This post has been updated for 2016.
When you think of all the places around the world we could travel to and race, the Woodlands, Texas, outside of hot, sticky Houston does not come to mind. Sorry Houston. Japan, Mallorca, Puerto Rico, or South Africa – YES! Woodlands, Texas – NO! In fact, I was reminded by an Ironman staffer last night at our welcome cocktail party of my famous words three years ago, “Never the Woodlands again”. Well, guess what? I’m back!
What changed? Well, it was the first full race that fit into our schedule and it was a race we knew, making it easy as David’s comeback race. As a side note, as we boarded the flight from Dallas to Houston, the Austin District Attorney contacted us about the case against the drunk driver who hit David in Austin a year ago (very weird).
So, to Ironman Texas we go! Now that the time has come and the twins decided to come with us, we are all happy with the decision.
For me, it came down to these 6 main reasons why I agreed, in no particular order…
No laughing. We live in Omaha, Nebraska, now and shopping is very limited. We have a few stores we like, but they are outside of town and can take 30 minutes to get there. Also, the selection is limited, as the stores are not that big. We don’t even have a Nordstroms! But, The Woodlands has it all or just about. With two shopping areas, one with smaller boutiques called the Market Place and the other The Woodlands Mall, we are covered. There is also a Nordstroms and a huge Antropologie.
Although this is a long weekend trip, I packed a suitcase to have room for my purchases. I am most excited to get to the cosmetic counter at Nordstroms to get the mascara my friend suggested. I know I could probably buy a lot online, but I am one who still likes shop in the stores to actually see and feel what I’m buying.
Today starts my hubby’s race activities, so pre-shopping will have to happen. Then, tomorrow, when he is feet up resting, it is full-on shopping and finally Saturday, during the out and back bike, we will have recovery for any items we want to go back for. It is a tough job and we have trained well, so we’ll make it to the finish line (ie: full suitcase). And, just to be fair, my wonderful triathlete came up with this shopping idea and honestly, it’s only a couple of hours each day, so we can all be together the rest of the time..
We have great food in Omaha and when we travel we eat well, always seeking out great restaurants. The Woodlands just happens to have a few of our favorites, like Hubbell and Hudson and Corkscrew BBQ. Not only do we find great places to eat out, but plenty of places to get food to have in the room.
Since, we are headed back to Texas, we will get a chance to catch up with a few our friends and we’re so excited. And even more exciting, the twins have friends from Austin and Houston that they’ll get to see and catch up with. We will also be with our triathlon family from Ironman Executive Challenge, who we haven’t seen in a long time. Catching up and being with peers is always a bonus. Plus, we have Troy and Frankie from XC who really take care of everything for us.
This goes without saying. We love that the twins are with us and although we go by the “give them space” rule, the simple fact that they are actually traveling with us is awesome. It’s not often the four of us fly together. We really just use this time to be the four us and I’m thrilled. And if you have the kiddies with you, you can rent kayaks at Riva Row Boat House on the Woodlands Waterway or take them to the Woodland’s Children’s Museum for a little culture, fun, and hands-on learning experiences.
The Woodlands has a great concert venue called the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Some great concerts around the time of the race are the Dave Matthews Band on 5/13 (sorry, it’s the night before the race), Hall & Oates on 5/15, and Florence and the Machine on 5/17.
Spaing is a given for this type of location and it’s nice to give yourself a treat while your triathlete is off having fun! While there are quite a few choices, there are three I can recommend: Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa, Bella Rinova Spa & Salon, and the Spa at the Waterway at the Marriott. These are pretty much full service so you can choose from mani/pedis, facials, and massages – whatever you feel your body needs…
So, I hope you see why I found some reasons to love Ironman Texas and The Woodlands and if you come, you find things to love, too! Oh, I did find these new HOKA One running shoes that are going to get a test run starting tomorrow. Will let you know how I like them, too. (I love them…)