Gator Half Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Bradenton, Florida
United States
Gator Triathlon
68F / 20C
Total Time = 6h 01m 1s
Overall Rank = 34/78
Age Group = F45-49
Age Group Rank = 1/5
Pre-race routine:

Thoughts a few weeks before the race:

My goal for this race is to finish in under 6 hours. I would really like to come it at 5:45. This is a different course than when I did it in 2011. In fact, it's at an entirely different venue. MapMyRide gives the new bike route ~400 climbing feet. ( but the old route ( had 330 climbing feet so not much more. The main concern with the bike route is that it goes straight west and then returns straight east -- which means that if the wind picks up as the day progresses, we could be in for 28 miles of headwind with no breaks. The other concern is that we have already received an email that the lake temperature is 78 degrees. Unless there are some cold Florida nights, the race will probably not be wetsuit legal. My time would benefit from using a wetsuit.

The schedule:
Drive to Florida on Friday: DH and I drove to Florida on Friday. We left very early since it's a 12 hour drive. Short spin on the trainer, which we hauled with us, after a long day in the car.

Check in and course recon on Saturday. We timed the drive from our hotel (35 minutes) and made sure we were clear on where everything was. We also scoped out Sherpa Eating Locales so the guys had something do to while I was on the bike and in case of inclement weather since thunderstorms were in the forecast. I had a short swim in the lake before heading back and meeting up with my FIL's wife for dinner. We went to Mama’s Italian Restaurant in Englewood again. Goods stuff.

Race Sunday. I got up at 4:45. I got dressed and fully lubed (using 2Toms SportShield), and had a bagel with peanut butter, a banana and drank a 20 ounce bottle of water with CamelBak Elixir. Met FIL in the hotel lobby at 5:20 and headed out to the race site.

Event warmup:

Chip pick up, body marking, tire pumping, transition set up, pre-race meeting, short swim in the water, Harlem Shake (no, I am not kidding - they are off...
  • 37m 44s
  • 1931 meters
  • 01m 57s / 100 meters

After doing the Harlem Shake, the men's wave took off. Three minutes later, the women (and men over 60) started. I did a nice job staying with the group for the first bit. Then I started to have problems breathing and I freaked out a little bit. I started to breath to my right side only instead of my normal bilateral breathing. After a while I got into my own rhythm and made it to the first buoy, turned and then headed for the second buoy. There was some chop in the middle of the lake due to the wind. Made it to the second buoy and turned towards home. At this point I passed a few younger guys and that made me feel pretty good.

During the rest of the race I was a little bit troubled by the difficulty that I had breathing after the first quarter of the swim. When I saw my time I understood that I went out considerably harder than I realized. This is quite a good swim time for me.

I am pleased with how well my siting went.
Transition 1
  • 04m 30s

Long run from beach to transition. I left shoes at the shoreline and slipped those on for the run. I passed at least five people between the shoreline and the bikes so I think this was a good move. My wetsuit got hung up on my timing chip and it took two attempts to get that leg out.
  • 3h 01m 56s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.47 mile/hr

Very windy - 20+ with gusts. Crosswind on the way out. Direction changed and headwind the last 20 miles or so. I chose to think of this section with the headwind as one long hill.

I started the bike with an two bottles of CamelBak Elixir (one in aerodrink and one on downtube). I had two fig newtons within the first 10-15 minutes on the bike. I drank the first bottle of water within the first 40 minutes or so on the bike an refilled the aerodrink. I had a Clif bar at about the one hour mark and a second Clif bar just before the two hour mark. I got water at both bottle exchanges and ended up drinking three bottles worth of water. With about 15 minutes left in the ride, I had a Honey Stinger waffle (last solid food on the bike).

The main thing that I remember from the bike was steady crosswinds on the way out and more gusts and then a change of wind direction on the way back.

Air temperature was 72 when we arrived at the site at about 6 am.

Windy bike is good prep for B2B!
Transition 2
  • 02m 11s

Right bike shoe would not come undone. I just yanked it off!
  • 2h 14m 40s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 17s  min/mile

Towards the end of the ride, I passed a woman with a turquoise bra with a 45 on her leg. Yup, she was in my age group. During the first mile of the run, Turquoise passed me back. I clung on to her. She stopped to use the john at mile 2 and I passed her. I walked a water station and she passed me back. It was back and forth like this for the first half of the run. At the beginning of the second lap, I passed her and I was able to hold her off from then on.

I got really really hot at about mile 11. I was drinking as much as I could on the run but it was not enough. I was just not used to temperatures in the high 70s/low 80s. My left calf became unhappy shortly after that. I tried to increase my stride (keeping Turquoise behind me in mind) because I felt like it has shortened but that aggravated my calf and I wanted to run it in.

It was so windy on the run that my hat blew off. I retrieved it and thought to myself, "If I lose a placing because of this stoopid hat..."

I had one Hammer gel at mile 1, a second at mile 5 and a third at mile 10.

It was 82 degrees when I finished.
What would you do differently?:

I did my best on the run but may have left more than I should have on the bike course. The bike was tough with all of that wind. The heat was definitely a factor here too.
Post race
Warm down:

Kevin and his dad met me at the finish. The volunteers handed me water and and a finisher's medal right away. Kevin offered me my coconut water which I took gladly. I sat down at a picnic table right away because my calf was acting up but recovered quickly. They had some kiddie pools filled with ice water and I pulled off my shoes and stood there. I think that really brought down my body temperature.

They had Full Belly Burgers on site for racer refreshments and their gourmet burgers went down well after the race. It was a really nice change from what I usually see at races. They also had chips, bananas, pretzels and other food items on had for racers.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I am pleased with how I did overall and I think that I would really have had a great overall time had the winds been more manageable.

Event comments:

This is a great little event!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2012-08-13 12:00 AM
00:37:44 | 1931 meters | 01m 57s / 100meters
Age Group: 3/5
Overall: 67/78
Performance: Good
Suit: Blue Seventy sleeveless
Course: Clockwise triangle in Lake Manatee (Lake Manatee State Park in Bradenton)
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:30
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed: Good
03:01:56 | 56 miles | 18.47 mile/hr
Age Group: 1/5
Overall: 29/78
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: Leave the park and head east on Florida 64 and make a turn around at mile 28, just after the rail road track in Ona. Then head back to the park.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills:
Race pace: Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:11
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal
02:14:40 | 13.1 miles | 10m 17s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/5
Overall: 35/78
Performance: Average
Course: Double out and back route leaving the park and taking Dam Road and Warterline Road to a turnaround.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4