Looking Back on The Houston Marathon.

The Chevron Houston Marathon took place yesterday and was the first big team race for Bicycle World’s Austin Racing Team. There were six members that toed the line on Sunday: Natasha Van Der Merwe, Carly Conrad, Padre Mora, Doreen Redenius, Todd Sapio and me.

I wanted to share with you a little about a few of the incredible athletes who raced this past weekend. I sent each of these folks a few questions to give a little insight into their lives.

Natasha Van Der Merwe, pro triathlete, director of team programs at Bicycle World (our fearless leader):

Q: What’s the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you in a race?

A: Putting my tri suit on backwards and having to change right before the start of the race in the middle the crowd with friends creating a barrier around me.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish as an athlete this year?

A: I want to look back on the year and know that I did everything in my power to be the best and well-rounded athlete I can be. No stone unturned. If I can honestly say I did the best I could with the execution of every day as a whole, I will be happy.

Q: How do you balance training and work and family?

A: I schedule my days and what needs to be done each day out to the minute, prioritizing what is important now.

Q: What will you eat for breakfast Sunday morning?

A: Generation UCAN Shake and a Sweet potato with walnuts and Cinnamon, with a cup of Coffee and then an Eboost shot right before we start.

Q: What will make Sunday a successful day for you?

A: The key phrases for me are always “racing with gratitude,” which is probably why I smile so much when I race) and “staying in the moment.” If I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the experience and opportunity to run the marathon and truly feel like I am living life and can feel God's presence while I run, then it’s a HUGE success.

Todd Sapio

Q: How did you get into triathlon?

A: I made a friend run the Austin marathon with me four years ago just to see if we could. During my training I saw a video about Ironman and thought, "Wow! How does anyone do that?! Maybe I could." At mile 24 of the marathon I swore I'd NEVER do an Ironman. A year later, I was toeing the line at my first Ironman race.

Q: How do you balance training and work and family?

A: I maximize all my time. I train when I can and always put family first. Usually that means early mornings or evenings with the occasional lunch swim but I'm not going to lie, it's an art.

Q: Why’d you choose the Houston Marathon?

A: I've heard it's a forgiving course, not like Austin, which I've run twice and is very challenging, even for elite runners. Also, I wanted to use it as a way to get my run stronger for the triathlon season.

Q: What’s been your favorite workout leading up to the race and why?

A: The Bicycle World Racing Team’s Friday morning progressive run: 20 minutes easy, 20 minutes moderate, 20 minutes hard. It's a great way to manage your improvement from week to week. Definitely a run I would recommend.

Q: What will make Sunday a successful day for you?

A: For me, first and foremost, my time. Shooting for 2:50-2:54 and that is what I intend to run. If it just isn't my day, then I will resort to staying present with a positive mindset, run to my best possible perceived effort and finish strong.

Doreen Redenius

Q: What’s your favorite race you've done and why?

A: I don’t have one particular favorite race, because so many races have different memories. However, it was really special to complete my first Ironman with my dad competing as well. He beat me.

Q: What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you in a race?

A: I’ll provide a sampling:

1. Royally barfed on the bike during my first Ironman and didn't miss a beat or slow down. Luckily, I didn't hit anyone behind me.

2. Tried to put my still-clipped-in foot down coming into T2 in a sprint race and totally crashed. I got up real quick and acted like I had totally done that before. The guy behind me came by and told me that I was very graceful.

3. Squatted next to a occupied porta-potty on the run in an Ironman, and couple of girls spectating gave me the most horrified look. I guess they had never done an Ironman and learned that at a certain point, you simply #gottago.

4. I once got really super annoyed with a guy during an Ironman swim, who repeatedly swam on and over me. So I pinched him in his his tummy. It just came over me, but I felt really bad after.

Q: Why’d you choose the Houston Marathon?

A: The training kept me accountable during the winter months, and I would like to qualify for the Boston Marathon again. Plus, I have had some great training buddies.

Q: What’s been your favorite workout leading up to the race and why?

A: Since I come from a track-and-field background, I love the BW Racing Team track sessions on Wednesdays at 6 a.m. I have also enjoyed some of the Austin Distance Challenge Races.

Q: What will make Sunday a successful day for you?

A: Feeling strong by mile 20, and qualifying for the Boston Marathon.