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Gulf Coast Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
Total Time = 6h 40m 23s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 3. Had some coffee, banana, Clif bar, and loaded up for the ride to PCB. I had stayed at my parents house in Destin, so I spent the 45 minute ride quietly panicking to myself. This would be my first HIM and my second official triathlon.
Event warmup:

Stood around in the water for a second to get my wetsuit properly fit. No real warmup, I figured I would have well over 6 hours to get warmed up. I lined up in the starting corral scared to death, and a guy standing directly in front of me immediately dropped to the ground and started screaming. This was not what I needed to see just before the swim. But apparently he dislocated his shoulder while waiting for the start. He was laying on the beach being worked on when they told us to go. And off we went. . .
  • 42m 5s
  • 2640 yards
  • 01m 35s / 100 yards

Swim was great. I had never swam a continuous 1.2 miles, but have been getting my rear end kicked in masters classes for the past 6 months. I started a little too far on the outside and was all by myself after the first 10 minutes. I didn't know if I was going slow or fast, so I just kept plugging along comfortably. I'm not sure about the water conditions because I don't have much open water experience, but I think the low visibility actually helped keep my calm. It was nice not seeing things for a change.
What would you do differently?:

Push harder. I was concerned about the swim because I 1) had never swam in a wetsuit before (other than a short warm up on Friday) and 2) I had never swam a continuous 1.2 miles before. Turns out I felt good the entire time and felt strong coming out of the water. I should have been more spent afterward.
Transition 1
  • 05m 24s

I guess this was fine. I was in no real hurry and my bike was one of the furthest away. I just made sure I didn't forget anything.
What would you do differently?:

Hurry a little more.
  • 3h 04m 51s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.18 mile/hr

Bike went as well as could be expected. I decided to go without aero bars (which obviously would have been a big help in the wind) and just focus on comfort and what I was familiar with. I really focused on my drink and nutrition taking in food and water every 15 minutes. Everything went great until mile 40, at which point I couldn't eat anymore. I started to panic and just drank all the water and Gatorade I could for the rest of the ride. I still felt good riding, but knew that not eating anything would come back to bite me on the run. I just didn't want to dehydrate so I kept pouring water to it.

I was very happy with my bike time, but wasn't properly fueled and didn't feel good stomach wise afterward.
What would you do differently?:

I think my nutrition plan was insufficient to get me through the ride and onto the run. I hadn't done enough runs after long rides, so I guess I was accustomed to letting my nutrition slide during the final 45-60 minutes of my rides. There is a big difference in being properly fueled for a bike ride and being properly fueled to finish a bike ride and run a half-marathon.
Transition 2
  • 04m 40s

I really don't know how long this should have taken. I was again in no real hurry, just wanted to remember everything. Also stopped by a porta potty to unhydrate myself a little.
What would you do differently?:

Hurry more. I underestimated the aid-stations and took way too much stuff with me on the run. I actually had to throw a bunch of stuff away because I didn't want it bouncing around in my back jersey pocket.
  • 2h 43m 26s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 12m 29s  min/mile

I'm not sure how the bike portion was windy and the run portion had no breeze whatsoever, but it happened. I felt terrible when I started to run, so I decided to just run the first mile by feel and then formulate a plan of attack. Apparently my feet had become accustomed to moving fast because I crossed the first mile marker in about 8:30 and knew that wasn't good. My stomach was sloshing (from the bike) and I was still unable to eat. Things slowed down considerably after that.

I began eating as many orange slices as I could and stayed with a walk/shuffle until I felt better. I could have pushed it a little more in the first half, but I didn't want to make my stomach issues worse. I decided to go as slow as I needed to get myself in order.

After I got out of the park (which I thought would never end), I had a couple cookies, began to feel better, and decided I would pick up the pace a little. As soon as I sped up and felt better, my left calf locked up. I dialed my pace back down, drug my leg around until it loosened up a little, and maintained the best pace I could without the cramp setting in (which wasn't fast at all).

I maintained my hobble/walk/no cramp pace almost until the end. There was a great aid station in the last mile with music and people cheering that really got me going. I figured the longer I was out there, the worse things would get. I turned it up, drug my leg with me, and ran strong through the finish. This was the longest 13.1 miles (and the longest 2 hours and 45 minutes) of my life.
What would you do differently?:

I think my bad run performance was more attributable to failed nutrition on the bike than bad running preparation. I wasn't pushing my body as hard as I should have, because the distance was unknown and I was scared of putting myself in a position I couldn't get out of. I was too protective of my stomach and afraid of dehydrating, and just didn't push myself to the limit. But I guess it went about as can be expected for a first attempt.
Post race
Warm down:

Sat in a 1X1 square foot of shade that I found for a few minutes. Gathered my things and headed back to Destin for an ice bath, huge diet coke, and some McDonald's cheeseburgers.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

First HIM. Unsure of distances, and didn't have as solid a nutrition plan as I should have. I have already forgotten a lot of the bad feelings I experienced out there and am thinking about how much better I could do.

Event comments:

Great race. There must have been as many volunteers as there were racers. Everyone was so helpful and I am glad I chose it for my first HIM. I believe this is a great race to get a feel for the distance (as long as you don't mind a little heat).

Last updated: 2009-05-11 12:00 AM
00:42:05 | 2640 yards | 01m 35s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Suit: BlueSeventy Reaction full sleves
Course: Counter-clockwise rectangle
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Time: 05:24
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:04:51 | 56 miles | 18.18 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: Flat and windy. Some rough road sections.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 04:40
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:43:26 | 13.1 miles | 12m 29s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Course: Flat, sunny, hot, humid.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2009-05-11 4:33 PM

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Subject: Gulf Coast Triathlon

2009-05-11 4:42 PM
in reply to: #2144287

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Shalimar, FL
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon

It really was odd that the wind was non-existent for the run, but that's the truth!  Good job getting through it -- the heat was brutal!

2009-05-11 6:16 PM
in reply to: #2144287

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Atlanta, Ga
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
Excellent race report. I did this years race and you captured some of the generalities perfectly. There is no better race to teach a person about proper nutrition and electrolyte replacement than Gulf Coast.. and especially this years race. Congrats on your first HIM. I imagine your times will come down quite a bit in future years.
2009-05-11 10:53 PM
in reply to: #2144287

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Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon

How in the world does one dislocate a shoulder before you even start?

Talk about an oddity (and disconcerting).
2009-05-12 8:40 AM
in reply to: #2144287

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Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
Yeah, he seemed pretty upset about the shoulder thing as well.
2009-05-12 8:54 AM
in reply to: #2145353

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Extreme Veteran
Olive Branch, MS
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
I was in your wave. Orange caps. That guy was definitely not happy. Kinda crazy starting a race under those circumstances-not knowing what was wrong with the poor guy.

2009-05-12 9:21 PM
in reply to: #2144287

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Extreme Veteran
Marietta, GA
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
Great Race Report and Great Race!!! For your first HIM you rocked just finishing on such a tough day. So hold your head up high.

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