Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ironman Texas 2014- Amber Comes in Third!!!

If you weren't on social media or the Ironman.com website, you may have missed the fact that Amber just finished 3rd at the heavily contested Ironman Texas in The Woodlands. She will write her race report at some point so this post will be from my perspective.

The Woodlands

This was only my second time in Texas --the other time being in Galveston for the 70.3 race there. As you remember from earlier this year, my sister and I were supposed to go in February but that didn't pan out. While Galveston was okay, it wasn't all that special and neither Amber nor I was expecting much difference considering that the Woodlands was only 20 minutes in the opposite direction from Houston.


Beautiful day for the race

While I can honestly say we were pleasantly surprised. We had an amazing homestay and I think that was a big part of why our trip was so good. The Lee family did an amazing job making us feel at home with great meals and a fun relaxing time, the majority of which was spent by their pool and hot tub. I was actually telling Amber as we left that if we didn't have a homestay we probably would have gotten a cheap motel by the highway and never really experienced how cool the Woodlands truly are. In addition, to a perennially competitive cross country team, the Woodlands hosts hundreds of miles of bike paths and as the name implies, has more trees than probably the majority of the rest of the state. All told we were very pleased with this community and would consider coming back.

We were there from Thursday to Monday and besides that pesky little Ironman we spent the majority of our time poolside or eating good food. Amber did give us a little scare on Friday when she realized that she didn't pack her pedals. Although her biking has significantly improved this year, riding a bike without pedals is slightly challenging. We spent a few hours rushing from bike shop to bike shop before finding one that sold pedals compatible to her bike shoes.
Matt Hanson and Amber pre-race
The race itself was great. The swim allowed for about a 1/2 mile of close cheering as it went through a narrow canal. It was pretty amazing seeing just how fast the pros were going and Amber was amongst them-coming out of the water with a blazing 52 minute swim split!
After exiting the water, Amber took off on the bike and Maverick Multisport founder, Chris Hutchens, and I headed out on the bike course to cheer Amber on as well as the two other MM athletes out there Matt Hanson and Clay Emge. We were able to see them 6 times along the course and it was great to see Amber working hard solo out there, moving her way up to 2nd place until mile 90 when she was passed by Kelly Williamson. She was able to hang close to Kelly for those last 22 minutes and pulled into transition fairly shortly after her.


 And then began the run! Knowing Kelly Williamson was going to throw down a blistering fast marathon time(she ended up running a 2:54!), Amber decided to race her own race and see where she could place. She had several fast runners behind her so she'd needed to run a fast but conservative marathon in order to stay in third. From a spectator's perspective, the marathon course is great because it is a 3 lap course where you can easily see your athlete 6 times with little effort and nine times with a little running. Suffice it to say, I saw Amber 9 times on the course and got to the point where she had to tell me to stop cheering for her in case someone thought I was pacing her. Which I certainly wasn't. She was too fast for that. She threw down sub-7's for the first 11 miles of the race and probably would have run close to a 3:06 if she didn't bonk, likely from dehydration, the last 4 miles. However, despite her slowed pace, she still was able to run a 3:11 for her first 3rd place finish at the 140.6 distance!

Always smiling out there

The only hill also corresponded with a 1/4 mile "trail" run
Amber running away from Danny

Amber looking strong



The next day we went to the Awards ceremony where Maverick Multisport had several athletes on the podium. In fact, all three athletes podiumed with Amber 3rd, Matt 6th, and Clay 7th.
Amber, Bree Wee, Jennie Hanson, and Jackie Arednt
Amber at the post-race celebration

Amber, Matt, Clay and Chris Hutchens

 Amber's start to the 2014 triathlon season so far has been great with now a 4th place finish at the 70.3 distance and 3rd place at 140.6. Maybe a 2nd place finish and then a 1st??? That would be 2nd at Eagleman in June and 1st at Lake Placid in late July!!! Stay tuned and see.
Up Next: Buffalo Marathon(Danny May 25th), Eagleman 70.3(Amber- June 8th) 


  1. Fantastic job. But you don't want her peaking for LP. Have her peak for Kona!!

  2. Fantastic job to both of you! See you at both Eagleman and Lake Placid! I'm excited to throw down myself :) Travel safely!

  3. Very true Scotty. Maybe I should encourage her to go 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 1st so she peaks for Kona:)

    Kim-We will see you soon and good luck to you! I hope you finish as the second fastest girl of the day(behind someone else we know:) ). See you in Cambridge!!!

  4. Very cool.
    I was at "the hill" cheering. Im fact, you can see my hand ringing a bell at the left side of the picture. I posted some videos on youtube of "the hill." Those videos include some of the female and male leaders. The URL listed below links to the videos where you can view the other three.