Ironman 70.3 Texas

Note: This post will highlight some of the photos of the day (caution: there are A LOT!).  It is not meant to be a race results post – if you are interested in reading the full story about the results, click here.  

Sunday morning began bright and early – we met in the lobby at 545am.  We checked out and drove to the start/finish/transition areas (they were all in the same area).

When we arrived at the race location, we were given Media Passes which allowed us to walk to the swim start – pretty awesome!  

By the time we got out there, most of the professional men and women were already in the water warming up…There were a few still making their way to the docks to jump in the water – including the eventual winner, Tim O’Donnell.

Tim O'Donnell heading to start

The swim was held at Moody Gardens’ white sand beach, in the protected Offats Bayou.  From what we were told, there was a good chance of rough water, but on race day, the bayou was pretty calm which allowed for some pretty fast swim times.

1.2 mile swim course

The professional men began at 7:00am, the professional females 4 minutes later, and the age groupers in 5 minute increments starting at 7:10am.

Professional men begin the 1.2 mile swim

Professional females awaiting the swim start

In order to get to the swim finish, we didn’t have time to stick around to watch the age group starts – we left the docks soon after the professional females began and still had to sprint a short distance to make it in time for the run out of the water!

Lead men out of the water

Tim O'Donnell (purple cap) making his way out of water

Despite sprinting to the “Bike Out” section, I didn’t make it in time to catch the lead men at their bikes (I stayed too long at the water exit!).  But I had plenty of time to see some of the lead women make their way onto the bike course.

Kelly Williamson at T1

LOVED Kelly's pink camo bike

After watching the lead professional females go through the first transition, Monica, Kelly, Traci (PR rep), Ray, and I made our way to our car to head to the bike course.  The majority of the bike course was really conducive for spectating / taking photos – it was on a 4-lane road so the inner lanes were still open for vehicles.

56 mile bike course

We were able to drive alongside many of the professionals – cheering loudly for them as we passed them from behind!  Most of the females acknowledged us with a wave and/or smile which we loved!  The men, on the other hand, mostly looked at us like we were crazy. Haha.

Caitlin Snow giving us a smile

Kelly Williamson on the bike

Loving Yvonne Van Vlerken's blue kit AND matching blue nailpolish!

The highlight of the day was getting to watch (and cheer for!) James, the husband of my friend and fellow FitFluential Ambassador, Lindsay Cotter.

Lindsay's husband, James!

I think this is when he realized who we were!!!

Lance Armstrong took the lead in the men’s race about 15-20 miles in and held it until the run.

Lance Armstrong taking the lead on the bike

While the professionals were still on the bike course, we made our way back to the transition area for the run portion.

There were hundreds of people lining the start of the run to watch Lance Armstrong run by – it was a sight to see!

Lance starting the 13.1 mile run

Lance Armstrong

We positioned ourselves in the shade in one spot along the 3-loop course.  We stayed there until the lead men passed us on their 3rd and final loop and then made our way to the finish line.

Tim O'Donnell closing in on the lead on the run

James Cotter on the run!

Kelly Williamson at the start of the run

One of the best advantages to having the “Media Pass” was being able to walk to the finish line and sit down with photographers from some of the top magazines and newspapers…we were able to get some great photos of the athletes crossing the finish line.

Tim O'Donnell, winner of IM 70.3 Texas, crossing the finish line

Pure happiness

Sebastian Kienle, 2nd place male, collapsing at the finish line - it was a hot and humid day

Kelly Williamson crossing the finish line

One of the sweetest moments of the day was watching the women’s winner, Kelly Williamson, reunite with her husband moments after she crossed the finish line.  I missed the kiss because I was too busy smiling at them!! But her husband’s happiness is evident in the picture below!!

Kelly and her husband reuniting after her victory

After the top female finishes crossed the finish line, we were given access to the professional athlete area – there were a few press conferences under way already with the top male finishers.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go over to Tim O’Donnell.  He is a 2003 grad from the Air Force Academy (I’m a 2003 grad from the US. Military Academy) and a big supporter of my favorite charity – Team Red, White & Blue – he’s pretty awesome in my book!

Chatting with Tim at the post-race press conference

It was a long day – I have a new-found respect for sport photographers – especially those who work triathlons.  We saw the same photographers throughout the day – literally running (with their multiple cameras and camera bags) to keep ahead of the triathletes in order to snap the perfect picture.  By the end of the race, most of the photographers were sweating almost as much as the athletes themselves!

A BIG thank you to Team Refuel and the “got chocolate milk?™ representatives for inviting me to participate in such a fun-filled experience this weekend!

And a HUGE thank you to my husband for taking care of the little guy all weekend – it was extremely refreshing and relaxing to have a weekend without worrying about naps, meals, baths, etc and to have time for myself.  I’m also appreciative of my mom, dad, and sister for helping out my husband over the weekend and making sure he had dinner each night (my mom does the same thing for me when my husband is away on business).  THANK YOU!!! xoxo

Have you ever been a spectator at a triathlon before?  
Did you find it hard to be at the multiple locations to cheer your athlete on??

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    23 thoughts on “Ironman 70.3 Texas

    1. Pingback: Things I’m Loving

    2. What an awesome experience! You got some great pictures, too! We ended up taking our family to the beach at Galveston Sat am and chatted with a number of athletes passing by… I would have loved to see it Sunday! I’ve never spectated a tri– definitely sounds like it kept you moving!
      Laura recently posted..Lazy staycationMy Profile

    3. Fantastic post, amazing pictures, great perspective on the whole race. I have never spectated at a triathlon, but this definitely makes me want to soon. All you triathletes are just another breed of awesome, much respect.

    4. I feel like I was there! So cool that you got to experience that. I cheered one of my friends on at Vineman a few years ago. It’s very hard to be everywhere at once. But one of the best experiences I’ve had. So emotional and exciting to watch them out there. And the finishes are the best part.

      I love that camo bike too. I need one!
      Lisa recently posted..New TrailsMy Profile

    5. Nice recap and great pictures, Michele!! And it was our pleasure spending time with our favorite little guy!! xox

    6. LOVE that you got to see this so up close and personal — especially because you got to cheer on Lindsay’s husband! So so cool! I am always so in awe of IM competitors,they are another breed, I’m convinced!
      Jess recently posted..“Seeing” 26.2My Profile

      • Oh my gosh, I know! I was thinking about that yesterday when I was running. They do half and full IMs like every month during their season – most professional marathoners do 1 or 2 A YEAR! I am in awe of them – truly amazing athletes!!

      • No way!?!? I wish I would have known! I would have kept my eyes out for her!! That time is unbelievable – especially given how hot and humid it was out!! =)

    7. What an awesome experience! This is such a great recap. It must have been so exciting to be there!