Race Coverage

What Was I Thinking?


By Jeff Dahle


What was I thinking?


TEXAS IRONMAN RACE REPORT - I’ve done Ironman Wisconsin 4 times, but in 2018 my niece is getting married over Ironman Wisconsin weekend so I had to look for an alternative. By the power of cell-phone technology, my wife registered me for Ironman Texas on an impulse. I thought sure… great idea. Good time of year. The farming won’t have started yet and the construction projects should be slow yet. I was feeling good until I joined the Ironman Texas Facebook group. Every post was about water temps, wet-suit legal, snakes, and alligators. Great. What was I thinking...

Fast forwarding past the months of training, figuring out bike shipments, nutrition, injuries from helping my son move his couch to the basement, and deciding what to pack – we arrived to Texas on Wednesday night, 3 days before Ironman. What was I thinking…

Day 1: Thursday, April 26, 2018

Left Minnesota in sub 40 degree temperatures. Arrive in Texas to above 80 degree temperatures. I walked for too many miles in the heat to try and adjust and got sunburn on my face, neck, arms, and ears. I’m always asking for directions. My wife is using Uber for the first time for our transportation. What was I thinking…


Day 2: Friday, April 27, 2018

Went for a practice swim. Practiced with and without a wet-suit. Everyone keeps asking about wet-suit legal. Dropped off transition bags and went out to eat with my wife and coach. Had a burger, fries, and Mexican Coca-Cola (is there anything better than Mexican Coca-Cola made with real sugar?).


Day 3: Saturday, April 28, 2018

Why is it I can be wide awake until 3:00 AM and finally fall asleep only to be woke by my 3:30 AM alarm? Had coffee and a gluten free English muffin with peanut butter and jelly at Denny’s. Uber ride to T1 and T2. I could not get the rear-tire on my bike to take air. I panicked. Finally, the 4th air pump worked. Walked 1.2 miles to the swim start. My wife and coach wished me well and I got in the rolling start line. It was the 1:30 to 1:40 group and as I looked around everyone else looked way more physical and ready than me. I got out of line and moved back and convinced myself I would start dead-last as to not be in anyone’s way. My coach quickly told me to “get your ass in the water now and swim”. What was I thinking…

I got out of the water in 1:26:56 (1592nd place), spent 10:58 in transition, and headed out on the bike course. 5 miles out there were hundreds of water bottles scattered everywhere. It should have been a clue to slow-down, but instead I hit the speed bump like so many others had and threw my chain off. I panicked for about 2 minutes, calmed down and got it back on. The course was closed so there was no car traffic, which was nice, but with no pedestrians it made for a boring 6:02:04 ride. Now in 1507th place, my fingertips felt like they were asleep the entire ride. What was I thinking…

A lengthy stay in T2 of 13:36 and I was out on the run. The course was a 3 lap course and by now the temps were in the mid 80’s. The first lap I just tried to get a rhythm of any sort. The course had a lot of people cheering which makes it so much better. I was struggling with the heat. On lap 2 a woman had a garden hose and asked if she could cool me off. “Heck ya” I said. It felt great but I soon realized my shoes and socks were soaked in water. What was I thinking…

At the start of lap 3 my coach told me I had a great chance of shattering my goal. Previous to this race my best time was 14:11:32 last year at Ironman Wisconsin. My goal was to be 13:59:59 or under this race. I don’t wear a watch or electrical device so I had no idea what time it was. She told me I was on pace to break the 13 hour mark and to “throw the anchor off”. I could feel a blister on my right foot and had puked up air numerous times. Sometimes I could only run 40 feet. Sometimes a quarter mile. What was I thinking…

I entered the swim at about 6:58 AM and now on the last leg of the run I was asking everyone what time it was. I knew it was going to be close. As I ran to the finishers shoot I could hear my wife and coach screaming and I knew if I stopped or looked there way I would turn into a puddle so I stared straight ahead – crossing the line with an official time of 12:58:03! With the help of a volunteer, I hobbled to the exit telling her “NEVER again”. “What was I thinking?”

Fast forward to the next morning on the plane ride home.

Day 4: Sunday, April 29, 2018

Ironman Arizona 2018 – here I come!

Special thanks to my wife, LeAnn, family, and coach, Sheila. Without them none of this would have been possible.


0 #1 Mary Olson 2018-05-22 02:22
Way to go Jeff. Your hard work over the years has served you well. You look and feel great, a real change from not so many years ago. Be proud of your efforts and results and many thanks to your wife LeAnn and Sheila for all the support they give you.

Add comment

Security code

Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.