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Ironman 70.3 Florida - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Orlando, Florida
United States
Ironman North America Athlete Services
90F / 32C
Total Time = 8h 02m 26s
Overall Rank = 1992/2150
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 337/361
Pre-race routine:

This is going to be long. I am going to start logging my pre-race routine 3 weeks out because I really don't want to forget anything. I am going to start by saying I know I will finish. I have put enough training in over the past 20 weeks not to finish. Here are my concerns, in no particular order: 1. I just had a swim evaluation by a local swim coach and my swim stroke is not good. Although I can average around 2:05/100yds over longer distances, I know now that I should be more efficeint. I have a couple of weeks to work on that. 2. I have improved the most on the bike, but I haven't done the 60 miler like I should have. I have done a bunch of 2.5+ hour rides, so we shall see. 3. I have flat feet, which translates into not so good ankles. Some days they are fine, some they hurt after a half mile. It will be a crap shoot on race day. 4. Nutrition/Hydration - I need to drink a lot. I sweat a lot to begin with and the heat will only increase that 2 fold. I had a bad incident this weekend with not drinking enough on the run with very warm temps. 5. The weather. This I can't control, so I am not going to worry about it.

Ok, didn't get to update as much as I wanted before the race, but it will still be long. I view these race reports, especially for this distance, as a great way to reflect and an excellent tool for people to reference for future races. I think I read every old race report for this race to get as much info as possible. So, if you are reading this next year to get some pointers, you have come to the right place.

For starters, I began training for a sprint triathlon 2/18/08, and exactly 15 months to the day, I was getting ready to get in the water for my first HIM. I couldn't have been able to get this far without the help and support of all the wonderful people on this site. Thank you.

On to the pre-race...We left Boston on Friday, with kids and parents in tow, and headed to the most Magical Place on Earth. The family was a good distraction for the race, or else I would have been a nervous wreck. After checking into the hotels, we went to Downtown Disney for dinner. I passed out with my son in one bed at 10 and my wife was lucky enough to be up with my 2 year she-devil until midnight.

Saturday morning, the parents, their significant others, and my brother took the kids to the Magic Kingdom and I went to check in. Although I haven't done that many races before, there is nothing like an Ironman Event. The atmosphere alone gives you chills. Flags, banners, tents, volunteers, all overwhelming, but very exciting. I decided to check in first to get it out of the way. Talk about having it down to a science...walk up to the entrance of registration and there is a big board with everyone's name on it. You find your name and number and get greeted by the first person, "USAT Member, yes or no?" If yes, you move on and show your USAT card and get a blue BINGO stamp. Next station, Waivers - One for Ironman, one for Disney. Sign your life away and move onto packet pick-up. Sit down and get your bracelet(which I just took off 4 days later), your stickers, your chip, and your bibs. Next is goodie bag pick-up, which is more like advertisement bag pick-up. The finally, get your chip scanned and processed through to the great Ironman store. TIP#1 - Get to registration as early as you can. I looked around the store for a bit and just bought a running hat and some stickers, decided to wait for Sara before I bought some clothes for the kids and myself. I will later find out that was a bad decision.

Next stop - bike pick-up. I decided that I was going to ship my bike with Tri Bike Transport. TIP#2 - Ship your bike - it's worth every penny. TBT has a tent right outside registration, so they are very easy to find. Got my bike, they put on the pedals for me and I realized my rear tire was flat. I also realize that I need to meet Sara shortly, so I went to go drop my bike off in transition, but I could not enter without my bike being tagged with the stickers. As I go into my backpack to retrieve the stickers, I realize I don't have my race packet with my stickers and chip in it. I really didn't panic knowing it had to be somewhere. Backtracked to TBT, not there. Went to cashier at the store and she said she dropped it off at the "Solutions" table. TIP3# Don't loose sight of your race packet, causes more stress than you need. The nice woman at the table had my packet and I was off to find Sara then fix the tire. I switched the tube and dropped it off in transition so I could let it sit for a while to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong with the tire. Went back to the store and it was a zoo. Lines an hour long, and unless you were a small or XXL, very little t-shirts left. You could have gotten an $80 sweatshirt, but not me. Last item on the list was to get the CO2 and another tube from one of the vendors. As we were heading there, we stopped to look at the swim waves again and realized they gave me the wrong swim cap color. Sara stood in line at the store while I went back to the "Solutions" table to get that resolved. We got everything done, took some pictures, checked the rear tire one more time, then hopped back on the bus to the parking lots.

The rest of the day was just hanging out by the pool, eating, buying the last couple of things I needed. I decided to go meet up with a couple of BTers for dinner, which is always nice, then headed back to my parents hotel to say goodnight to the kids and hopped into bed at 9. I think I was a sleep by 10.

Event warmup:

Alarm went off at 3:45. Got up, made coffee, tried to choke down a half of bagel with PB, and was out the door at 4:15. Got to Disney a bit after 4:30 and in transition before 5am. I guess after 5, the buses were coming less frequently, so a lot of people were late getting to transition. I had plenty of time to set up and get situated. It was very surreal to be doing this in the pitch black. Had time to use the real toilets and headed down to the shore.

First wave was off at 6:20am. It was still dark. I was in wave 17 out of 22, so I saw most everyone go off. Before the start the announced that the Challenged Athletes had raised $85k and were racing today. They also annouced that the first amputee ever allowed back into active duty was racing. Very inspirational and puts everything into perspective. Cannon went off and my day was about to begin...
  • 52m 2s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 28s / 100 yards

There were 3 waves for my age group and I was in the first. The bouys are on your left and I breathe to my right, which I thought would be a problem, but they had canoes and boats on the right side forming a channel to swim through. I started out on the right towards the back so I could get off to a nice smooth swim. I just kept tell myself to get to the first turn, then I would do the breast stroke if needed. There was little contact the first leg and I made the turn and did a little breast stroke. I had some minor contact on the second leg, but nothing major. I found that I got more tired doing the BS than the crawl. I made the last turn a bit wide, but sighted better than I have in prevous races. I got out of the water at 52:02.
What would you do differently?:

This was a bit longer than I wanted, but I am happy considering swimming in the pool doesn't compare to an open water swim. People are saying that it was long by 300 yds, which would put my 100 at 2:10, which makes more sense, but it doesn't bother me. I need to get out in the open water a lot more before Vineman.
Transition 1
  • 08m 2s

It was a long run from the beach to transition, about .25 mile. I joked to the guy running next to me if we had skipped the bike. I was very deliberate in transition. The extra couple of minutes didn't bother me as I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed to head out.
What would you do differently?:

I could have practiced a bit more.
  • 3h 23m 19s
  • 56 miles
  • 16.53 mile/hr

This was an awesome course. We started out through some public and private Disney roads until we got to the main Disney highway roads, which were all shut down to traffic. It was pretty cool. This was about for 12 or so miles. This course has 3 turn arounds, so you can see the folks who are behind you throughout the ride. Was a bit windy, but not that bad for the first 5 miles. Winds died done after that. Once out of the Disney complex, you are in Kissimmee on the main road there for about 6 miles. It was fine. The road was open to traffic, but one lane was shut down for us. This whole time I was feeling good, but my HR was in the mid 160s and I couldn't eat anything. I kept drinking my Gatorade, but after a while that got a bit too much. I finished the first 18 miles in an hour and was very happy.

Took the turn north onto to rural roads. I was by myself for a bit, which was fine. Here's were I encountered one of the strangest things I have ever seen while ride. Up ahead on the right hand side of the road I see a bunch of turkey vultures. I saw some the previous day devouring a dead alligator in the road, which took about 10 minutes. So I get closer I am thinking this may be a big gater because there are about 6 birds. Nope. As a pass them, they are disemboweling a dog. A scene right out of the African safari. I thought to myself, I hope I don't end up on the side of the road, the would never find my body. Made it up to the second turn around, which was about 2.5 miles long. Turned east onto the road and was hit with a headwind. Not bad for 2.5 miles. As I was going to the turn around, a police motorcycle and emergency vehicle flew by. When I got to the end, I see a bike on the side of the road and I guy standing there whose right side of his face was all bloody. Knees bloody. Elbow bloody. Didn't look good. I almost dumped making the turn and looking at him at the same time. Made the turn, got the tailwind and was doing 19 mph uphill. What a difference the wind makes. Made it up to the next turn around and same wind issues. Grabbed a water and banana from the aid station and kept moving. By this time, my HR settled in the low 150s, so I had my uncrustable.

They say this course is flat as a pancake, and it basically is, but for this novice cycler, there are a couple of pretty decent hills. Enough that I saw one person walking up it. I was at 35.98 mile in exactly 2 hours. 18mph for me was moving. I really wasn't pushing that hard. I was feeling good and pumped because I knew that last 1/3 of the course was slight downhill. Got to mile 40, turned south, and BAM, headwind. This part of the road was pretty busy with traffic, which added to the adventure. No real danger, but having spent the last 20 miles without any, you just had to pay more attention. I had to go to my small ring and was pedaling pretty good, down hill and only doing around 14.5 mph. This lasted for the next 14 miles. Very demoralizing. I just wanted to get off the bike at that point. I had no legs left. I kept thinking to myself how in the world could I ever do another 56 miles for an IM.

Finally made the turn back onto Disney, and the wind went away. Pushed it for the last couple of miles. As I pulled up to the line, I unclipped, step down on my left foot and had shooting pain on the outside of the bottom of my foot. More to come about that later.
What would you do differently?:

I need to get more 60+ mile rides in. I need to practice hills, wind, nutrition, etc. Overall, for my longest bike ride ever, I am pretty pleased.
Transition 2
  • 06m 20s

I got off the bike and walked gingerly up the shoot. Saw my mother on the right and she proceed to scream "Go Joshua, I love you." I had flashbacks of playing youth baseball with her screaming on the sidelines. I turned the corner and saw my father and son, who as holding up a sign and I almost lost it. As much as a pain in the a$$ it was with the whole family there leading up to it, it was worth it see them out in transition. I knew just from the short walk up the shoot it was going to be a long 13.1 miles. I walked over and kissed my son, who was being held up by a nice lady, who I have no idea was. I then kissed my wife and daughter and hobbled into transition.

I rack the bike, put on a bandaid on the bottom of my foot where I get blisters, switched socks, took off the extra pair of tri shorts, grabbed the hat and was off.
What would you do differently?:

  • 3h 32m 44s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 16m 14s  min/mile

This should read walk comments. I started out walking the 100yds to the aid station. Grabbed the ice cold sponges, one for the hat and one for the jesery, grabbed water and gatorade. I started to run. Not happening. Severe pain in the bottom of my foot. Well this isn't good. Got to the first turn, and picked up the pace. If I couldn't run, then I was going to walk as fast as I could. This was bearable until I got to the grass. The grass path was so uneven, it hurt to walk. So I tried to jog. Shooting pain up the left side of my leg to my hip. Not good. I was pretty pissed. I kept thinking to myself that there is no way I trained all these hours, spent all this money to come down here, and completed 2/3 of the race to stop. I would be crawling pretty soon if I had to.

Funny side I passed one of the porta pottys in the grasslands of our African run, one of the kids who was volunteering went in, closed the door, and all of a sudden you heard "That's disgusting." I started laughing. Whatever was in there was baked in the 90 degree sun for hours.

Halfway through the first loop, I stopped at the medical tent. The nice lady looked at my foot and said it was probably a cramp. It didn't feel like the typical cramp and she just barely touched my foot and I winced in pain. She said it could be a stress fracture or bone bruse. I iced it for 10 minutes and asked her if I would cause any permanent damage by continuing. She said no, and I said I will see her in an hour to get more ice. I continued on and finished the first lap in 1h 15m. Saw my brother as I made the turn and told him I was going to be a while.

As I started the second loop, it was either the ice or the flat pavement, but it started to feel better. I started to jog. Not bad. I tried .25 mile jog then .25 mile walk. I think I made it through the second loop in 55min. Negative split baby. I didn't have to stop at the med tent again.

I met up with a nice guy from Maryland as I started the last loop. By this time my right foot had a blister on every toe and left leg was bothering me because of my 4.3 miles of limping in the beginning. We walked and talked the whole third loop. All the people on the course looked like they were in bad shape. Very few runners. We tried to run to the cone, or run to the aid station, but that didn't last long. By this time I had been out on the course for 7 hours, it was 90 degrees, and I was hurting. There were a couple of things that got me through the last loop. I passed a couple walking and as I passed them, the guy said to the lady, who was struggling, "Don't worry, you get the same shirt and medal as they do." And he was right. Other than the first 5 finishers, everyone got the same thing as they crossed the finish line. The second thing was to see all the Challenged Athletes competing. I passed a couple of them coming or going, most of them were leg amputees and I thought what the f*** was I complaining about. My pain will eventually go away. Truly inspiring individuals. Then I kept thinking about all the race reports I read where people DNF, either IM or HIM, for various reasons. Mostly medical, mechanical, or time limit, which were all out their control. If I stopped, it was because I chose to, not because I was forced to, and that would have eaten at me for a long time. We made it to the mile 12 and my Maryland buddy wanted to run it out. I kept walking. Got a bit lite headed and dizzy at mile 12 and said there is no way in hell I am going to drop at mile 69. Kept taking sips of my gatorade and saw my brother and father right before the finishing shoot. I limped up the shoot and they called my name as I crossed the line in 8:02. They grab the chip, put the medal around your next and snap the picture. My wife and son were waiting at the finish line, so I picked up my son and the photographers got a picture of us both. Grabbed the goodie bag and went to find somewhere to sit.
What would you do differently?:

For this particular situation, nothing. I kept moving forward.
Post race
Warm down:

Sat down a fence as my wife went looking for my flip flops on the beach. Saw that the lines at the massage tables were not that long, so I shuffled over there. You had to pay for the massage, but I didn't care. There was no food left, but I wasn't hungry.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

For my first HIM, I wanted to finish. Nothing else matters.

Event comments:

The volunteers were outstanding. I thanked them at every turn. The folks at the aid stations were great. The first aid station on the run put their grapes on ice. I told them that whoever thought of that was a genius and got a high five from the lady. So when the 3rd aid station ask how the other stations were, I told them that they were the friendliest, but the 1st aid station had the frozen grapes. Awesome, awesome group of people. Our bus back to the parking lot was basically all volunteers and I basically made an annoucement thanking all of them as I got off.

I don't know what other comments to make. An outstanding experience that teaches you a lot about yourself. I wouldn't have changed a thing. You deal with the situation at hand and keep moving forward. The support of my wife and kids is outstanding. I am so lucky to have them encouraging me in this crazy sport. The folks on this site, especially the experienced ones, most of whom I never corresponded with, are truly inspirational and thank them for sharing their experience and journeys. And finally, to all my MA BT family. You guys are amazing. I can't wait for most of you to do your first HIM so I can help you guys as much as you helped me.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-07-22 12:00 AM
00:52:02 | 2112 yards | 02m 28s / 100yards
Age Group: 310/361
Overall: 1745/2150
Performance: Average
Suit: None
Course: An out over and back swim in Bay Lake at Fort Wildness. Calm waters, not waves.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 78F / 26C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 08:02
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
03:23:19 | 56 miles | 16.53 mile/hr
Age Group: 326/361
Overall: 1913/2150
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Course: A looping course heading west out of Disney through Kissimmee, then headed North, with a couple of out and backs, then East for 10 miles, then south back to Disney.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 06:20
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
03:32:44 | 13.1 miles | 16m 14s  min/mile
Age Group: 338/361
Overall: 2025/2150
Performance: Bad
Course: 3 loops through what people have called "The Gateway to Hell" You start off in the shade of the exercise path, just to get yor hopes up. There is an aid station and lots of people cheering and you think, not bad. Then about .25 down the path, you turn left into the blazing sun. You are on the asphalt for about 1 mile until you go "off road" for 2.5 miles where you can smell the grass baking into hay on every loop, until you turn back onto the exercise path.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-05-21 1:07 PM

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Hingham, Ma
Subject: Ironman 70.3 Florida

2009-05-21 5:18 PM
in reply to: #2166304

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Florida
Congrats Josh!

You did it and wow look how far you have come in last 15 months?

Way to hang in there and preserve while things weren't going well. So glad you had your family there cheering you on. You have the right attitude about racing and what is important.

2009-05-21 9:15 PM
in reply to: #2166304

Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Florida
I am in awe of what you have accomplished over the last 15 months!!!!!! Congrats on a job well done!

I loved the part about the turkey vultures I can only imagine...glad that we dont have any in MA
2009-05-22 10:03 AM
in reply to: #2166304

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Weymouth, MA
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Florida
Congratulations Josh.  Finishing the way you did is just as impressive as a 4:59 HIM.  3 hours of walking/jogging in pain in 90 degree sun must have been quite the battle.
2009-05-22 10:23 AM
in reply to: #2166304

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Cambridge, MA
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Florida
Tough way to finish, but you did!  Congrats!  I'm kind of in awe of you getting there in 15 months - that's some serious training, drive and commitment, just fantastic.

And a truly inspiring race report!  Makes me want to get there one day.
2009-05-22 2:13 PM
in reply to: #2166304

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Florida

Amazing accomplishment and even better never-give-up attitude!! I'm glad you had everyone there to support and share the experience with   Congratulations!!  You've accomplished great things in a very short amount of time

Looking forward to the next training session together!

2009-05-22 4:23 PM
in reply to: #2166304

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Keller, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Florida

Great race report.  Flo was my girst HIM and I also walked most of the run.  It is a brutal course.  I am thinking about doing it again next year because I know I can do much better

2009-05-23 5:49 PM
in reply to: #2166304

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New York, NY
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Florida
good job!!!!

and way to hang in there and finish!!!! and yeah, none of us are going to win so all is fine.
2009-05-27 9:30 AM
in reply to: #2166304

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Bridgewater MA
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Florida
Hi there.

Great job on the race.  And I enjoyed reading your race report.  Reading about perseverance and how you willed yourself to complete was inspirational. 

Someday, I hope to be able to complete my own HIM, and hopefully witht eh same grace and dignity that you did with yours.

Way to go...
2009-05-27 10:07 AM
in reply to: #2166304

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Florida
Congrats on your first HIM, Josh!  Way to go sticking to the finish. 
2009-05-27 1:22 PM
in reply to: #2166304

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Florida
You are so tough! Amazing job. Way to push through that and finish it all. Now you have one down, you'll just be all the more ready for the next!

2009-05-27 4:06 PM
in reply to: #2166304

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Florida
Way to go Josh!  An inspiration.  Keep up the good work!
2009-05-27 6:09 PM
in reply to: #2166304

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San Diego, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Florida
Well done!! Way to tough out a very painful run. I hope the feet and legs are okay.
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