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Ironman Florida - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
Ironman North America
55F / 13C
Total Time = 15h 26m 22s
Overall Rank = 2091/2403
Age Group = F 45-49
Age Group Rank = 68/98
Pre-race routine:

I know my race reports are long this one is longer than most.

I write it to help me remember & celebrate what I do, feel free to skip ahead and with lots of photos most taken by my husband Kevin and my kids with a few official photos it takes awhile to load.

Last September I decided to sign up for IMFL with the encouragement of my previous coach as an ideal course to get a PB. I had set in my head what I thought might be possible if I had a good day with more focus on having a solid run. Last year at IM Canada was a strange and unexpected race that I learned a lot about myself but who wants to have a crappy race, throwing up and bonking on the bike and barely making the bike cut off..prefer that to be a onetime experience. Despite being in a bad place off the bike, I had a good run and was within 7’ of even splitting first and second half of the Mary. More than anything I wanted to improve my run this year at IMFL. I knew bike I’d be faster as most women I know that are 40+ are hour faster at FL than LP. Swim well with ocean swim with possible waves and currents figured very possible I could be slower than my last two IMs but bike would more than make up for that and then some. What I wanted to know is if I could execute a solid IM race, and set myself to have good IM run. In training last year I learned that running more often and building mileage made huge difference in my longer races runs.

How ironic that the one goal I had for this IM, was put in jeopardy by two deer ticks I got out riding on the road in late March training for Lonestar 70.3. Getting Lyme’s Disease that went to my knees and played havoc on my left knee so I need to have it scoped in June as I had number of things wrong including tears in both my meniscus. Thanks to Sue ‘socks’, she scoped my knee and set me up to hopefully train and be ready for IMFL just over 5 months away. I missed over 6 weeks of running, did aqua jogging as a substitute before surgery and after my incisions healed and did PT. I had been on two antibiotics since May. My left quad strength had improved but was significantly less than my right side and I had some discomfort at times while walking or running. Beside my loss of quad strength I had some hip weaknesses that hinder my running. Once I started running I worked with my coach to be conservative and smart building up my run. I was slower than I had been, had some setbacks which pushed back building back more than I had hoped. I’m not one and done IM person and I knew I had to look at long term health and pushing the run volume up to quickly could have easily set me on the sidelines watching instead of the starting line ready to go.

Longest run prior to IM was 2 hours, I did run often 5x a week, but volume was 30-50 miles less than I ran months prior to Canada. I was running about 1:15 slower per mile than before injury. Speed just started to come back a small bit before IM. I see a trend as I get older with time off running it takes longer to get back to where I was prior to time off and the difference even in last 3 years is significant. I know me and I get faster when I run 25+ mpw and less than that progress comes slowly. In my runs I did run/walk in varying ratios to come up with what I thought would be best plan for IM run.

Getting injured was an opportunity to learn and grow. Sure I’d rather have not had that opportunity but IM for me is a journey not a finish time. I learned to be kinder to myself , reset my goals for the race, but the big one for me was knowing how much I love this sport and how that passion is not connected to a time clock and getting faster. In small part injury and surgery allowed me in some way to take pressure off myself. It has been a tough balance for me to work hard and at times seem to not make much progress over the last few years as I tend to be competitive or hard with myself. I know in scheme of triathlete even in my 7th year I’m not MOP in my AG most of the time. Obviously winning or placing high is not what makes me stick with it but something bigger that is harder to explain. Having to give up my sub 14 hour goal & my run goal that I set a year ago, but in the end doing so freed me in a way that pursuing joy in training and racing became the bigger goal. Don’t get me wrong, I did want to do my absolute best I could with the fitness I had going into the race which changed my goal to execute my plan well as that was best way to cross the finish line fastest given my fitness.

Tuesday: I flew down alone with my bike, one duffel and carry on. Tough to deal with bike at airport, getting into condo, going to beach Walmart all alone.

Wednesday: Met up with BTers at 7am to do swim. Waves were a bit big but swimming with others I felt comfortable. I spotted the tiny 6 inch marker bouys that they have in place before the race. So glad to have a postive swim to take away that fear. Picked up son Kyle at airport for his first experience spectating at IM the walked over to expo to register and do some IM shopping, put my bike together with Kyle's help.

Thursday: Another 7am BT swim with many BTers. Fun to put faces with screen names and chat a bit..anticipation was building for everyone.

Met BTers for lunch, rained a lot, but went for a short ride with Jasha and realized my front derailleur wasn't working right. Brought bike over to the Dragon sport tent recommended by Jen and they adjusted it and helped get my valve extenders on my latex tubes to seal better. Kevin and girls arrived around dinner time, I head to athlete meeting, video is canned and used for all IMs so not helpful at all talks after video were a bit informative but nothing I didn't know. Waste of my time to go.

Friday: Rode at 9am about time I expected to start the bike with similar temps to help decide what jacket/clothing combo I'd use race morning. Tried on jacket to warm, tried Shebeest jacket worked well. I went to register for IM #5 for my 50th Bday, finished packing T1 and T2 bags, and walked over with girls to drop bike and bags off. Tried to stay off my feet as much as possible.

Event warmup:

Went to bed at 8:30 and feel asleep easily, but woke up at 1:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep. I wasn’t nervous just thought about the day ahead and wondered what it would be like. Finally decided flopping around in bed was futile and got up at 3:30, logged on to BT,checked weather forecast, no change mid 30s at race start with high of about 61 should be mid to low 40s start of bike, ate breakfast and woke Kevin up early so we could walk down to transition and he’d go drop off my special need bike bag at Alvin’s Island and my run special needs a bit further down Thomas Drive. Got body marked by two women.

I went to far end of transition to my bike with all the other old ladies, brought my bike to bike mechanics at diagonally opposite end of transition near entrance/exit and had them pump up my Zipp 404s to 118 PSI. Front one needed a little air but back one was right there which was a bit unusual for latex tubes as they loose air more quickly than butyl tubes. Reracked my bike, filled aerobottle with nuuns water, had a second disposable water bottle on frame cage with nuuns, turned on my athlete tracker and made sure it was getting a signal & wrapped it around my aerobar pad so it couldn’t get knocked off or fall off, put my Garmin Edge 500 on my bike, and thought about my day. As I was finishing up Kevin was on hill outside of transition waving. I left and met up with him and we headed to Sue’s condo right next to transition to hang out and wait to head down to swim start.

Sue, Jen, Sue's parents, Kevin and then my kids all gathered.

We put on our wetsuits and walked down to the swim start.

I really had to pee so just went as we waited. We headed down to the beach, and the sand was so cold even with the wool socks. I gave Sue a hug, said good bye to my family and headed into the swim corral.

Next year I'll buy some cheap slippers with soles as my feet were cold. Sand cooled down to air temperature of about 36..chilly! Sat down and tried to keep my feet well. I was calm and ready for day to start. Off go the pros we are up next.

My goal for the day was to execute the best race I could with fitness I have.
  • 1h 40m 59s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 23s / 100 yards

Plan for swim was to start more in the thick of things towards the back of the middle to take advantage of the draft effect which put me a bit out of my comfort zone. I swim and breathe right so starting towards the left side the other swimmers helps me keep swimming straight but that put me in the most concentrated group of athletes at the start which for a timid swimmer took a step of boldness.

As I headed toward the water I bumped into Brianna ‘bar92’ and so briefly seeing a friendly face and few encouraging words helped. I walked out past the first sandbar and waited in the middle of the deeper water at about thigh deep water before the second sandbar.

Start of Ironman race is always exciting, beautiful venue, wondering what day ahead will bring after a year’s worth of training.

Boom the cannon went off and off we went.

I walked a bit to get to deeper swimable water. A few bumps and bangs and a lot of my legs, but nothing that flustered me. After a short time the school of IM swimmers just stopped, clogged up at first buoy, I looked up in as far as I could see were red and white capped athletes bobbing in the water and a sight that was spectacular . I yelled out something like wow isn’t this fun folks laughed. In short order the backup spread out and off we went again. Each buoy I ended up close to and it seemed like in no time we were at the far buoy and I was having fun and had zero this is amazing!

Made the turn to the far end 180 meter swim into the sun and found that there was a fast current aiding us on our forward progress. The BT swims had helped me learn which tall building to sight off. I made it around that buoy for swim back to shore. I was still with group of folks but things were thinning out, found some feet to draft on for a time twice, tried to stay close to buoy line as current was moving left to right add in my tendency to swim right, styaing on course on way back to shore was critical for good execution. As I was getting closer to shore somewhere between second and last buoy the silver capped lead male pros passed right next to me. Confirmed that I was on good swim line and that I was doing wee bit of rough math as they started 10’ in front of me and they do 50’ swims.

No time clock visible after first loop which I find helpful in staying mentally focused on the now and not be affected by my time.

Out for short run along beach, over timing mat, took my gel that I had one tucked up each side of the front of my DeSoto wetsuit so in case I lost one I’d have a back up, grabbed cup of water and headed back to start second loop. Heard my husband Kevin yell for me as he and the kids were positioned perfectly to see me.

I saw lots of other athletes I was clearly doing better than I had in previous IM swims and with all the struggles and lack of progress in my swim over the years this was incredible.

I'm second white cap from left that is higher on shore below

Second loop is longer as lap includes run along the beach and swimming diagonally to first buoy which is significantly farther than start on the beach to first buoy. Most everyone’s second loop is slower than first and I suspect draft effect is less for BOP folks.

The lines I swam first loop worked well so I planned to swim same strategy. The waves and current moving toward the left facing the water had picked up. On way out I was close to most each of the buoys and one or two I swam on left side due to the current pushing me left. Made the turn at end and woosh again so much current helping us swim fast. If only the whole 2.4 miles had been with that current it would have been super fast swim. Here I was ¾ of the way done with my 3rd IM swim and I was having fun, which is not my normal experience. Typically it is when can I be done with this and get on my bike. Second loop I thought about my coach Shane and all the 4,000+ yd swims he had me do and in my head thanked him for having me to them more times than I would have liked. Those 4200-4400 yard pool swims take me a long time but doing them made this part of my IM day feel easy. Add in that after fearing ocean IM swim, I was having a blast it was a near perfect experience.

Back on home stretch, saw some type of jelly fish with round ball with some tentacles attached to another round ball more tentacles and finally another round ball. I opted to swim around that thing. Current was pushing folks to right; I swim to the right, so I stayed as close as I could to the buoy line and saw many folks quite a bit off track this loop. I learned last year at IM Canada that swimming as straight as possible or in that case not so straight, has a big effect on my time.

Water was perfect temperature around 71, more clear and visible than any of the days I had done practiced swims, I was in a good place in my head, just now enjoy the last bit of the swim. We could see the bottom pretty far from shore and the water got significantly cooler probably due to the cold nights cooling it down.

Closer to shore I was swimming over this school of fish that were maybe 14-16” long and thin, which was cool until I saw them dart different direction every once in awhile which I assumed meant they had been startled by something. I was hoping it was me and not anything bigger.
As I approach swim exit, looked up and saw clock at 8:40:2? Wow I was surprised as I had thought I’d be slower than my 2 lake IM swims as ChespeakeMan has been at 1:53, I was excited.

My biggest concern and fear about doing IMFL was the swim and had even gone so far in weeks prior to the race to tell couple good friends that if the ocean conditions were tough I might not make the cut off . Last year when I came to volunteer and sign up, I swam a loop of the course. It took me well over an hour as it was my first swim 2+ months after IM Canada as I went off course badly with the current pushing me right but I tried to put that out of my head all year.

Given all that I set a PB, I stood up and hurried to cross the timing mat and made it in 1:40:59.

I have struggled with frustration in lack of improvement in my swimming for years, I was so incredibly rewarding and deeply satisfied with my swim not only was I faster than any other IM but I had a blast out there that is as good as it gets. The gains I made in my time I feel were from executing better by catching draft on first way out to turn buoy and staying on course better than I have at other races. How sweet it was to have what I feared the most, be a great experience which made me feel that my hard work doing those 4 swims per week most weeks pay off. What a great way to start the day.

First loop: 45:32
Second loop: 55:27

Transition 1
  • 11m 42s

Having worked wetsuit stripping at this race before I knew the ones towards the back are less busy and men get wetsuits off in general better so I chose a guy in the back to help me having removed my DeSoto top already.

The covering they had over the sand was all messed up so laid on the sand, great covered in sand. Ran up to the showers, took extra time to get sand off me and get face rinsed off.

Saw my family as I ran towards the pass through in the hotel to transition. I was so pumped up from my swim I was yelling about how great and happy I was with how I did. I’m guessing most 1:40 swimmers aren’t that ecstatic but I was.

Out the other side of building had to make a right to my T1 bag. Yelled my number and that it had blue ribbon on it so easily found, hand off, and jogged over to change room which was in sectioned off part of hotel’s convention center ballroom which means much better to see. The women’s change room was bigger than last year when I volunteered there which makes me wonder if men’s was smaller than last year or if they used more space of the ballroom.

Found a chair on right about 1/3 way back and a volunteer a women slightly younger than me. She was amazing. I had three 2 gallon ziplock bags each labeled with my name and number if things fell out of my bag I had a shot of getting it back plus dumping T1 bag with only 3 things makes easier to find stuff. One had things for my body…small towel, new tri top, arm warmers vest, jacket. Second one had things I used on my extremities so leg warmers, wool socks, bike shoes with toe covers put on and tested prior to race so I could clip in well, headband, double layer of gloves, and race belt. 3rd bag is stuff I may use but hope not to so it stays sealed.

She helped me get on my wool socks much like you’d get socks on a little child, put my race belt on and was excellent at getting things done quickly. Thank you volunteer!

I was faster than most of the women in there with me. I dropped one glove twice before I got them on as I ran to get my bike. My bike was 4th row from far end of transition. I yelled my number a few times and spotted a bike handler that was literally right in front of my bike and I was able to get her attention. She came out with my bike as I rounded the corner. I had her help me get my athlete tracker race belt on as well as get my double layer of gloves on and off I ran. It was totally different experience to be with so many others onto the bike. Over timing strip and mounted my bike after dodging those struggling with mounting their bikes. Off I go glad to be in my happy place.

I passed 50 athletes in T1, 7 were in my AG, and 23 were women. I placed 243rd out of 570 women in T1.

I don’t perform well cold. The one long ride I did that stopped was because I was underdressed and effected my ability to execute and just was uncomfortable. Race day high was forecast to be about 60-62 for only about 3 hours, start of swim in upper 30s and on the bike in the 40s and it may take some time to warm up into the 50s. I had played around with different clothing options training in MA in the fall but also the day before at what I estimated my bike start time with similar temperatures, I rode to figure out what would clothing/jacket options would be best. I layered up so I could remove and discard as needed.

To help me remember this is what I wore:
Oomph tri shorts
DeSoto leg warmers
Smartwool socks
Toe covers
LG tri shoes w/orthotics
Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra
TYR tri top
Craft fleece lined arm warmers
NEBC bike vest (goal to be warm after ditch jacket)
Shebeest light weight windproof wicking jacket
PI headband
PI long finger MTB gloves
Stretchy disposable gloves over my bike gloves

At far end of bike out chute I see my family again so glad they had made it from swim out to bike out to see me again which also gives me a huge boost emotionally, waved, I was pumped to be out on the bike.

  • 6h 49m 6s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.43 mile/hr

After exiting chute got in my aerobars and stayed there. Past our condo Shoes of Panama and out on Front Beach Road and have quite a few men pass me. Strange as it may sound each one passing me, made me happy confirming I had a solid swim and was in front of many more athletes than at LP or Canada. I work at swimming but it comes hard for me so this was very special.

Settle in to my goal watts for first hour, and just executed. I was just slightly cold which I knew in time I would warm up and would be dressed right. I know for me if I’m cold it can be bad on the bike, better to have extra layers I can shed than being cold. Glad I had tried out different jacket options day before at my estimate bike out time to see what was right for the strange FL weather.

I waited 20’ to take in water to allow body to adapt to new position on the bike and then at 30’ started with nutrition with gel which was odd consistency due to cold and really thick.

How fun to ride with so many like minded athletes doing something we love.

I had my timer set for 25’ to take in calories. My plan was to rotate my nutrition by doing gel, gel, other which usually meant gel blast.

It was challenging to handle things including gels with two gloves on each hand. I had decided to bring my own gels so I would have flavors I like and used a Fuel Belt race belt with gel holders. I hadn’t practiced with this before the race, and getting gels out with one gloved hand proved to be quite challenging. I really had to yank those as Shasha had put them on very securely. First two gels were thick due to cold and took some effort to empty the packs. I could tell it was warming up as gels came to normal consistency. I tuck garbage up right leg of my tri shorts. I had to stop once to get my nuuns out of jacket pocket as with gloves on couldn't figure out zipper.

After first hour tried to up my watts by about 5-8 per my plan but just didn’t feel right. I decided to listen to my body and keep watts in comfortable place. Not sure if cold was a factor or what that affected my watts. My TSS ended up at 280 which is ideal for IM. This is one part of the race I think I could have done better. Perhaps later in the ride I should have tried easing into higher watts as I had warmed up.

As I pass folks I would try to say something encouraging often commenting on their bike, coordinating clothing or something. Some would respond, others were nonresponsive either way it was fun.

Made it up 79 which is great smooth newly paved two lane highway with great shoulder, turned right onto 20 another smooth road with less traffic, nice shoulder, and only one lane. These road would be great spectating roads as there are plenty of places to pull over and driving on the road leaves plenty of room for cyclists.

20's highlights:
~Seeing pro men flying the other way on their amazing bikes
~Felt something brush my right leg knew I dropped something, quick turn to look back to see if I needed to stop knocked my aerobars and verged very quickly left, thankful no one was passing me in car or bike as it could have been ugly..I never do stuff like that on my bike...brought my focus to higher level..figured one of the gel packets fell out of the bottom of my tri shorts probably.

Right turn onto 77...let the flying begin...averaged 21.2 on this road with huge tailwind for first time of the day and fun to ride faster, and pass so many. Bummed road and tailwind was so short, made a left turn staffed by many officers and volunteers onto 388 which was small two lane road with no shoulder but good road. My family was aiming to see me at 77 and 388 after I passed that corner, my anticipation of seeing them grew. I was hoping the Athlete Tracker was working so they could pinpoint where I was and find me easier. Soon after I see a mini van on going our way on other side of road and out popped my kids heads hooting for me and snapping my photo.

Even though I don't talk with them, having their support invigorates me.

The big debate pee on my bike or not....opted not as I had leg warmers, wool socks, toe covers on..not sure how wet, wind and cold would do. Stopped on 388 at aid station just before the out and back, had to wait a for 2-3 athletes but there were 4 porta not long.

Just before out and back section see my family again parked on side of road yelling support and feeling their love. My family had named my jacket the banana jacket as it is not the normal high vis cyclists wear so it was easier to spot and banana in color. Decided to stop after out and back to briefly talk with them.

The actual out and back section was extended this year due to course change...road sucks and has ridge/crack every 5 yards and cracks that go along the road same way we ride. Folks generally stayed right on the course other than this section...people were trying to find the best line for smoothest road which meant they were all over the place most sitting up. I found near white line it was better but hard to go around others riding mid lane.

Get to the turn around which many struggle doing 180 degree turn one lady almost took out a couple of other riders..cross skills help here. Garmin time 3:21 for 56 which was 2' slower than first 56 of my Aquavelo.

Decided to stop at sn and get different flavored gels. Took awhile to get my bag and it was tied in a knot, finally ripped it and found no Hammer Gels..lack of focus and remembering what I put in there. Next time something to eat I look forward to and will remember but hope to skip sn.

Get to right corner back Blue Springs road,see my family on other side of road so opted not to stop and have to wait for them to dodge cyclists and cross the road. Saddened a bit as I knew I wouldn't see much more of them now probably just on bike in/run out as they were working finish line for 11-14 hour finishers.

After turn saw Jack Chen the blind athlete who was honored as Everyday Hero with a flat on the tandem. Turns out we passed back and forth quite a few times through the day.

I saw probably 10ish flats during the course of the race and about half they had bike support there to help them which is impressive with only 4 scooter with support.

The only technical turn on the bike course was a short bit steep descent off Blue Springs road with a left hand turn at the bottom onto Hwy 20 which brought small rollers and headwind and slight gradual climb for over 20 miles and I knew we’d be on this road a long time. Seeing others pass me and go hard up each incline and I’d spin up staying in my watts, only to catch them on the slight down hill or flats. It all confirms that yes I’m executing my bike plan right. Rollers make for some fun interactions with athletes as we’d pass each other back and forth many times. Somewhere along here I felt warm, stopped removed my banana jacket and stuffed in into my vest pocked. Soon after wards I pushed my arm warmers down. My leg warmers started to slip down and I tried to tuck them under my tri shorts while riding as I didn't want to stop.

The headwind annoyed some folks and you could see change in their posture on the bike more defeated. I find headwind the noise annoying. Riding with power and not pace, makes headwinds no big deal as I don’t see how it affects my pace.

Making left onto 79 which from Jen’s report was slightly down hill and usually tailwind, looking forward to this part. Spotted a port a potty and stopped as a women went it and took awhile.

Back on my bike and lots who I had passed over last 10 miles had passed me back while stopped, but this was the fun part of the course, kept watts same as all day but picked people off so mostly I was riding on left continuously. Road was smooth, and it was fast. To me this was the reward part of the ride as I love riding with either slight downhill or tailwind as same watts just feel easier. The out and back was smooth road with some head wind. Fun to see more athletes that were a bit farther ahead of me and those behind me many of which I had passed. I was feeling strong and still having fun.

I have average pace as one data point on one of my 3 screens so I kept seeing my average pace increase. As I turned onto 79 I was at 15.9 first time all day I was under 16 mph, as I followed 79 on regular basis may pace kept increasing by .1 mph and got up to 16.7. I noticed many athletes seemed defeated, were coasting and were not having fun these last 25 miles where this was my favorite time. Even with only 3 rides over 5 hours prior to this year, my training had prepared me for this.

I did notice a few folks with lines across their bibs meaning they had received penalties even though I saw very few in the penalty tents, one or two officials all day, not much drafting and no pelotons, guess that the BOP follow the rules and avoiding drafting is easier with folks more spread out.

Last new out and back road was smooth but we got headwind again but I like being able to see folks that are both behind and in front of me as some of them I had been riding with on and off all day. I wish they used this as the longer out and back instead of that bumpy one with cracks every 10 feet where special needs was.

Over the bridge and getting really close to PCB, left onto Front Beach Road. Between some of the high rise condos wind would come through in strong gust, caught me once. Traffic was cranky a bit here as there is continuous access to the road, no volunteers to direct cars, small shoulders, and some scary bike/car interactions.

This was my easiest long ride of the year. I felt strong, I enjoyed being out there with the other athletes, I had interactions with others; nutrition and hydration were spot on. I found this course to be ideal for my strengths as a cyclist. Plus there are more folks similar ability to me which allows me to be more in the mix of athletes throughout the day which is a big plus for me as far as enjoyment. Few times throughout the ride, I thought I'm doing this race every year just because it fits me and did have some thoughts why did I sign up for LP next year where the bike is much more challenging.

As I made the turn off Front Beach Road onto South Thomas I saw my son Kyle, then another of my girls a bit farther then another bit farther.My family had spread out through the last ½ mile to get photos and be able to text Kevin so he knows when I’ll be coming...feel their excitement for me.

Few women in front of me, couple sitting up barely moving, stay in aero and pass them before entering chute to bike dismount.

Just before bike in, with Shores of Panama our condo in the background

BIKE SPLIT 1: 55mi 55 mi. (3:24:10)16.16 mph
BIKE SPLIT 2: 95mi 40 mi. (2:29:41)16.03 mph
FINAL BIKE SPLIT: 112mi 17 mi. (55:15)18.46 mph
TOTAL BIKE112 mi. (6:49:06)16.43 mph

Ride time 6:43:05 per Garmin was 16.67 mph
~ first 56 ride time 3:27, second 56 3:13, 2nd 56 avg watts 1 higher and NP 2 watts higher than first 56 watts
TSS 280.2
VI 1.03
avg RPM 86
I had hoped for vi of 1.02 but 1.03 very good. VI represents how variable you ride, closer to 1.0 you are the more evenly you rode. VI is normalized power/average power

Coasted 6:48

Stopped time 6:01
2 pee breaks
1 sn stop
2 stops to deal with clothing due to temp changes

I came into T2 moving up 120 places on the bike, passing 15 in my AG and 65 women on the bike.

What would you do differently?:

As I warmed up couple hours into the I could have tried pushing up watts a bit but didn't even consider which in hindsight seems odd it after made the decision to go with comfortable watts. 5-8 watts higher may have given me 5' faster bike split.

My VI at 1.03 was good meaning I rode steady and consistently.

I think I have a lot of room to improve on the bike next year with getting my FTP up to my normal summer high which is ~20-25 watts higher than this summer post surgery, wearing jacket that wasn’t skin tight effected my drag, cooler than normal weather increased air density. Add in stopped riding time I see even with same watts possible to be 10’ faster and even more with power improvements. I’m excited to see what I can do on the course in the future.
Transition 2
  • 07m 46s

Off the bike, bike volunteer takes my bike, but I say please wait while I turn off my Garmin 500. I jog to the far line of T2 bags, hear them yell out my number pick up my bag and jog into change room. Many less women than in T2, get a teenager to help. Ask her to take of athlete tracker device off my bike race belt and put it on my run race belt. Dump my bag again have one bag with stuff I’ll use and another with things maybe I’ll use. I brought a towel put it over my lap and changed out of Oomph! Tri shorts into my Skins tri shorts. Put on my right sock only to realize I hadn’t put body glide on my toes as my body glide container was deep inside my shoe (helps me not to forget) off with sock, body glide both feet toe area, on with socks, put on new race belt, change out of prescription sunglasses into old pair or regular glasses with Garmin 310XT in glasses case, grab hat, opt not to bring my stretchy gloves as I have some in run sn and run out of changing area. I’m fiddling with turning on my 310xt when I hear Kathy, turn and see Sue’s parents Loretta and Jerry on the side waiting and cheering for me…thanks!

Get Garmin on and turn on interval mode which I forget at times, run length of transition, make a left and out of the run. I’ve been having so much fun all day, race execution was spot on, and felt really great coming off the bike.

I placed best in T2 of women at 240th out of 570

Passed 2 in my AG, 14 women and 36 total in T2

What would you do differently?:

Did well
  • 6h 36m 51s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 15m 09s  min/mile

Ran out the run out, hear my name see Patrick, give him a high 5, then hear my husband who had made it over to the far side, find him in the crowd, turned to run over and give him high 5 and say something quickly about how well my day had been going.

First time all day I feel warm, peel off my arm warmers, ran over dirt area covered in plywood which I called walking the plank. See special needs and decided quickly to hand them to volunteer to put in my bag in case I needed them later.

Started right off doing my .3 mile run followed by 30” walk break with goal to be walking on every mile where aid station were. IMFL didn’t place aid stations evenly at each mile so quickly learned my walk breaks would not line up with aid stations often. Made game day decision to stick with .3 run/30” walk but walk aid stations to get fluid and take in nutrition no matter where they landed in my intervals as I was running without carrying fluid with me for the first time in IM.

Course wanders through neighborhoods on either side of South Thomas Road. Ones farthest from beach are well protected but one on beach side of South Thomas had the wind and as the temperatures dropped it was cold.

I fell into my long run rhythm, monitored my pace a bit, took in water at the aid satiations’. Gels were quickly losing their appeal. I would take cola and dilute it was water so it was about 50/50 cola/water to keep the carb concentration level good. I also had cookies a couple times yum cookies and water. I had my favorite lemon hard candy that I only have on long runs and sucked on throughout the run.

I saw a few BTers out there KenJ, bumped into Kim ‘trigirl74’ chatted for a time with her, Justin, hoped I’d see Sue ‘socks’ soon. I was feeling good and executing my plan. I did see Sue going the other way and yelled to her I had an awesome swim and she was looking strong.

At about mile three a guy notices my run/walk intervals, asked me my plan then if he could run with me. Sure, I was the leader of intervals, if you walk with me I use the interaction to distract me so I asked him about himself. He'd get ahead of me on the run then walk longer than me the start run interval together.

Out at the State Park in the daylight it was desolate but I could see how it would be strange running there in the dark the following loop. Thankfully I had been warned by other BTers to bring a hat light.

NJ guy finds a friend from home to run with and off they go.

At mile 8 running became incredibly painful and tough. At the time my thought was this is way to soon to have it hurt this much. I wondered what it meant for the next 18 miles and if I would be able to keep up with my plan but quickly I pushed that thought out of my head as dwelling on that would not help instead focus on what I can do right now.

As I got closer to transition and the turn around, I’d hear the announcer’s voice floating in the air. More fans lined the streets playing music and encouraging me and all the racers. I saw the crazy women scantly clad encouraging everyone. I found them entertaining and distracted me a bit. I saw Sue somewhere before transition again.

They were handing out glow sticks but no strings, so the athletes all chatted about where to put them, some picked under their hat brim, me I stuck it down my sports bra.

Closer to transition, spectators line the run and they are great encouraging IM spectators that call you by name and I tried to pull positive energy from everyone. Down around to the turn around and back over the ‘walking the plank’ section to special needs. I stop and get more gel blasts, some combos, my clip on hat light, pick up my running gloves, and put those things on along with my jacket as I keep moving forward and off I go.

Some find turn around on IM run depressing or hard to deal with, I don’t. I like being part of the vibe for a bit and a preview of what I have to look forward to plus now I just have 13.1 miles to go.

First loop down just under 3 hours per my Garmin and I think it was a PB for 13.1 in an IM turns out just a few seconds slower than first 13.1 at Canada last year. I had optimism that if I could continue to execute my plan I had a chance of making my time goal for the race of sub 15 hours. All I needed to do was run second half within 10’ of my first half and happy to have a bit of a cushion.

As I started to get farther from transition, the spectators became less frequent; I was confused a bit about my run pace. I would glance at my Garmin and see my average lap pace and at first would think that can’t possibly be right, can I really be running at 13:30 m/m or slower pace and still be that’s not possible. Maybe my Garmin was acting up? Over next few miles other things pointed to my Garmin was right as my Garmin distance lined up with mile markers.

Here was the point of the run where I had still long way to go, I had been in a lot of pain running for long time already and long ways to go, and I was starting to accept my sub 15 hour goal wasn’t going to happen. It would have been easier to just start walking like many around me were doing, but I didn’t. Before the race I was afraid that my body would convince my head that walking would be better and I would give in. I’m very pleased that that mind vs. body argument never occurred, just keep executing the plan accept I’m doing the best I can. The fun of the first 122 miles was gone, it was painful work time of an Ironman.

What I wanted out of my run was to execute my plan . In my run plan I had what to do in case things got really difficult clause, which was to walk a .30 mile run section to allow myself recover, regroup, but not give up on my plan. When pain came at mile 8 I thought I’d take one of those .30 mile breaks sooner than later, but I was able to push on up until just before mile 15 before I did which was a small victory. Having exact plan kept me on my game.

Probably when I accepted I wasn’t going to be sub 15 is when I allowed myself .30 mile walk. Starting up when my Garmin vibrated was easy and I did feel better. I planned for two more .30 mile walk breaks which would mean maybe adding 3-4 minutes onto my run time as that was the difference between my run and walk pace.

Kept seeing the Jersey boys as we'd pass each other back and forth and I'd say hi Jersey boys and we would banter back in forth.

As I got closer to sidewalk that led to the State Park, I catch up to Kim. We chat, execute my run/walk, and time passes faster as I’m distracted. We both have headlamps and I have small light flashlight. As we enter the park most athletes don’t have light and in places it is very dark. Around us gathers other athletes using our lights to help them find our way. I see the women in pink plaid skirt and pink Newtons, Kim tells me she is pregnant and this is her 4th IM during this pregnancy. Pink lady joins our little group of runners. She can walk as fast as I can run and is a typical 11:30-12 IM finsiher. Far end of State park I take my second .3 mile walk break. Kim and some others pull ahead of me and I walk with Pink women for awhile. She shares her story with me…hard to understand but interesting and keeps my mind off the pain.

Go through Ford Inspiration Station and this time see the message from Kevin light up "No Compromise Pike"...hits no compromise is my motto for runs on longer races just do it, don't deviate from the plan, it motivates me.

Aid stations out here are good some of the aid stations out residential roads the kids are bored talking with each other and ignoring the athletes and it becomes self serve aid stations.

Looking at my splits the middle 13 miles were pretty evenly paced. The last 7.15 is when things really slowed down. I allowed myself to walk an extra 30” so total of 60” during walk breaks. As slow as I was running now often in 14’s it was faster than my walking. It was difficult but I was close to being done. Last bit I was running and heard Kathy and it was Jasha. So nice to chat for a short bit, he encouraged me and I could tell he was so cold even with two of those mylar blankets. Temperature had dropped into low 50s or uppder 40s and it had been chilly all day and it does take a toll on us out there a long time even more so on folks with low body fat like him.

Not until I was about 2 miles from finish did I allow myself to think that far ahead and figure I only had to run 6 more times, but realized no it would be 7 since my Garmin was reading longer than race miles. I started to hear the finish line music from time to time whispering and pulling me that soon it would be my turn.

First time I had allowed myself to consider what my finish time might be as I ran over Thomas drive for the last time and I asked a spectator what time it was, he said exactly 10 felt both sad there it was not going to be sub 15 IM day for me today, but pleased that I was going to have a big PB. It was odd to run but be going so slow, miles pass much slower than normal.

Tried to remind myself to embrace the pain as it is part of the challenge of the day, didn’t work well. Down Joan Avenue where more spectators started to be seen again, music, encouragement, saw Wendy & Jeff again, the pull of the finish line was starting. I got emotionally here…the journey to get to the starting line this year was tough, I had beaten the odds and toed the line fit and well trained to accomplish the task, I’d be a 3rd time IM finisher, would have a big PB, but crying doesn’t help with running. Savored my accomplishments and kept running. More athletes who had been walking started running and were passing me after we make final left onto Thomas Drive. Got to the last turn by Alvin's Island and I can see the finish line with lights and music, watch for other athletes, seems pretty clear and I wonder if I can speed up at all.

This finish line experience was different than other IM finish chutes as it was light from street lights prior to finish chute as opposed to total darkness. I could see the chute and didn’t feel blinded.

The finish chute, dang it was long, lights, music and cheering all for me. Here is the very best part of the race, absorb it, the reward, the celebration of what I had accomplished. I wanted to enjoy my finish so I started high fiving folks on both sides of the chute, the pain seem to lessen, and the joy of finishing was overwhelming . Crossed the finish line, I didn’t compromise, I did it!

Once I cross the finish line, the part of me that holds on to my plan and pushes through the pain whatever that is let’s go. I got woozie, staggered a few steps and then sort of collapsed in slow motion to the ground, folks tried to catch me and one guy catches my head.

They bring a wheelchair over but medical guy says to walk behind me and keep me moving being supported by two strong guys one is Kevin.

It is hard to explain and I’m not sure what happens but in races that are painful and it takes enormous will power to keep running the relief when I can stop is enormous and my ability to control my body leaves for a short time and I collapse if not supported. Once I stand back up and walk a bit I was woozy but mostly fine, overjoyed with sense of accomplishment.

Kevin, Kyle, Emily, Shasha and Libby are all there to welcome me across the the finish line. Once they knew I was okay the celebration began. With my kids help, got a t shirt, hat, medal and headed over to the finisher photo area. I was smiling from ear to ear so happy to be able to stop moving forward and pleased with what I accomplished not just today but the journey to this IM was challenging.

RUN SPLIT 1: 6mi6 mi. (1:14:28)12:24/mile
RUN SPLIT 2: 13.05mi7.05 mi. (1:45:34)14:58/mile
RUN SPLIT 3: 19.05mi6 mi. (1:30:23)15:03/mile
RUN SPLIT 4: 26.2mi7.15 mi. (2:06:25)17:40/mile
TOTAL RUN26.2 mi. (6:36:50)15:08/mile

What would you do differently?:

Strange that my PW (personal worst) on the run was positive in many ways for me. It hurt a lot but I stayed mentally tough and executed my plan. At no time did I mentally give in or try to talk myself into dropping my plan and just walking. I just executed and made slight adjustments that had been part of my plan. I took 3 longer walk breaks that were .3 of a mile long each with first right before mile 15. After turn around so last 7 miles of the run I took added 30” to my walk breaks. Still bit surprised how slow I could run and actually be running but whatever pace I ran at it was faster than my walking pace so I was better off running.

Run was unknown and I know I would have been better prepared if I had run more miles in training, but accept that I did my best given surgery in June and my ability to train. I did what I could with fitness I had. I look back and did some comparisons, training for FL I was running about 1:15 or little more slower per mile than prior year for Canada. Come race day my average pace was 1:15 per mile slower than Canada given I ran far less in training I think that is a win for me as I leveraged my lower fitness and miles into best I could do on race day.

I ran first 6 miles at LP then walked rest after asthma incident and was faster than this race by 2 minutes. Hard for me to understand how that worked out given I ran so much more on this one. I suspect it is due to my knee injury scope, and I haven’t fully regained my quad muscle strength on my left leg.

Big gift I received from this run was learning that I am capable mentally of executing a solid run plan in an IM if I have the run fitness which means more miles in my legs which build durability not having injury and surgery. I was afraid I’d hit that place that my body convinces my mind that walking is a far better idea than to run, but I didn’t.

Two thoughts about my run execution that I’ve considered and talked with my coach about since after the race, was did I start out running to fast for first 6 miles and should I have done a different run/walk ratio knowing my run training volume and longest runs were a bit low in an effort to keep pace steady throughout the whole 26.2 miles. I went in knowing more miles would have been better. I discussed my concern with my coach prior to race, then made conscious effort to assume I could run and execute my plan. Having a positive mental outlook could make the difference in a tough spot rather than doubting and expecting failure. As what I believe influences my ability to perform.

I needed more miles in my legs but did best I could given my year.
Post race
Warm down:

Medical person at finish line told my husband to keep me moving and not stop, after getting my finisher things,had my photo taken and family walked me straight back to condo. I had Emily and Shasha walk next to me as the height worked better to support me. I felt okay, incredibly sore, happy but pain of running was gone.

I had some chocolate milk and a little food but wasn't very hungry before I went to bed. First time post IM I slept pretty well.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

First IM that I came out with no blisters, no chaffing, no toenails lost, no lost skin or weird infections....pretty sweet!

I could give my standard answer genetics, age, history, and weight but no excuses did best I could.

The physician I’ve been seeing for Lyme’s Disease shared that most triathlete and marathoner he has treated don’t get back to normal training and racing for 3 years due to fatigue Lyme's causes and ability to recover. I guess in a way I beat the odds. The reality is that it may be something I will always have to deal with as fatigue often flairs up Lyme’s. I was on two antibiotics a day starting in May this year.

To prepare for an IM lots of people have helped me:

Kevin, who supports me in my training and my dreams, in many ways, encourages me to get my workouts in even though it means more family responsibility falls on him, and is proud of what I do.

My kids who support my lifestyle and often come with to run or swim with me, encourage me in my training, volunteer and support me at races, and still are okay when I’m a bit distracted when in heavy training and tired

My coach Shane MacLeod ( was big key to my success this year. I had my best long course race in April at Lonestar 70.3. Preparing for IM while recovering from my knee scope takes balance of building while also recovering. He helped me get me ready for this race, overcoming obstacles, adjusting my plan frequently with niggling injury and recover issues or having to change plans with trips to Minnesota to be with my parents. I learned a lot especially on race execution, trained more volume than I had in past given obstacles given the year I've had is incredible. Thank Shane for your support, guidance and encouragement.

Sue, 'socks' here on BT, who has been a great friend, supporter, encourager and also fixed my knee so I could race this year. It was awesome to train for and race the same A race as you this year.

All of you my BT friends who share this passion and journey with me, inspire me, encourage me, point me in the right direction when I struggle and make racing so much fun.

I think back on what my life was like back before April 21, 2003 when I was fat and unhappy. Triathlons and journey to doing Ironman has helped me discover things about myself I didn't know. I'm not gifted athletically, but am persistent, train consistently and enjoy this. IM racing gives me a goal to work towards and at times puts be out of my comfort zone allowing me to be bold and learn and grow more.

This was by far the most fun Ironman race I have done for the first 122 miles. The last 18 miles pretty much sucked and hurt but I accept that as part of doing an IM. I raced with more athletes with similar abilities as mine which meant I was around more athletes all day which is a huge plus in my eyes.

My mental state prior to the race was far different as I was more relaxed, not nervous, accepting I overcame a lot to get here, felt fortunate that I cold toe the line, and the year had helped me put things in a different light. I do love training and participating in triathlons. The finish time struggle I have within myself has changed and I feel much more at peace with how I did which is important for me to learn as I’m not fast, I’m getting older but want to keep finding joy doing this regardless of my finish time.

Pleased with my swim 6' PB & bike 64' PB over all PB of 57 minutes. Looking forward to see what I can do next year.

Event comments:

WTC puts on amazing races that attracts athletes from around the world, with many spectators and volunteers that makes racing an IM distance race magical.

Weather was unusual for the race, but with most Ironman races obstacle come up and we athletes have to adapt. Personally I prefer cold and wind to constant rain or hot but we never know what race day will hold.

I'm fortunate to have overcome a lot to be able to toe the line well trained. I'm very pleased with how I executed my race given my fitness. My experience racing was fantastic. I'm content with how I did. I'm optimistic with solid consistent training without major injury and more miles in my legs that I have more improvement...we'll see what next year's race might bring.

Last updated: 2009-11-09 12:00 AM
01:40:59 | 4224 yards | 02m 23s / 100yards
Age Group: 86/98
Overall: 2222/2403
Performance: Good
First loop: 45:32 Second loop: 55:27
Course: 2 loop course
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 11:42
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:49:06 | 112 miles | 16.43 mile/hr
Age Group: 62/98
Overall: 1944/2403
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 86
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 07:46
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
06:36:51 | 26.2 miles | 15m 09s  min/mile
Age Group: 79/98
Overall: 2150/2403
Performance: Average
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
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

2010-11-28 8:52 AM

User image

Subject: Ironman Florida
If you want to see finish line video my kids took, it is located here.

Thanks BT for all your support!

Edited by KathyG 2010-11-28 8:54 AM

2010-11-28 9:10 AM
in reply to: #3227726

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2010-11-28 9:23 AM
in reply to: #3227726

The Land of Ice and Snow
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

What more can I say?
You are an inspiration......

Oh...and that finishers video? Made me cry.    

Edited by aquagirl 2010-11-28 9:24 AM
2010-11-28 9:39 AM
in reply to: #3227726

Montague Gold Mines, Nova Scotia
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Awesome job Kathy!  You trained hard all season and met all challenges head on; great work!

2010-11-28 9:47 AM
in reply to: #3227726

West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Amazing job sticking to your plan and then adapting as you needed to on the run. 
LOVE the improved swim and best swim in IM when you thought it would be rough.  Huge mental demon slayed there!!
2010-11-28 10:30 AM
in reply to: #3227726

San Diego, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Great Race Report Kathy. I love the pictures. It's great that your family could be there at the finish line to greet you.

2010-11-28 11:41 AM
in reply to: #3227726

East Side of the Bay
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
The fun of the first 122 miles was gone.......I just had to laugh when I read this KathyG.  Only you could write it. 

So happy that this race represented so many victories for you.  Fabulous PB swim, well executed bike and a stick with the plan run.  A total race PB and I think the most important of all: IM wisdom and perspective.  There is not a more deserving finisher in this race than you.  Congrats!!!!
2010-11-28 1:05 PM
in reply to: #3227726

Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Well that was well worth the wait I'm glad you had such an amazing journey this year and happy to have helped you in some small way   You have grown tremendously as an athlete this year and it will serve you well in the future.  TO 2011~~ Can't hardly wait

2010-11-28 3:11 PM
in reply to: #3227726

Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
HOLY PR in SPITE of all the obstacles Batman!
WOOHOO! Way to go, Kathy!

Can't wait to see you do it again next year. Well, perhaps without the Lyme's stuff, though
2010-11-28 4:55 PM
in reply to: #3227726

Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Fantastic job Kathy.  You are such an inspiration.  You have overcome so much this season and you came out and set an IM PR.  On to 2011 and the adventure it holds!
2010-11-28 5:03 PM
in reply to: #3227726

Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Great job Kathy.  You did it with style!  Love the addition of all of the photos.  Where is that video????

2010-11-28 5:39 PM
in reply to: #3227726

Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Amazing RR!!!! As I have said should write a book. Congrats on a fantastic race especially the PB on the swim. No one deserves it more!!!!
2010-11-28 6:49 PM
in reply to: #3227726

West Bend, WI
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida



2010-11-28 7:03 PM
in reply to: #3227726

Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
love the report!!!  awesome job kathy!!!
2010-11-28 7:28 PM
in reply to: #3227726

Hingham, Ma
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Another race report for the ages.  Well worth the wait.  I agree with MAV, you need to start writing that book.  You are a true inspiration to more people than you know.  I am so happy that you enjoyed yourself through most of the race.  Congrats on another great accomplishment.

2010-11-28 7:35 PM
in reply to: #3227726

Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
AWESOME JOB KATHY!  Thanks for being our leader here on the BT IMFL forum and for organizing the get together events leading up to the race.  I wish you many more happy finish lines in your future. 

2010-11-28 9:05 PM
in reply to: #3227726

Lexington, KY
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congratulations Kathy.  You are inspiring.
2010-11-29 6:08 AM
in reply to: #3227726

Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Way to go Kathy!  I loved reading your report - can see why it took you a while to write it!
2010-11-29 7:16 AM
in reply to: #3227726

Midcoast Maine
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
I have been waiting for this report since the race...constantly checking and rechecking the Race Forum so I could read your report...always a wonderful read, very inciteful on what to expect and a real glimpse on what goes on in your head during a race of that distance.

Thank you for taking the time to share with us all - you are an inspiration. I am so encouraged to hear about the swim improvements - that's such great news!

Congratulations Kathy! I hope your 50th birthday IM is wonderful.
2010-11-29 8:10 AM
in reply to: #3227726

Dirt Road
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
2010-11-29 9:52 AM
in reply to: #3227726

Canandaigua NY
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Congratulations on not compromising and executing your plan!! Awesome day Kathy!!  Despite the obstacles you faced over the course of the year leading up to this makes your race results all the more impressive. 

I have to add that the details of the day that you remember and your ability to get thime into a well written race report is almost as impressive!  Great report and the pictures your family took add to the quality of your report!!

2010-11-29 10:45 AM
in reply to: #3227726

Hailey, ID
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Nice job! You rock!
2010-11-29 12:03 PM
in reply to: #3227726

Extreme Veteran
Waterboro, Maine
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Great race, and great report!
2010-11-29 9:12 PM
in reply to: #3227726

Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Finally got to read your report, Kathy. Great job, and congrats! It was nice to be able to see you come out to the run, and still see you strong.
I look forward to the birthday race next year. It will definitely be an awesome November 2011.
Thanks for the great report as well.
Way to go, sister!!
2010-11-29 9:33 PM
in reply to: #3229680

Highlands Ranch, CO
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
I saw you cross the finish line and I was so happy for you.
Congrats on a great race!
I love the pictures.
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