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Gulf Coast Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
85F / 29C
Total Time = 6h 34m 32s
Overall Rank = 900/1312
Age Group = Clydesdale
Age Group Rank = 29/42
Pre-race routine:

Flying Tiger and I drove down on Thursday and stayed at the Holiday Inn. We went to the beach behind the Boardwalk Hotel on Friday and practiced some open water swimming. The first time in was very intimidating and the swells were fairly high. I have to admit I was a bit afraid of the swim after the first time in the water. I gave it another go and swam out past the breakers and then It didn't seems so fearsome.
We went to the expo and registred. I bought a new tri outfit that was the same brand I already had and decided to wear it the next day. Blue tri shorts by DeSoto and a blue and white tri top. Got some other odds and ends.
We had Subway and then I fell asleep at 6PM. Woke up at 8PM for some grapes, Gatorade and two chewy granola bars. Then slept until 4AM. Went to Waffle House for the routine eggs, raisin toast and water. No coffee.
We watched the first few waves, than I got into my wetsuit and started getting psyched up. F.T. let me borrow his watch and as soon as I got in to get warmed up it flooded with water. No back up. Had to do a HIM without a watch! Superman" by R.E.M. played as my wave got going and we were off.
Event warmup:

I swam in the surf for about 15 minutes and practiced rolling with the surf and keeping salt water out of my mouth and nose.
  • 39m 7s
  • 2640 yards
  • 01m 29s / 100 yards

I was undertrained for this and the waves made me a little fearful. The first 200m I stayed near the back and tried no tto take in any water. I made sure I turned my body with each breathing stroke so I did not take on salt water.
I relaxed a great deal after the first 200m and just trried to keep my breathing and heart rate down. Switched to 2 breaths/three strokes/two breaths and decreased spotting as I started drafting the guys in my group and keeping track using the orange caps. This made my navigation very good until the second corner. I took the corner great, but there was a log jam and I went around it and gott to far to the right. At this point I saw a small tiger shark and it freaked me out (Jaws II in a seat by myself when 8 y.o. :)). Soon i got on track and swam a bit harder for the last 500m.
What would you do differently?:

Train more.
Transition 1
  • 04m 33s

Darn wet suit got stuck on my chip. Took me a minute or so to get it off. I also wore socks.
What would you do differently?:

Practice taking the suit off. Get a wetsuit stripper.
  • 3h 00m 28s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.62 mile/hr

It's a bit depressing knowing that you had a great ride for you and you are still 919/1300 riders. I tried to keep a comfortable pace and felt great during the first 30 miles or so. Then the wind picked up and I struggled to keep 17-18 miles per hour. i should have gone even slower and saved some more for the run. I also got behind in hydration, which felt fine during the ride, but obviously was a problem for my run.
My saddle was causing chafing and my lower back was getting stiff. This is strange because I have been riing a lot lately.
What would you do differently?:

Spend more time on the CompuTrainer. Adjust my saddle. Drink more. I have to say I'm tired of being so crappy on the bike given how hard I have been working on it.
Transition 2
  • 01m 34s

Not sure why other people took so long.
What would you do differently?:

  • 2h 48m 52s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 12m 53s  min/mile

I just could not cool down. I would run for a bit and my HR would race. No watch to judge my time. I had to run walk so much of the race. I really wanted to run the whole race. I needed to stop at every aid station and get cool sponges and ice water just to keep going.
I also had a lot of toe pain. I lost two toe nails. Ouch!
What would you do differently?:

Train more in the heat. Lose weight. Keep better hydrated on the bicycle.
Post race
Warm down:

dunked my head in a vat of icewater. Then got my stuff together and went back to the hotel and soaked in the pool while stretching for 20 minutes. Then had a rum and lemonade.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

We peaked to soon in our 20 week training period. I was running much better a month and a half ago and then got cold after cold. This decreased my fitness.
My weight is coming down and is better, but carrying around 215# and trying to keep cool are problems. I nee dto start actively losing weight. I also need to train in the heat more.

Event comments:

If not for the salt water I would do this again. I may do it in 2010 when I'm getting ready for my third IM. The race was very well supported.

I think I would have more warm feelings for the race if I had had a good run. It is depressing to work this hard and not perform better on that portion of the race. I guess you can't be too greedy in life. I'm getting better. But to have the run feel sooo bad with all of this training is sort of a bummer.

Last updated: 2008-04-03 12:00 AM
00:39:07 | 2640 yards | 01m 29s / 100yards
Age Group: 21/42
Overall: 525/1312
Performance: Good
I was wearing an orange cap.
Suit: 2XU sleeveless
Course: 900m out, 200m across, and 900m in.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:33
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Bad Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
03:00:28 | 56 miles | 18.62 mile/hr
Age Group: 35/42
Overall: 798/1312
Performance: Average
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: A big flat there and back "C." There was a bridge at the second coner of the "C" starting from the bottom. Not too bad and it broke up the ride some. This course was very flat. Headwinds for the ride back on the top and side of the "C." The winds were nada compared to IMAZ, and the roads were nice flat ashpault for the most part. Lots of people were drafting.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:34
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:48:52 | 13.1 miles | 12m 53s  min/mile
Age Group: 29/42
Overall: 1004/1312
Performance: Bad
Course: Out and back with a park at the end.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
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

2008-05-12 2:37 PM

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Evans, GA
Subject: Gulf Coast Triathlon

2008-05-12 3:17 PM
in reply to: #1397259

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Gulf Shores, AL
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
You did a great job considering the conditions. They turned the heat way up on the run and alot of suffered. Keep up the good work.
2008-05-12 3:41 PM
in reply to: #1397259

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Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon

Nothing will prepare you better for IMFL than this race since it's practically the same total course. 

Great job out there.

2008-05-13 2:54 PM
in reply to: #1397259

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Melbourne FL
Gold member
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon

Hi Steve,
I didn't realize you were doing GC, nice job given the conditions.  Tiger shark in the water, that'll push you! 

2008-05-13 3:39 PM
in reply to: #1397259

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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
Nice race..

Did I read correctly that you saw a Tiger Shark? I did not know that they swam those waters, not that it matters much what kind it was!

My family vacations at Seaside, just down the road a bit..My then 10 yr old and I were in the water when some folks on shore started waving their arms..Someone had seen a shark. I turned around and all I saw were bubbles where my son had been a moment before..He heard the word 'shark' and Gary Hall Jr. on his best day could not have caught that kid. No kidding, he was on the sand before I even got moving.

Congrats on your day!
2008-05-13 8:12 PM
in reply to: #1397259

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Evans, GA
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
I'm not a shark expert.  It was only about two feet long. But it was a shark all right!

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