. I headed to the left and started high fiving everyone. It was awesome, I could hear the screams of encouragement and then I saw the fam and Team Tuggle. I was waving and yelling and they were cheering like crazy. I headed under the finish line. It was awesome.

Run Goal 6 hours Actual Time 6:01

A guy grabbed me as I finished and asked me if I was ok, I told him I was good. I was making my way through the exit; I just was to see my peeps (after I got my medal). I went to the left and found them. All of Team Tuggle was there as well as Jon Woodford, Chuck Cash and Andrew Gale. My family got me a quart of chocolate milk. (my fav post workout drink) I chugged a couple drinks. I took a few pics before my body told me that chocolate milk was a very bad idea. Without all the details, I spent the next hour or so puking (that’s character building)

Race Goal 15 hours Actual Race Time 14:54:15 …………… Yeah Baby!!!!

I actually feel great after the race, I woke up the next morning not very sore and have felt pretty good. Most of my tri buddies say this is because I didn’t push it hard enough J

After all is set in, I will do a 3rd IM as soon as my wife let’s me and I’m sure that will be sooner than later, cause she’s cool like that.

SPECIAL NOTE An Ironman requires a significant amount of dedication and support. I would like to thank anyone who ran, swam or biked with me. My most important training partners were. Andrew Gale ( cycling and swimming), Tammy McKinney (running) and Jon Woodford ( anything we could get in). It is also important to have a crew there. I named it Team Tuggle. I had a bunch of people show.

The Tuggle fam Andi, Chayseland, CamCam, KiKi, my mom Linda, my homeboy Brian Shanklin, My super cool in-laws including Ginger, Jamie, Cassie, Taylor, my PV homies the Low’s; Tommy, Chris, Laven, Cindy and Brittany all were there. Words cannot describe how important it is/was to me for you to help and support me. I know how much you did for me and I am eternally grateful. You guys rock. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

If you helped me and I forgot, I still love you My wife is so cool for letting me chase my dreams and supporting me in everything I do…. I am so blessed.

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