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Gulf Coast Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
80F / 27C
Total Time = 6h 40m
Overall Rank = 428/1000
Age Group = 25-29
Age Group Rank = 32/51
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4:40 A.M. after not getting much sleep. Immediately ate a bagel with natural peanut butter and a small Ensure. Then I gathered my gear (thank God for my transition bag) and walked a half a mile down to body marking.
Event warmup:

I didn't do any warmup besides loosening up my chest and shoulders for the swim.
  • 41m 9s
  • 2400 yards
  • 01m 43s / 100 yards

From what the top male pro and other experienced Iron distance triathletes said, this was the worst swim conditions they'd ever seen. We started with the buoys to our left, and the current was going into the buoys. So instead of starting near the buoys and getting pushed into the middle of the rectangle, I started about 50 yds outside the buoy line. I started slow as to not jack my heart rate up. Within the first 100 yds, I took a serious elbow right to the temple. It gave me a headache for the next 5 minutes or so. As I made my way to the first turn buoy, I noticed that for some reason I wasn't being pushed in by the current like everyone else was. So when it was time to turn, I had to swim in towards the buoy. My navigation for this swim was horrible. I think it was due to a combination of horrible sighting conditions and a lack of sighting skill on my part. So I just battled through the rest of the swim and finally made it to shore. I probably ended swimming more like 1.6 miles instead of 1.2. That's how much I was zig-zagging.
What would you do differently?:

#1, try not to get elbowed in the head. Sight better, no matter what the conditions. Then again, some things are out of your control.
Transition 1
  • 04m 39s

For some reason, I was drained after the swim. I had no desire to run to my bike. My cap and goggles came off quickly. This was my first race with a wetsuit, but it wasn't my first time using it. Of course, the zipper was stuck. I had the flap pulled back, and was tugging down on the cord, but it wouldn't break loose. Thankfully there was another athlete under the showers that was nice enough to undo it for me. This was the main reason for my horrible T1 time.
What would you do differently?:

Work that zipper 100 times and put grease on it before the race to make sure it doesn't get stuck.
  • 2h 40m 21s
  • 56 miles
  • 20.95 mile/hr

I knew the cycling was going to be my strength in this race. I had done a bike focus in my training, at the expense of running. My legs felt pretty weak at the beginning of the bike because all the blood was still in my upper body from the swim. After about 5 miles though, I finally felt warmed up and settled in for the ride. It was mostly uneventful, besides the bridge climb and decent being fun. I knew I had to run after, so I didn't push the bike nearly as hard as I could have. My goal was to go under 3 hours, and I was well on my way to doing that, so I really just pedaled whatever speed felt comfortable. I was very pleased at the end of the bike and was confident that I didn't overdo it.
What would you do differently?:

(Spoiler alert) Since I ended up having a bad run anyway, I would've pushed the bike as hard as I could have. Otherwise, the bike went perfectly.
Transition 2
  • 02m 8s

Standard T2. Probably could've been a little quicker, but wanted to double check that I didn't forget anything.
What would you do differently?:

  • 2h 32m 57s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 41s  min/mile

The run was the undoing of my race. I had done long bricks in training and felt completely fine. I don't know what happened in this race. I was okay at best through the first 5k. After that, I struggled until the finish line. I walked through nearly every aid station. I walked sometimes in between aid stations. I even stopped to stretch a few times. It wasn't an issue of nutrition or energy or fitness (I believe). I just had nothing left in my legs. They were completely fatigued. It hurt more to walk than it did to run, but running hurt pretty bad too. I added on about 52 minutes to my stand alone half marathon. All I could do to keep myself moving forward was to think about the finish line and all the people waiting there for me.
What would you do differently?:

RUN MORE MILES DURING TRAINING. Simple as that I think. And do more long bricks. I know a lot of people will disagree with that, but that's what I'm going to do. Just so there is no question as to how I will when I get to the run.
Post race
Warm down:

Really didn't do a warm down.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of run training and the swim conditions.

Event comments:

Overall I am happy I finished the race. All my time in the saddle was validated with a bike split I can be proud of. I need to just let the run be a big lesson and come back next year stronger and faster.

Last updated: 2010-05-10 12:00 AM
00:41:09 | 2400 yards | 01m 43s / 100yards
Age Group: 28/51
Overall: 0/1000
Performance: Average
Suit: XTERRA Full
Course: Counter-clockwise rectangle.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 77F / 25C Current: High
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Below average Navigation: Bad
Rounding: Bad
Time: 04:39
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Bad Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
02:40:21 | 56 miles | 20.95 mile/hr
Age Group: 18/51
Overall: 0/1000
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Course: Flat (minus one bridge) out and back, with basically equal headwinds and tailwinds. Only a few turns, making for a pretty fast course.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 90
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:08
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal
02:32:57 | 13.1 miles | 11m 41s  min/mile
Age Group: 40/51
Overall: 0/1000
Performance: Bad
Course: Flat, with aid stations every mile.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
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] 4

2010-05-10 9:57 AM

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Subject: Gulf Coast Triathlon

I swear these things always get messed up...

My overall time was 6:01:12, not 6:40.  And my Cap Removal was Good, Wetsuit Stuck, Yes. 

Edited by SeminoleTriathlete 2010-05-10 10:02 AM

2010-05-11 11:22 AM
in reply to: #2848248

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Extreme Veteran
Jacksonville, FL
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
Nice job, that's a tough race. The previous two years there have seen horrible swim conditions, conversely if you do IMFL in November the gulf will be flat and fast.  - congrats on the finish!
2010-05-11 1:43 PM
in reply to: #2848248

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Alpharetta, GA
Subject: RE: Gulf Coast Triathlon
Nice job, and way to hang in there during a tough run.
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