Ironman Florida - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
Ironman North America
55F / 13C
Total Time = 10h 27m 17s
Overall Rank = 301/2270
Age Group = M30-34
Age Group Rank = 57/236
Pre-race routine:

I guess I could say that I really began "prepping" on Wednesday night when we got there. I wanted to run a bit, to set the tone. It was cold. Bri decided he wanted to try to run 7:30's for the 2 miles so we did.

Thursday was registration and practice swim. I couldn't believe that I swam a loop of the course in 33 minutes. It was then I knew that I'd have a better swim than at CdA. It was fun, but again...cold. The water however, was great! Registration went smoothly, aside from the fact that I brought the wrong USAT card...but a quick trip to the hotel to get it fixed that problem. Then a nice little practice ride with timebaron. We didn't go hard, but decided on the last three miles to pump it up. 25mph was a nice little push. Again...I knew I'd have a good PR from the feeling of the ride. I also went to the expo so I could get a new pair of Newtons (Newton replaced them free because of a defect). They told me to wear them around for a couple days to wear down the new lugs.

The Thursday get-together was so much fun!! Pictures and laughing and all that stuff. AND FOOD!! YUM!!

Friday was all about getting race prepped. I swam again. This time it wasn't so encouraging, the water was rough. I only swam about 13 minutes but it felt longer. Mimi and Jim agreed with me that it was a bit wavy. So at least it didn't take away my confidence. Especially when a superswimmer like Mimi tells me I was fighting a current. Whew!!

Bike dropoff was next. Bridge, Shaun, Wendi, and I met over at Shores and we walked down with our bikes and T1 and T2 bags. I decided not to put my Newtons in my T2 bag til the morning so I could break them in a bit. After that was done, I went back to the expo for more stuff, and had some ART. AHHHHH!!! I love ART. Bridgie and I had massages at 3, and then we headed back to Bridgie's condo at the Shores where we cooked dinner for a bunch more BTers on Friday evening, more pictures, more fun. Then it was time to head back to the hotel so I could prep my race nutrition, supplements, etc. and make sure everything was in order for the next day. Amazingly, I was calm, collected, not nervous in the least. I just wanted to have a good fun day, no matter the results. Deep down though, I knew I'd have a good day so I wasn't worried about it. Off to sleep...
Event warmup:

Bri and I woke up at 4am and got stuff ready. I put on my tri suit and I looked at the weather. Sunny, 75 for a high, currently 56. YAY!! Great weather! We headed to the race site for bike prep and so I could put my Newtons in my T2 bag. I also needed to drop my race nutrtion ziploc bags in my transition bags. Filled up my aerobottle (thanks for the water Shaun), pumped up the tires, nutrition in bento box, and the bike was set!! Just had to get prepped to race! Bridgie, Shaun, and I headed to the convention center to get dressed. We met Brian there, and Terri had just arrived as well! Jess and Andrew were already there. We all got ready, bodyglided, wetsuited, etc. and headed to the beach. I put my butterfly armband tattoo on for Christine, and wrote "GRRR" and "TERRI" on my arms to remind me why I was out there fighting. It was almost time!!! Lots of pics taken. Big hugs from Jess, a tear or two...and a big hug from Terri. It was time to go do an Ironman! I looked up at Bri, gave him a hug too, and I said "see you in a few hours!". Off we went.
  • 1h 12m 46s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 43s / 100 yards

I stood on the beach with Shaun and Bridge. We were all pretty nervous. I just get anxious before a huge start like this. CdA was so violent, this would be more of the same. Shaun moved up a bit, I stayed behind with Bridge. In hindsight, I should have moved up in front. My swim speed is such that I probably could have had a sub-1:10 swim if I'd just gotten out of traffic sooner.

The cannon sounded and I started my watch. I forgot about everything around me instantly as I waded into the water. As the water got deeper I dove down and just started pumping. As I expected there was a lot of hitting and kicking, but looking back, it wasn't as bad as CdA. People actually seemed MEAN it was just like a sense of urgency to get into some clear water. Before I knew it, I was passing the second and then third buoys. Another one. And then holy crap, we were at the turn buoy. I had been swimming inside the buoy line (which is probably why I felt like I wasn't in as big a mele as CdA, where I swam outside it), and I just had to make my way around the turn buoy. Of course it was a madhouse, but I just turned and went on my way without too much slapping. I wasn't even out of breath. I had been tired in CdA by this point, from trying to stay afloat. Here was much better. After the turn, I put my head down and swam...lots more clear water this time. Finished the first loop in 34:15. I was amazed. Although I knew the second loop would probably be a bit slower due to tiredness and less draft.

Upon entering the water again, my legs felt REALLY tired all of a sudden. I noticed there was a lot more wave action happening. Uh oh...a current is building...tide is coming in. No big crowd to draft in this time, so I just found some feet and tried to follow. The buoys had really shifted now and they weren't even in a line perfect navigation was hard, and I found myself zigzagging a bit. But still remained inside the line. This time I felt like getting to the turn buoy was taking forever. Sure enough, I was fighting a current. That damn red buoy just seemed to never get closer. Once I got to it though, the turn went smoothly and then the current wasn't an issue anymore. I swam the rest of the course in a much clearer path. It took almost 20 minutes to get to the halfway point on the second loop, but only 18 to get from the halfway point to the finish. Current was definitely an issue on lap 2.

Anyway, I looked up and saw 1:12 on the clock...I was totally thrilled as I never expected to take 3 minutes off my swim time with almost ZERO swim training since CdA. Ran up the chute with a smile on my face.
What would you do differently?:

Start closer to the front.
Transition 1
  • 05m 2s

I left my cap and goggles on because I knew if I took them off they'd get stuck in my hands while the strippers took my wetsuit off. I stripped the upper portion of my wetsuit myself on the run up the beach. As I got to the strippers, I pointed at a couple of them and sat down in front of them. My suit was off in a flash...I thanked them and headed off. It was incredibly crowded, I knew the tent would be a madhouse.

It was. I grabbed my bag and situated myself at the exit door. Rolled up my wetsuit and dumped my bag of bike stuff. Socks on. Shoes on. Helmet on. Sunglasses on. Race belt on. I was ready. I looked at my ghetto arm warmers and thought "I probably won't need these, the sun is out, I'll be fine". Bad decision.

Anyway, I ran out, screamed my number, and ran down towards my bike. They had unracked it and I just grabbed it, thanked the volunteer, and headed off bike in hand, ready to go for a nice little 112 mile spin!
What would you do differently?:

Use the arm warmers. Otherwise, nothing...a 5 minute T1 is an over 1 minute PR for me.
  • 5h 38m 54s
  • 112 miles
  • 19.83 mile/hr

I have a lot of work to do on the bike before 2010.

Upon exiting transition I started my Garmin, settled in, and drank some of my fluids from my aerobottle. As a rule, I only use my aerobottle for nutritional liquids, gels (taped to the bike), some extra nutrition and supplements in my bento box, and water from the bottles they give me at aid stations. Keeps the bike light and balanced. It works for me, but I need to tweak it some so I can get stronger and way faster.

I was FREEZING for the first two hours. We went over a good size bridge early on, and it raised my heart rate, but it didn't keep me warm for long. I tried to pedal as hard as I could to work up a sweat to stay warm. I passed alot of people in the first 10 miles. I stayed with the same group pretty much the whole way. I passed Shaun and Andrew, who'd both beat me later on, in the first 10 miles. Out on Highway 20, there was a NASTY headwind, but I decided not to fight it because I was just out there to have a good time and enjoy my race. I averaged about 19mph. There were a lot of rolling hills but nothing too big. I stopped to stretch at Mile 30, wanted to keep my back from getting sore. Back on the bike. Here's where I got passed by one of two HUGE pelotons of at least 40 people. So frustrating!! I refused to get in one, so I pulled to the right and let them by. I will not cheat. Just not my style.

Soon, after hitting three aid stations and having some of my own fluids, I knew I was hydrating correctly...I felt strong, fresh, and ummm...full. Time to fill the bike shoes. Boy my feet got cold after that, but I felt better. That was the first of three times.

At Mile 48 I came up on bike special needs. I thought "why so early?!?!"...but oh well, I grabbed my Lemon-Lime in a bottle...and my Oreo cakesters (my Mile 90 reward as usual) and headed off. My back was a bit sore by now...I knew I'd be stretching at Mile 60 though, so I just pedaled thru it. Peed again around that time. At Mile 50, we turned right, and that awful headwind turned into a tailwind!! I was immediately pumping out 25mph. Saw Chris (papson4) here, and I caught up to Shaun again. It was so awesome having a tailwind. But then...SUCKASS ROAD NUMBER 1. It was awful. Big cracks across the entire road...kaklunk aerobottle started splashing Gatorade all over me, I could feel my disc cover shifting back and forth on the carbon wheel. SUCKASS. Soon though, we were back on smooth roads. I stretched at Mile 60 and Chris went by. I'd never see him again on the bike.

Around Mile 70, we turned another corner...KathyG and Brittany (TexasMPGal) were there cheering. It was so awesome to see some BTers...totally lifted my spirits!! But oh no...SUCKASS ROAD NUMBER 2!!! This one was a 3.5 mile out and back so I knew I'd be kaklunking for 7 miles. I started having fears of flat tires. The headwind was daunting here too. It was a slow ascent up a false flat as well...TOTALL SUCKASS. At least on the way back, I had gravity and kinda offset the kaklunking but ugh...what a terrible road! I was thankful when I passed KathyG and Brittany again that I'd be done with that stretch!

Speaking of stretching...I stretched again at Mile back was really feelin' it. Soon after the stretch it was time to pee again...that was the third time. I was happy about it because I knew my nutrition plan was going according to schedule and I was absorbing fluids and nutrients correctly. I looked at my watch and thought...OK, I can still go sub 6...18mph would still get me 5:55, and I'm going faster than that.

Soon after all this, we turned onto a nice long smooth road. I cranked up the power. Passed a bunch of people. I had been losing time and positions up til now, and (like in CdA) it was time to get them back. Mile 90...OREO CAKESTERS!!! I think I actually MMMMMMM'ed loud enough for a girl to hear it, she smiled as I whizzed by. High on Oreodrugs, I pedaled faster and faster until Mile 100 we came upon that same bridge we crossed earlier. I powered up the bridge, passing close to 10 people before getting to the top. I thought, wow, maybe I CAN get that 5:45 I want. My Garmin bleeped the 100 mile signal as I came down the other side and I knew I felt strong enough to hammer it home. I kept up a good 21mph for the rest of the time...until we got back to the beach.

HEADWIND!!! Holy stop-me-in-my-tracks, Batman!!! It was crazy for the last 5 miles. I managed to fight thru it since now I knew I could, we were only 5 miles from the finish and I knew I could fight hard for 15 minutes. I did. I still passed people...alot of them. It was good...I stayed way down in aero even though my back was complaining...but nowhere near a debilitation pain like in the past.

I finally saw the turn for Thomas Drive and I felt ecstatic! I had not only gone under 6 hours, but it was a 33-minute bike PR!! I did my usual flying dismount, grabbed the bike, and RAN into T2...this was big for me...usually I'm so tired and out-of-it that I can barely walk into transition after the bike...this time I ran! And it felt good!!
What would you do differently?:

Push harder...I think I had a good 5:28 in me...I just didn't push it because I wasn't out there to fight.
Transition 2
  • 04m 15s

I handed my bike off to a grabber, thanked him, and yelled "dont squeeze the seat unless you like wet hands!". Ran to grab my T2 bag, and ran into the tent. Shaun was there. Mike (triguynewbie) helped me with the T2 bag and got me prepped. He helped me with my socks. He helped me put on my Newtons. Awesome...Mike rocks. He put my nutrition in my back pocket and I took my T2 supplements as I got ready to head out. Shaun and I left T2 together. I turned my race belt around, said Hi to Laura as I ran out of the tent.
What would you do differently?:

OK, Shaun says Janice was there. I didn't even see her!!! So...answer to this...try to notice my friends!! :) Other than that, nothing, this was a great T2. Not as fast as CdA, but still great!
  • 3h 26m 22s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 53s  min/mile

I knew this would be a good run. The weather was perfect. The sun was out, the air was clear, and I was feeling GREAT after the bike. Another clue I should have pushed harder! HA!

Shaun and I ran out onto the street amid cheers. We slapped hands and I trotted off. I ran at a comfortable pace and after about 3 minutes I looked at my Garmin. 7:20 pace...OK cool...just keep it there. No need to go faster, I'm here to have a good time. I was just flying by everyone out there. I decided I'd take my first gel NOW rather than later so I could have a good nutrition base. I knew I'd be fast so the chicken broth wouldn't be out for a while. One super fast dude passed me here...he looked like a track runner. Wow. One of two people to pass me during the run.

The first few miles went by fast. I saw Chris (papson4) during the first 20 minutes. Then as I passed a girl, she said "nice work Q!"...I turned around to see who it was, it was Heidi (hdtri)! So I told her thanks and that she looked great! Right about there we hit the 5K mark. 22:31 something...ok not bad. Would have been nice to be a little faster, but 7:30 was a good pace. I passed by Brian at the Utes/Thomas crossing and he was so happy to see me! I was really glad he was there! He took some pics as I went by. I saw Jess at the next road crossing. About Mile 5 we entered the park. I saw Matt running the other way already...he was 3 miles ahead and looking AWESOME!! At Mile 6, I saw Andrew, who was at around Mile 7...we gave each other some encouragement and I went towards the turnaround. When I got there I looked at my watch...6.55 miles in 50 minutes. On track for a 3:20 marathon. I felt happy.

On my way out of the park I saw Shaun who was entering it! We slapped hands and he asked how far in we were...I told him one hour. I kept going. I had a couple of rabbits ahead...Matt, Andrew, Jim...and I wanted to try to catch them. I just ran as hard as I could without becoming completely uncomfortable (I was here to have fun!! fun!! no stress!!!) and just passed by everyone I saw. Around Mile 9, I saw Sue...well actually she saw me first...and I told her YOU'RE KILLIN IT!!! She was! It was so awesome to see Sue having an awesome IM day!

OK, 2 miles to go in lap one. Up ahead I saw Andrew. He looked like he needed a boost so I told him, almost half way my friend! And I went by. I saw Jess and Brian again, Jess was on her bike and she whooped and cheered. Bri took more pics. As I got nearer the turnaround, there were ALOT of spectators...that gave me a rush! My pace went down into the 6's!! I just blew by lots of runners, it was so cool. Leslie (1111) was right there near the turnaround and I slapped her hand and smiled. So good to see her was the run at MCM when I helped her (she didn't need my help really) to BQ that really got me to be a fast thanks Leslie!

13.1 miles, 1:40 on the clock. Still on pace for a 3:20.

Lap 2 started off pretty nutrition was on track, I was feeling strong, although I could feel my legs starting to fatigue a bit. I was at about 8:50 on the clock. I just kept telling myself another hour and 40 minutes and I'd be done. My pace was slowing a bit, but I kept passing by people so I wasn't too upset about my pace. Saw Chris again, and then Andrew on my way out of the turnaround area. Both looking good!

Back to the grind. About a mile into my second loop, there was an aid station that finally had chicken broth! I slowed enough to grab a coke and a cup of broth! I said "ahhhhh it's like sex in a cup!!!"...she laughed. I ran by with my prize and I drank it...I immediately felt awesome! My smile came back and my attitude went positive. I headed back towards the park again. When I got to the park, I started looking for my two remaining rabbits...Jim and Matt. I figured I had to see them soon! I saw Jim when I was at about mile 18.5...he was on his was to a great finish!! I whooped and told him he's killin it! Then at around Mile 19.5 I saw Matt! Gave him a thumbs up and said "rockstar!!"...holy hell, I was gaining!! He was now only about 1.5 miles ahead. About 10 minutes. That gave me all I needed to keep going. After the turnaround, I knew I'd slow a bit but I had motivation to keep up a good pace. It was nearing 8 minutes per mile now, but I still felt great mentally...physically I was getting tight, but my nutrition and fluid intake was good. Another shot of coke and broth, along with a gel and water about 5 minutes later and I was good to go for the last 3 miles.

I saw Jess on her bike again and as I crossed the street, she screamed "Aaron says you need to look like you're suffering!!" I let out a yell and faked a leg hurting. I think I pissed people off. Oh well. This time at the Utes/Thomas crossing, Brian wasn't there, so I knew he was at the finish line and I'd see him in about 15 minutes. I looked at my watch. I was at 10:11!!! HOLY HELL!!! I figured, OK, just keep it here and you're not only gonna go sub 11, but sub-10:30!!! A bit before Mile 25, I looked at my Garmin and it said 3:20 for my run split, so I didn't quite hit that, but I knew I was on track for a kickass marathon either way. Once I got back onto Thomas Drive and all the spectators were there, I got that same boost again!! I was just passing by everyone I saw. Then, another really fast guy passed me. But it didn't matter. I'd only been passed by two guys on the entire marathon. I saw the finish line. I saw Leslie again, right where she was before...she was cheering and congratulating me. I saw a guy in my age group and ran by him. I sprinted by tried to hold back a bit cuz I didn't want to get in someone else's finisher photo. I hit the ID mat so Mike Reilly could say my name and he did! This time I heard it...I have never heard it before. People cheering. My hands in the air! Looked at the clock...10:27:17!! Crossed the tape and slowed down. Little did I know, some dude was right on my tail, but at least I ended up in front. Mimi caught me at the finish line and I just couldn't stop saying HOLY CRAP I JUST DID A 10:27!!! I was ecstatic.
What would you do differently?:

NOTHING!!! Are you kidding?
Post race
Warm down:

After Mimi caught me, they took my chip, and gave me my finisher stuff. We headed over to get my finisher pic. I asked Mimi to be in it. Brian was there at the finish chute exit and I got him to come be in my pics too! So awesome!!! After pics it was just time to regroup, find Terri, and find Jess. When I saw Jess I hugged her and totally broke down. I was so happy. Then Brian, Terri, and I went to go relax...I got a massage and something to drink. Bri brought me Diet Mountain Dew and I sucked it down. YUM!!!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Crowds on the swim, my back and my decision not to fight winds on the bike. NOTHING on the run.

Event comments:

It's Ironman...of course it rocks!!!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-07-08 12:00 AM
01:12:46 | 4224 yards | 01m 43s / 100yards
Age Group: 131/236
Overall: 954/2270
Performance: Good
Suit: Orca Predator 2
Course: 2 loops, rectangular...well, more or less, if the buoys would have stayed put.
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:02
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
05:38:54 | 112 miles | 19.83 mile/hr
Age Group: 113/236
Overall: 841/2270
Performance: Good
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: 112 miles, 1 loop. Lots of wind
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:15
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
03:26:22 | 26.2 miles | 07m 53s  min/mile
Age Group: 16/236
Overall: 94/2270
Performance: Good
Course: 2 loops. 6.55 miles out and 6.55 back. No climbing. Flat flat flat.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5