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Ironman Florida - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
Ironman North America
60F / 16C
Total Time = 13h 41m 47s
Overall Rank = 1642/
Age Group = M 30-34
Age Group Rank = 162/
Pre-race routine:

This was one hectic pre-race for me and it lasted for about a week leading up to the race. I'm a Navy EOD student about to graduate in 2 weeks. The division I'm in now calls for a lot of diving and underwater operations, which can turn into so long days. In our schedule we have our diving days and other days set apart in case weather or some other mishap calls for postponing diving, which will be made up on our "free" day. Our diving days occurred on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, meaning I was not going to be able to get to PCB in time for athlete registration and so forth. It's impossible to just take a day off from training unless I want to roll back to a later class. That was not an option since I am so close to graduating. I had been in contact with Kristen Stantz for a few weeks and told her of my situation. She was able to hold my registration until Friday if I could get to PCB before bike and gear check in. The weather on Wednesday was awful. Windy, cold and raining all day while we were out on the boats all day diving and getting soaked and cold. Luckily there was no lightning so our operations could commence. The forecast for Thursday was the same, cold, wind and thunderstorms. Well, my prayers were answered as Thursday was windy and a tad chilly, but bright and sunny. We were able to get all of our diving in, which left Friday open as kind of a "free" day. I got out of work at 12:30 and headed to PCB on Friday. Met with Kristen a couple minutes before transition closed, got my packed, affixed my numbers to my bike, etc., and got into transition just as they were closing. It wasn't until then that I knew for sure this was happening and I was relieved. Once that was all taken care of I walked around the IM store a bit, then headed home and got some Greek food with a buddy and went to be. Got up at 3am and drove out to PCB.
Event warmup:

I kept my throw-away sweats and flip-flops on until I was ready to head to the waters edge.
  • 55m 28s
  • 3800 meters
  • 01m 28s / 100 meters

This was the roughest swim start I have ever been a part of. I usually get out in front right off the bat and have nice clear water ahead of me. Today though, I finally got caught in the "washing machine." Whatever, I fought through it. I was getting a little pissed off as the swells on the way out sorta prevented me from shaking a couple people off me who seemed to like to swim on top of me but I eventually got rid of them. once rounding the buoy I could really feel the current and it was smooth and fast until the buoy to come back in. I caught a few people coming back to shore and again had a hard time shaking them but eventually broke free.

Coming out of the water top make the turn around blew. I almost took a header as a hit a little depression in the sand and I felt a little woozy running down the beach, but that all went away as I got horizontal again. I checked my watch and I was at 26 minute for the half and thought that maybe I had a 52 up my sleeve and was pleased.

The second loop was a little slower. The swells on the way out felt a bit larger that the first loop and I could feel the current a bit stronger. Other than that, besides the small verp I had from swallowing some water, coming back into shore was pretty uneventful. Lucking I didn't feel woozy as I ran up the beach again. Checked my watch and I was at 55 minutes, just where I wanted to be.
Transition 1
  • 08m 16s

I bypassed the wetsuit strippers as I wasn't wearing a wetsuit and went straight into the T1 tent. Luckily the night before I went and bought a cheap UA-type long sleeve top for both the bike and run. I told myself that I was going to take my time in transition and just do what I needed to do. I dried myself off with a small towel, put on my long sleeved top, gloves and helmet and sunglasses. I ran out with my shoes in hand and put them on once I got to my bike and was on my way.
  • 5h 57m 34s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.79 mile/hr

It was cold. Thank God I had that LS top, gloves and socks on or I probably would have frozen. I went into this bike telling myself to ride my own ride, don't fight the wind and stay comfortable. Somehow, for the most part I was able to do just that. We had a little cross/headwind up 79 but once we turned onto 20 it was smooth sailing with a nice tailwind. I got swallowed up by about 2 packs of riders but I just sat up and let them spit me out the back, not willing to get caught up in that. Otherwise the first out section was pretty uneventful. Saw lots of marshals and was by myself for a good portion.

Then came the road to special needs. I don't think they could have picked a worse road in all of PCB. There's nothing like having your bike rammed up your behind like a jackhammer just as your ass and knees start getting a little sore. it was just awful and the wind started picking up in my face. At SN I stopped to switch out my now empty nutrition bottle and slam a Coke then got on the horse again.

As if magically, if got pretty damn windy for the second half of the bike and the hills appeared too. Imagine that! A couple of times I stopped at and aid station to pee, not really feeling like peeing on myself and the cleanup involved.

Once we hit the turn back down 79 into PCB it was hammer time except for that stupid little out and back at mile 95. Once back into PCB on Front Beach Road the wind swirled and blasted you through the hotels and condos.
Transition 2
  • 07m 25s

I took my time from handing off my bike to entering the tent as running with my bike shoes just didn't appeal to me at the time. I don't do the whole feet out of the shoes clipped in thing, but I guess I could have taken them off after I dismounted. Oh well whatever. I wiped myself down with a couple Wetnaps I had in my bag and that felt good on my face and arms. Turned my Garmin on, shoes on, hat on, glasses on and out I went.
  • 6h 33m 5s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 15m  min/mile

Well, this is where things started to get interesting. I started out feeling pretty good, holding my goal pace of 10:00-10:30 miles through about mile 9 or so and thought I could hold that all day long. I walked aid stations like I planned and got all the fluids/calories that I needed, or so I thought. I could tell that I was slowing down a bit by my pace on my watch and then all of a sudden at about mile 11-12 I hit it... the wall. I started to get emotional, feeling like I could have started crying at any second and I have no idea why. I had ditched my long sleeved top after the bike but I had another one in my run special needs bag. I got to SN and promptly put on my long sleeved shirt and grabbed my head lamp that I never ended up using. I think the volunteers knew I saw in bad shape but they were supportive as they had been all day and kept me going. I tried to run but my body wouldn't let my do much but a little faster that a shuffle, so I walked. I walked a good long while, throwing away all hopes of a PR and just focusing on getting to the finish line. It was so cold, especially going through the park in the dark. I don't think I had ever been that cold. I felt bad because I wasn't really responding to the encouragement of spectators and volunteers, but I kinda had some tunnel vision going on. I started my shuffle up again and got annoyed by the sound of my feet scuffing along the ground but as much as I tried to put forth more of a "running" motion, it just wasn't happening. I shuffled, walked, shuffled, walked, etc. until I could finally shuffle full time. I still couldn't move fast enough to keep warm, the only means was to take in as much warm chicken broth as I could and that's what I did. I think I had more chicken soup than I have in my 31 years.

I could hear the finish line about 5 miles away and it pissed me off so bad, I just wanted to be there. I shuffled. A little less than a mile out I was by myself but could see the crowd picking up then all of a sudden I heard, "SWIFTY!?!?" I had no idea who could have known my last name until I looked over and saw 2 of my classmates and great friends who came out to watch the finish. They started running with me and I heard them yell, "WE GOT HIM!" then more of my buddies joined in and we ran together. It was the best I felt since mile 1 of that damn run. They ran with me until they had to pull off the course and I headed to the finish chute.

I also saw a guy who pooped his pants.
Post race
Warm down:

I think this should be labeled "warm up" description. I met up with my friends and hobbled into transition to get my bike and warm sweats. I drank 2 Gatorade Recovers and we went to Buffalo Wild Wings where I tried to eat and shivered.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My training. I am here in Florida to become an EOD Tech. That is the number one goal and focus of my time here and I am 2 weeks away from achieving that. This is the most important thing. The Ironman, while still important to me, is not as important as my career and being a barrel-chested American freedom fighter. There were lots of times where tri training had to take a back seat, especially running. My longest run was 13 miles and I think that definitely had a TON to do with my blow up during the marathon. But I am here to be an EOD Tech. The Ironman was just something to keep me out of trouble, the keep me in shape and to prove that my injury that kept me out of everything except the pool for a good long while wasn't going to keep me from getting to the finish line again. Of course I did take training serious, but not as hard-nosed and serious as I did with IMAZ. It wasn't really an option. Of course I could have shut myself away from my friends and classmates and been a ghost, my only friend being my bike like in 2007, but that's a great way to get swallowed up by this school and get spit out. It's not easy and you need your class behind you if you have any hopes of making it through, at least that's the way it is with a Navy class. Yea, I put training aside for nights out on the town. If I failed a test I made sure to get a good nights sleep and get back to work and pass my retest the next day. When I did that, I rewarded myself with a good training session my next time out. For me, riding and getting in the pool helped me cope with the stress of school more than running. I accept the fact that my run training was not anywhere close to where it needed to be and I am OK with that.

I am happy with my swim, my bike played out just as I had planned and my lack of run prep humbled me. But, I finished. It hurt, but I finished. At the end of the day, getting to the start and getting across the finish is all that matters, regardless of whether you go sub-9 or take all 17 hours to do so.

So, I finished my second Ironman. In two weeks on November 22 I'll be a Crabman Stud. A week after that on November 28 I'll be a three-time Ironman finisher at IMCOZ and this will be the greatest November of my life.

Event comments:

Ironman Perform sport bottle tops suck. I really wish they would switch to the pop-out nipple kind of top.

The Girl Zone is awesome but could definitely be a little longer.

Kristen Stantz is awesome and I wish I wasn't in so much of a rush that I could of at least given her a hug instead of a quick handshake, maybe even buy her a drink. I apologize if I had been a pain in the ass with my case.

Colt, Dalan, Adam, Ryan, Mikel and Jake are some of the best dudes you could ever have in your life and will make some of the best Navy EOD Techs there ever will be as well as the best support crew and Ironman can have. Too bad none of them are hot girls.

Again, I saw a dude poop his pants. And it was gross.

Last updated: 2010-09-07 12:00 AM
00:55:28 | 3800 meters | 01m 28s / 100meters
Age Group: 7/
Overall: 52/
Performance: Good
Suit: none (Desoto Lift Foil)
Course: 2-loop counter clockwise with a run across the beach between loops.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current:
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 08:16
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:57:34 | 112 miles | 18.79 mile/hr
Age Group: 83/
Overall: 655/
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: A new out and back.
Road: Smooth  Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 07:25
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:33:05 | 26.2 miles | 15m  min/mile
Age Group: 193/
Overall: 2128/
Performance: Bad
Course: A 2-looper.
Keeping cool Good Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2010-11-08 5:40 PM

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San Diego
Subject: Ironman Florida

2010-11-08 6:10 PM
in reply to: #3201702

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Auburn AL
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congrats! Great report...way to hang for the run. And I was working finish line when the guy that crapped his pants finished.
2010-11-08 7:30 PM
in reply to: #3201702

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Great race.  Thanks for taking the time to write about it.  I'll be there next year.


2010-11-08 9:59 PM
in reply to: #3201702

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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Great job....Congrats on your second and thanks so much for serving our country.  Congrats on your schooling as well.  What is an EOD?

2010-11-09 8:49 AM
in reply to: #3201702

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South AL
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congrats on your finish! I look forward to reading your IMCOZ report too. I am an IMFL vet and intriqued by IMCOZ. I also noticed that you wore a DeSoto Liftfoil. I am thinking about buying one. How do you like it? Thoughts etc.? Thanks in advance! And Congrats again!
2010-11-09 11:51 AM
in reply to: #3201702

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Great report! Sounds like you had a great start to an excellent November

2010-11-09 11:57 AM
in reply to: #3201702

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Great race and report. Congrats on all your accomplishments....and most important...TY for serving.
2010-11-09 6:38 PM
in reply to: #3202016

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San Diego
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Socks - 2010-11-08 7:59 PM

Great job....Congrats on your second and thanks so much for serving our country.  Congrats on your schooling as well.  What is an EOD?

EOD = Explosive Ordnance Disposal (bomb squad).

2010-11-09 6:42 PM
in reply to: #3202385

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San Diego
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

goodday2tri - 2010-11-09 6:49 AM Congrats on your finish! I look forward to reading your IMCOZ report too. I am an IMFL vet and intriqued by IMCOZ. I also noticed that you wore a DeSoto Liftfoil. I am thinking about buying one. How do you like it? Thoughts etc.? Thanks in advance! And Congrats again!

I really like the Desoto Liftfoil. IMFL swim was the first time I wore it and I took it off for the bike run, I had my tri kit underneath. I will wear it for COZ as it is not a wetsuit legal swim and I also plan on doing a bunch of long OWS races once I get to California so I am sure I'll get a lot of use out of it.

It looks like it has a nice chamois but I haven't ridden in it yet. I was thinking about wearing it the whole time at COZ, but it doesn't have any pockets. I may want to carry some salt tabs, etc. but we'll see.

2010-11-10 4:54 PM
in reply to: #3201702

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
you saw poop man!!!!!!!!!! awesome job and nice commentary.
2010-11-10 10:46 PM
in reply to: #3201702

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New user
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Thanks for your service. Congrats and good luck!

2010-11-11 5:46 PM
in reply to: #3201702

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Great job

it was me that was in front of you on the Bus to the Start line.  Goodluck at IMCOZ!!!
2010-11-11 7:41 PM
in reply to: #3201702

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Pensacola, Fl
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congrats on your second!  I was scheduled to do this one, but CNX'd due to rotator cuff surgery.  I am signed up for next year.  Would have been fun to be on the course with you again.  Didn't know about the EOD move either...CONGRATS!  I am just down the road in Pensacola.  Maybe we can meet up before you transfer out.
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