Ironman Florida - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
Total Time = 15h 23m 44s
Overall Rank = 2139/2500
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 117/140
Pre-race routine:

In the many months preparing for Ironman, I would occasionally go back and read race reports about Ironman Florida. A lot of the reports are written by really fast people. It made me have doubts- can I finish? Will I make the cut offs? What if...?

I am not fast. I am just a regular person, with a family and a full time job. If you are signed up for Ironman Florida 2013 and looking for confirmation that you can finish - you can! Be consistent with your training, trust your training plan and have a blast on race day! I used the Beginner Triathlete Ironman training plan. I followed the total hours for each discipline, but switched some of the workouts around to get the distance I wanted for my longest bike rides.

My husband and three friends were all doing Ironman Florida with me. We had a total of six sherpas/spectators with us. We left Austin about 4:30 AM on Wednesday morning. I was out of town at a conference and just arrived home on Tuesday night. I was worried that this would make me tired, or I would get sick, or I wouldn't be able to enjoy the conference because I would be freaking out about Ironman. None of that happened. In fact, I think it was really good for me to have my mind taken off of Ironman for a few days. I only talked about Ironman one time and that was during the last evening of the conference. I had packed everything for both trips before leaving for the conference.

The drive was long and mostly uneventful. We arrived at our condo in PCB around 9:00 pm. Thursday was waffles with friends, a practice swim, athlete check in and shopping. I only bought an event shirt ($28 dollars for a tshirt! yikes!) and a water bottle. I wanted to save my money for the finisher stuff. My husband and I also did our shake out bike ride.

I walked down to the Boardwalk on Friday for another practice swim. After walking there and back, I decided I didn't need to do my shake out run. The walking on Thursday and Friday was enough for my legs. After checking in my bike at transition, I went to the athlete prayer service. It was great and exactly what I needed to calm my nerves and feel a little more centered. It was funny to have the pastor praying for our goggles, wetsuits, bike tires, etc. :). The rest of Friday was spent resting after we put out our signs for the run.

Breakfast on Saturday was a cliff bar and a banana. We left our condo about 5:45, parked at Walmart and then walked over to the race site. Our friend turned in our Special Needs bags while we checked our bikes and waited in line for the restroom. We got our wetsuits on and headed down to the start.
  • 1h 37m 10s
  • 4156 yards
  • 02m 20s / 100 yards

For me, this was a great swim! I couldn't believe my time. I thought that I would between 1:40 - 1:50, with a time closer to 1:50. The wetsuit and the draft really helped pull me along.

Waiting for the swim start was the hardest part of the day. It was just so overwhelming standing there. My anxiety level was high and I was trying not to cry. Once the cannon went off, all of my nerves went away. I started on shore, slightly to the right of the buoys. There were people who started way to the far right. Once the cannon went off, I slowly started moving to the water and making my way through the waves. I had hardly any contact. There were people around me, but I didn't get hit, pushed or elbowed. It was a great swim. The waves didn't seem too bad swimming out. Once we went around the first red buoy, the current moved us really fast to the next turn around. Although I saw people standing up and wading in, I swam until my fingers touched the sand. The first loop of the swim was 15 minutes faster than my time at Gulf Coast. Once I saw my time for the first loop, I knew I was going to have a great day!

The walk up and back out for the second loop was fun. Lots of spectators were screaming and cheering. There seemed to be taller waves/swells on the second loop, although it didn't affect my swim. It was harder to see the buoys coming back into shore, but I just sighted off of the hotel. Again, I tried to swim until my fingers touched sand before I stood up.

Coming out of the swim and walking up the sand was great! There were still lots of spectators. I saw my friends before getting to the wet suit strippers. This was my first experience with the wet suit strippers - they were very enthusiastic and yelling "lay down, lay down". I think I accidentally elbowed one of the volunteers when I stood back up. I ran under the showers and then to get my bag.
What would you do differently?:

I don't know. Maybe work on my form more in training.
Transition 1
  • 08m 26s

I trotted with my bag into the changing tent. I swam with my tri shorts and swim suit top. The only thing I needed to change was my top and put on my socks and shoes. Based on tips from other people, I had all of my loose items in zip locks. I had some food already packed on my bike and a little more food for my bike jersey pocket.

The volunteer was great. She helped me with my jersey, put my ziplock bags in my pockets and put my socks on for me. I had packed my bike jacket and gloves but left them in T1 because it was so warm. I sprayed myself down with sunscreen and was out the door to get my bike. I trotted with my bike with my bike shoes on to the mount line and was ready to go.
What would you do differently?:

This was faster than I thought it was going to be. I probably could have moved faster getting to the tent or getting my bike out to the road.
  • 7h 15m 47s
  • 112 miles
  • 15.42 mile/hr

I saw my friends just after the mount line. Lots of people were passing me on the way out of town. I kept reminding myself to ride your own race. The bike ride was uneventful. It was a beautiful day and we didn't really have any wind on the first half of the bike. I did great on the handups. I took water and bonk breakers. I didn't take any Perform because I hadn't had a chance to practice with it. The guys in the Speedos on the bridge were hilarious! It was a great way to start the day.

I stopped at Special Needs and picked up my Grandma's cookies. I also stopped at the next rest stop to use the porta pottie, put on more sunscreen and mix up my Gatorade. It tasted awful, so I stuck with water for the rest of the ride.

I stopped again at mile 80 to stretch. I thought I was going to stop at mile 96 to use the porta pottie, but I decided to just wait until I got back to T2.

Coming back over the bridge was so exciting. Seeing the Ironman billboard by the bridge brought tears to my eyes. I knew I was almost done with the bike and was excited about seeing my friends on the run.

One of my friends passed me on the bike and I saw my husband on one of the out and backs on the bike. Really, I heard him talking before I actually saw him. I saw another friend on the same out and back.

The only two places that gave me trouble were the 2 turn arounds at the end of the roads. I slowed way down to make the turns. There is a crappy road right before Special Needs ~ 10 miles worth of bump, bump, bump every 2 feet. There were a lot of funny signs that made the ride enjoyable.

I ate "real food" on the bike (cheese/peanut butter crackers, graham cracker snacks with peanut butter, Grandma cookies, lays potato chips and bonk breakers). I also had 1/2 package of cliff shots.
What would you do differently?:

I rode 3 100 mile rides in preparation. I think next time I can practice building more intensity/speed in addition to preparing for the distance.
Transition 2
  • 11m 29s

I was so happy to be back. I thanked all of the volunteers. They were once again great and very encouraging.

I didn't ask for any help for T2. I changed all of my clothes and socks and reapplied the Body Glide. I stopped at the porta pottie and was off on the course.
What would you do differently?:

Put a small towel in T2 bag. Put Kleenex in pocket/spi bag (no toilet paper in porta potties on the run)

Move a little faster.
  • 6h 10m 52s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 10s  min/mile

The run! I started off way too fast. It is hard not to, because there is so much energy coming from the spectators the first two miles. I saw one group of my friends and missed the other group. I ran past Elvis, the Chippendale dancers and the whip girls. I tried to slow down, but I was still going way too fast and couldn't catch my breath while I was running. I had been running 5/1's during all of my training runs. This cycle lasted 3 times during the race.

I started walking more because I felt a little weird. It wasn't nausea, it was more like I was dizzy and my stomach felt weird. I ate Cliff Shots for the first loop of the run. I had gels with me, but they did not sound good at all.

I saw my husband and 1 friend two times on the run. I saw my friends again at lap two. They were fantastic sherpas and cheerers! I slowed way down on lap two heading towards the park. I was still feeling weird and trying to figure out what to eat or drink. Oranges were great. The pretzels were ok, but very, very stale after being out in the salt air for so long. Grapes did not sit well. Coke was ok. I tried the chicken broth because so many people rave about it. I thought it was disgusting and threw most of it out.

I could hear the announcer at mile 24. The last .5 mile is wonderful and the finish line was just amazing. I made sure to take off my glow necklace and made sure that I was by myself for the picture. My catcher was awesome. I had a death grip on his arm because I was afraid of falling over.
What would you do differently?:

Do more long runs after biking. I did a lot of my long runs after work and they were several days before or after my long ride. My longest run in training was 16 miles.

Drink more water on the run.
Post race
Warm down:

I sat down on the curb for a while. My friend kept asking me if I was ok. Once I got up and moved around I felt better. We moved to the stands to wait for our other friend to come in. The energy at the finish line is so fantastic! The crowd was shouting "You are an Ironman!" for every finisher!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

This was pretty fast for me. Based on my Gulf Coast time, I thought I could come in around 16 hours.

Event comments:

Although I think the race entry fees are overpriced, Ironman Florida definitely delivered. The volunteers are suburb. The aid stations are well stocked and there are lot of details that make the race special. I am glad that I picked this race for my first Ironman.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2012-11-21 12:00 AM
01:37:10 | 4156 yards | 02m 20s / 100yards
Age Group: 113/140
Overall: 2218/2500
Performance: Good
Suit: sleeveless Rocket Science wetsuit
Course: Two loops
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Time: 08:26
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
07:15:47 | 112 miles | 15.42 mile/hr
Age Group: 117/140
Overall: 2241/2500
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Below average Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 11:29
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:10:52 | 26.2 miles | 14m 10s  min/mile
Age Group: 117/140
Overall: 2139/2500
Performance: Average
Course: Flat, 2 loop course on neighborhood streets. Out to the park and back. It is very dark in the park.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
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] 4