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Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman - Triathlon1/2 Ironman


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Panama City, Florida
United States
Gulf Coast Triathlon
70F / 21C
Sunny
Total Time = 5h 42m
Overall Rank = 636/1341
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 96/165
Pre-race routine:

I got up at 3:45am. Drank my "endurance-blend" pre-race-carbo-loading-high energy-perpetual motion-miracle potion and a cliff bar. Packed the cooler with my four bottles of fluids (3 at regular strength for the bike and 1 double concentrate for the run). Regular strength included: 4 scoops of GU2o, 1 scoop of perpetuem, 1 half packet of Amino Vital, and 2 scoops of powdered enduralytes. I usually consume 2 bottles of fluids on the run, but since I cannot carry two during the race, I made one that was very concentrated. I'd nurse that one through the entire run and supplement it with water, etc at the aide stations.

I did a last minute check of all my stuff to be sure I had everything. Its kind of a running joke that I'm "compulsive" about my gear. I have all kinds of lists to be sure I don't forget anything. I have duplicates of things (e.g. 4 swim goggles) in case something is misplaced. As hard as these races are, I don't want to worry about my equipment. During setup, the announcer kept coming on saying someone had forgotten this or that (e.g. tubes, jammers, wetsuits, safety pins, etc). I was able to help others out, but was very thankful that I didn't forget anything.

The bike pen opened at 4am. I drove down to the race, was there by 4:27am. This gave me plenty of time to get T1 ready. I was at the end of a bike rack, next to a curb and under a palm tree, which is where I set up my transition stuff. I was out of the way of the bikes and could sit down on the curb to change. I laid out all of my gear, did a last minute check of the bike, pumped up the tires to the requisite pressure, and sat down to say a prayer.

Today was my first try at a half IM distance. My journey in this incredible sport began in June 2004. Over the last 11 months, I've swum 199,371 yards, biked 2,048 miles, and run 745 mile all to get me to where I sit today on this beautiful morning. After 11 months, I am about to swim, bike and run 70.4 miles. I remember when my sister told me 2 years ago that she was going to run a triathlon, I though she was crazy. Now, she thinks I'm a nut (in a good way, of course). She inspired me to get off the couch, so I owe her my thanks for bringing the spark that started this crazy trip.
Event warmup:

The first swim wave went off at 6:15am. I was in the 12th wave, so I didn't go off for an hour. I watched the other participants go and prior to my wave starting, I just dunked in the water and checked the goggles for leaks. When the gun went off, I was ready.
Swim
  • 34m 14s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 37s / 100 yards
Comments:

We swam directly out from the beach, then 90 degree right turn, then a second right turn back to the beach. It was a clockwise swim, which is great since I'm a RightHandSide breather. I started at the front, on the side away from the bouys, which was actually the most direct line to the first turn. I don't think the course was square with the beach.

The water was clear and calm, perfect for a swim and it turned out to be my best competitive swim to date. I did very little sighting above the water. Instead, I used the other swimmers and the "lines in the sand" to navigate. I did a lot of drafting on this swim (inadvertently tickling a few people's feet along the way). When I wasn't drafting and the water was shallow enough, I used the lines created by the waves in the sand to navigate. They ran parallel to shore, offset by about 20 degrees. I swam 70 degree to parallel going out and 110 to parallel coming back in. This allowed me to keep my head down and sight only when I was close to a turn bouy or the swim exit.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Oddly enough, swimming has become my strength in these events. It is the one discipline I struggled with the most early on, but is now the one I enjoy the most.
Transition 1
  • 04m 6s
Comments:

This went fairly smoothly. Since the water was cold, I came out with a touch of swimmers vertigo. I trundled up the beach to T1. They had overhead showers on the way to rinse off the salt water, which were awesome! I used Body Glide around my calves which helped the wetsuit slide off easily.
Bike
  • 2h 49m 44s
  • 56 miles
  • 19.80 mile/hr
Comments:

At the start, there was a cross wind blowing south off the land towards the water. The route took us down along the beach for 7-8 miles, then we turned and headed inland (into the wind) for 10 miles or so, then took a right turn and rode a country 2-lane (rough pavement) till the turnaround. On the way out, there was a slight headwind, particularly along the highway and I was relishing the thought of coming back knowing I'd be able to bank some speed, so I took it easy, but maintained a 21mph pace. Since the country road was parallel to the coast, there was a cross wind the entire way. Upon turning back onto the highway, I was shocked to get hit with a big headwind. The damn wind had completely changed directions and was now blowing north. Since we were on a major 4 lane divided highway, there was nothing to block the wind for us. My speed slowed considerably, there were spots where, on flat ground, the wind slowed me down to 16mph.

Crispin Henry (Cheryniv) passed me on the bike leg (he was doing the bike portion of a relay team). We met up after the race and I asked him about the wind. He, too, complained about the constant headwind. I was at least relieved to know that I wasn't making this stuff up in my mind.

Another problem was my HR. When I got on the bike, I was shocked to see it was up at 160. That was after 4 minutes of "rest" during transition. It took about 30 minutes for it to settle down into the 130's during the bike. But, it was hard to maintain. My avg HR on the bike was probably 150, which is much higher than normal. The blame is partly due to race-day adrenalin, but the caffiene in my Cliff Shots probably didn't help. I ate 4 during the bike and 1 during the run. My HR was 10, sometimes 20 points higher than normal during the bike and run.
What would you do differently?:

I would have pressed harder on the outbound section of the ride.
Transition 2
  • 02m 59s
Comments:

Could shave a minute here by hurrying things up. But, this was my half IM, it wasn't about speed today.
What would you do differently?:

I need to learn to transition on and off the bike with the shoes mounted on the pedals. This will save considerable time in the future. That also means learning to ride and run with no socks.
Run
  • 2h 12m 12s
  • 13.2 miles
  • 10m 01s  min/mile
Comments:

Again, started conservatively. My goal today was to run "my race" and to finish without walking. It was painful to watch people passing me on the bike who where in my age group. But, I just kept my head down knowing that I needed to pace myself, to learn, and to finish. There will be other races. Today, I'm a participant and will leave the racing to the better athletes.

The run was great. There were plenty of aide stations along the way. Each one had water, gatoraide, and these heavenly sponges soaked in ice water. Without those sponges, I would have suffered. They were awesome.

Half way thorugh the run, I unzipped the top and rolled it down to the waist so I could cool off. I had a one piece tri suit on and in hindsight, will go with a two piece next time I'm in a hot climate so I can remove the top. It was really hot. Before the race, I applied sunscreen to my back, but only to the exposed areas. I knew I'd probably get sunburnt, but keeping cool was more important. After about 10 minutes of running with my skin exposed to the sun, I came to an aide station. There stood a beautiful angel with her hands covered in sunscreen! I stopped, turned my back to her, and she covered me up! After profusely thanking her, I kept on my way.

At the 11 mile mark, things started getting painful. I passed lots of people with leg cramps, others being helped into ambulances, others continuing to run even though they were clearly on the verge of heat exhaustion. That breeze that haunted us through the bike had strangely disappeared on the run.

When the devil on one side of my shoulder would come and say, "lets walk and rest for a minute", I'd immediately focus on keeping my feet cycling, on my form and cadence. I also thought a lot about the folks here on BT. I didn't want to disappoint. I thought about all the well wishes, all the advice, all of the words of wisdom. That was what kept me running. There are so many great things about this community of triathletes, and the motivation provided to me during that run is one of the best.
Post race
Warm down:

Just walked around, basking in the notion that I had just done something for the very first time. This was a new achievement, a new plateau for me. My children were there to greet me at the finish. They are fairly young, but I was hoping that this would somehow rub off on them, that they would see that all the pain and hours of training were somehow worth it in the end when you finally achieve a goal. I had really accomplished something, I was pleased with my performance. I was happier still to share it with my kids.

Event comments:

I need to continue my swim training, but move my focus to both strength and endurance on the bike and run segments. This is the area where I stand to gain the most in terms of speed and time. I need to be smarter about approaching a race, understanding the wind conditions, etc. Part of my morning routine on race day needs to be a better assessment of the conditions for the bike.

My nutrition was spot on, with one exception. I have been using these Cliff Shots which contain caffiene. Over the last few months, I've pretty much cut caffiene out of my diet. I've trained with these Cliff Shots before, but never had more than 2 of them during an event. Today, I had 5 of them and I think they contributed to a higher than normal heart rate. My HR was at least 10points higher than normal on the bike and run. I will be eliminating caffiene from all of my race day nutrition.

Some memories of this weekend?

1. Standing on the beach at 6:15am, feeling the sun soaking into my wetsuit, watching the pro's start the Triathlon.

2. Seeing Patrick (owner of All3Sports) with his tent up on the run route, cheering on all his customers. It was cool to get the "Lookin' strong!" from him as I passed his tent on the way out and on the way in. That is why he has such a loyal following, they guy drove 6 hours to do nothing but watch and cheer on the athletes. Its why he's earned my patronage as a customer (and is the cosignee on my 2nd mortgage).

3. Seeing the "bottle launch sites" on the bike ride. There were a few spots on the road where the pavement had dips or big bumps in it. About 15-20 feet after each of these bumps, you'd see tons of water bottles, gel packs, tubes, tires, etc littering the roadway. Word to the wise: Make sure your stuff is secured to your bike.

4. Feeling the "individuality" of this sport. This is the first tri I've done where there weren't people around that I knew. I was on my own, doing my own thing, running my race and doing it among 1,400 other people. I really got the sense of it being me against the race course, not against the other athletes. Again, I wanted to finish this time, this race was not about me vs. the competition, but me vs. my flaws, weaknesses, and doubts. I am happy to report that I won.

5. Finishing! It was my first half IM. It makes an Ironman seem almost possible. IMFL is here in the very same location, so this was a good primer for that race. Goodbye, Panama City, see you in 6 months.

6. Sharing this with my kids. I do hope that regardless of what they choose to do in life, that they understand the relationship between sacrifice and pain in achieving goals. Those things that are the hardest and that require the most sacrifice usually yield the best, lifelong results.

Best Tip I picked up during the race: A few people brought Sidewalk Chalk and wrote notes on the pavement so they could easily find their bikes in transition. Great idea!

PHOTO LINK: Instead of posting photo's here, they are in my log via the link below...

http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/photos/photo-thumbnail...






Last updated: 2005-03-08 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:34:14 | 2112 yards | 01m 37s / 100yards
Age Group: 46/165
Overall: 0/1341
Performance: Good
Suit: Ironman Wetsuit
Course: We swam directly out from the beach, then 90 degree right turn, then a second right turn back to the beach. It was a clockwise swim, which is great since I'm a RightHandSide breather. I started at the front, on the side away from the bouys, which was actually the most direct line to the first turn. I don't think the course was square with the beach. The water was clear and calm, perfect for a swim.
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
T1
Time: 04:06
Performance:
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
Biking
02:49:44 | 56 miles | 19.80 mile/hr
Age Group: 106/165
Overall: 0/1341
Performance: Average
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: The course was an out and back along highways or 2 lane roads. The pavement was rough except for the stretch of highway that comprised about 20 miles of the ride.
Road: Rough  Cadence: 95
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
T2
Time: 02:59
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
02:12:12 | 13.2 miles | 10m 01s  min/mile
Age Group: 100/165
Overall: 0/1341
Performance:
Course: Loop along the beach roads, through neighborhoods and a state park.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge
Organized?
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

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2005-05-08 10:47 AM

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Master
2447
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Marietta, Ga
Subject: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman


2005-05-08 11:00 AM
in reply to: #154409

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Pro
4228
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Broomfield, Colorado
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
GREAT race Karl!  I have to laugh about you saying you weren't worried about time....and then you pull out a sub 5:45!    Awesome accomplishment!  You did great!
2005-05-08 11:05 AM
in reply to: #154409

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Champion
7704
50002000500100100
Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
Great race.  Sounds like you had a good time.  You are inspring to the rest of us....Take care -SMO
2005-05-08 11:39 AM
in reply to: #154409

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Expert
1152
10001002525
wrightsville beach, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
FANTASTIC!!! WAHOO!!! way to go Karl!! super time and a great day for a race!! 
2005-05-08 12:20 PM
in reply to: #154409

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Master
1480
1000100100100100252525
Plant City, FL
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman

Amazing!!  Simply amazing, though, I wouldn't have expected anything less...

How'd the l'il onions taste??!!

2005-05-08 5:29 PM
in reply to: #154409

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Master
1661
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Newbury Park, CA
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
Way to go "Half Ironman!"  Great swim and bike times.  I'm right there with you on the run  You should be very happy with that time for your first half. 


2005-05-08 6:00 PM
in reply to: #154409

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Pro
5153
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Helena, MT
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
Way to go, Karl! Can I just say that you are really fast?! All that headwind and still you avg almost 20 mph on the bike!!!!! All the talk about taking it slow is a little silly out of you. Congrats on finishing your 1st 1/2 IM and thanks for sharing the RR! I can't wait to read your IMFL RR!!!!
2005-05-08 6:08 PM
in reply to: #154409

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Master
1558
10005002525
Pensacola, Fl
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman

hey, easy there cowboy!!!  I ain't in no hurry for that IMFL date to arrive.  Still many miles to put in, but it is approaching very rapidly.

Nice race report, but better race!!!  Thanks for sharing what is going on in that sadistic head of yours.  Believe it or not, I do learn from it and your thoughts and concerns are helping me along on my journey as well.

I better not here of any stories of any champagne being left over....you deserved every last drop!  Congrats!

2005-05-08 7:27 PM
in reply to: #154409

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Elite
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Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman

Great race Karl.  I think there is a typo on the race report.  You say you finished 46, 106 and 100 for your age group in the individual events but 520 in the overall age group rank.  One or the other has to be wrong.  Just by your incredible times, that last one has to be wrong.  Tell us you are 52/957.

TW

 

2005-05-08 8:23 PM
in reply to: #154409

Regular
87
252525
Jackson, MS
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
Congrats Karl! I had several friends in that race, so I was watching your times as you finished each event. Good luck the rest of the summer!
2005-05-08 9:12 PM
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Master
2233
200010010025
Mechanicsburg, PA
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
Congratulations Karl!! Awesome race and an ever better race report. Thanks for your thoughts and perspective. You are soooooo going to rock at IMFL!!!

-Frank


2005-05-08 9:18 PM
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Extreme Veteran
534
50025
Brisbane
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman

Great race and report, Karl. Truly inspiring...I think you should change your knick to Motivat--ing or Motivat--or.  You're looking really good for IMFL!!!

Félix

2005-05-08 9:21 PM
in reply to: #154409

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Extreme Veteran
527
50025
Jacksonville, FL
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
Karl - Congratulations, nothing is quite as gratifying as achieving a difficult goal...I'm glad you got to share w/your family. I am still impressed that you completed the 1/2 IM so soon after SA...I am doing a 1/2 IM in Oct & will come back to your race report for inspiration...once again, congratulations.
2005-05-08 9:52 PM
in reply to: #154543

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Master
2447
200010010010010025
Marietta, Ga
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
tech_geezer - 2005-05-08 7:27 PM

Great race Karl.  I think there is a typo on the race report.  You say you finished 46, 106 and 100 for your age group in the individual events but 520 in the overall age group rank.  One or the other has to be wrong.  Just by your incredible times, that last one has to be wrong.  Tell us you are 52/957.

TW

I wish I were 52 out of 957.  I fixed the AG ranking.  Thanks for the heads up.

2005-05-09 7:36 AM
in reply to: #154409

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Master
2314
2000100100100
Gulf Shores, AL
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
Great Race!!!! Believe it or not I think I was next to you on the rack. We chatted a little about the hotel and the conditions while setting up our transition areas. I was #1308 on the black bike.

I really enjoyed reading your review and I think I gained some good insight on sighting from your revew.

thanks and way to go.

Ken
2005-05-09 8:17 AM
in reply to: #154409

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Master
1790
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Whitsett, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman

Karl,

You kicked ass.  Congrats on your impressive finish.  The sand navigation was brilliant.  Very cool that your kids could get to see you race and finish.

I didn't know that you've only been training for 11 months.  Truly incredible to complete a HIM in so short a time, with such a great performance. 



2005-05-09 9:41 AM
in reply to: #154409

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Elite Veteran
628
50010025
Atlanta, GA
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
Great job! Also, thanks for the thorough race report. You are not only a motivator but an inspiration.

Way to go!!!

-Bethany
2005-05-09 10:32 AM
in reply to: #154409

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Extreme Veteran
414
100100100100
Reston, VA
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
Great job! Hopefully I'll complete GCT in 2007.

Questions:

Did you find a better hotel?

Was Waffle House part of your training regimen?
2005-05-09 1:46 PM
in reply to: #154409

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Elite
3223
20001000100100
Hendersonville
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
Awesome race Karl. I got all choked up reading the race report! You expressed very well the feelings we all experience out there. It does feel awesome to see all of your training come to fruition, doesn't it?
I know you are going to do great at IMFL.

Jessica
2005-05-09 2:26 PM
in reply to: #154409

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Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman

Awesome race report!!!  and what a great tip on ocean navigating.  I dive and use the lines for uw navigation, but never thought about it in a tri setting.  GREAT tip!

Chris

2005-05-09 2:57 PM
in reply to: #154409

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Buttercup
14333
500050002000200010010010025
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
Wonderful race, Karl. Congratulations. Excellent swim time! You are on your way to IMFL!!!


2005-05-09 4:06 PM
in reply to: #154409

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Extreme Veteran
401
100100100100
Plant City, Florida
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
fantastic race and very cool race report....I did not know either that you have only been doing this for 11 months....what a great accomplishment and it is so great to have family around when you finsh.....enjoy the glow but I think you still have 6 months of work to do.....CONGRATS
2005-05-09 4:07 PM
in reply to: #154409

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Extreme Veteran
401
100100100100
Plant City, Florida
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
fantastic race and very cool race report....I did not know either that you have only been doing this for 11 months....what a great accomplishment and it is so great to have family around when you finsh.....enjoy the glow but I think you still have 6 months of work to do.....CONGRATS
2005-05-09 4:08 PM
in reply to: #154409

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Extreme Veteran
401
100100100100
Plant City, Florida
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
fantastic race and very cool race report....I did not know either that you have only been doing this for 11 months....what a great accomplishment and it is so great to have family around when you finsh.....enjoy the glow but I think you still have 6 months of work to do.....CONGRATS
2005-05-09 5:16 PM
in reply to: #154409

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Extreme Veteran
427
10010010010025
Winston-Salem, NC
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon - Half Ironman
Awesome race Karl! You accomplished so much since June. I too, will look back at this race report for motivation before my races! Thanks.
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