Ironman Texas Race Report


It is done! It still hasn’t hit me yet, or even sunken in…

Thursday, May 12: Travel & Check-in Day:

I decided to skip my usual 5:15am TRX class (which was a good call) & got up to finish some last minute packing. Mike got home and we loaded up the car and were on the road by 7:00am. On the ride I read some of Joel Osteen’s book out loud to keep us calm. We arrived in The Woodlands around 1:00pm and drove straight to athlete check-in & the expo at the Waterway. We parked and walked our bikes over to get looked at by Quintana Roo.  We dropped them off then made our way to the check-in tent.


We got our packets and some awesome backpacks & did a little shopping at the expo. There was going to be an athlete briefing meeting at 2:00, so we made our way over to listen. It was hot and we were dripping sweat as we stood there for the meeting. They let us know the swim course had changed, but it would still be the same distance.  Instead of having to swim out, back, and then make a turn off to swim in the Waterway canal, our swim would just be a longer stretch out and back. Sounded way simpler to me, so I was fine with it! There were a few Ironman University coaches who spoke to us and let us know how important nutrition and hydration would be on this course because of the heat. They also reminded us to take it all in and have fun.

After the meeting was over we ran into the Moore family. Laura was just about to check in. We chatted with them a bit and then went to check on our bikes. They were pretty busy and said they’d be ready around 4:00. I was getting hungry and was very, very thirsty from being out in the heat, so we walked over to The Goose’s Acre to get some water and food. When we walked in we saw Mike Reilly (the voice of Ironman) sitting right there at the bar! We didn’t go and bug him though. As we sat down we saw some Bettys come in so we went and sat with them at a big booth. We had met Monica Goggs and her husband Tony back in February before the Austin Half Marathon, but we also got to meet Nadine Voice from New Zealand. We ate and chatted as they exchanged previous Ironman race stories.

At about 4:05 we said our goodbyes to go get our bikes. I really wanted to make it to the athlete banquet, which was at 5:30, but we were cutting it close and still hadn’t even gone to our hotel to check in. By the time we got our bikes and made our way back to the car, I realized we most likely wouldn’t have time to shower and get ready for the banquet in time, so I was a little bummed. We found our hotel and got our bikes and all our stuff up to the room.

Once we finally unpacked and relaxed it was time to start working on our transition bags. We had to prepare our bike and run gear bags because they had to be dropped off the next morning. I put on some calming music and we got to work. One of the Ironman coaches had told us to lay all our gear out on top of each bag and make sure we had everything before packing it all inside. We did that and made sure it was all there.


We each took a much-needed shower and headed out to dinner at about 8:00. Back to hotel afterwards and I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow by 10:00pm.

Friday, May 13: Day Before Race & Practice Swim

Woke up about 6:30. Today we would be checking in our bikes, bike and run gear bags, and doing a practice swim in the lake. The Moore’s were staying in the same hotel as us and we had decided we would drive over to Jeremy & Cristina’s hotel and then we’d all caravan to the site from there. We parked in a parking garage and then preceded to walk our bikes and bags to T1, which was about a mile and a half away. We racked our bikes and turned in our bike gear bags.


The practice swim had already begun, so we let the guys swim first while we waited with the kids. When they were done we headed down to the ramp to get into the water. It was a beautiful day and the lake looked gorgeous.


We got into the water (the first time trying our swimskins) and started swimming. Cris and I were swimming together, but we found ourselves swimming pretty off-course and had to make our way back (my goggles were fogging up). We ended up swimming about 1100 meters. Felt good.


After we swam Michael Moore gave us a ride back to our cars s0 we could grab our run gear bags and take them to T2. This site wasn’t as far away as the other. We dropped off our bags and I took a look around. I knew the next time I saw this area it would mean I was off the bike and ready to start my marathon!


Michael Moore picked us up once more and was kind enough to drive Mike and myself to meet with Cycle Chauffer (a business service based out of Austin, who collects your bike and all of your transition bags and things when you’re done with them in the race so that you don’t have to worry about any of that when the race is done. Seriously a God-send!).


Once we finally got all of that done, we drove back to our hotel to clean up. We all met up for lunch at Zoe’s Kitchen (which was delicious!) Kris and Lacy Healey met up with us there, and soon after so did Jeremy’s parents who had driven in from Louisiana. We all enjoyed each other’s company on the patio for awhile. We said our goodbyes and Mike, myself, and the Moore’s made our way to the Lululemon to find our names on the wall.


Went back to our hotel to meet up with our moms who had just arrived. The rest of the day/evening we relaxed and rested.  Had dinner at BJ’s Brewhouse early and was back in hotel, showered, and ready for bed by 9:00pm.

Saturday, May 14: RACE DAY!

Alarm went off at 3:40am. Mike had already gotten up at 3:30 and was dressed and preparing our water bottles. I took a moment to wrap my brain around the realization this  was the day!


I put on my kit and began the tritat application process. (And believe me, it is a process!) I applied Mike’s numbers to his arms and he applied mine to me. We met up with our moms and Laura & Michael in the lobby at 4:30. We all caravanned to Jeremy & Cristina’s hotel and then made our way to the Waterway area to find parking.  As we walked the mile to the swim start/T1 area, Cristina and I kept calm by reminding ourselves, “Today will eventually come to an end.” Jeremy had told us to really enjoy today because it would be over before we knew it.

As we approached T1, we were seeded into the masses of humanity. I grabbed Laura and started singing a hymnal song my Grandma would sing to me:

“I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul. I’ve got joy like a fountain, I’ve got joy like a fountain, I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.”

I knew she was nervous because she has been struggling with an on-the-verge stress fracture in her foot and had been wearing a boot for the past week. I felt like we both needed a little song to keep us calm.

We all split to go to our bikes. I felt pretty calm and have come to learn that I enjoy preparing my transition area because it keeps me busy and focused and not able to get nervous. Once Mike was done with his area, he came over and pumped my tires. We all met up and headed over to where our friends and families were waiting for us. I handed my backpack to my mom and then Gracie said a beautiful prayer for all of us.

We all made our way to the port-o-potties for one last break and as we were in line we heard the cannon go off for the pros to begin. That made my stomach do a flip flop. Jeremy said goodbye to us so he could make his way down towards the front of the swim start. Before we knew it, we had our swimskins on and were making our way into the crowd of thousands of athletes. We were told to seed ourselves by our projected finish time, and us girls thought we’d be good at about the 1:40 time, so we headed to that area. We found Carolina & Jody there and all said a quick prayer together.

Our line started moving; quicker and quicker. The music was blasting & I started to feel the nerves creep up on me. Mike had made his way through the crowd where I was and walked beside me. We saw Swim, Bike, Mom just as we were getting in, and we yelled out to her; it was so cool! (Fan-girl moment) And before I knew it, my body was in the water and I was going.

2016 Ironman Texas North American Championship
2016 Ironman Texas North American Championship


“This is it!” I thought, “You’re doing this, remain calm!” I started playing my usual swim songs in my head which range from John Mayer, Jason Mraz, to Hanson, and the Pocahontas soundtrack. Whatever keeps me distracted from what I’m actually doing! I got into my swim rhythm as best as I could. Sure, there were people all around me, but I just weaved my way through, sighting the yellow buoys.

At about 700 meters in, I recognized a tattooed arm to my right. Black AWA swim cap, Texas flag goggles, yep, that was Mike! He turned to breathe on my side and said, “I love you!” Haha. We swam together for probably the next 300 meters, but people were swimming between us, and sometimes on top of us, so we parted ways. Before I knew it, I was at the turn around red buoys! Just another Half Ironman swim left to do!


As soon as I was headed in the opposite direction I noticed the fog. I guess because the water was so warm (81 degrees) a fog or steam was settling. So it made it hard to see those orange buoys. I was having to sight a lot more than I wanted to; plus, the wetsuit men were catching up to me and they were big and whacking me every now and then. I just wanted to be sure to protect my head. Luckily, I never got hit in the head. Soon, I started to hear the loud speakers. Was I actually almost done swimming?!

I felt great and looked up and saw the bridge with all of the spectators. It was amazing!

2016 Ironman Texas North American Championship
2016 Ironman Texas North American Championship

Finally my feet hit the ramp and I was running up!


A volunteer helped me unzip my swimskin, and as I ran to the change tent I saw my cheer crew! They were screaming their heads off. I grabbed my bike gear bag & volunteers came up right away to help me with anything I needed. About 3 minutes later Cristina ran into the tent! It was great to see her!

We finished transition and went to get our bikes together. Even though our bikes were racked on opposite ends of each other, we ended up running out side by side (foreshadowing). When we got to the mount line the crowd was amazing. We saw the Healeys, Bettys; so many people screaming for us. We mounted and we were off!

imageimagebike mount IM TX


I decided I’d stay with Cristina for as long as I could. Not even 2 miles in we went over a big bump & I heard a clanging and something falling off ad hitting the ground. I didn’t know what it was, but about 5 minutes later when I looked down to check my speed, I realized it was my computer that had popped off. Oh well, I was still right with Cris and we were passing a lot of people. My legs felt great.

About 15 miles in, Mike came up from behind us. It was great to see him! Turns out, I was able to stick with Cris this entire ride! It was the most amazing thing. At about Mile 35, I was out of drink in my aero bottle, so I let Cris know I’d need to pull over at the next aid station to get some water (because I’m a chicken and scared to grab or reach for water bottles while riding-summer goal!)  Anyway, we pulled over and heard a big crash behind us. A poor guy had crashed his bike I guess because he didn’t see us pulling over (even though we did it slowly and safely). He was okay though.

Before I knew it we were passing the Mile 40 sign! “Nu-uh!” I said, “That can’t be right!” Pretty soon we were at the Special Needs Station at about Mile 53. I really needed a potty break, so this was perfect timing. I ate 2 of my mini Payday bars and wiped my face with the grapefruit wipes in my Special Needs bag.


Hopped back on our bikes, and a little while later I heard a motorcar pulling up beside me. I knew it was a race official, so I slowed myself way back because I didn’t want to get a penalty card for drafting. The rule is you’re supposed to be 6 bike lengths behind the rider in front of you, which is hard to do in many cases! Well, this race official decided to speed up & she had her eyes on Cristina. I saw her reach for her cards and I thought, “Noooooo!” as I saw her flash the blue card at her. I stayed behind until they had sped away out of sight, then caught back up to Cris. She turned her head back to me and I said, “I know, I saw everything.”

The next water station where the penalty tent was came upon us and we pulled over. I really needed water to drink and to add to my aero bottle, so I had no problem with stopping there. After I got my water I walked my bike up to Cris and asked how long the penalty would be for. 5 minutes. That’s nothing! It never once crossed my mind to keep going and leave her there. Not after we had already gotten this far together! So we waited it out, no biggie. A nice little break.

Soon as the race official said the time was up, we took off. The next 40 miles were pretty uneventful. When we finally saw the 90 Mile  marker we got excited.


T2 came upon us quickly. This was one of the main moments I had anticipated: Being able to send my bike off and out my two feet on the ground to start the last portion of the race! Cris and I were hugging as we were running to get our run gear bags. I teared up and said, “We’ve done it!”


As we ran around the corner we spotted Kris Healey and he yelled out to us; he was so excited for us. It was so great to see a familiar face.


We grabbed our bags and headed into the changing tent. Both she and I had planned to change completely for the run. We put on run shorts and she lent me another Team Betty tri top (since I had been in a one piece). We saw Jennifer Kilgore in the tent too, which was cool. The volunteers in that tent were so helpful and sweet. Soon as we were changed, we did a quick port-o-potty stop and were headed out to run 26.2 miles.


I can never tell what my body’s going to do when I start my run in a tri. More often than not, I actually get a quick start. Today was a little different. I took off a little bit ahead of Cris, but felt my heart rate rise pretty quickly. The heat of the day (which hadn’t bothered me on the bike) was getting to me and I realized I wasn’t going to be able to run like I usually do. Also, I had never run more than 16 miles at once before, so I knew I’d really need to pull back.

When I got to the first water station (there was one at every mile) I started walking and Cris caught up to me. I told her I was gonna need to pull back and she said, “I’m fine with a slow run/walk!” And so that’s what we did: run the miles in between and walk the water stations.

Once we got to about Mile 5 we started hearing music and the people. I was looking forward to Catapult Corner because my sorority sister Alison had told me she’d be there. And there she was! She ran beside me for about 300 meters and we talked. I hadn’t seen her in months and I was so happy!

The next people we saw were Team Healey and they went crazy cheering for us as we ran by.


We crossed under a bridge and heard our names being screamed from across the water on the other side. It was Gracie waving and saying, “I’ll let your family know you’re on your way!” and she sprinted away like an Olympian. Finally we saw our crew across the water. We had a big group and everyone was going crazy. It was awesome! We continued running and knew it would be about 3-4 more miles till we’d get to run right beside where they were.

The heat was pretty intense but we were keeping cool by drinking ice water, chewing ice, and shoving ice cold sponges in our top. Then we started to hear thunder. I looked up and noticed a cloud cover forming. I said, “It’d be nice if it’d rain on us.” Famous last words.

Within the next 10 minutes or so, wind picked up, raindrops began to fall, and all at once it was a full-on crazy thunder/lightning storm! We continued to run through it and then I felt something hard and sharp it my shoulder. Again, on my arms. “It’s hailing!” I yelled. We picked up our pace and kept running through it. Our socks, shoes, entire bodies were sopping wet.

We ran and ran, finally coming upon where our family was supposed to be. We figured they had to go inside somewhere; it was dangerous outside! Funny how I thought that, but never once did I think about us two stopping. I was bound and determined we were gonna do this! We passed the spot our family had been, but then came up to a bridge and there they all were! Piled underneath and screaming and cheering for us!

The storm was still going strong as we rounded into our 2nd loop, but we both decided we needed a walk break. As we walked a bit, the hail had stopped and rain had lightened up. I was very worried for Laura and praying she wasn’t out on the bike anymore.

At Mile 12 we noticed a mass of people stopped ahead of us. It was all of the athletes who had been stopped. We came upon the crowd and couldn’t see anything in front of us, but we learned they had pulled all of the athletes off the course and paused the clock to let the storm blow through. Apparently everyone had been stopped for 45 minutes, but Cris & I had been on the opposite side of everything so we were clueless and just kept running! We were only held back by about 2 minutes here, and then everyone started running again.

It actually looked pretty awesome as hundreds of us ran in a ginormous pack; reminded me of the Austin Marathon.

When we got to about Mile 13 we spotted Laura in front of us. We ran up to her and all hugged. I was so happy to see she was safe. She looked great even though I knew her foot had to be in pain. Us three got to run/walk together for the next few miles. It was great. Our family saw us across the water again and they yelled out, “Laura’s with them!” It was the first time they’d seen her since the bike.

At this point my everything ached. My knees, hips, ankles, and especially the bottoms of my soaking wet feet. But we were about ready to start our 3rd loop and I knew we were so close! When we got into the 20 milers, we knew we needed a little more motivation. Cristina started reading her motivational tags at every mile and it really helped.

At about Mile 23 we knew we’d see our family one last time from across the waterway, so we said, “Let’s walk to the bridge then pick it up and run when we pass them.” Well, I guess they had decided to move a little closer than we expected because we heard our names being shouted and we started running and yelling to them, “We were not walking!” They started laughing and we started to get really excited. “All we have is a 5k left!” I said.

When we were finally getting to the last water station I started singing, “She’s just a girl and she’s on fire….” my power song. We were both running and singing because we knew it was real, we knew we were about to accomplish one of the biggest dreams of our lives.

This girl is on FIRE! She’s walking on FIRE!

We rounded that last aid station and rang the 3rd loop bell. We were ecstatic. Our song changed to, “This is the DAY! This is the DAY that the Lord has made!” Just about 1 mile left to go! As we finally got to the turn off that said FINISH LINE, I grabbed Cristina’s hand and said, “This is it!!!”

We ran that last 500 meters and finally….there it was. The moment that I had been dreaming, anticipating, crying at the drop of a hat for. The blazing white lights, the Ironman mat, and Mike Reilly’s voice.

We grabbed hands and were laughing and crying at the same time.


“Cristina Boreaux, Jenna Gutierrez, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!”


Best. Day. Ever.

The volunteers went above and beyond at the finish line taking care of us. We were exhausted, wet, and freezing, but we had done it. The dream in our hearts for the past 12 months had come true.

All of the early morning wake ups. The LONG runs and rides on consecutive weekend days when all we wanted to do was sleep in and/or drink wine! The aches, pains, black toenails, books on tape for my long runs, nerves, fears, doubts. Our dream had been realized.

Throughout this journey I will say one remarkable thing. Not only has my mental strength and patience grown, but my spiritual strength. I have learned so much about trust, faith, and positivity. It has spread throughout my life: from training, to relationships, to my job, and my daily attitude. Ironman helped me to grow in the best way.

And for that I am forever grateful.




All things are possible

We leave for The Woodlands, TX tomorrow. I’m very excited and ready to get this done. It’s been a long road, challenging my physical capabilities and even more so my mental strength.

I never would have imagined that God would place this dream in my heart. I have just started reading Joel Osteen’s, “Your Best Life Now”:

Are you willing to change your way of thinking? Will you take the limits off of what God can do in your life? God is saying get ready for more. Make room for increase. Don’t become satisfied with where you are.

Ask God to put some fire in your spirit. Enlarge your vision. If you believe, all things are possible.






patience quote

I’ve always considered myself a fairly patient person. I have been working with children since I was about 17 years old (when I started teaching swimming lessons to 4-year-olds). This is also my 7th year of being an elementary music teacher where I teach children from age 4 to 11. You HAVE to be patient to work with children.

I am also married to Michael Gutierrez….enough said.

49ers game

Just kidding babe, I love you!

But training for an Ironman has taught me a different type of patience. Not just a “social skills-type”, but a time-management patience, and a patience with my mind and body.

on bike 100 mile

When we started hitting the “peak training” weeks in our training plans, the LONG workouts showed up. 3, 4, 5, and even 6 hour bike rides (some on the trainer, some outdoors). Long, double-digit mileage running. A minimum of swimming for an hour straight 3x a week. I’m sure that anyone who’s human could get easily bored and burned out by it all. Not to mention those who are employed full-time!

cycling-rec-room-essentials(Trainer essentials for a LONG ride)

But as the workouts were checked off and the weeks ticked by I needed to do an attitude check. I needed to remind myself that all of this is part of the story. The race is the reward (if you can believe that) for all of those workouts where I just wanted to quit (and sometimes did). But I just set the alarm for the next day and got at it again; doing my best to get done what I could in the time that I had.

This past weekend was our last long run and long ride. On Friday I had an Earth Day program with my 2nd graders and needed to look nice, so I didn’t do a workout that morning so I’d have time to do my hair (for once). I also work later on Fridays than other days, so the last thing I wanted to do was get that LONG run in….but I did! I just started running, and running, and running, not caring my pace or how many miles I got in. I was PATIENT with myself and got it done.

after 2 hr run

In my opinion, patience in my mind and patience with my body is what is going to help me meet that goal: crossing that finish line. One of my favorite sayings is, “Just keep moving forward“…that’s what we have to do. Keep moving forward and have patience, trust, and faith that we’ll get there.

18 Days out!



A Healthy Balance

Happy Spring Break!

So far, it has been a much-needed break from the daily work schedule, yet still getting some good training in. I have to be honest, I have been mildly internally panicking at the rapid speed our Ironman training plan has been picking up. But along with that, I am making sure to slip in some quality relaxation/fun time, too. This past weekend we made a last minute trip up to San Antonio to stay with other tri-friends, and it was a blast. We rode in the beautiful hill country and had many laughs. It was for sure #adultspringbreak done right.

The rest of this week will be more training along with foam rolling, stretching, icing, and movie nights at home with some wine and kettlecorn (they go well together, you should try it!)


Gotta balance it all out, I tri and I make sure to still enjoy the little things in life.



Reese’s for breakfast?

Most weekday mornings I literally have about 30 minutes between getting home from the gym to heading out to work. Between that time I have to shower, dress, fix hair/makeup and whip up a breakfast (and of course, coffee)!

I have found the fastest and most delicious way to have a healthy and protein-filled breakfast: I call it my “Reese’s Shake”. If you love chocolate and peanut butter as much as I do, then I guarantee you’ll love this breakfast protein shake.

PB SMoothie

I like to add coffee to my shake for a little extra caffeine. I use my Keurig to brew up a cup real quick.  The protein flavors that taste the best with these ingredients are either vanilla or s’more.

Try it and let me know what you think! Do you have any favorite quick healthy breakfast ideas?



Pump it Up Playlist

Thought I’d share my playlist that I was jamming out to whilst riding my trainer in my 100 degree garage this afternoon.

Hideaway- Daya (Neptune Remix)

Break A Sweat- Becky G

My House- Flo Rida

Hold My Hand- Jess Glynne

Me and the Rhythm- Selena Gomez

Where R U Now- Bieber, Skrillex, and Diplo

House of Gold- Twenty One Pilots

Peanut Butter Jelly- Galantis

Surrender- Cash Cash

Don’t Stop Me Now- Queen

I Will Wait- Mumford and Sons

Sorrow- Bad Religion

These kept me going for my hour ride! Some rando’s in there…add them to your playlist and enjoy!



What are you sweating for?

I’d like to say I’m a “people person”.  Sure, I can be shy in a crowd of people I don’t know, but I enjoy surrounding myself with happy, funny, and positive people.

I have never lived alone.  I remember my last semester of college I had to go back to school a week before college classes resumed because I was starting my student teaching semester and the public schools resumed earlier.  I was alone in the apartment I shared with my best friend because she was still at home with her family.  I know many people would love the serenity of silence and being able to do whatever they want with no one else around.  But I was downright lonely.

Being around the great energy of others helps to inspire me. I think what has helped renew my motivation to press through Ironman training is the wonderful crew I have around me. My husband, who will also be competing in the same Ironman Texas race for the first time, really keeps me going.  My best girlfriends and Betty teammates help keep me accountable as we check off every workout on our training calendar. My parents, who are always a nervous wreck at every race until they see me cross the finish line.  And many other new friends I have made through joining in this crazy (awesome) world of triathlon.


This past weekend I wasn’t able to coordinate with any of my friends to do the 4 hour bike ride together. This would be my longest ride to date. Everyone else went on Saturday, but I had scheduled a much-needed bike fitting, so I had to miss out.

To be honest, the last thing I wanted to do was spend my Sunday morning sitting on the trainer for 4 hours. But that’s exactly what I found myself doing. And what kept me going was thinking about all of us working hard and putting in the training necessary to complete our race successfully.


Of course it’s going to be uncomfortable and unpleasant; there is not one athlete (age-grouper or pro) out on the course who is without any type of pain or fatigue. But that’s what makes finishing so great; seeing that your own body can do amazing things.

quote body mind

I often ask my spin class, “What are you sweating for?!” Every person has their own reason but the underlying tone we need to carry is this: we are all there to get better- to feel better, stronger, healthier- and then hopefully in turn share our inspiration with others.  And we need to remind ourselves, that we get to do this. We are strong and blessed with able bodies. We need to remember and celebrate our journey.





Time to Recharge

Well, another week is complete and we’re almost two months into the new year.  Time is flying by and the countdowns to upcoming races are getting shorter!  I found myself losing steam in the past week or so; just not into my training.  I was cutting swims short, ran only one morning for 15 min (the end of a little brick), and skipped my trainer ride day.

Yesterday was quite a workout frenzy as I took TRX class, taught my RPM class, and then hopped on the trainer back at home for 2 more hours!  Not the most fun way to spend my Saturday morning/afternoon, but it had to be done!


But it is Sunday now, and I am recharging and re-setting my intentions for the upcoming week! About to head to the gym for a 90 minute “dreadmill” run, but I’ve got the Bravo app on my phone, so I’ll just catch up on Real Housewives! 🙂

This upcoming week is a short one for us teachers because we kick off Charro Days!  One of my favorite times of the year!  I plan to get all my workouts in, but I’ll be partaking in Sombrero Festival activities as well!

I am also anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Team Betty gear…it’s supposed to come in tomorrow. Most of the Betty’s have already gotten theirs and have been posting pics of their loot!

betty kits

This week’s training plan:

Monday- 3000m swim /Tuesday- 1 hr run/ Wednesday- RPM class + 15 min run & 3000m swim/ Thursday- TRX class & 1 hr trainer ride/ Friday- 3000m swim & 1 hr run/ Saturday- TRX & RPM class (and maybe 1 hr run)/ Sunday- 4 hr ride

We’ll see how many of those I can check off!