Ironman Florida - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
82F / 28C
Total Time = 10h 41m 58s
Overall Rank = 267/3061
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 36/353
Pre-race routine:

Going into the race weekend I felt pretty good. The training (via Don Finks Be Iron Fit competitive plan) went well. Very very few workouts missed. Got through the training with no injuries or sickness, just sick of working out.

Arrived in Florida on Oct 31 but we spend that day in Navarre FL to visit the in-laws and so our daughter could trick or treat with her cousins. Went to the beach and boy was it windy! Ran an hour and the weather was already warming up and humidity was way up. Forecast for the race had been creeping up so this wasn't a surprise.

Arrived in Panama City Beach on Thursday and we stayed at Shores of Panama condos about a 5 min walk from the expo. Got all our stuff at the expo and then checked into the condo. Went for an easy hour ride out front beach road which is the first/last 6 miles of the course. Friday morning I went out in front of the condo for a short 15min OWS practice. Water was fairly calm and the swim was pretty quick. A little later went out for a last minute ride along the run course before dropping the bike off at T1. Took a quick 10min jog and then hit the beach for the rest of the afternoon (under an umbrella).

For dinner I deceieded I wanted to stay in to avoid any extra stress or chance of food poison. Typical spaghetti, garlic bread, and beer. One major garmin went crazy on me while I was setting it up for the next day. I would not go into bike mode. After 6 turn offs, it finally worked. Off to bed by 9pm.

Slept surprisingly well. Woke up once around 1:30am but fell asleep pretty quickly. Alarm went off at 4am and started on my breakfast. Same breakfast as I used for long ride/brick days. Oatmeal, PB english muffin, V8, Ensure, coffee. Headed to the start around 5am.
Event warmup:

Got to my bike and filled up my drinks and hit the bathroom a few times. Sat around the pro bikes for a while to pass the time. Was nervous, but much less than I expected. Finally got time to get into the wetsuit and then we herded like cattle down to the beach.
  • 1h 10m 39s
  • 4156 yards
  • 01m 42s / 100 yards

Well everything they say about about a mass IM swim start was true. I got kicked, hit, pushed under, pummelled for pretty much 45 minutes. The water was significantly more choppy than the day before and the swells went out all the way to the turns. The draft the first loop was pretty awesome. At the first turn bouy, I was too close but I really had no choice. I had to breast stroke around it as it was a giant cluster but you could feel yourself getting sucked toward the next bouy. Thinned out a wee bit after the second turn bouy but not much. Got kicked in the face and got water in my goggles. That sucked. Got out of the first loop in 33minutes. Nice. Walked my way back into the water (no one was really running so I wasn't gonna either). Made a beeline for the first bouy I could see. Still a ton of people but at least I had some room to swim. My navigation was dead on...and I mean dead on. I got tangled in at least 3 of the bouy ropes on the way back out! Finally got around the last turn and just sighted off the big building instead of looking for bouys. Started feeling the effects of a wetsuit hicky. With the swells I had to sight way more than I normally did and apparently the body glide had worn off. Finally go to shore and took a fast walk toward transition. Used the wetsuit strippers and headed into the changing room.
Transition 1
  • 07m 17s

Had one issue in T1. My HRM became really loose during the swim so I had to take off my top, pull down the bibs and take off the HRM to adjust the strap. Other than that (probably a 2 minute ordeal), went well. Volunteers were great with helping out. Bike was easy to find and took an easy jog with it out to the start.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe pin the HRM strap so it can't loosen up.
  • 5h 27m 44s
  • 112 miles
  • 20.50 mile/hr

Plan was to go by HR and that was what I did. Plan was to keep HR under 140 and finished with an avg HR of 135. When we started, the wind was light but the temps were already up (65 degrees) and dew point was very high. Course was crowded but I didn't find it over crowded. There was some drafting going on but much less than I expected. There were some big and obvious pacelines but not too many. I did almost get run off the road by one group and I cursed them up a storm.

If you wanted to draft on this course, you certainly could. If you wanted to ride it legally, there was no problem doing it. I found no problems keeping the legal distances for myself.

I had heard about the one rough section of road on the out and back section near special needs but I was not expecting what we got...that might have been the roughest road I have ridden all year. There were things spilled everywhere. Why in gods name don't they change that section? It was horrible. If you had any fillings in your head after that stretch, count yourself lucky. Other than that section, the roads were great.

After mile 50 or so, the heat really started cranking up. I had gone through more Infinit bottles than I had planned before special needs so I knew I would have to supplement with some perform/water. Went through the halfway point at right around 21mph.

Around mile 60 or, we headed back into a direct headwind and the course went from flat to rolling. Was nice to get a break and get out of aero a bit. We made the turn to head back to PCB and again into a headwind but at least this section was flat expect for the bridge.

Fighting the headwind at this point stated getting a little old. I was ready to get off the bike as my rear end had had enough. The heat was really starting to turn up at this point (82 degrees). I tried to pee multiple times on the bike but nothing. I felt like I was drinking enough but 112m on the bike w/o pee was a little concerning. I started chugging water at every aid station but still nothing.

Leg wise I felt good and HR was in check. Seeing the first tall building of PCB was a heavenly sight. At the point, I was ready to turn my brain on to the run. Relaxed quite a bit on the last 6 miles along the beach. Got out of aero and used the tailwind to take it home. Avg pace at the finish was 20.5mph. Some people were hammering away that last 6 miles...good for them. See ya on the run. Saw my wife/daughter in front of our condo which is a nice moral boost with the marathon to come.

What would you do differently?:

I hindsight, I might have gone a bit faster and try to avg a HR of 140.
Transition 2
  • 05m 1s

No issues here. Total gear change from bibs / tri jersey to running shorts and de soto skin cooler jersey. I wasn't sure if I was gonna go full running clothes or full tri gear and actually mixed and matched due to the heat. My skin cooler top is awesome for cooling and my short split shorts are a better choice for me in the heat. Finally did pee a little bit before heading out on the run.
  • 3h 51m 17s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 50s  min/mile

Felt fantastic the first couple of miles and like usual, went out a bit too fast but not crazy fast. I had read that your best case senerio for your IM run pace is marathon pace + 1 min so I tried to settle into a 8:40 groove which came pretty easily. Was making sure I stayed cool with sponges but it was pretty damn hot out, especially in the state park. As we headed back from the park, we had a nice headwind which really helped you cool off. I was shocked at how good my legs felt. My splits were very very close for a long time, right around 8:45 or so.

I got to see my wife and daughter at the 13m turn around and I stopped to give my daughter a huge kiss...that was the ONLY time I stopped running the entire race. I was terrified that if I stopped/slowed down at an aid station, I would never get going again.

The crowds and volunteers were doing a great job of entertaining and hydrating us. The groups on surf drive were Mardi Gras like! By mile 15 or so, the numbers of people walking had skyrocketed. I felt like I was the only one running at times. Started counting down the miles and feeling great. As the state park and mile 20 got near, I feared the wall...but the wall was no where to be found. At this point I just kept telling myself I was too tough to stop now. 5 miles to go...I was getting pumped. My pace was actually getting faster after mile 20! At this point, most of the rest was a blur. One foot in front of the other, repeat. Getting back onto Thomas Drive I just started soak it in. Started smiling ear to ear. Finally saw Alvins Island and I could hear the crowds. I looked around and there were a couple of dudes that felt the need to go sprinting by so I actually slowed down so i could go through the shoot by myself. There wasn't a hand I didn't high five. For the past hour on the run I was trying to figure out what my finish time might be and if I could get under 11 but my brain said "no math please". Finally saw that clock and it said 10:40 something. Even bigger smiles.

Soaked in the last 50 yards and waited to hear those famous words, "You are an Ironman!" It was heavenly to finally hear! Raised my arms as I finished and think I even screamed a little. Got my medal and other swag and quickly saw my family waiting for me. Awesomeness is the only thing I felt. Took a few pics and then headed for the food.
What would you do differently?:

In hindsight, I believe I could have run a 3:41-3:45 marathon but I had no idea what to expect.
Post race
Warm down:

Grabbed some pizza, choc milk, cookies, water and some snack and then headed out to a picnic table to eat. I was hungry but couldn't really stomach much. Started getting real light headed so I put my head down for a while. Felt a little better so we made our way into the host hotel so I could go to the bathroom. Getting light headed again. Someone comes up to me and says I need to sit down and I agree. Figured my blood sugar was low so I had my wife get me an OJ. Started feeling ok snd started texting friends. Then started feeling really not OK and had to go bathroom again but my wife had already gone to get my bike and I was alone with my 6 year old. Told her not to move and tell mom I was in the bathroom and to come and get me if I didn't come out. At this point, I was way beyond feeling bad. I knew I had to get to medical. I was shaking and I was pretty sure I was soon going to pass out. I barely did make if off the crapper and luckliy my wife was back so she walked me out to medical. They told me I was severly dehyrated and forced 3 cups of broth and water in me. After an hour I felt better and I just wanted to go home. Crawled into bed with my daughter and watched a movie and chugged water while my wife went back to get my gear. After the movie, I at least started to feel somewhat human again but there was no way I was going to make the midnight finish party. Got out of bed and finally was able to enjoy a celebratory beer before crashing for the night. Slept terrible but woke up feeling 1000 times better. Had a huge breakfast and then enjoyed one more night in PCB relaxing and rehyrdating with anything alocholic!

This was my first Ironman, but it won't be my last!

Event comments:

Loved this race. The atmosphere at a big IM event was as good or even better than described. Sure they are expensive, but it was totally worth it in my opinion.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2012-02-27 12:00 AM
01:10:39 | 4156 yards | 01m 42s / 100yards
Age Group: 95/353
Overall: 615/3061
Performance: Good
1.2 mi 1.2 mi 33:25 33:25 1:43/100m 2.4 mi 1.2 mi 37:14 1:10:39 1:55/100m Total 2.4 mi 1:10:39 1:10:39 3:39/100m
Suit: Desoto Black Pearl
Course: Two loop rectangle in Gulf
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 69F / 21C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 07:17
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
05:27:44 | 112 miles | 20.50 mile/hr
Age Group: 85/353
Overall: 519/3061
Performance: Good
15 mi 15 mi 43:03 2:00:59 20.91 mi/h 33 mi 18 mi 53:37 2:54:36 20.14 mi/h 55 mi 22 mi 59:11 3:53:47 22.30 mi/h 72 mi 17 mi 52:54 4:46:41 19.28 mi/h 94.7 mi 22.7 mi 1:04:54 5:51:35 20.99 mi/h 112 mi 17.3 mi 54:05 6:45:40 19.19 mi/h Total 112 mi 5:27:44 6:45:40 20.50 mi/h
Wind: Some
Course: One loop out and back. Middle 25 rolling, rest pretty flat. Not as pancake flat as people claim.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 88
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:01
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
03:51:17 | 26.2 miles | 08m 50s  min/mile
Age Group: 36/353
Overall: 267/3061
Performance: Good
2 mi 2 mi 16:29 7:07:10 8:14/mi 4 mi 2 mi 16:56 7:24:06 8:28/mi 6.6 mi 2.6 mi 22:10 7:46:16 8:39/mi 9.1 mi 2.5 mi 22:49 8:09:05 8:58/mi 11.1 mi 2 mi 17:24 8:26:29 8:42/mi 13 mi 1.9 mi 16:52 8:43:21 8:44/mi 15 mi 1.9 mi 17:48 9:01:09 9:13/mi 17 mi 2 mi 17:55 9:19:04 8:57/mi 19.5 mi 2.6 mi 22:38 9:41:42 8:50/mi 22.1 mi 2.6 mi 22:48 10:04:30 8:50/mi 24.1 mi 2 mi 17:32 10:22:02 8:46/mi 26.2 mi 2.1 mi 19:56 10:41:58 9:29/mi Total 26.2 mi 3:51:17 10:41:58 8:49/mi
Course: Flat winding out and back
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5