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Gulf Coast Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
85F / 29C
Total Time = 5h 25m 40s
Overall Rank = 164/1045
Age Group = M30-34
Age Group Rank = 23/92
Pre-race routine:

Got down to PCB late Thursday night, registered and set up on Friday. Woke at 4:45, ate PB bagel and banana, out the door at 5:30.
Event warmup:

I suited up about 6:15 and got in the water for about 10 minutes. I spent teh rest of the time chatting with friends.
  • 37m 5s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 46s / 100 yards

I lined up to the right with the plan to move to the left throughout the swim. I watched the waves prior to me and it seemed that the undertow was pushing left. When the gun went off, I went dolphining through the first group of waves. For the first 200m I felt good. I remembered what it was like to race. And then I decided to swim to Destin. I was following the feet in front of me but it seemed like I was out to sea and no where near the course. I made a few adjustments and moved more to the left. Suddenly I was inside the buoys.

I made it out to the first turn buoy feeling ok but not exceptionally strong. I could tell that I wasn't with the fast group anymore. I made my way to the second turn buoy and it felt like that....I was making my way over. No hurry in mind. I set my sites on the Boardwalk condos and cruised. I could tell I wasn't having a good swim. I was off in my own little world just trying to get through the 1.2 miles. It seemed that the last buoy was always just a little bit further.
What would you do differently?:

Stay engaged longer. I did a poor job at drafting. Overall, the swim times were really slow so I am probably being hard on myself.
Transition 1
  • 02m 52s

Transition was the same as IMFL as you made you way up the beach, through the sprinklers and into the parking lot. I grabbed my stuff and was off. I did feel particularly fast but it seems like I got through it at a very reasonable rate.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I don't waste time in there.
  • 2h 33m 40s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.87 mile/hr

I didn't really know what to expect from my body today. Going into the race, my body was not peaking. Instead it was very fatigued. I had a mental plan that I wanted to execute but I kept in mind that I need to just adapt to what my body would give me. I could tell on the short out and back that it wasn't there. I had trouble getting my power up to speed and maintaining the wattage. I kept trying to relax and remind myself that I had 50 miles and the body would react.

We came zipping back through town and you could feel the northern breeze off the ocean. And you felt it between each condo where the dead space acted as wind tunnel. I struggled a great deal in the first 30 minutes to settle into aero position. It was difficult for me to find both a comfortable spot as well as the right gearing. More importantly, my stomach was really bloated and my nutrition tasted like crap. I think I drank the whole Gulf of Mexico.

As we turned up 79, I began to give it a bit more power but the numbers were still a bit low. I found a good position and gear and just focused on executing MY race. Just before the bridge, a cyclist came flying past me as if I was standing still. I sat up wondering WTF. Then I realized the nice tailwind we had. I found a few more gears and took off. I went up and over the bridge and was feeling pretty good on the bike. I reminded myself that the headwind may be my demise on the return.

The stretch on 388 was a bit lonely. The condition of the road was miserable at time. Plus it was so desolate out there. It was also at this time that I started to realize how hot it was. I knew that the key to this race for me was to not get over heated. I took a water bottle from the next aid station and dumped the entire bottle on me. I squirted it into the helmet, back of the neck and chest.

I hit the 28 mile mark and was feeling good despite my power numbers being about 10-20 watts lower than where I wanted them to be. At the turnaround, it was much of the same. I took another water bottle to stay cool. At this point, I was growing aware of how I was slipping behind on nutrition. My stomach was having trouble processing it. I found myself very gassy. I decided to alter my plans given the problem. When I began feeling bad, I had to force some nutrition into the body, then I chased it with some fresh water and doused myself to cool off.

A couple of cyclist began catching me on 388 and I tried to go with them. I just didn't have it. The power still wasnt' there. I tried to remain calm because I was still on par for a solid ride...I took what the body gave me. When we turned back onto 79 we found a nice little headwind. It wasn't brutal like NOLA. But it was enough to slow you down a bit. I took this opportunity to try to relieve my bladder only to fail a number of times.

Though I know not to try anything new on race day, I planned on altering my nutrition plan during the last 20 minutes of the race. I had frozen a bottle of nuun so that I could up my electrolytes. And given the heat, I think it was the right call. I probably got half that bottle down during the last 20 minutes. Too bad Nuun doesn't have calories because my 1.5 bottles of infinit left me well short of where I needed to be.
What would you do differently?:

PUSH the bike. Overall it was a good bike. I took 4 minutes off my NOLA time while pushing about 15 watts less.
Transition 2
  • 01m 39s

In and out like butta
  • 2h 10m
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 55s  min/mile

I immediately found a decent pace and started pushing. My goals for the run were to stay cool and make sure that I put some calories in the body so that I didn't bonk. Jess was waiting about half a mile down the road. She gave me the race time. At that point I had to run a 1:45 to break 5 hours. Doable? Certainly. Just not today. And I was totally fine with that. The bigger key was finishing.

I pushed for the first two miles. I was on fire. I grabbed sponges at the aid stations. I doused myself when I could. At the third aid station I decided to stop. I made the choice to take in tons of fluid and try to cool down. I literally stopped in the middle of the road and drank two cups of ice water. Cold water was the nectar from the gods. All throughout the run, it was the best thing I had ever tasted. One of these days I will learn to develop a calorie rich nutrition plan that only include cold water. :)

The stop certainly cost me time put it probably saved just as much since I felt like I was overheating. I then switched to walking the aid stations. The next few were rough. I would drink anything I could get my hands on. I also began eating oranges for a few extra calories. I worried that my pace was putting me on a destructive path time wise...but I was ok with that. Mentally, I just needed to get through it.

Entering St. Andrews was brutal. There is about a 3 mile stretch with nothing but sand and asphalt adding to the miserable conditions. I continued to walk the aid stations. I also allowed myself to walk past them until I felt like my HR was down enough to start running again. At one point around mile 7, I realized that I was totally sandbagging the run. I decided to pick it up a bit and make sure that I negative split the run. I couldn't believe how easy it was for me to push the pace a bit. However, I didn't find the pace as pacifying or cooler as before so I easily slid back to the slower pace (lesson to learn here).

When I came back out of the park, I had about 4.5 miles to go. While the run time was absymmal, I knew I was still on par for a good race. And athletes weren't catching at a quick rate. I asked for a little from the body and responded. My times began coming down. I had a different attitude about the race. I hit the aid stations and switched to cola to keep me pepped up. I splashed myself with more cold water and kept chugging.

In retrospect, I realize how close to bonking I was. In my mind, I was calculating my time/pace/etc. I was so far off. I couldn't do simple math. Fortunately the body and mind held up as I pushed the final three miles getting my pace well back down to sub-9. And I was shocked how easy it was (kicking myself). Of course, it helped that the race was almost over.
What would you do differently?:

I did what I needed to do mentally. In retrospect, I would have pushed a bit. I know I left at least 5 minutes on the course from the simple fact that I didn't want to run. Also, I need to think through a nutrition strategy for the run. I seem to always forget this. I plan on living off the course then they don't have anything I want.

I think the fact that a 2:10 was top quartile is a testament to exactly how bad the conditions were out there.
Post race
Warm down:

I walked straight to the med tent where they gave me an ice cold towel. Once my core temp came down, I grabbed some pizza and headed back to the condo.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I think after the NOLA debacle, I just need to get this race under my belt so that I can focus on the rest of the season. My body was really tired going in so that explains the low power numbers. And honestly, I haven't run like I should since NOLA. These are all minor things that contributed to the day. But I am pleased with everything.

Event comments:

I have attended this race a number of times. As an athlete, I was blown away by it. I really enjoyed it and thought they put on an outstanding races. Volunteers were plentiful and endured the heat with the athletes.

Last updated: 2009-05-13 12:00 AM
00:37:05 | 2112 yards | 01m 46s / 100yards
Age Group: 31/92
Overall: 127/1045
Performance: Below average
Suit: Orca Evo
Course: Buoys left long oval
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 76F / 24C Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Bad
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Below average Navigation: Bad
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:52
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
02:33:40 | 56 miles | 21.87 mile/hr
Age Group: 19/92
Overall: 129/1045
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: Quick out and back on Thomas drive to front beach to 79 to 388 and back
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 91
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:39
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:10:00 | 13.1 miles | 09m 55s  min/mile
Age Group: 39/92
Overall: 282/1045
Performance: Average
Course: out and back to st andrews via the bayside neighborhoods
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too easy
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2009-05-13 8:04 AM

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Nashville, TN
Subject: Gulf Coast Triathlon

2009-05-13 8:22 AM
in reply to: #2147722

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Extreme Veteran
Marietta, GA
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
For feeling fatigued, you rocked this race!!! I wish I had those times on a good day let alone on an "off" day.

Great race and fantastic RR.
2009-05-13 9:18 AM
in reply to: #2147722

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Alpharetta, GA
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
Great RR!

Man, pulling a 5:25:40 overall is very solid considering that you were having an "off' day. Impressive.

A 37 minute swim, while swimming all of the place and trying to drink the Gulf is great!

Low power, no gears, not feeling it, and you still ripped off a 21.87 mph avg!?!?! Can I have some of your kool-aid?

Great job, solid race! Well done!
2009-05-13 12:59 PM
in reply to: #2147722

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Atlanta, GA
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon

Yeah, what they all said Very nice.

2009-05-13 5:17 PM
in reply to: #2147722

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St. Pete
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
Nice report! I relived Saturday with your description of the run wow it was hot! Great Job!
2009-05-15 9:02 AM
in reply to: #2149263

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Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
Great job on this one, and shaking off the NOLA experience. Now that the demons are exorcised you are going to destroy it at the next race!

2009-05-15 9:20 AM
in reply to: #2152696

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Woodstock, GA
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon

Good job.  Really good race report.  It was like I was there.

2009-05-22 8:31 AM
in reply to: #2147722


Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
Good report.  My run was dang tough as well.
Let me know how that caloric water idea you have works out for you, I'd buy a few cases!!!
I definitely need to add calories on the run - and tell myself to leave more of what I have out on the race course... Happy racing. 
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