IM-Texas-TA-Athlete

This will be the ninth annual Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas North American Championship and in 2019 it is being held at The Woodlands and Montgomery County. It’s expected athletes will find the courses safe, the scenery spectacular, and the Texas hospitality friendly.^

Just 27 miles north of Houston, The Woodlands is one of America’s first master-planned communities, is close to two major airports, numerous parks, and a bustling downtown for athletes and their families to enjoy. With plenty of amenities within walking distance, this pedestrian-friendly community makes it easy for visitors to find their way around town during race week.

Athletes will begin with a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Woodlands. The rolling start, point-to-point swim begins at North Shore Park and ends at Town Green Park. The two-loop, out and back 112-mile bike course takes participants south through the scenic, rolling farmland of east Texas. The day ends with a 26.2-mile run taking place entirely within The Woodlands and concluding with a spectacular finish on Waterway Ave.*

TRI ALLIANCE START LIST

AthleteRace #
COOPER, Juliet1212
GROCOCK, Michelle1229

GET TO KNOW THE ATHLETES

Name: Juliet Cooper (aka Jules, Coops or Monty’s Mum)

IM history/journey: This will be my 3rd full IM in 12 months (I can just see Ollie’s eye roll… Saying don’t do this people!!!) #7 when I cross this finish line! 4 x Busselton Full 1 x Melbourne Full 1 x Cairns Full Half IM can’t really recall total number- lots Yepoon x 2 or 3 Bintan x 1 Vietnam x 1 Geelong x 3 (team) Shepparton x 3 or 4 (team).

How has your training gone for this event? Inconsistent and not great due to some health issues at the start of the year that took a significant chunk out of my training. This still impacts on my mindset. Also, when it’s just two athletes doing a particular race, there is not as much comradery as there is for an Australian Race where there are 20-30 athletes going to the 1 event. So, I’m thankful to Michelle G. Andy & Jo, Greg and my family for helping when motivation waned. Also, if it wasn’t for my friends in Texas I probably would not be here. I committed to them to come across and spend time with them and have some fun racing Texas in their hometown in 2015 (living in Singapore) so this is part of what friends and family do.

What are your thoughts about IM Texas? Great to catch up with good friends here in Texas, the hospitality is as big as the Texans reputation. Everything IS BIG in TEXAS! The people, the food and the alcoholic beverages, the gun range is almost as big as the local centre of worship! The locals tell me the vibe on the course on race day is huge with a crowded run course and swimming in the canal means the locals sit in their backyards cheering on the swimmers for the last third of the swim and of course a flat bike course helps.

What are you most looking forward to? Excited to be racing outside of Australia with Mike Riley calling the finish line. The crowds to help push me when it gets tough and seeing my family and Texan friends yelling at me with the beers and ribs in hand.

What are you worried about? Everything and nothing. Control the controllables and don’t be stupid. It will be long it will be slow it’s unlikely to be a PB given my health concerns and hoping that they don’t arise on course- just keep moving forward.

Favourite training session? Normally the run, but this time around I’ve had gains in both my swimming in the pool and on the bike. So, on the bike it’s been Zwift (Doctor Mitch {ultra-endurance cyclist} said shorten on road rides & lengthen the WT) so I watched Fast & Furious 1-8 again and was astonished at my increase in wattage on the bike as I watched the Rock & Torretto race through the streets! Yes, I like fast cars too!

Best training nutrition? This is so individual and what works for me won’t work for you. Practice different types of nutrition in training but if it doesn’t work on race day it’s not the end of the world, go with what your body craves at the time. It may not get you a PB but if it gets you through just do it!

Advice for IM athletes? If you’ve read this far, you will know how fabulous the Triathlon community is. We all love being part of something and Triathlon gives us this. Tempted to do a full Ironman, inspired by those around us? Remember this- You need a strong mind, you need perseverance and you need patience. Don’t rush into doing an Ironman. The commitment is huge, unless you have the support around you and understand both the time it takes, the financial and physical implications it has on you & your family, don’t do it. But if you’re up for all that, do it, you will become addicted and never look back!

What’s for breakfast race morning? Long Black coffee & a banana.

How will you celebrate? Celebrate with Michelle, Monty, Brendan, & the Texans Big Ed, Terry, Erin, Rick, John & Levi. Champagne and as we are in Texas probably Ribs, Steak, BBQ & Beer!

 

Name: Michelle Grocock

IM history/journey: This is Ironman #10. Not too sure how many 70.3s but not many more than full distance races actually. I get a bit anal that a 70.3 isn’t an Ironman although people seem to call it that now. IM so far – Busso x4, Melbourne x2, Cairns x1, Port Mac x1, Arizona x1. First one was in March 2013 after starting triathlon in 2010. Did my first ever 5km run in 2003 as a slow, overweight unfit human being. Amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it.

How has your training gone for this event? Until 10 weeks ago. Bloody awesome. On track for my best race ever. Just so consistent. Since then, absolutely awful. I have a pretty tough job and sometimes that just has to take priority. And I had about 5 weeks with a calf injury and the last 3 week I’ve been sick. But that’s life. And that’s part of why we do this. It adds an extra challenge. It certainly won’t be the PB race I’d hoped for, but it could still be the race I am most proud of for facing into adversity and smashing it in the face. I’ve not run more than 10km in the last 6 weeks!

What are your thoughts about IM Texas? Can’t wait. It’s touted as one of the best IM races in the world with an awesome atmosphere. I did IM Arizona a couple of years ago and a US Ironman race definitely did have that “something special” about it. Texas should be the same. It will be stinking hot I expect. Especially on the run. Need to just suck it up and deal with that. And it has Mike Reilly too!

What are you most looking forward to? Umm, the finish line? No, seriously, trying my hardest to just take it all in and enjoy it, even when I am suffering. And the merch tent. Always the merch tent.

What are you worried about? Everything. It never gets any easier. Even after 9 of these things. The expectations you place on yourself just get greater. No longer is it just about the finish. It’s about the placing. But given my training it can’t be about the placing. Confused? Haha. It’s about being in the right headspace on the day to deal with the highs and the lows. Even in the best race possible, there are many lows in a race of this distance. There will be more lows than normal this time.

Favourite training session? Used to definitely be the run. But my run has struggled recently due to injury. My ride has (hopefully) improved out of sight. I’ve worked harder, forced myself out of my comfort zone more. This should pay off. As much as Greg will hate me saying it, hours on Zwift of just “head down, bum up, relentlessly on the tri bars, focused o. the power numbers” made a real difference at Taupo and hopefully should make a real difference at Texas. But who knows what 3 weeks of almost zero training these last few weeks, and still recovering from sickness, holds for me on the day?

Best training nutrition? Haha, this will confuse the hell out of people. Nothing. No training nutrition. I haven’t used a single gel since June 2016. Seriously. I follow a low carb, high fat nutrition approach. It trains my body to utilise fat not carbs for energy. So, I’ve had zero nutrition in all my training. Nada. Other that water and electrolytes. On race day this will change slightly. I will grab the occasionally banana on the ride, and I’ll likely drink Coke on the run. But that’s as much to relieve boredom as I pass through aid stations as actually needing nutrition. I’ve used this approach for my last 5 Ironman, including Busso 2016 where I PB’d by 48 mins. Sorry coaches. I’ve now completely confused all of your athletes.

Advice for IM athletes? It’s all in the head on the day. It helps to have done the training obviously. But training counts for nothing if you don’t have the mental determination on the day.

What’s for breakfast race morning? Umm, nothing? Maybe a double espresso? Maybe some almond butter?

How will you celebrate? With Juliet, Monty and Brendan. And my obligatory bottle of champagne. For my first ironman I thought it would be awesome to have a bottle of champagne in my finishers bag for when I crossed the finish line. And then I thought, what an idiot, that’s just some romantic notion, don’t be so stupid. And so it wasn’t in my finisher’s bag. And what did I want? Yes, you got it, champagne. So, all 8 races since then have had champagne at the finish line. The tradition will continue….

IM-Texas-TA-Athletes

Sources:

^ http://ap.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/texas/race-info/athlete-guide.aspx#axzz5m9a9SZjY

* https://raceraves.com/races/ironman-texas/

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