Ironman Florida - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
Ironman North America
Total Time = 10h 14m 26s
Overall Rank = 239/2268
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 41/378
Pre-race routine:

It's funny that the word "routine" is here. It makes me think that some people have this set ROUTINE that they actually do. For me, every race is different. The logistics of WHERE I am at, dealing with my kids, distances, the kind of race, yadda, yadda, yadda. So my "ROUTINE" would be, get up early enough to GET THERE, get there, a do it.
However, I did do all the things I was "supposed" to do for this one. I got up at 3am, chugged 3 bottles of BOOST, ate a half peanut butter sandwich and then went back to bed for another hour. Once up, I drank water and sports drink according to the list I printed off on when to eat/drink what before the race. I stuck to it verbatim. We gathered up the a few last minute items, got the kids pointed in the right direction, and by 5:20am, we were walking the 4/10 mile to the race start from the hotel. Erin, my artistic daughter, had made some special IRON SHERPA shirts for her, Mary and Conor to wear today. They looked great.
Event warmup:

Zero. I had intentions of getting everything ready in time to get to the water for a little warm up swim, but that didn't happen. I put the suit in the hotel at the site, then walked down to the beach. It was absolute pandamodium. People were trying to say goodbye to families. Families were trying to find their athletes. The loud speaker was blaring. The music was blaring. Athletes were trying to get across the little timing mat to activate their chips. It was controlled chaos. I ended up getting to the water about 5 minutes before the pros took off, which left me no time to swim. I just into the water and laid down enough to let the water in my suit, then got out and screwed with my goggles until it ws race time.
  • 1h 08m 53s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 26s / 100 yards

You hear about it, read about it, watch it on video, but being in the middle of it is the difference between watching a Space Shuttle blast off, and being in the drivers seat. My plan was to start on the outside, to the far right of the bouy line, and angle in. I ended up starting about half way down the beach, since the line seemed to stretch for about 100 yards or more. I was right up front. I looked around to see what my fellow swimmers looked like, but you really can't tell a swimmers capabilities by looking at them, can you? I felt ok. The National Anthem was played and we waited a couple of minutes for the gun. I was strangely calm. I thought I'd be EXCITED, or NERVOUS or SOMETHING, but I wasn't. I was on a mission today. I had done the homework, put in the lab time and studied hard. I did EVERYTHING I could possibly do to get to this point and place in time, with me ankles in the water, the sun rising to my left and 2000+ people standing all around me.
The gun went off and we waded in. We ended up walking about 25 yards before actually getting water deep enough to swim in. All of those months spent swimming in a pool, kicking, pulling, drilling to the end of time, did NOTHING to prepare me for this, but I knew it was coming just the same. As we swam to the first turn bouy, there was no "swimming". It was an exercise in "avoid thy neighbor". I was swimming over people, physically pushing people sideways, kicking people, getting kicked and slapped and elbowed. To just put your face in the water and SWIM for any length of time was impossible. To prepare for this, people should invite 50 kick boxers into your swim lane during swim practice, JUST to get into the practice of all of this. We all rounded the first bouy, and the sun was directly on the horizon, so now we were blind. I could see to my left and right, but straight ahead was a big fire ball. Whatever. I just became part of the TUNA SQUAD and swam with everyone else. Moving "ahead" was impossible, so I just held my spot and kept everyone elses pace. This leg was short, and we finally rounded the next turn bouy and began our way back to the beach. I found a little more open water here, but it was only relative to the first leg. I could swim for 8 or 10 strokes here without having to slam into someone else. As we approached the beach, I finally stood up, pulled a HAMMER GEL from my sleeve, slammed it down and grabbed some water on the beach. Then it was back into the salt water for round 2. This was better, but still a good deal of position jockying. Oh, and there were plenty of SWELLS the entire time, but this didn't cause much "swimming" problems, but was responsible for me taking several mouth fulls of salt water. Yum. I was able to actually SWIM for some longer stretches here, but still spent a good deal of time whacking into other people. Rounded the turn bouy and got the sun in my face again. Rounded the next bouy and took a little stock of my situation. I was "feeling" good. I was damn well ready to get out of the water, but I wasn't overly tired. I knew I wasn't killing this swim like I could if I didn't have all of these bodies to contend with, but that was beyond my control, so for the cards that were being dealt to me, I was happy and doing well. I found more open water now and tried to put some quality strokes in now. The beach finally rose up before me and I was able to stand and begin walking up to the beach while getting my wet suit to my waist. When I got to ankle deep water, I began to jog. Up the beach to the craziness of the 100 wet suit strippers. I pointed to one on my right, fell on the ground and let him do his job. In one swift movement, he grabbed the suit and pulled it off me like a person yanking a table cloth from a table full of dishes. SHAZAM! He tossed it to me and I was up and running towards T1. Up the board walk, through some showers, through the hotel hallway and into the parking lot. I was yelling my bag number, but the volunteers weren't fast enough. I was a little disoriented, but Mary and Erin were near by and yelling at me, telling me where my bag was at on the ground. I silently thanked them, grabbed my bag and dashed to the tent. It was full, and wet, and dark. I'm sure it wasn't as dark as it seemed, since I just came in from the blazing sun, but I still couldn't see much, and here's where it may have cost me $250ish dollars...
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. It was trained for, planned for, and done to the best of my ability. As swimming started out being my "achillies heel", I did well here.
Transition 1
  • 05m 31s

As I was saying, I dumped my BAG O GOODIES on the floor and began to put on my socks, shoes, helmet, and race belt. I tried to get my arm warmers up, but abandoned that quickly when they would not go on my wet arms fast enough. I was fast here. To fast. I shoved my wet suit and goggles into my bag and ran out the tent door. I got to by bike and the volunteer handed it to me. It was at this second that I realized that I had NOT PUT ON MY GARMIN! OH SHIT! I told the volunteer to hold my bike and I took 3 steps towards the tent, the tent that was about 30 yards away. Distance is time and TIME is what I was racing for. Can you imagine my thought process here? It took me about 1 second to say SCREW IT. I turned back to my volunteer, who was already reracking my bike. I grabbed the bike and took off. The thoughts going through my head were this. "I TRAINED THE ENTIRE TIME WITH AND FOR HEART RATE" ...MY ENTIRE BIKE LEG IS BASED ON HEART RATE. This one decision could have absolutely screwed me over. SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP! OK, IRONMAN racing is also about ones ability to PROBLEM SOLVE on the take a problem and find a solution. This is what I would do.
What would you do differently?:

Get my head out of my ass. I PRACTICED this over and over and over, but I think I need to practice this in a more chaotic environment. Have loud music playing, be in low light conditions, have people bounding into me, spin me around 10 times first. You can't practice this in perfect conditions and then expect to have it go flawlessly. Really, except for the GARMIN issue, it went fine.
  • 5h 12m 35s
  • 112 miles
  • 21.50 mile/hr

Ok, so no Garmin, and no HR data. Fine. I took the bike to the MOUNT area, got on and took off. I was wet. It was still in the 50's. I was cold. I HATE the cold. For the first 30 miles, I was shivering. New game plan. No HR data, so here was PLAN B. I would keep my effort feeling comfortable the first 56 miles, reassess how I felt and if all systems were GO, I'd put the hammer down the last 56 miles, which was basically the Heart Rate plan. I was in the 21mph range most of the first 56 miles, and I felt crazy relaxed. It actually took some effort not to push harder. I was passing plenty of people during this time, but I was being passed every now and then to. My first reaction to being passed was to push harder and pass them back, but I resisted that and stuck with THE PLAN.
Nutrition: INFINIT. THANKYOU INFINIT!!! In all my years of doing tris and long races, GI issues is one of the things that has taken me OUT every now and then, so I've been long searching for a magic cure. I trained for the last several months using INFINIT and it seemed to do the trick. I never get hungry using it, my stomach always seemed fine and my performance abilities were only enhanced from it. I made up my aero bottle with normal strength and my two extra bottles DOUBLE strength, so I would add water to them from the course during the race. The plan worked flawlessly. I just getting lighter and lighter on the bike as I went and would toss my bottles when they were empty.
DRAFTING. Yep. Lots of that going on, but to be fair, in the early stages, it was IMPOSSIBLE not to. Just to many people in the same space and trying to spread THAT many people out was mathmatically impossible, so you just dealt with it. As I got into the 25 30 and 40 mile range, I was still surprised at how easy this felt. My breathing was easy, legs felt good and I had plenty in the tank. Several times, there were some HUGE peletons of 20 or more people in front of me. I would hang back the required 4 bike lengths and just enjoy the draft of such a huge amount of people. Legally, I was playing by the rules. The course ref's were out and doing a good job really. A guy I passed must have been sucking my tire, because the motorcycle pulled up just behind me and gave him a penalty. I saw plenty of people in the penalty tents as well.
Ok, peeing. I am the master. Somehow, I seemed to be peeing more than I was drinking. I tried to go often, so I didn't have to put out a gallon each time. I must have went about 15 to 20 times. Really. I just stood up, relaxed, gave a little effort and let the good times roll! It usually wicked off before it filled my shoes, but the one time my shoes filled up, it emptied out fairly fast. Not a proud moment in my biking career, but I didn't loose any time by stopping, and if I would have stopped, it would have added loads of time, considering how many times I had to go, and I was wearing a 1 piece racing suit, which would have had to been partially removed each time.
I gotta mention as well, some of the roads were pretty freaking rough. It was beating the hell out of me, and everyone else, for good long stretches. This consistantly placed wedge/holes every 20 feet were maddening!
At 56 miles I felt great and it was time to see what I had left. I opened up and began hitting some 24/25mph speeds. YEA BABY! Man I felt good! I kept this up another 25 miles or so and then hit some winds that took me back down to some reality. I still kept a good pace the rest of the ride, but the winds seemed to be picking up everywhere. I was passing loads of people, 330+ by the stats, so I gotta say that my bike portion went stellar. As I was beginning to finish up I wondered if I had left enough in the tank for a marathon. Did my plan work out without the GARMIN? I wasn't overly tired, but I was damn well happy to get my ass off of this bike seat and put my feet on the ground. I kept thinking off all the guru's speaking about this part of the race and how you want to feel a little "cheesy" and like you may have held back a little to much. That was how I felt, so maybe I was doing this correctly afterall. Mabye.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I had a plan and I followed the letter.
Transition 2
  • 02m 58s

As soon as I got off the bike, I noticed that jogging was a problem. My right knee felt stiff and my gate was very short. I just chalked this up to being off my feet for so long and figured it would work itself out in the first mile of the run, like it usually did, but the KNEE thing was concerning me. My knees had never hurt during training. What was this? Well, I would deal with it accordingly. The volunteers actually did good here and had my bag ready and waiting for me. I got to the tent, took off helmet, shoes and pee soaked socks. I put on new socks, running shoes, grabbed had and glasses, threw stuff in bag and hit the road. I felt fast and smooth here. I got out of the tent and my running gate was still a little strange.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, went well
  • 3h 44m 29s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 34s  min/mile

I couldn't get a full stride in, but again, I just eased into this and knew it would work itself out eventually. I wanted to take it easy the first couple of miles, like in training, and get my HEART RATE (whatever it was) back into a good range and well away from my Lactic Threshold. With every few steps, I was getting my "land legs" back, but still holding back. I wanted to do my first 6 miles at a 7:35 pace and for the first 6.55 miles (this is where the timing mats were set up), I averaged 7:27, and my first few were at a 7:35, so I was spot on. OH, I did still have my regular old running watch with me the entire race, so I wasn't COMPLETELY without some time keeping device. THANK GOODNESS I have back up plans. I was feeling good, but tired at the same time. THIS pace was my best MARATHON pace on FRESH legs, so I had a sneaky suspicion that THIS PACE wasn't going to last.
My Nutrition for the run was Hammer Gel. I had a race belt with 3 gel flasks, which was MORE than enough. My plan was to take a squirt every 20 minutes or so, which I pretty much did, along with a cup of water.
After 7 miles, I began to see my splits creep towards the 8 minute mile range. My knees were actually beginning to get stiff, and for the first time since BOSTON, by thighs were starting to feel the toll of the day. TIME TO TAKE STOCK. Unless something catastrophic happened, I felt I could finish this part without ever walking. I'd been reduced to walking, shuffling, walk/running and everything in between on previous marathons, so I knew what signs to look for of what may be coming. So far, all of those things were out of the picture, but there were many miles to go, and SHIT HAPPENS.
IRONMAN racing, like marathons, at least for me, are an exercise in PAIN TOLLERENCE. How much pain can you put up with for how long? At what point do you give into it? This was paramount on my mind. The further I went, the more it hurt, and I dealt with it.
I actually LIKED the course. I liked how it went out 6+ miles, came back to the start, went out again and then back to the finish. It broke the distance into QUARTERS that I was able to reevaluate my situation. On my return trip from the first OUT leg, I was passing my hotel and saw Mary, Erin and Conor. I still felt "ok" at this point and they were a welcome boost to my day. Mary said I looked good, and I suppose I did "LOOK" that way, but I was FEELING THE PAIN of the day, and my knees and quads were beginning to take a beating. I made the turn around at the finish line and thought to myself, "just one more time and I'll be back at this point and can cross that finish line and my day will be done." I KNEW I was going to do good, but also knew, by doing a little math, that Kona had slipped away. At this point in the race, I had planned to pick up my pace from a 7:35 minute mile to a 7:25 minute mile and then the last 6 miles were to be at a 7:15 minute mile. But I had crept into the 8 minute mile range now and was slowing down every mile after that, so there would be now negative splits today. I passed the family again and got another boost from seeing them. Poor Conor was sitting on the ground and looked like he had enough of this day too. Off I went towards the far turn around. The knees were tighter and quads were becoming tenderized, but I'd felt much worse in other marathons, so I kept on. I took water at EVERY aid station at every mile, and slammed down some HAMMER GEL every 20 minutes or so, so I was feeling good nutrition wise.
PEEING, STAGE 2: I had to pee bad and I could tell, but it wasn't "happening". I'd never actually practiced "peeing" while running before, and it was becoming a problem. My blatter was full, and at around mile 5 I had to give it some real attention. I slowed to a trot, relaxed as much as a person can while running in pain, and opened the flood gates. OH MY GOD! I peed. and peed. and peeeeeeeed. And let me tell ya, once I figured out this LITTLE TRICK, I made good use of it. I was peeing every few miles, and when I went, EACH TIME, I was going and going and going. It wasn't getting in my shoes much, and I wondered what I looked like from behind. I didn't even care anymore. I was going in crowds of people and didn't give a rats ass. My race number covered my "privates", so any stream going forward what stopped there. Ahhhhhhhhhh. I now have a new and exciting trick!
Anyhow, after the last turn around, I crossed a timing mat and looked up on the huge ELECTRONIC INPSPIRATION SIGN to see Mary's note to me....Very good to have you're families thoughts with you out there in the middle of no where. I also saw JEFF at this point. He was passing me going the other direction, and I figured he was about 2 miles behind me. I could also see he was really blazing! I really expected to see him fly pass me before I hit the finish line. I was holding my pace and just counting down each mile. Mentally, I was using my training distances at home to count them down. 4 miles left...that's just past the section 8 housing and back. I actually tried to pick up the pace here, and it lasted all of 3/4 of a mile, but my knees told me to stop being stupid. 3 miles left....just to the Transmission shop and back. 2 miles left...just to the Hardware store and back. 1 mile....not even to the traffic light and home. On the last straight stretch to the finish line, I picked up my pace. I wanted to finish strong. I wanted to look good for my family, who had endured this long road with me. Near the shoot, the BIG TINGLE began to hit me. I wondered if it would ever come. I was all alone. No one to share the line with. The tape was there before me to break. I began to smile and rose my arms. I felt awesome. It was happening. I was running on pure joy now, and for those few seconds, nothing hurt. Mike called out my name and I broke the finish line tape. THE END.
Mimi was there to "catch" me, and I gotta tell you, it was awesome to have a friend at the end to help you. She had witnessed my journey from the beginning, and to have her there was extra special. She took me to get my medal, shirt and hat, then to get my picture. Mary, Erin and Conor were at the end of the line and I was never so happy to see them! Mary gave me a huge hug and told me she was proud of me. I was a bit off kilter, but still excited, among other things.
No Kona, but I had given it my best, and if my best at this point in my life wasn't KONA worthy, than I was able to be at peace with that.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. It probably went better than I "believed" it could. I had a pie in the sky goal, and then some more realistic goals. I'm happy. I beat my 2001 Great Floridan time by almost 4 hours, so how could I be unhappy with this?
Post race
Warm down:

Moving was a problem, so I just kept walking. I went back to the TRANSITION TENT to try to find my GARMIN, but it was still lost and no one had turned it in. I was getting a bad chill, so we walked back to the hotel and I got in the shower that wasn't hot enough or long enough. Stupid condo.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Noting really. I need to get some more hard years of biking under my belt, but I would have had to start doing that 3 or 4 years ago to have been as strong of a bike as I'd like to be. I'll try to make up for that before I'm 50.

Event comments:

First of all, I need to thank my coach MIKE PLUMB with TRIPOWER MULTISPORTS. I had never been coached since High School Track/CC, which was over 25 years ago. So putting my trust and confidence in someone elses hands to deliver me into a proper training world was a big step. However, it turned out perfect. Mike pushed me to my limits without taking me over the brink into destruction, which was my ultimate goal. He took my calls, answered my questions and made the training schedule work for ME, and all at a cost a penny pincher like me could even afford. Thanks Mike!

Volunteers. This race COULD not happen without them. I volunteered last year, and it was great. They really put up with crazy amounts of stuff happening. Sweaty, pee drenched, water throwing, smelly, half crazed athletes. I tried to thank as many as I could, but you can't give them enough credit.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-04-10 12:00 AM
01:08:53 | 4224 yards | 01m 26s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/378
Overall: 0/2268
Performance: Good
Suit: My Quintanna Roo suit
Course: The swim portion of Ironman Florida begins on the beach behind the Boardwalk Beach Resort, in the Gulf of Mexico. The course is a 2.4-mile two-loop swim. The first loop is rectangular in nature, with athletes actually exiting the water, and doing a turnaround on the beach. Upon re-entrance, athletes take a diagonal angle before reconnecting with the original portion of the swim course, continuing along the second loop until exiting the water at the completion of the swim. After exiting the water, athletes will run up the beach, running up the entrance steps to the Boardwalk, before continuing on to the transistion area.
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 05:31
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
05:12:35 | 112 miles | 21.50 mile/hr
Age Group: 63/378
Overall: 314/2268
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: The one-loop course will be as follows: * Start at the Boardwalk Beach Resort and go west on S. Thomas Drive to Front Beach Rd. * Left on Front Beach Rd. * Right on Hwy 79. * Right on Hwy 20. * Right on Hwy 231. * Right on South Camp Flowers Rd. * Right on County Rd 2301. * Right on Hwy 388 and go east approx. 3.5 miles to turnaround. * Left on Hwy 77 and go approx. 1 mile south to Hwy 388. * Right on Hwy 388. * Left on Hwy 79. * Left on Front Beach Rd. * Right on S. Thomas Dr. * Finish at the Boardwalk Beach Resort.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:58
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
03:44:29 | 26.2 miles | 08m 34s  min/mile
Age Group: 41/378
Overall: 239/2268
Performance: Good
Course: The marathon will feature a two-loop course, with the turnaround being at St. Andrews State Park. The run course will take the following route: * Start at the Boardwalk Beach Resort and go east on S. Thomas Drive to Thomas Dr. * Right on Joan Ave. * Left on Surf Dr. * Left on Utes * Right on Beach Dr. * Right on S. Lagoon Dr. * Right on Mystic Dr * Left on Hilltop. * Right on Treasure Circle. * Right on Beach Dr. * Left on Irwin. * Left on Thomas Dr. * Right on Spyglass * Bear east on Spyglass Dr. * Left on Lookout Dr. * Right on Thomas Dr. and go to the State Park. * Go straight into the State Park and follow the main road through the park to the turn-around. * At the turnaround, reverse direction and return to the Boardwalk following the same route. * After reaching the Boardwalk, turnaround near the transition area and repeat the entire run course. * Finish at the Boardwalk.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4