For those that don't know, Matt Hanson scored his 2nd IRONMAN title this weekend. This time earning the North American Pro Title, winning IRONMAN Texas with a time of 8:05:03. Here are his thoughts on the race. He has punched his ticket to the World Championships in Kona, which will be his main focus moving forward.
Now a couple days post race, how are you feeling? : Physically, pretty well. I saw Coach David the morning after the race and his immediate response was "no way you worked hard enough if you are walking this well." The 16 hour car ride did not help anything, but after moving around a bit today all is well.
Tell us a little bit about how race unfolded: The swim started out well. Ideally, I would have been able to make the first pack, but those guys really hit the gas at the start of the race. I still feel the swim went well, and found myself comfortably sitting in the front of the chase pack. I had a smooth transition and headed out on the bike course with a fairly large group of guys. Within the first 30 miles, the pack had been weened down to four and we had cut a big chunk of time out of the leaders. Two of the stronger bikers in the sport, Joe and Lionel, started to push pretty hard. I held with them for 30 minutes or so, but they eventually rode away. For the remainder of the bike, it was all about keeping up with my nutrition plan and trying to keep within striking distance. I rode the back half of the bike fairly conservatively and ended up averaging nearly 20 watts under target. This was a tactical gamble due to the conditions, I upped my calories (north of 400/hr) and fluid intake and wanted to make sure I was fresh for the run. I jumped off the bike about 9 minutes down from the lead but had no idea who was in front or how they were running. My plan was to run controlled until mile 18, then throw whatever I had left on the last loop. For the most part, I was able to stick with this strategy and slowly work my way to the front. In Chattanooga, I was impatient and really pushed the first 10 miles. With the heat and the humidity at IMTX, that would have been a recipe for disaster. It turned out to be a war of attrition, and thankfully I was able to hold on through the entire run.
Do you feel like the heat played to your advantage? : I don't know if I would say it was an advantage. I planned my day accordingly. If it was a cooler day, I would have been much more aggressive on the back half of the bike. I feel I have a really good feel for what my body needs in certain conditions and was able to adjust my nutrition and hydration plan to meet the course conditions. If anything it was a bit of a disadvantage. I am currently living in Iowa, so didn't have much heat acclimation leading into the race.
Tell us about your race fueling, what did you use? : On the bike I use EFS PRO for all of my calories. I downed 5 bottles with 360 calories in them each. Due to the conditions, Coach David and I decided to sacrifice a little in aerodynamics to carry an extra bottle. I also supplemented with water at aid stations whenever possible. On the run, I carry a flask of EFS liquid Shot and pick up a second one with a scoop of EFS Pre Race in it as well at special needs. Through the aid stations, my priority is getting water on myself first, then drinking something. I'll try to get a few sips of cola through each station, but if it doesn't happen I don't worry about it too much.
Tell us your thoughts about The Woodlands community. : I absolutely LOVE The Woodlands community. I train there quite a bit and have a huge support system there. I really felt that during the race. The Woodlands community has embraced triathlon in a big way and it is fun to be just a small part of it.
Whats next? : Honestly, I have no clue. I will do a race or two over the summer, but definitely not a full IM. I want to let the dust settle and then I'll sit for a chat with Coach David and Coach Tim and figure everything out for my Kona build.