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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 08m 1s
Overall Rank = 726/1800
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 98/170
Pre-race routine:

Arrived late Thursday night/Friday morning. Street, ADollar, and Tony were asleep. MarcT was the unfortunate soul I had to wake to let me in to the condo in the middle of the night. Thanks Marc.

With the time zone difference I still manage to get swim in just after 7am Friday morning, about the same time as my wave start. I borrowed a set of race wheels a week before the race but had to replace the rear tubular. Didn't get the wheels back until just before leaving so I did a 30 minute shake down ride to check gearing. Found out MarvArnett was coming down and thought he was going to stay with us. Guess he heard ADollar snores and busts some awful stink bombs at night and found somewhere else to sleep. Invited to eat with All3 which was cool, learned some good tips.

Saturday morning got up at 4:15am, drank an Ensure and ate oatmeal. I wanted to finish breakfast at least 2 hours before start to make sure it digested. Got my gear together, or so I thought, and headed to transition. About half way, Tony asked me where my "life buoy" was. So, I made the short trek back to the room to get my wetsuit. At bike check in the night before, noticed the bikes on both sides of me were racked wrong. When I got to transition, they were correct. Good, now I could lay claim to my small piece of real estate. Laid out my gear, made sure I had correct pressure in tires, grabbed wetsuit and headed to the beach.
Event warmup:

I waited to put my wetsuit on because my start time was after 7am and didn't want to get hot and sweaty before the swim. About 30 minutes out, I put on my wetsuit and swam about 200 meters. During my warm up, I felt the waves but didn't think it was as bad as Duke HIM last year. I noticed I was more calm this year than last and was expecting a good race.
  • 46m 36s
  • 2640 yards
  • 01m 46s / 100 yards

Just before the swim, I started to get a little nauseas and didn't know why. I didn't have pre-race jitters but my sinuses were acting up and wonder if I should have done a second nasal rinse. Too late now. The horn went off and I dove in. The first 950 yards were good and on pace, despite the waves and swells I still didn't think this was as bad as Duke HIM last year. However, shortly after I rounded the first turn buoy and started heading East, that nauseas feeling came back. About half way across, breakfast started coming up. I ended up leaving a chum trail all the way to the next turn. After tasting breakfast, again, my energy level went way down and it was a struggle to keep a good pace. With the current, my navigation went out the window. Finally got to the beach, although not quite to the chute. Made the short run over to the chute and the long run to transition.
What would you do differently?:

Still trying to figure out why I threw up. I've been in water much worse (Duke) and deep sea fishing several times. Never had motion sickness. I'm almost certain that if I had not left a chum trail I would have had a PR based on the first 950 yards.
Transition 1
  • 02m 47s

Even though it was a longer run (extra beach) than last year, I shaved 10 secs off my T1 time.

a/g 19/170
What would you do differently?:

  • 2h 49m 21s
  • 56 miles
  • 19.84 mile/hr

After generously giving my breakfast to all the little fishys, I knew I had to make up for nutrition on the bike. I had prepared a Perpetuem mix for a 3 hour ride. I began drinking the mix sooner than planned because I felt a little weak from the swim. About 2 miles before the turn on to 79, I felt my energy level come back and picked up the pace. With the borrowed wheels, my bike computer didn't work so I was going only on training and HR. I knew that at the rate I was consuming my Perpetuem mix that I would run out before getting back to transition so I opted to go with Gatorade to supplement. This worked out well...until the crash. At the aid station after the turn around, I grabbed a Gatorade and kept rolling. However, a lady in front of me decided to stop and get off her bike. Instead of getting of the road, she turned her bike left on to the road and got off. I started to veer left but realized I was still going to hit her. I dropped the Gatorade bottle and reached for my rear brake but it was too late. I squeezed my front brake hard and went head over, landing on my left elbow, shoulder and hip. Fortunately, I did not take any one down with me, even the lady still parked on the road. It is kind of a blur here, but I remember people yelling at her to get off the road and 3 volunteers helping me off the road. I asked for some water but ended up grabbing one myself to wash off my wounds and do a damage assessment. A few scrapes on the bike, left brake handle pushed in, everything else checked out ok. So, I started to refill my Aerodrink bottle but another volunteer said, "here's a cold one." Thanked him and the other volunteers then got back on and took off. The rest of the ride was painful, especially my left arm and elbow. I finished off the last of my Perpetuem mix just before mile 35. For the rest of the bike it was hard to find a good pace and I felt my energy draining again. I don't remember much of the ride after this. My only goal now was to finish the bike and start the run.
What would you do differently?:

Personally, I think Tony paid the lady to push her bike in front of me as payback for last years pre-race crash! But I don't think he got his money's worth cause I didn't need stitches.

Seriously, I should carry more nutrition on the bike...just in case. Even with the crash, nutrition issue, and winds (stronger than last year) I finished only 5 minutes slower.
Transition 2
  • 01m 15s

Small problem with right sock but I shouldn't complain.

a/g 1/170....YES! 1st in age group baby! When are they going to start giving awards for this? :-p
What would you do differently?:

Normally, I put on my socks and roll them down. It's easier to roll on than pulling socks over wet/sweat feet. Didn't do that pre-race.
  • 2h 28m 4s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 18s  min/mile

Coming out of T2, I see Lt. Dan (marvarnett) yelling at me, "Run Forest Run." Did I mention the bump on my head? Actually, I lifted my arm a little so he could see the battle damage. Then he said, "No excuses!" I think he was mad because I wasn't wearing the visor he loaned me. (I borrowed Tony's but don't tell him). Anyway, pretty sure I gave Lt. Dan a "Shut the F$%K up!" look. Slowed down to get a squirt of sun block. Then picked up the pace. I turn on to Surf Dr. and approaching the All3 tent, I hear Lt. Dan again! Not sure what he said, only thought 'How'd he get here so fast?' Hit mile 1 in 8:01, exactly what I wanted to pace. Grab some sponges, water and Gatorade. Mile 2, 8:27, a little slow but I'll take it. About mile 3, the whole nutrition thing starts happening again. I grab a banana, more water and Gatorade. No matter what I tried, I couldn't get the nutrition thing down. I also noticed not as many aid stations as last year. I think I was counting on that to help out. So, I slowly make my way around the rest of the course, walking through the aid stations. I plan on making one last pit stop at the *MASH* station but see a rival ahead of me approaching Lt. Dan's last known location. I certainly didn't want Lt. Dan yelling at me again so I forget the aid station and start reeling in the rival. My hip doesn't like this move, but then it didn't like to whole run thing to begin with. Coming around the Gulf Crest, I see the corner of the All3 tent and give it everything I have. Ah, success, I pass my rival right in front of the All3 tent. I know Lt. Dan is happy cause I don't hear him yelling at me. What? Lt. Dan is not at the All3 tent? Then he must be waiting in ambush at the finish line. So, I keep up the fast pace and my lungs join my hip in screaming at me. There are now 3 more guys in front of me and 2 of them are in my age group. I pass all of them and finally finish Gulf Roast.
What would you do differently?:

Again, carry more nutrition...just in case. I had 4 gels. The plan was to do one gel coming out of T2, then 1 gel every 30 minutes. I was also planning on more aid stations, especially then one that was around mile 7, on the back side of St. Andrews, like last year.
Post race
Warm down:

After the finish, I collapse in a chair. The volunteers try to get me to talk a wheelchair over to the Med tent but I declined. At this point all I wanted was some pizza. I slowly hobble over to the pavilion but find out there is no more pizza. MarcT, Street, ADollar, and Tony try to get me to sit down with them but I need some food. I opt for a bag of Doritos but find eating them one at a time is too slow. So, I crush them up in the bag and throw hand fulls in to my mouth and wash it down with water. Tony sees that I'm pail and talks me in to going to the Med tent. They take me in and decide I need an IV. The nurse said, "ok, you're going to feel a big stick in your arm." I never felt it. After 5 minutes the first bag was gone and they hook up another one. This one took a little longer but I didn't mind. The "scenery" was nice. Even the lady next to me reach over to wipe Dorito crumbs off my face. :-) Turns out she knows a guy I went to college with. Small world.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

This is the first race where I've had nutrition problems this bad. The training plan was great and nutrition worked during training. I was ready to kill this race but think because of the lack of nutrition problems my previous 2 years of triathlon, I got overconfident on nutrition. I am pushing myself harder and racing at a high intensity so I need to re-evaluate my nutrition for the higher intensity race effort.

Event comments:

Even though I didn't have the race I trained for and wanted, I am still ranking my mental effort high because more than half of it was done in pain. There were plenty of times to quit and I didn't. The swelling on my elbow and arm is starting to go down and my hip gets cranky a little but happy that I finished.

Thanks to Coach Dan for pushing me. It wasn't the race I wanted, but don't know if I could have finished without his training and support. Also thanks to Tony, MarcT, Street, and ADollar. Which reminds me, is ADollar still at La Vela?

Last updated: 2008-05-12 12:00 AM
00:46:36 | 2640 yards | 01m 46s / 100yards
Age Group: 136/170
Overall: 0/1800
Performance: Bad
Suit: ProMotion wetsuit
Course: Counter-clockwise loop
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Bad
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:47
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
02:49:21 | 56 miles | 19.84 mile/hr
Age Group: 102/170
Overall: 0/1800
Performance: Below average
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: Out and back
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:15
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:28:04 | 13.1 miles | 11m 18s  min/mile
Age Group: 97/170
Overall: 0/1800
Performance: Below average
Course: Out and back with loop around St. Andrews Park
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-05-12 5:59 PM

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Subject: Gulf Coast Triathlon

2008-05-12 7:38 PM
in reply to: #1397783

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Alpharetta, GA
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon

Nice work out there, Craig!

2008-05-12 8:43 PM
in reply to: #1397945

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Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
It's tough to race in that heat and humidity when the spring weather here has been so perfect. Great job gutting it out. Looks like many of us had a rough go out there. Glad you  didnt get banged up too bad on the bike, that sounded like a scary situation. Good race on a tough day!
2008-05-13 10:51 AM
in reply to: #1397783

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Atlanta, Ga
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon

$1.79 just called me and he said he's coming back from Club LaVilla on Friday!

Great job out there man.  I was very proud and could ask nothing more of you.  Lesser athletes would have quit after laying a chum trail, then wrecking on the bike.  But you kept going...that says everything.

2008-05-13 11:04 AM
in reply to: #1397783

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Atlanta, Ga
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
Nice T times. Those make me envious. Great race, and eventful too. I'm not sure what I would have said to the lady who caused the crash, but it would have been pretty ugly. Nice job fighting through all the issues.

The Duke HIM is officially off my list of races to do.. if the swim was worse.
2008-05-14 9:53 AM
in reply to: #1397783

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Arlington, VA
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
Craig, you're my hero.

Maybe one day you can start a race that gives out T time awards. Just top 3, going by a/g would seem ostentatious.

2008-05-15 8:21 AM
in reply to: #1397783

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Nashville, TN
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon

Laaaaaaa Veeeeeeelllllllaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!! had a great race given the conditions and adversity that you endured.  I am so impressed that you pushed through it all.  I promise that it will pay dividends in November because mentally you already have it.  

By the way...remind me NEVER to drink whiskey with you again.  I think I am STILL hungover.   

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