Ironman Florida - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
Ironman North America
40F / 4C
Total Time = 13h 29m 20s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at the Condo right at 4:00 a.m. Surpringly, I slept fairly well and as I took a nice hot shower to warm up I started to really get the butterflies and realized what was about to happen today. I ate two pieces of peanut butter toast and a granola bar. Drank some coke zero for my daily dose of caffinene. Brian and I drove separately down to Wal-Mart to take the shuttle, while my wife and sisters came down a bit later.
Event warmup:

The air temp was hovering just below 40 so there was no way I was going to get wet in the water and then out again. Thankfully we discovered a utility room at the Boardwalk where we ducked in with some others. It was warm and a great place to change into the wetsuit and hang out until we had to go down to the beach. Thankfully, in the sea of athletes and spectators, we were able to spot my wife and sisters and we were able to get some last minute good luck hugs and kisses.
  • 1h 21m 45s
  • 4156 yards
  • 01m 58s / 100 yards

I decided to start center right about as close to up front as I could get. I figured it was going to be a water polo match regardless, so why not just get right into it. It was everything an IM swim start was cracked up to be. A lot of arms, legs and bodies everywhere, and just searching for open water to get your hand into. I was really satisfied with my first lap of 35 minutes. However, after running the beach and getting back in for lap 2, the chop and waves had stirred a bit more, and I started to experience some pretty bad sea sickness. While I dry heaved a few times, thankfully nothing happened, but I had to slow down considerably just to make sure I didn't ruin my day just in the swim alone. Thankfully, as soon as my feet hit the sand the feeling went away and I was distracted by everything else going on. Saw a few jelly fish but no stings ...
Transition 1
  • 17m 59s

T1 in the hotel ballroom looked like the shopping mall on Black Friday after Thanksgiving. It was crowded, there were clothes everywhere, and way too many semi-nude men hanging out. Ok, so maybe there are not semi-nude men at the mall, but the crowded space and people going in every direction were the same. I managed to find a chair and some space on a table and went through my bag. It took entirely too long, I was expecting at least 10 minutes, but 17 ... I could have watched an episode of The Office. That being said, I was completely dry when coming out of there and it minimized being cold when getting on the bike.
  • 6h 25m 43s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.42 mile/hr

Heading out of T1, I gave a shout out to Matt Lieto and was able to see my wife and sisters in chute heading out and my Mom and Step-Dad were down by their condo at the Shores of Panama and were waiting for me on the street.

The head wind was there most of the way heading North and the cross-winds were also present while heading East. Would have loved a calm day, but I am used to winds here in Kansas so it was just par for the course. I thought the road surfaces were great (with one exception to follow). I don't have any monumental events to report on the bike. I followed my nutrition plan and realized that I didn't need half the stuff I had on my bike. I never touched the bottles I carried on my rear seat cage. I grabbed a bottle of Perform on every other aid station, ate my Gels every 35-40 minutes and started grabbing the half bananas at the aid stations as well.

The tail wind heading South was fantastic! I hope in the future they find a new road for special needs or it is re-surfaced, as it was the only complaint for me on the course. It had a crack in the road every 10 feet and it was rather annoying. At special needs the volunteer handed me my bag and I really only ended up taking the granola bar and I ate some peanut butter crackers.

With respect to the infamous pelotons and drafting at IMFL, I didn't see any large draft packs, but did witness some 2-4 bike drafting. The race officials were out most of the way and I did see several penalties being issued.

As with most of my long rides, the first 80% of the ride is great, its always the last 20% that requires some mental toughness on my part. However, once the last out and back was done, heading South back home was great and all the fellow cyclist seemed to be in good moods.

I think I could have pushed it a bit more on the bike looking back, but this being my first, I was afraid of costing myself on the run. Knowing what I know now, I realize I could have maybe gone a little faster. But you know what, it matters not, and bottom line, I had a great time out there, never had a flat or mechanical issue, so I have nothing to complain about.

Coming back into the finish chute, my family was all there behind the wall, so I gave out a Jersey Shore fist pump :)
Transition 2
  • 11m 20s

I really don't remember much from T2. Like the bike special needs, I didn't need 3/4 of what I had put into the bag. I saw my wife and sisters when I was running out of T2 and heard that Brian was about 12 minutes behind me.
  • 5h 12m 35s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 56s  min/mile

Ok, first goal of the run was to get through the State Park before Brian caught me (which he would, that was a given). I thought the support on the run was great, and as every other guy does in their race report, yes I happened to notice the "dancing cougars" in that first and last mile from the turn around. I saw my wife on the turn around and I really just peaked in my special needs bag, and decided I didn't want any of it.

I too saw the infamous shart runner, and with his time, I guess I am no one to ridicule, but wow ... you think spraying some water on yourself going through an aid station would not have cost him a slot.

I did an 8 minute run, 1 minute walk for a majority of the run and it seemed to really work, I never hit a wall and was able to run consistently the final four miles. Like the bike, looking back, I think there was more in the tank to dig deeper into. As I have already realized this is just the first IM for me, I have additional knowledge to take into the next one.

The last 6 miles I ran with Glenn, a great guy originally from Australia but now living in Indiana. Glenn had crashed at mile 103 of the run at IMKY a few years back and his DNF had really ate at him, so he was here to make things right. Pretty cool. In the last mile, we said our farewells and thanked one another for making that last stretch a lot of fun. When we crossed over the Ford Motivational Mile mat, my message came up saying "Christian Kelly 593, Keep it Up! - Macca" So, Glenn was really impressed that Chris McCormack was sending me a message. I finally fessed up and told him it was my buddy Mike and was our inside joke of Macca sending me messages, normally on facebook.

As I approached that final straight away, the support was amazing. People were lining the street and the lights and noise of the finish line kept growing and growing. I got a lot of encouragement for finishing strong and I wanted to: (1) make sure I didn't get in the chute with one of "those" guys that sprints the finish and cuts off others in the process (seriously, that drives me nuts when I see people do that to others); and 2) make sure I didn't become that guy in getting caught up in the moment.

Everything worked out great, I raised one finger up while crossing the line, I thought of my Dad that passed away 5 years ago and inspired my desire to get healthy and active, my wife and family for being such an amazing IM support crew and all my friends who rode, ran and just plain listened to me talk about this for 12 months.

I heard my name, I heard that I WAS AN IRONMAN, and honestly, I haven't quite digested it yet. Typing this starts to bring the emotion out and while being an IronMan doesn't define me, it will always be a part of me, my wife and my family. My goal was to finish between 12 - 14 hours and I was able to achieve that.
Post race
Warm down:

It took about 2 seconds after stopping to realize, I WAS COLD. I was caught at the finish by Kathy G's husband Keving and her daughter, and they were great. Kevin got me over to have my picture taken and we briefly talked about the other BT'ers that had finished or were still out there. I always heard about IM volunteers, now that I have experienced them myself, I feel like I owe it to all other first time Ironmen competitors to volunteer myself sometime.

Event comments:

Other than some unexpected cooler weather for Florida, that is out of the control of everyone, I really enjoyed this race and experience. Something about staying in a beach setting and doing my first IM, just made sense and added to the excitement and enjoyment of the week. I want to thank everyone on the BT IMFL forum, as it was so helpful hearing from those that were seasoned veterns and those that were new to this distance like me. Congrats to all of you, and it was nice meeting many of you during the week. I was also thrilled to do the race with my soon to be brother-in-law, Brian Seacat, a BT lurker ... Having someone to stress with and bounce things off made all the difference. Thanks Brian. Alright, which IM is next ...

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-12-04 12:00 AM
01:21:45 | 4156 yards | 01m 58s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Suit: Xterra Vortex Sleeveless
Course: Open Water in the Gulf of Mexico with a beach start.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 17:59
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
06:25:43 | 112 miles | 17.42 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Wind: Some with gusts
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks: Just right
Time: 11:20
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:12:35 | 26.2 miles | 11m 56s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5