My first Triathlon
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Ironman Florida - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Panama City Beach, Florida
Ironman North America
60F / 16C
= 12h 00m 47s
Age Group Rank
My full race report...this was typed with Slowtwitch in mind, so please excuse the references if you don't post on that forum:
Let me start by saying if you don't like race reports, hit your "back" button and find a new thread. Ha, ha.
Two years ago, if someone asked me if I'd ever do an Ironman, I would have laughed, yet, here I sit the day after my first IM. Amazing what a little motivation can do. My wife's commitment to training for and completing the LA Marathon in 2004 led me down this path, and it's opened an entirely new world to me. Coming from a background as a pro athlete
), I had that competitive nature about me, but missed having an outlet for it. Triathlon has given me that outlet. Okay, enough of this treacly crap.
Many of you have read my reports leading to race day, so I'll cut to the chase.
Got a pretty good night's sleep considering. I was out by 8:30 and was up at 4am, ready to roll. I had a VERY light last few days leading to the race with super-easy, small workouts, so I was amped to do the race. My goal for the day was to stick with my practiced nutrition and see what happened to my body when I put it through 12 plus hours of exertion. I really didn't know, and honestly after reading all the IM RR's here on ST about people puking 20 times during their race, I was a bit scared.
Decided not to take my pump with me in the morning. Mistake one. I was quite bundled up for the 1/2 mile walk to the race site and got in to transition soon after it opened. No tech guys with pumps as advertised, so on to plan "B". I borrowed a pump, but it didn't work too well, so on to plan "C" which was to jump in the now ridiculously long line for the techs with a pump. A kind-hearted guy came over and let me use his pump, so I was out of there quickly and spent the next 1/2 hour running back and forth over to my gear bag trying to decide how to dress for the bike. Long sleeve shirt with a short sleeve jersey over it? Short sleeve jersey with arm warmers? Couldn't decide. Keep in mind it was colder than a well digger's ass in the predawn darkness, so it was hard to imagine it would get THAT warm later on the bike. Then, I couldn't decide whether to wear tri shorts or speedos under the wetsuit. I imagined riding in wet shorts and freezing, so I was going to change into them in T1, but ultimately, I decided to wear them under the wetsuit.
Then, I tried to cram my backpack and all my gear in my dry clothes bag, but it wouldn't fit and I ripped the bag. Then it occured to me to call my wife, who was walking up the beach with the stroller by now, so I could hand the bag to her on the beach. So, I stuff everything BACK into the backpack and realize I'd forgotten my swim cap! Mistake #2. No biggie as they had more at the beach.
So, I make my way to the beach and the sun is coming up with a light cross-offshore breeze and a longshore current, but otherwise, nice conditions. I kiss my wife and daughter and it's time to go.
I make my way WAY outside to avoid the punch-up along the buoy line. I HATE swimming in the pack so much I was willing to add a few extra minutes to my swim time to swim the long way around. Saw Joe Bonness on the outside as well.
Boom, the cannon goes off and I'm settling nicely into my bilateral breathing for the first 1/2 mile. I'm barely brushing a few folks, but I'm a good 50 yards out from the buoy line. I hit the turn and come in a bit, and then go wide for the trip back to the beach. Out at the buoy, it's a bit choppy so I have to watch my breathing so as not to swallow water. Plus, mistake #3: I forgot to BodyGlide my neck, which means I can feel my neck rubbing raw. It's worse when I breathe on the left, so I abandon the bilateral breathing and stick to the right only. I hit the beach in 38 minutes. Not even close to my 1.2 PR, but I knew that was coming. I follow the herd and grab a cup of water, and hit the water for lap #2. I was feeling good, and only started a fatigue slightly toward the end of the swim, but still felt fresh. My pace was nice and steady throughout and I avoided the thrash-fest I saw going on along the buoy line. 1:20 was my swim time. MUCH slower than I would have liked, but I probably swam 2.8 miles!
You know those disaster movies where a bomb has just gone off and everyone is running around in different directions screaming and going nuts? That describes the scene. I grabbed my Swim to Bike bag and started for the change tent. It was like a scene from M*A*S*H* when a helicopter comes in. No room, so I changed in the parking lot outside the tent. This was the worst T1 of my life. I decided to wear a long sleeve jersey under my short sleeve jersey, and thought I could dry myself enough to get the jersey on easily, but it wasn't happening. It took me about 2 minutes just to get the damn jerseys on. Then, I had to stuff the pockets with Clif Bars, gels, lip balm, and then get my socks/shoes on, and gloves
(it was freaking cold and windy!
). A shockingly bad 12 minute T1!!!!!! Damnit!
Saw people on the way out with flats at the mech. tent! Bummer! Saw a guy 1/2 mile up the road already changing his tire! Bummer! Saw a poor girl 8 miles in that had crashed and had an ambulance crew looking at her! Damn! Initially, though I've never done a group ride, I got the sense that it felt like a big group century ride. Everyone just chugging along in a big line as far as you could see, just a bike length or three apart. Where I was, I didn't get the sense that folks were trying to draft, but quite honestly, there was never more than a 10 yards between me and another cyclist through MOST of the first 80 miles. Headwinds for much of the first 40 miles or so, and then a beautiful tailwind had me holding 20-22 mph for more than half of the rest of the bike.
I was feeling good holding an easy pace for the early part of the bike, and actually started feeling a little fatigued around mile 20 and was wondering what the hell was going on, but then I started the feedbag and it picked me right up. I got passed for sure, but I probably passed 200 or more on the bike, and was feeling outstanding for most of it, with a few "down" patches, but I kept wolfing down Fig Newtons
(which I had stuffed in the Bento Box
) and gels, Clif Bar, and a PB and banana sandwich and choc. chip cookie which I had in my Special Needs bag. I drank Gatorade Endurance and water, and refilled twice at the aid stations. There's ALOT to be said for training with the on-course nutrition!!! Glad I did! You never have to worry if you lose your bottles over a bump or can't get your Special Needs bag, etc. BTW, I did see a guy with TWO Bento Boxes, and four bottles.
Anyway, I saw one guy go down rounding a corner a little hot in front of me. Looked like he was okay, but I had to whiz on by. Speaking of whizzing, lots of guys taking pisses off their bikes along the roadside. The girls must have been jealous! At least one riding beside me was.
I was thinking how I was going to finish the bike in 6.5-7 hours before the race, but now I was on pace to go about 6:15 thanks to the wind and cool temps. The last 7 miles saw headwinds, but I was so jacked that I barely remember that. I came in feeling nice and somewhat fresh, with the adrenaline that the crowd along the course brings!
Handed off my bike and grabbed my B to R bag and into the tent. Dumped out the bag, and pulled off my shirts, taking the short sleeve one and dumping out the pockets into the bag and putting the shirt back on. I tied the long sleever around my waist. Off with the bike shoes and on with the run shoes. Lip balm, hat, gels, and I was off to the portapotty, where I realized I had left my bike shorts on over my tri shorts. Mistake #4! I ran over to my bike and dropped them off, and headed out. Forgot to check my watch time before leaving T2. Mistake #5!
Felt terrific right off the bat on the run. I kept my pace in check knowing I was in for about a 4:30-4:45 marathon
(this was my first marathon!
). My plan was to walk all the aid stations and have a gel and water at every other aid station and Gatorade at every other, and run the mile between them. This turned out to be a great plan for me. I was churning away and was averaging a 9:35 pace or so, but feeling good. Saw the men's leader with 2 miles to go as I was only 2 miles into the race. He was floating! I kept thinking I had to back my pace down a bit, but I was feeling fine thanks to the walk breaks. Aid stations were well-stocked and run well too with some great volunteers
(who I thanked often!
). I couldn't see my watch well enough in the fading light to see how I was doing, so I couldn't gauge my time very well, but I knew as I approached the turnaround for lap 2 that I was going better than expected. The crowd was fantastic and I was really hoping to see Vicki and Saige. Saw their banners on the run course, which pumped me up and my daughter's little drawings gave me a good chuckle! I finally spotted Vicki 14 miles into the run and she and Saige
(in the stroller
) ran alongside me for a minute videoing and I gave them both a kiss and told them I'd see them in two hours! So, as it darkened, I plugged away, got my glow stick necklace before I knew it, I was at mile 20, which was the furthest I'd run in training.
I just kept thinking about how people say they'd bonk at mile 20 and I kept waiting for that, but fortunately, it didn't happen. I was thinking about 6-mile routes I do at home and thinking I could do that distance in my sleep. My quads and lower back were thinking otherwise, but now came the time, as it does in all long-course races I've done, to ignore that pain. I stopped to stretch twice on the run, also part of my plan. At one point, with about 4 miles to go, I figured out that I had a remote shot at breaking 12 hours, a bit ahead of the estimated 13 hours I had predicted. So, I picked it up a bit, always imaging my local training routes and how fast I could run them. At 2 miles to go, I stopped at my last aid station and decided to empty the tank in an all-out bid to beat 12 hours. I was like a man possessed. I was trying to imagine, as I powered along, what sort of emotions the finish line would bring. I had in training, thought about this moment, and imagined I might cry, or maybe I would be stoic, or maybe laugh. As I approached the last 1/2 mile, people along the route were yelling and screaming their heads off and it only served to jack me up that much more! I was cussing at myself "Muther effer...RUN!" I was saying! Then, as I approached the last 500 yards, I heard Mike Reilly scream "30 seconds until 12 hours! Is anyone coming up that ramp?" I was, unfortunately, still about 50 yards from the ramp, and giving everything I had. People are yelling, cheering and I just zoned them all out passing a woman going up the ramp, hell-bent on that finish line. The sad thing, mistake #6 is that I was so focussed on spending every last bit of energy I had
(and avoiding puking from the effort
), that I didn't even slow down to enjoy that finish chute moment and grab my daughter on the side for the run across the line
(yeah, I know the ST rule about bringing kids across the line!
). In hindsight, I regretted that! I should have enjoyed that moment and played to the crowd a bit, but yet another case of my ego getting the better of me making another rookie mistake! Next time! Marathon time was quite a bit better than I expected at 4:12:41.
So, I finished in 12 hours and 47 seconds, well ahead of my conservative goal thanks to ideal temperatures and some favorable winds on the bike. If I had sped up in transition, not walked an aid station or two, not stopped to stretch, etc., I might have knocked 15 minutes off my time, but I stuck with my plan and it worked! No puking, no cramping, etc. I was overjoyed to finish, but didn't feel the "life-changing" thing. It was more like I had worked on this goal with lots of determination and felt very satisfied that I had completed the goal as planned. A great validation of the blood, sweat, and tears that I put into it really more than anything.
I saw my family and we shared a wonderful moment and then I hit the massage tent. I could have fallen asleep in there it was so nice! Once out of there, I went and got some pizza and put on the warm clothes my wife had brought over. The quads were feeling like crap, but I wanted to keep moving. Surprisingly, my knees felt fine. Can't figure that one out as in all my training runs, it was my knees that would get sore. Maybe the 5 day/week running paid off!
In an effort to capture some more of that iron magic, after taking a hot bath and icing the quads, I put back on my warm clothes and headed BACK to the race site
(1/2 mile walk each way
) and stayed for the final hour of finishers! IMO this is what Ironman, for me, is all about! It was a true party and celebration of the lifestyle with Mike Reilly at the helm. The majority of the people there were racers all with our finisher medals on, dancing and carrying on, cheering like mad for the final finishers. The music was great, the energy was palpable, and those last hour finishers ran the gamut from young to old, from overjoyed to focussed, to looking like they wanted to die, etc. We cheered at full volume for each and every one of them, especially 77-year-old Frank Farrer who came in 10 minutes before midnight, right down to the last official finisher who came in with 30 seconds to go. It was a warm and fuzzy hour that confirmed why I am in this sport and why I love long-course racing, and really enjoy the IM-branded experience, despite the negative opinions some have of it. They run a top-notch operation, and the entire week makes you feel like part of the family.
Today, Sunday, everyone is going for one last ego boost by wearing around our IM finisher hats/shirts. I saw about 8 finishers at the Waffle House this morning all downing greasy crap, just like me, and relishing in yesterday's effort.
For those of you who have yet to do your first IM, expect a wonderful experience that will help take the sting out of the $450 you spent on your entry fee. If it's hardcore racing you want ONLY, then IM probably isn't for you. If you want a celebration of the lifestyle and a well-oiled machine of a race, then you won't be disappointed!
Okay, on to Clearwater next weekend. I just have to get my legs working in the next 5 days!
1h 20m 11s
01m 54s / 100 yards
6h 08m 1s
4h 12m 41s
09m 38s min/mile
Last updated: 2006-11-07 12:00 AM
01:20:11 | 4224 yards | 01m 54s / 100yards
0F / 0C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:08:01 | 112 miles | 18.26 mile/hr
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:12:41 | 26.2 miles | 09m 38s min/mile
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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