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Ironman Florida - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
Ironman North America
70F / 21C
Total Time = 11h 08m 37s
Overall Rank = 492/2700
Age Group = M25-29
Age Group Rank = 27/130
Pre-race routine:

My first ironman. Every emotion possible. Slept good on Thursday but the night before the race I was awake at 2:15 and that was it. Got up at 3:30, most of my stuff was already packed. Ate a banana and a piece of peanut butter toast. Headed down to body marking around 4:30.
Event warmup:

Ate a gel 15 minutes prior... No warm-up. The first time in my life. :)
  • 1h 11m 29s
  • 4156 yards
  • 01m 43s / 100 yards

I was much calmer than expected standing on the beach. I had done a practice swim with some BTers on Wednesday but the water was much more still that day. Today the waves were crashing... The cannon fired and I was off on my first ironman! The start was actually better than I had expected. There were people everywhere, but I wasn't getting too much contact with other swimmers. I had started toward the outside and was gradually making my way closer to the buoy line as I watched the ocean floor get further and further away. The race was going well and my sighting was great...until the first turn buoy. It was chaos. At the turn buoy all of the swimmers were packed into one tight little corner. I was on somebody's back, someone was on mine, people to my left and right. My goggles were knocked off, if they weren't strapped underneath my swim cap I likely would have lost them. I just kept swimming. Often times my stroke would just hit another person instead of water. Once, the only way I could get a breath was to push down on the person I was on top of to get my head out of the water. I felt bad but had no other choice as I thought I might drown. Really. I shot a bit outside once the pack started to slightly thin out again. I tredded water for a moment to fix my goggles and started toward the next turn buoy which was only about 150 yards away. Sighting was difficult as this small section was looking directly into the rising sun. I made the turn buoy, and it was chaos once more. I was "experienced" now and had an idea of what to expect. It was still really crowded but I made it through a bit easier and goggles in tact.

At this point, I was able to swim the buoy line for the remainder of the race. Swimmers finally spread out a bit. Many times I thought I had some open water only for it to get promptly filled by someone else. As the ocean floor returned into sight I knew I was almost done with the first loop and that the hard part of the swim was over. I ran onto the beach and was pleased to see 33:xx on my watch. My goal was to swim 1:10.

The next couple minutes were the dumbest part of the race. Instead of running down the beach, they had us get into the water and wade (parallel to the coastline) toward the start of the second lap. I still don't get it. We had to wade for much too long. Finally started swimming again and was feeling very confident with the swim. I felt strong and sighting was going fairly well. I could feel the waves taking me up and down, but I didn't really think they were slowing me down too much. I rounded the turn buoys much easier this time and headed back for shore. I took a little time to look around and enjoy the experience and before I knew it the swim was complete.

My finish time was 1:11 so the second lap was strangely slower. Less traffic and I didn't feel tired. Maybe it was the wading or maybe it was the initial adrenalin rush at the start. Either way, I was happy with my time and happy to be out of the water.
What would you do differently?:

Take the turns wide on the first loop.
Transition 1
  • 10m 18s

I wasn't worried about my transition times at all. And it showed! 10+ minutes?!? Crazy. Oh well. I layed down and got my wetsuit stripped. Volunteers were awesome. Spent a little extra time under the showers to get all the sand and salt off. Did a complete change in the change tent to put on cyclind shorts. Also loaded up on body glide. As I ran out to my bike my number came off and I had to stop to fix it. But really I have no idea where 10 minutes went. Oh well!
What would you do differently?:

Um, speed up?
  • 5h 39m 10s
  • 112 miles
  • 19.81 mile/hr

Volunteer grabbed my bike and I was off for a nice 112 mile ride. My goal was to finish under 6 hours but I wasn't going to worry if it took longer. I knew I was in for a long windy ride.

The first couple miles were along the coast line and a fun ride. Then the course turned inland for the next 20-ish miles. I was feeling good and was thinking I might be going a little too fast as my pace was over 20mph. We then made another turn toward the east. The next 30 miles would prove to be the most challenging part of the bike course physically and mentally. It was directly into the wind. And where I hadn't seen too much drafting up until this point, these 30 miles were insane. Groups of wheel huggers were flying by me. More than 20 people in some of these groups. I did see draft marshalls bust a couple cyclists but theres no way they got all of them. Pissed me off since I was working my ass off to go slower. Again...oh well.

During this section I probably averaged just over 16mph but I knew I'd get some of this back later in the race. My nutrition started to falter a bit around the half way point of the race. I didn't really want to eat anything; gels or solid foods. I just kept forcing it in though, as long as I didn't throw up I would continue my nutrition plan as followed. I was drinking a 20oz bottle of gatorade every hour, two gels an hour, and some water with the gels. It was working well and I was able to continue this throughout the entire ride.

Once I hit the timing mat at mile 73, the rest of the ride was great. I was ready to get off the bike but was easily riding over 23mph since the wind was at my back. The last 5 miles or so was again along the coast line but against the wind. I didn't even look at the speedometer, I just took it really easy in preparation to run a marathon!

At mile 110 I thought my race might be over. Literally with two miles left on the bike, my right knee started to throb. Every down stroke was brutal. I still have no idea what that was about. I thought about unclipping my right shoe and just finishing with only my left leg pedaling. When I made the bike finish I was glad to be done and never felt an issue with my knee again. Too strange.

Bike time was 5:39!! I couldn't believe I rode that fast and was nervous that it might affect the run.
What would you do differently?:

Learn how to pee on a bike. I didn't pee a single time! I had to REALLY bad. At mile 40 I had to pee, and didn't until I got into T2 three and a half hours later. I tried while pedaling...nope. Coasting...nope. Pushed as hard as I could, not a drop. Weird. My bladder would have burst before I peed on that bike...

I might should have rode slower, but honestly if I had to do it again I'd ride the course exactly the same.
Transition 2
  • 06m 44s

Had my feet out of my shoes when I got off the bike. Threw my bike to a volunteer and was off to the change tent again. Another complete change, this time into tri shorts and a tri top.

Well. Still a slow transition but not as bad as last time. And this one included my only bathroom break of the ENTIRE race. Thats right...11 hours of constantly eating/ pee break. Thats it!
What would you do differently?:

  • 4h 00m 59s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 12s  min/mile

My nervousness about biking too hard didn't last long. I took off out of T2 and the crowd support was unreal!! I couldn't hear myself think there were so many people cheering. It was just amazing. As the crowd thinned out I glanced down at my garmin and noticed that I was running well under 8 minute pace! I immediately slowed down my pace and got into "run" mode.

My body still didn't want to eat, but I kept forcing it in. Even though I didn't want it, I didn't feel like I was going to I kept on with my nutrition plan. Glad I did! As I did my first loop I saw the mens leader go by, and the womens leader passed me aroudn mile 9. Really cool to be on the same course as those freaks of the triathlon world. After the first half marathon I knew my pace was slowing dropping, but I was still thrilled with how fast I was going.

It was at this time that I realized just how good of shape I was in. With 10 miles left, I knew I wouldn't have to walk one step of the marathon. I did walk a few of the aid stations just to make sure I got all the nutrition I needed but that was it. It was hard to resume running at time, but I kept on pressing.

My goal for the run was around 4:15 and my goal for the IM was sub-12 hours. I figured I was going to come in just over 11 hours! AWESOME! I was so pumped after I made the final turn and started the 6 miles back to the finish line where I would become an ironman. I was watching my watch, and knew that I could finish under 11:10 if I was able to run under 9 minute pace for my last three miles. It had gotten dark by now and I was trying to watch where I stepped. I switched from gatorade to Coke for the last 5 miles.

Side note: I've heard such great things about how amazing chicken broth is during the late stages of the ironman run. I tried some at mile 21. NOT impressed. That was the first and last sip of chicken broth I had during the race. /side note

I put on arm warmers with three mile left and got to work. Mile 24 was right at 9 minutes. Mile 25 I dug down and managed to run under 8:30. I have no doubts that my last mile was under 8 minutes. I was flying down the streets. I almost felt bad for those that were suffering and still have another 13.1 to go. I got back to the crowds near the finish line and was more pumped than I've ever been in my life. Words just can't do it justice. There were a few runners in front of me but I saw a clearing about 4 people up. I wanted the finish line all to myself! I easily caught them and got Mike Reily alone. "Steven Creek from Florence, are an ironman!" Crossed the line, and was again filled with all kinds of emotions.

The volunteer finish line catcher asked me how I was feeling. I told him, "amazing". Looking back, I realized that he really wanted to know how I felt physically, not mentally. Ha, I was just too overcome by what I had just done. Got my finisher stuff, medal, and picture taken. Then took a few minutes to reflect on the journey I had just completed. The race, the training, the sacrifice. All 110% worth it.
What would you do differently?:

Probably could have pushed harder...but this being my first ironman and second ever marathon, I didn't want to. If I ever do another IM, I probably will push the run harder.

Best case scenario I thought I could run 4 hours. I ran 4:00:59. Really happy with the run.
Post race
Warm down:

Ate almost a whole pizza, got a massage, drank a couple cokes and a gatorade. I also weighed myself and was shocked to see that I only lost 3 pounds! This tells me that my nutrition was dead on. And really, I felt like it was the entire day.

After about half an hour at the finish I really slowly walked back to T2 and got my bike and gear. Went back to the condo and showered and got changed. Made a few phone calls and then walked back to the finish to watch about another hour of people realizing the ironman dreams. I would have stayed longer, but I was tired for some reason and a bit cold, so I made the 3/4 mile walk one last time back to the condo and went to sleep.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Dunno. Not enough time in the sport yet I guess. But I really couldn't have asked for a much better race based on my young tri career.

Event comments:

The most amazing day of my life.

Last updated: 2008-11-02 12:00 AM
01:11:29 | 4156 yards | 01m 43s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/130
Overall: 0/2700
Performance: Average
Suit: Orca Full Sleeve Wetsuit
Course: Two loop rectangular course.
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 10:18
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:39:10 | 112 miles | 19.81 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/130
Overall: 0/2700
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: One ginormous loop.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 06:44
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
04:00:59 | 26.2 miles | 09m 12s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/130
Overall: 0/2700
Performance: Good
Course: Two loops.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 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] 5

2009-11-11 1:57 PM

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Subject: Ironman Florida

2009-11-11 2:10 PM
in reply to: #2509148

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Williamston, Michigan
Gold member
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Awesome job.  I was the crazy girl yelling Go BT on the run   I though the chix broth was very tastey but the lemon sugar cookies were perhaps the best thing I ever ate in my whole life   Congrats on a super fantastic FAST first IM

2009-11-11 2:18 PM
in reply to: #2509148

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congrats on a fantastic race, IRONMAN !
2009-11-11 3:29 PM
in reply to: #2509148

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Triathlete Nation ~ Texas!
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Great job Ironman brother! 
2009-11-11 5:15 PM
in reply to: #2509148

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Chapel Hill, NC
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Wow, great job finishing so strong! Glad your knee didn't act up in the run. How did u hold your pee for so long? I peed twice in the woods during my bike...I tried so hard to hold it, too! I hereby dub you IronBladderMan! bwaaahahhaha!
2009-11-11 5:32 PM
in reply to: #2509148

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St. Paul, MN
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Wow! Great recap!! Nice job!! Way to hit that nutrition right on the head!

Congrats on a GREAT race!!!

2009-11-12 11:38 AM
in reply to: #2509148

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Awesome report, awesome job. So proud of you!!
2009-11-12 12:00 PM
in reply to: #2509148

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Extreme Veteran
Russiaville, IN
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
great job out there, I think we were around each other on the bike, did your name have Steven on it?  I was riding a blue and silver Guru and had Ron on my bib.
2009-11-12 3:12 PM
in reply to: #2509148

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

What a great race!!  Congrats on a job very well done!

2009-11-12 3:23 PM
in reply to: #2509148

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congrats on a super great race! Way to hit your nutrition right on.
2009-11-12 8:09 PM
in reply to: #2509148

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Goodyear, AZ
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

What a great race report! You really had a super race. Congrats on a great day and on beating all yoru goals. I hope my first IM goes as well next week!  

2009-11-13 7:28 AM
in reply to: #2510851

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
rpm1418 - 2009-11-12 1:00 PM great job out there, I think we were around each other on the bike, did your name have Steven on it?  I was riding a blue and silver Guru and had Ron on my bib.

Yup, twas likely me.  You must have been one of the few riders not flying by in a pack of 10-20 drafting like it was their job.  Good to hear!

Thanks for cheering, Sue!

^^Good luck at IMAZ!^^
2009-11-13 11:45 AM
in reply to: #2509148

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searching for the elusive runner's high!
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Excellent should be VERY proud!
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