Add another one to the list of incredible Team Every Man Jack athletes racing in Texas this weekend. Mike Hardy has been looking forward to this one for a while.
Ironman Texas this weekend! Are you in town already? : I live in Austin, Texas so I'm just driving over on Wednesday, staying with family at their house, very casual setup.
What other races have you done this season to build up to this one? How did they turn out? : I did Puerto Rico 70.3, where my rear shifter broke and I was stuck in a low gear, my brakes rubbed, and I dropped a chain. Which is pretty awesome since I came to triathlon as a big bad cat 1 cyclist. A fail on so many levels I was laughing at myself on course. We all have those days. Good wake up call though to get the basics (prep, maintenance, etc) right again. Led to some burnt hip muscles which led to IT band irritation on the run, so that wasn't good. But at least I didn't get shot! Two competitors did. Otherwise I loved it and I actually mean that. Good host hotel for my 4 year old.
I did Galveston 70.3 a few weeks ago and learned if I hydrate too much and don't warm up I can get swimming-induced pulmonary edema. So my lungs had fluid in them after the first few minutes of the swim and I got pretty short of breath. After I backed off it stopped getting worse and I was able to swim "ok", bike 2:12 on nearly no power (thank you Felt and Enve! srsly) since I was still missing my lungs, and I did the run as a run/walk without IT irritation which was awesome since I'd just finished rehabbing the IT band. So the whole thing sounds kind of horrible from one perspective, but I was actually encouraged - I went pretty quick at IM output instead of half-IM output and my knee is good again. Plus I got to see Every Man Jack teammate Paul Duncan podium and got a selfie with him which was a life goal of mine.
Why did you choose IMTX? How does this race play into your goals for the rest of the year? : I retired really young which is another way of saying I'm notoriously frugal. I chose IMTX because I live nearby for nearly free travel and have family there with lodging that's only going to cost a couple nice bottles of wine, so as far as Ironman goes it's a nearly free race. I'll admit racing Kona is a dream of mine, and it's the regional champs. Since I'm in the Aging Warrior brackets there will be a huge 11 or so Kona slots up for grabs for me. Crappy swimmer but it's freshwater and a continuous start. Fast bike course for a cyclist. And the heat index will only be 93F, why not? This is the only real A race I have this year though I've qualified for 70.3 WC in Austria. If I go really well Kona's a possibility but who knows? And it's not like I'm going to win either of those, so this is it really - which is another way of saying if you see me walking on the run course and it's not an aid station I now expect you to yell at me for wasting my entire year
Tell us a little about your race build up! How has your training been? Do you feel ready to roll?: My training has been great except for the part where I couldn't run much for nearly a month so my long run is only up to 11 miles as of one week to race. I'll just pretend I was tapering the whole time and call it good. Swimming is laughable for me but I swear I focused on it and I've gotten a lot better. I think I've got my cycling issues solved, which means I'll get a flat now or something. For all the things that are in my control I think I'm pretty set, and the rest of the stuff I just have to work with what I've got.
Have you ridden the course? Tell us about it if so. How do you feel about the heat?: I stopped in The Woodlands on the way to Galveston 70.3 and went out to pre-ride it. I made it out to the left turn after the forest around mile 45(?) and then despite having GPS on my bike computer went right and went a long ways before I realized it, because I'm awesome. So I didn't do the whole loop but did that outbound stretch. I hear the pavement's rougher on the far North section, but the whole first part I did was really fantastic. Just enough rollers to stand every now and again, and who doesn't love riding through a forest? The heat index is the real deal though. Austin is only a couple degrees cooler and I train during the day so it's my day to day. I've discovered I need almost 60oz/hour to keep the same weight on long rides which is kind of mind-boggling but there it is. Sweat is so ridiculous that glasses are useless unless you have windshield wipers. Should be fun to spectate the run course - could be carnage.
What's next after this? : After this it's most likely making amends to my wife for leaving my 4 year old completely in her hands for 6 days since I'm doing this race solo. Then Austria, and then who knows?