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Ironman Florida - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
Ironman North America
Total Time = 12h 52m 50s
Overall Rank = 1413/2270
Age Group = W 30-34
Age Group Rank = 57/95
Pre-race routine:


I slept really, really well the night before (I'm a good sleeper no matter what's going on) and woke up when I heard my family moving around at 4 am. I got up, got some coffee, had my vanilla Ensure and got dressed. It was really, really weird, but I wasn't nervous because I just felt that the race was inevitable at this point. I knew I was going to do it and had to just trust that the day would turn out well! I had done my time training and preparing and the journey would be complete not too long from that moment. I kept reminding myself that there would be no regrets and that this day was my reward for this past year. I had the choice to go out and take it and I was ready!
Event warmup:

When we got to the site at 5:00 we found close parking which was great! I got my parents parked and we grabbed my special needs bags and pump and headed out. I dropped off both bags and made sure that the ribbons I tied on them showed so I could find them easier later on and I made my way to body marking. It was cold outside and the girl doing the marking was fast and sweet. She added a smiley face to my calf which made me happy. We walked around for a minute outside and I then took my nutrition to my bike, pumped up the tires and told her that we would be getting ready to go on one heck of an adventure soon! I found my coach, Gerald, shortly thereafter and we went inside and met up with a couple of my other teammates and sat around for a few minutes. I realized it was 6:15 at that point so I wrestled myself into my wetsuit and took a deep breath and we walked outside to get situated! I gave my coach a high five, kissed and hugged my parents goodbye and went down to the starting corral. I took a short swim (100 yards maybe) just to get familiar with the cold water and got back on shore. I have to say in a very odd way--this was the most peaceful point of the day. There was a lot of activity going on, but I just found a quiet spot right be the water's edge and listened to the water hitting the shore as Modest Mouse's "We All Float On" was played. It was an absolutely perfect moment and all I could do was smile!
  • 1h 22m 2s
  • 4156 yards
  • 01m 58s / 100 yards

I started to the right of the mass of humanity near the front and when the cannon went off I ran right in and started swimming. It was totally calm at first and I had clear water to swim in. I stayed to the right of the pack to the buoy and then turned and moved back into the pack. It was at that moment that it started to get rough and I started to get beat up on. I made it around the first lap and ran out at about 38 minutes. The run back across the shore was tough at first just finding my legs, but I was back in the water quickly after grabbing some water from the volunteers. Everyone kind of walked back out into the water and started swimming about 100 yards out it seemed because the water was so shallow for so long. Once we started swimming again I got thoroughly beaten up. I was punched in the left eye which left a big scrape where my goggles scratched me and then in the right eye to even it out! I was wearing my goggles under my cap and that saved me--they would have been ripped off otherwise. The second loop went by fast and I was out of the water before I knew it and off to the strippers.
What would you do differently?:

Swim faster--I think I poked around too long and didn't swim aggressively enough. I took it a little too easy in hindsight, but it's a long day--5 minutes would not have made a tremendous difference at all.
Transition 1
  • 07m 2s

LOVED having volunteers help you out! I grabbed my bad and sat down outside of the changing tent. I found a nice volunteer lady and asked her to help me. She got my socks out, shoes ready and shoved my inhaler in my back pocket for me as well as my pills. She even opened up my gummy worm bag for me to have a couple, which helped with the salt water mouth. Once I was done she shoved everything back in my bag and wished me luck. This was great and I felt so organized having someone go through all my things to see what I wanted and didn't want.
What would you do differently?:

Not alot. I think I was pretty efficient and made good use of my time.
  • 6h 18m 20s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.76 mile/hr

Getting on the bike and out of transition was tough. There were a bunch of clueless people who were running out in front of the bikes leaving the hotel area as we rode off that I had to swerve around. That woke me up right away! Once I got out on the road I started conservatively. My plan was to ride in Zone 1-2 for the first 70-80 miles and see what happened after that and how I felt. I had it drilled into my head that the race didn't start until mile 80 so I knew not to blow it up! At a crossing at mile 6 some dummy in a car totally ignored the police that were stopping traffic and hauled butt out into the road...right in front of me. I was in aero so I couldn't get to my brakes but had to swerve around him. I was so pissed thinking that this jackbutt could have ruined my race so early on and then I wondered if I could get Mike Rielley to come to the hospital and tell me that I would be an Ironman one day if this guy had hit me. Yeah, I had a lot of time to think during the ride! I saw Jashac a few times during the first part of the ride and chatted with him which was great. I tried to avoid the packs of riders but it was hard since there are so many people sometimes you just found yourself in a pack. It spread out over the race so it wasn't a huge deal. The wind wasn't too bad initially and I had a steady ride through special needs. I stopped there for a minute to grab new bottles and then headed back out. I saw my coach at mile 58 which cheered me immensely and then I just headed to the out and back. I saw Texasmpgal and KathyG there and then realized I was feeling great so I picked it up on the return. I realized my pacing had paid off b/c there was quite a bit of tired looking people slowing down the rest of the way in. I think I was passed twice in the last 30 miles but passed tons of people there (in the beginning I was passed and passed and passed!). I felt great and at mile 90 I realized that the tough part should have started but I felt really good. Coming back into town was great just knowing I was 2/3 of the way done and only had that marathon left to go. Really I was just excited to be able to talk to people again. 6 + hours is a long time to have to entertain youself!
What would you do differently?:

Ride a little more aggressively and less conservatively at the beginning. Not almost get hit by a car.
Transition 2
  • 04m 19s

Great volunteers again. The girl in the changing tent got my shoes ready and my socks out and never once complained about me probably being totally stinky and nasty. She was so sweet and wished me luck and just made me feel so good about what I was doing. It was great motivation for going out onto the run.
What would you do differently?:

  • 5h 01m 9s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 29s  min/mile

I started this part worrying about the run. I had not run a ton the month or so before the race and had missed time running due to nagging tendinitis. I was worried about what would happen but I knew I had enough time to finish no matter what. The first four miles went by fast--I found a guy to run with who was starting his second lap and was totally dying. He had done Hawaii 3 weeks before so obviously this wasn't the easiest day. I ran with him and we chatted and 4 miles passed quickly. I realized we had been running 930's and I didn't want to do that anymore since I had a lot further to go and I sent him on his way. I made it out to the park and back and felt good at this point. My legs were okay and I felt pretty good. My awesome coach was out there and he ran with me for a while and chatted me up which was great. That made time go so much faster and it was fun to have him to talk to! He pulled off a mile or two before the end of the first lap and I made it in and headed back out. I was determined to get back to the park before it got dark. I found Gerald again and we trotted on, although more slowly this time. My stomach started getting a little angry with me for running and biking all day and was threatening revolution. I started walking a little bit more and made it through the park and back out. At this point my head decided to join my stomach in revolution and I started to get lightheaded and a little woozy as well. Obviously, there were a lot more walking breaks at this point. The aid stations were great though and I was so excited for the chicken soup. I'm a dork like that and that was my favorite part of the run. I also really wanted a glow necklace until I realized that they were hard and bounced alot once I put it on. The necklace lasted all of three steps and I threw it away. I walked the last time at the 25 mile marker and decided to run it in. I use the term run loosely--I'm sure I looked like a wounded cow waddling in, but it was the best I could do. Once I hit the road in at Alvin's Island and could see the finish it was amazing--all of the pain and tiredness in my legs went away, my stomach and my head cooperated--and I felt like a million bucks hitting that finish line! I never heard my first name being called out and only heard my last name being slaughtered and that I was a first time attorney Ironman from Frisco, Texas. It was such a great feeling to hit that finishing tape and it made every single step of the day worthwhile. I was finally an Ironman! KathyG and TexasMPGal got me at the line and I'm sure I made no sense saying anything. I was smiling and so happy that the day turned out so great!
What would you do differently?:

Run more quality miles and not get crazy bad tendinitis 4 weeks before Ironman??? Get my lazy butt up in the mornings to go to track workouts each week.
Post race
Warm down:

After I got my medal and finisher's picture and hat and shirt I found my family and coach and started walking. I walked about a mile and a half before I finally stopped and changed my shoes. I knew that my legs would cramp if I didn't walk it out and that my stomach could revolt if I just suddenly stopped. It was the best thing I did all day and I never felt bad after the race or the next days. I had no residual aches or pains and actually woke up on Sunday less sore than I did last year after the Houston Marathon. Really weird, but I totally think this saved me! After the walking I went to my coach's condo and washed my face and changed my clothes. I couldn't eat anything but I felt good. I decided I really wanted to stay to see the finishers come in but first I knew I had to get a Diet Sprite to drink. We walked over to Walmart and I got my Sprite and probably frightened people waddling around in my IM gear and body marking stinking to high heaven. Once I had that I felt so much better and we made our way to the finish line. It was awesome! I stayed until the last person came through at 12:03 and danced and cheered everyone on like a crazy person until I was hoarse. Seeing everyone come in--especially in that last hour--was so inspiring. Plus, Mike Rielly really gets into it towards the end. He was working the crowds, calling people by name, and just encouraging everyone in the stands to get up and cheer. Standing by people waiting for their racers to come in was so neat--they would be so nervous waiting and waiting and then when they saw their racer, their faces just lit up. I saw several men cry seeing their wives come in and so many kids say that they wanted to do an Ironman when they grew up. It was really inspiring and a phenomenal way to end the day. It made me feel like I came full circle. I left after midnight with a huge smile on my face!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Eh, I don't want to beat myself up on what I could have done better, but there are a few things that I know held me back.

SWIM: I needed to swim more. I don't like swimming, but the more I swim the faster I become. I guess this means I need to go to masters again this winter.

BIKING:I rode alot this year and felt super well prepared to knock out 112 miles (I did 7 centuries in preparation and tons of 80/90 mile rides) but I really didn't push myself too much during the season to ride with my tri group which would have meant that I pushed myself harder riding with faster people. I did this more towards the end of my training and I think it paid off, but I could have felt more confident to ride harder had I done that more frequently in training.

RUNNING: I love to run, really I do, but after my January marathon and some half marathons in the spring I quit working on running and super slowed down. I got burned out on it and stopped going to track, running hills, etc. I felt as the IM training went on that I was performing significantly below what I knew I could do, but it was too late to turn it around. Not a big deal, but I need to refocus on quality and not just quantity. I'm a big volume girl which means I don't like speed work. Refocusing my training will help lots. Also, I had really bad tendinitis issues that popped up about a month before IM. These kept me from running the bigger long runs before the IM. My longest run was 17 miles and it showed on race day. I need to work on my form and strengthen my core so I can improve for IMWI!

BOTTOM LINE: Yes, there are things in all three disciplines that would have made me faster, stronger, better but I'm not beating myself up over anything. It's my first IM and this means that there is room for improvement, but I still feel pretty damn proud of myself for taking the plunge and going strong all day! :)

Event comments:

I think IMFL is a great first Ironman. Yes, the course is flat and not particularly interesting, but it's a safe, friendly course that you can prepare for without truly knowing what to expect in an Ironman race. Also, it's amazing how close you can stay to the race site--if you so desire, which is especially helpful for family members and if you have kids. I can not stand crowds of nervous athletes before races and my boss had a beach house about 10 miles away which was perfect for us. PCB is a lovely beach and it's a welcoming community for the race. I loved it and had a blast and would highly recommend the race to anyone out there!

Last updated: 2007-11-05 12:00 AM
01:22:02 | 4156 yards | 01m 58s / 100yards
Age Group: 70/95
Overall: 1619/2270
Performance: Good
Suit: DeSoto
Course: 2 loops out and back and coming back on shore after the first loop.
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 07:02
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:18:20 | 112 miles | 17.76 mile/hr
Age Group: 54/95
Overall: 1577/2270
Performance: Good
Course: One loop course on several highways looping back to the start
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 04:19
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:01:09 | 26.2 miles | 11m 29s  min/mile
Age Group: 62/95
Overall: 1303/2270
Performance: Average
Course: 2 loops from transition out to the state park and back through a neighborhood and condos back to transition.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
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] 4

2008-11-04 4:19 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: Ironman Florida

2008-11-04 4:42 PM
in reply to: #1787562

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Fishers, Indiana
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Woohoo!! Ironman Aimee!! You did awesome because you TRAINED hard!  Your run was way strong too, you really took off out there, way to go! Congratulations!
2008-11-04 4:44 PM
in reply to: #1787562

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Plant City, FL
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
CONGRATULATIONS AIMEE!!  Excellent race, and sounds like you had a blast afterwards too!
2008-11-04 4:50 PM
in reply to: #1787562

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Muskego, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Great race report.  It was awesome to see you out there on the course, you looked like you were having a pretty good time.  Glad we had a chance to meet and i'll be looking forward to your next RR.


2008-11-04 5:37 PM
in reply to: #1787562

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Dallas, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

I can't believe you even thought for one moment you would not make those cut off's! HA! Your training was awesome and all your hard work showed on race day!

PS- Your RR is not near as long as mine was. No worries!

2008-11-04 5:43 PM
in reply to: #1787562

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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congraatulations!!! AWESOME awesome job !!!  Ironman is cool

2008-11-04 6:17 PM
in reply to: #1787562

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Congratulations Ironman!

It was great meeting you and seeing you over and over all weekend and throughout the race.

You looked so strong, determined and happy out there on the bike and run. 

You have a great attitude about the race, you results and have a plan for the future.

I look forward to watching your journey to IMWI...our '09 IMs will be pretty close together..mine will be 2 weeks before yours.

Awesome job~

2008-11-04 6:25 PM
in reply to: #1787562

Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Yeah Aimee! Congratulations! Friend for life.
2008-11-04 6:46 PM
in reply to: #1787562

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Extreme Veteran
Latonia, Kentucky (near Cincinnati)
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Awesome Aimee!!!!!!!!  Absolutely Awesome and you know it!  You kept the spirit of the race the entire time.  You played the cards that were dealt to you through the training season and on the big day, and it really paid off for you!  Now, lets continue to live up to the new lettering you'll be putting on your business cards.......Aimee, attorney at law, Ironman at heart.
2008-11-04 8:01 PM
in reply to: #1787562

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Extreme Veteran
Greenwood, SC
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congratulations on a great race!!!!!
2008-11-05 1:29 PM
in reply to: #1787562

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congrats on a great race! Enjoyed your race report and think it's awesome that you went back out on the course to cheer on the rest of the finishers. I watched on-line until the last racer came in and it was fun and inspiring. I can only imagine how much more fun and inspiring it is to be there in person and hope to volunteer at an IM in 09.

2008-11-05 4:35 PM
in reply to: #1787778

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the colony texas
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

wo wooo .. nice job.. and your RR isn't long or written while half smashed..

 you trained really well for this,,, I think it's normal to look back and think you should have done something different.. but you did great....  i think IMKY is open for next year still

2008-11-05 5:30 PM
in reply to: #1787562

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West Bend, WI
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
awesome stuff!!!  congrats
2008-11-07 9:12 AM
in reply to: #1787562

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South Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Great job!  I saw you a couple times out there, and appreciated the encouragement.  Also, I think you were the one who did the little Halloween/inspirational note bags, and I took my note with me on the bike!  Thanks!
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