North American Championship: IMTX 2016

Ironman Texas started in 2011 and I have raced 5 of the 6 races since then. Last year was the only year I missed; I had to pull out the day before the race because of pneumonia. Having sat out a year, it was great to get back out there again. This year's race had the deepest, and biggest, field I have ever gone up against in an IM outside of Kona.

My last two races in Kona, in 2014 and 2015, have been less-than-stellar, to say the least, and I really felt that this year's IMTX would be a good opportunity for me to improve on my "big race" execution. While the bike course was entirely new, and only 95 miles, I felt that my familiarity with the the rest of the course could help me in this respect.

The day turned into a mixed bag of ups and downs, as any race does, but IMTX continues to come down to the final loop of the run for me. Every year, my position has changed in the final 8-9 miles and this year was no different. I was still outside of the top ten around 30K into the run and came across the finish line in 6th. I had a goal of trying to get into the top 5 at this race, but ultimately came up 40 seconds short. After a two year hiatus, it was a great feeling to cross the finish line in The Woodlands again.

Now, the pictures.

 Since 2012, the EC crew has met up for a pre-race dinner on Thursday evening. It was great to catch up with everyone and get some good energy.

Since 2012, the EC crew has met up for a pre-race dinner on Thursday evening. It was great to catch up with everyone and get some good energy.

 The Woodlands Waterway at Sunset; part of the IMTX run course.

The Woodlands Waterway at Sunset; part of the IMTX run course.

 The pre-race Pringles load continues.

The pre-race Pringles load continues.

 As a TAMU grad, a pre-race Freebirds was a necessity.

As a TAMU grad, a pre-race Freebirds was a necessity.

 Checking the T2 Bag. I allow myself to go through it twice. Then move on.

Checking the T2 Bag. I allow myself to go through it twice. Then move on.

 T2.

T2.

 Race Morning Set up.

Race Morning Set up.

 Nice to have personalized bike racks.

Nice to have personalized bike racks.

 MPRO swim start.

MPRO swim start.

 My Bro and my nephew waiting for me to hit the bike.

My Bro and my nephew waiting for me to hit the bike.

 Exiting the swim.

Exiting the swim.

 Hustling out of T1.

Hustling out of T1.

 Mat Steinmetz won't be happy with this head position, but you had to be more heads up at times on this course. Photo; Lars Finanger

Mat Steinmetz won't be happy with this head position, but you had to be more heads up at times on this course. Photo; Lars Finanger

 Turning.

Turning.

 And now, the run. Photo: Sherry Daerr

And now, the run. Photo: Sherry Daerr

 Crossed paths with EC athlete, Walter McCormack, just when my aunt Sherry was snapping some shots. Photo: Sherry Daerr

Crossed paths with EC athlete, Walter McCormack, just when my aunt Sherry was snapping some shots. Photo: Sherry Daerr

 More yogging.

More yogging.

 Checking the pace. I haven't run with a Garmin in an IM in a few years, but this weekend I raced with one; having it set to 2K auto splits. Photo: Sherry Daerr

Checking the pace. I haven't run with a Garmin in an IM in a few years, but this weekend I raced with one; having it set to 2K auto splits. Photo: Sherry Daerr

 Running through East Shore. Been amazing to see the changes in this neighborhood on the run course since 2011.  Photo: Kirk Noyes,

Running through East Shore. Been amazing to see the changes in this neighborhood on the run course since 2011.  Photo: Kirk Noyes,

 Frantically reaching for Red Bull. Photo: Lars Finanger

Frantically reaching for Red Bull. Photo: Lars Finanger

 Triathlon Royalty: Brandon and Amy Marsh. We shared the same homestay with Noyes family this weekend and it was great to see them cheering on athletes on the run course.

Triathlon Royalty: Brandon and Amy Marsh. We shared the same homestay with Noyes family this weekend and it was great to see them cheering on athletes on the run course.

 Happy to be finishing.

Happy to be finishing.

 Catching up with EC athlete, Pablo Testa, at the awards.

Catching up with EC athlete, Pablo Testa, at the awards.

 Chatting with Scott Langen, of Ironman, and Tim Floyd, of Magnolia Masters.

Chatting with Scott Langen, of Ironman, and Tim Floyd, of Magnolia Masters.

 An honor to be on stage with these athletes.

An honor to be on stage with these athletes.

 Grimaldi's Pizza is good.

Grimaldi's Pizza is good.

 Afternoon flight back to Boulder followed by an ice bath. On to the next event.

Afternoon flight back to Boulder followed by an ice bath. On to the next event.

And now we are on to the rest of the season.  I have not finalized all my race plans yet, but I do plan to toe the line at Boulder 70.3 in four weeks.

I would like to give a big shout out to the Noyes family of The Woodlands. They have been so generous and helpful to me and Brooke and have treated us as an extension of their family. Thank you for everything.

Until the next one,

justin