Jason Blakely reads over his race notes on the morning of his first Ironman

Jason Blakely reads over his race notes on the morning of his first Ironman

 At 4:45 AM, Jason leaves his hotel room to meet up with his fellow participants at the racecourse.

At 4:45 AM, Jason leaves his hotel room to meet up with his fellow participants at the racecourse.

 The athletes converge on the bike transition area to make final inspections of their gear and grab their swim bag before walking to the swim start.

The athletes converge on the bike transition area to make final inspections of their gear and grab their swim bag before walking to the swim start.

 While it's still dark, Jason arrives at the swim start to get numbered and prepare mentally.

While it's still dark, Jason arrives at the swim start to get numbered and prepare mentally.

 Jason receives his race number, which can be used by his friends and family to track his progress during the race.

Jason receives his race number, which can be used by his friends and family to track his progress during the race.

 Jason and his mother, Susan, share a moment just before Team Blakely went in search of a good view of the start.

Jason and his mother, Susan, share a moment just before Team Blakely went in search of a good view of the start.

 Last but not least, Jason leans down as his 4 year-old son asks a few last minute questions about the race.

Last but not least, Jason leans down as his 4 year-old son asks a few last minute questions about the race.

 Of the three segments of the race, the 2.4 mile open water swim gave Jason the most anxiety, which he took out on the neck of his wetsuit.

Of the three segments of the race, the 2.4 mile open water swim gave Jason the most anxiety, which he took out on the neck of his wetsuit.

 Jason's training partner Zack Mitchell (top right) led his friends in a prayer before entering the water.

Jason's training partner Zack Mitchell (top right) led his friends in a prayer before entering the water.

 The athletes make their way to the water.

The athletes make their way to the water.

IMTX-Start-0010-photo-by-Trey-Hill.jpg
 Jason takes once final glance back before the point at which he can only look forward.

Jason takes once final glance back before the point at which he can only look forward.

  The swimmers enter the water for Herman Memorial Ironman Texas. May, 17, 2014.

The swimmers enter the water for Herman Memorial Ironman Texas. May, 17, 2014.

 Prior to the start, the athletes warmed up in the wet-suit legal 68 ° water.

Prior to the start, the athletes warmed up in the wet-suit legal 68° water.

 Prior to the start, the athletes warmed up in the wet-suit legal 68 ° water.

Prior to the start, the athletes warmed up in the wet-suit legal 68° water.

 Jason's son, Reed, peeks through the railing of the bridge which provided spectators the best view of the starting line.

Jason's son, Reed, peeks through the railing of the bridge which provided spectators the best view of the starting line.

 The start of Herman Memorial Ironman Texas was announced with a loud canon that shook the quiet morning in The Woodlands, Texas.

The start of Herman Memorial Ironman Texas was announced with a loud canon that shook the quiet morning in The Woodlands, Texas.