General Discussion Race Reports! » Ironman Florida Rss Feed  
Moderators: k9car363, alicefoeller Reply

Ironman Florida - TriathlonFull Ironman

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
Ironman North America
Total Time = 15h 13m 17s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

The alarm went off at 3:15am and I popped out of bed, I was EXCITED! The day was finally here! I started the coffee pot and immediately got my bagel toasted. One thing I have learned is that when I am really nervous I can’t eat so while the nerves were at bay I decided to eat. Bagel and coffee went down without a problem. Then I started to get dressed while eating a Clif bar, this is when the nerves started to set in. Steph left for her shift and the rest of us gathered our things before heading to drop off our special needs bags. It was about a mile to drop off bags and I was getting more and more nervous but tried to stay calm. We then got to transition and sound Steph so she could mark us all up. After one last hug I popped in my iPod and started towards my bike. Luckily the back tire still had air!!!! So I did one final pump and added my bottles before the rest of the guys found me. Made a porta potty stop then we found a spot by the morning clothes bag drop area to hang out. I moved on from the half eaten Clif bar to a bag of Chomps which I got about halfway through. At one point I really thought I was going to vomit, being around so many other nervous athletes were really getting to me, so we started to put on wetsuits and walked out to the deck which helped. The sun wasn’t up yet even at 6:30 but then it slowly started to rise and we could see the water which was like glass! Hooray!!! I started chatting with a girl next to me which also helped my nerves. Finally I told the guys I really needed to get in the water, I always feel better once I get in the water and acclimated to the water temperature. I handed off my tube socks to Alan and slowly waded in the water. It felt amazing! I got water in my wetsuit then started to slowly swim out, no nerves, no panic attack…I felt great! I practically leapt out of the water; I was so ready to go! By the time I was out, the guys decided to get in so I waited for them while the pros went off. Then it was a quick 10 minutes to get into the corral and find a place.

I made it known to the guys I was going to be the last person in the water. I do not do well when I am hammered in the water so I was going to avoid contact as much as possible, at least in the very beginning. I said my good byes to the group and slowly made my way to the very back right corner. The cannon went off and 2500 people ran into the water while I slowly made my way in. I totally eased my way into it but it worked, no panic for me!

  • 1h 25m 9s
  • 4156 yards
  • 02m 03s / 100 yards

“Keep Calm And Carry On”
I was still in shock that I felt so good in the water. I kept the eyes closed while underwater to avoid seeing anything that would freak me out but I did have to sight more to avoid running into people. I think my placement in the water was good as the current was strong and really moved me to the turn buoy without much trouble. I was more in the mix then I wanted to be but I handled it pretty well. Once we turned the sun was right in my face but luckily there were many of people ahead of me so I just followed the heads. Someone commented that there were jelly fish in the area so I sorta sprinted to the next buoy to avoid them. The sighting on the way back to the shore wasn’t as great as I ended up way inside the buoys but I was still able to correct that without too many issues. Before I knew it I was touching sand and ready to run the beach towards the second lap.

I was ecstatic! I survived the first loop! I even got to see Steph and made sure to ham it up for the camera. I was more comfortable this time in the water and didn’t wait as long before I started swimming. It was much more spread out and I felt like I was swimming in Jordan Lake again. (Little did I know, Scottie saw a shark when we started lap 2! I would have DIED!) The first turn buoy again came very fast and before I knew it I was turning again towards shore. I got brave and started looking underwater where I would see a few jelly fish then quickly shut my eyes. The last bit of the swim seemed to take forever, I was so excited to complete this leg, which really terrified me, and move on to the rest of the race

Transition 1
  • 08m 3s

I popped up out of the water and was just thrilled to be done, I took it in and was like…damn I just did an Ironman swim! Again, a surreal moment!
Everyone was walking but I felt great so I trotted into transition and yelled my number and told the volunteers to look for pink! Worked my way through the railing into T1. There were people changing in the hallway which scared me because I knew this would be a crowded area, but as I moved through the room I found a nice row of chairs and a Volunteer just finishing with someone. So I fished through my bag and found my snack size bag with the piece of gum that I shoved in my mouth, it was so nice to get rid of all of the salt in my mouth. She asked what I needed and I had her help me with my bike jersey and the arm warmers. Because I had all my nutrition in my pockets already it took no time to get in and out. I took one final glance I decided less is more and off I went. Out the door I got slathered in sunscreen on my legs, my arms were covered in arm warmers and the sleeves of my jersey so I figured I would be ok. A volunteer grabbed my bike and I was off. Just before I jumped on the bike I checked the back tied just to be safe. All checked out so off I went!

  • 7h 25m 2s
  • 112 miles
  • 15.10 mile/hr

“You Will Do This”
As soon as I started on the bike I felt that frickin head wind. I started out “stupid slow” which in my case wasn’t hard considering the wind, but I just controlled my breathing by chewing on the gum and getting into a comfortable position. I was passed by everyone! It was so disheartening but I knew I had to settle in and have my own race. The first half of the bike was me just fighting the wind, it was almost comical. I just kept thinking, the tail wind will be awesome; the tail wind will be awesome. About 7 miles into the bike Alan passed me and not far behind was Scottie, I was shocked I beat them out of the swim!!! I would get comments on my pink and black arm warmers and the saying I had written on my hand…one being “You WILL Do This” which was said at the athlete’s dinner and became my mantra for the bike. I stopped at the first aid station to grab a water and check the back tire, it felt a bit squishy but one of the volunteers said it felt ok to him, so off I went. I was obsessing over this tire, so I passed a bike mechanic helping someone else and asked if she had a bike pump. I hopped off and had her check my back tire, which was right at 120 psi which is what I started at, so I knew I was fine I just needed to chill and ride. Al though it wasn’t really hot I knew it was going to get into the mid to upper 70s so I made sure to take in water throughout the bike. I stayed on top of that and drinking my Accelerade and eating Chomps and gels. Then we turned onto the bumpy out and back road, which was pretty miserable. The highlight was that I got to see Scottie and Alan and I knew special needs was on this road. I didn’t particularly need anything, I knew to not put anything of value in there, but I grabbed my chamois cream to re-apply while in the next porta potty and grabbed the CO2s I had in there just in case.

I got a bit of tailwind at the turn around but for the rest of the ride I was still battling the wind. I tried to not let it get to me, reminding myself everyone was dealing with it. I was pretty proud of myself for not getting down in the dumps, I think I knew I had some much left to do I didn’t have time to get down. Just before the last out and back a guy rode next to me and started chatting with me, it was so nice to have someone to talk to, even for a few minutes. He had done Ironman Canada this summer and said this bike leg was harder because of the wind. As much as I dislike climbing hills I was starting to think a hilly course may not be such a bad idea. But again I tried to just stay positive. At this point, gels were not happening anymore. I didn’t feel nauseous I was just not feeling them. I kept up with water and Accelerade but also added in some peanut butter pretzels. The pretzels ended up sucking all of the moisture out of my mouth and then I couldn’t seem to get enough water! I ended up stopping 3 times for porta potty breaks, taking more water and a salt tab at each stop. I also noticed my left knee was really tight. About 2 months again my IT band started to get angry on a run, then I started to flare up on the bike. I took about 4 weeks off from all running and hardly biked the 2 weeks prior to the race. As I got off my bike at the last stop I could barely bend my knee, this was not going to be good for a marathon, but again I wouldn’t let it get to me. I was about 10 mile from the minute, so happy to be done when the headwind really kicked up. I was on the verge of tears, I just wanted to be done and this wind was literally killing my spirit. I was barely moving and I felt I could have walked faster. I would get so angry when people told me I was “almost there” which is just about the worst thing you can say to people, I’m not almost there until I see transition! FINALLY, I turned onto the last road and knew I was .8 miles from transition. The pros were already finishing (actually I think the winner was already done) and I still had a marathon left. Oh well, this is my race and I have plenty of time to finish. My bike and tires held up and now the rest of the race was all on me.

Transition 2
  • 06m 44s

A volunteer grabbed my bike and I walked to transition, barely able to bend my left leg, I tried to get myself together as I walked into the change room. A volunteer quickly grabbed my bag and led me to a chair. She dumped everything out and asked what I needed. I did a complete change so I just started stripping things off and putting clothes on. Putting that running skirt on felt like HEAVEN! I had been in those shorts since 4am! I took one last look over everything, deciding to keep the arm warmers on in case I got cold and deciding not to bring the sunglasses. I thanked the volunteer, grabbed some water and slowly made my way out. I had no desire to run, my knee was not happy but I knew I couldn’t walk out of transition. So I started trotting, and I’m glad I did since Steph was right there asking how I was “It Sucks” was all I could get out, but I said it in a half joking way so as to not worry her.
  • 6h 08m 22s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 04s  min/mile

“You Can’t Stop Me”
My Dad got me a shirt that said “You Can’t Stop Me” and I wore it on race morning as a reminder of him and of the fact that NO ONE was going to stop me from doing this. I started trotting along trying to take in all of the spectators and cheers. The energy was there but my knee felt like a rubber band about to pop. I knew it wouldn’t but with each step it was more and more painful. I decided to run in between each aid station and walk through each station. At each station I took in water to keep hydrated and that’s about it. Gels didn’t taste good and I didn’t want to try chomps. About mile 3 I decided to eat my Honey Stinger waffle which was delightful. Soon I saw Alan looking strong and we exchanged words in passing. Then I found Scottie and immediately burst into tears. I told him my knee hurt and he said he hurt too but to just walk the aid stations and walk whatever else I needed, I had plenty of time to finish. We hugged and kissed and I felt so much better seeing him. I think I ran one or two more miles before I started just power walking. I remember last December during my 50k when I hit a point where I was just happier walking, so I did and didn’t care the pace. I was in that same boat this time, but I decided to “mall walk” and really keep moving. I times my miles and they were 14 minute miles, I was running/trotting 11 minute miles so I figure I was ok keeping up this power walk. I pretty much stuck with water during the run; my stomach felt fine and wanted to keep it like that. Occasionally I took a ginger chew to give me something to do and prevent any upset stomach. As I exited the nature reserve the sun started to set, I really wanted to be done with the first lap before the sun went down but I had to readjust my plan a bit and allow for the walking. As I said I felt great except for my knee, I just needed to keep my spirits up. I saw Scottie and Alan again, heading out on their second lap. I told Scottie I might need to walk the whole second lap but he said I had plenty of time and just do what I needed to do. I wanted him to know I would be later than expected but tried to be a little stronger then our last meet up.

Reaching the 13.1 turnaround was exciting but also discouraging, people were finishing and I had another 13.1 miles to go. I tried to stay upbeat about it and “sailed” around the turn around cone. I saw Steph and stopped to chat. I gave her my arm warmers in case I didn’t get my special needs back and told her my knee was killing me and to let Mom and Dad know I was ok but going slower than I anticipated. At special needs I grabbed my headlamp, long sleeve pink shirt and a huge handful of Salt and Vinegar Pringles. I started trotting while eating, feeling energized by seeing Steph, but as I almost choked on the chips I decided to power walk while eating. I think this was the last time I would run. I could not gather the strength to run with such pain in my knee. I was swinging my leg around to avoid bending it and I could feel the change in gait on my right ankle and left hip. So I was going to power walk this lap. I was swinging my arms and just trying to tick off the miles. On this lap I started on the chicken broth which really was as amazing as everyone says it is, not only for the sodium but also the warmth.

The volunteers were so awesome, catering to whatever we needed, though I requested a bacon cheeseburger but never got it…oh well maybe next time. The later in the race, the more talkative people got. I chatted with a lady for a while, a guy from Minnesota and some young guys that went to NC State. People had the LSU/Alabama game on so I would try to hear the score or at least some of the game.

I started to lose it a bit while leaving the park, I knew I had still quite a few miles to go and as I tried to calculate how much time I had left to walk to started to lose momentum. I went down to about 16 minute miles. While I knew I had plenty of time to finish I was just so ready to stop walking. I felt blisters forming on the pads on my feet. Pink Kinvaras, while cute, are not great walking shoes. At mile 24 I started crying, I was SO ready to be done. I was cussing my knee and swore I would never do this again. I knew I still had about 30 minutes left to walk and it just seemed like an eternity.

But then somehow, I got to 25 and I KNEW I was so close. There was really no way I could run so I walked until I could see the lights. I almost took a wrong turn as the final turn was not well marked and it seemed the volunteer went home early or something. Then I saw the railing and the bright lights, I started trotting and people started to clap me in. I still had some sense of humor as I asked people how my hair looked. HA!
Then I saw the glow of the first arch, and then the car…was that it? No! Then I saw ALL of the bright lights…that was it! The pearly gates. I made it! I wanted to stop my mind and remember every single detail. There weren’t many spectators left but I didn’t care. Some girls were announcing names and part of me wanted to stop until the real announcer took over. Luckily he did just before I could see him. This was it Jennifer, pay attention, this is what you worked for! This is the moment you dreamed of while you were dying in the 100 degree heat on your bike, while you were swimming at 5:30 in the morning in the creepy gym pool, while you pounded out miles early on Sunday mornings…this is why you did that! I turned around and was the only one in the chute so I started high fiving everyone, then I heard “Raleigh North Carolina” and then I heard it….”Jennifer, You Are An Ironman!” I threw my hands in the air and remember looking up to the sky and thinking my Grandparents then looking ahead and seeing a guy run next to me taking pictures (I would look cute in next year’s brochure, no?) then looking straight ahead with the biggest smile on my face as I knew Mom and Dad would be watching me online. As I crossed the finish line I skipped then my emotions took over and I started sobbing into the arms of my catcher.

Post race
Warm down:

I had the best catcher ever, she was like my Mom. I kept saying “I did it, I can’t believe I did it.” She had me walk, asked if I needed medical, and IK said no my feet just hurt so badly. She got me my coveted medal and a bottle of water. I think I was still in shock as she moved me through the finish line. I got my hat and shirt then she grabbed my stuff as I had my finisher’s picture taken. Then she wrapped me up in a mylar blanket and gave me a hug saying “I am so proud of you.” It was like hearing it from my parents, I knew they were proud of me too. I turned the corner and saw Scottie and Steph and lost it AGAIN! Yes I can be a tad emotional. I tried to gather myself and then all I wanted was to sit, so I plopped in a chair and inhaled 2 pieces of the best tasting cold pizza ever! I started shaking from the cold so after chatting a few more minutes with Alan and Scottie, Steph and I walked to get my massage. It felt so good to lie down! After that Steph and I sat for a bit in the lobby to warm up before slowly making my way to transition to pick my stuff up and then back to the condo.
After an ice bath, recovery shake and a shower I bundled up and had a ham sandwich while waiting for the guys to arrive with Martin. I so wanted to stay until midnight but I was just so cold and tired I couldn’t do it. The guys came in just as I was closing my eyes on the couch. We chatted for a bit before I finally called it a night.

As I sit here still sore from the race, I am still in shock that I did it. I came back to about 90 Facebook messages and text messages. Scottie and I arrived home after a VERY long day of driving back to a big red M dot on our front door by our dear friends Meg and Jon. I only want to wear my Finishers Jacket, even though Scottie said I was not allowed to wear it the same day he does. I immediately put the 140.6 magnet that Brad gave me on my car. I am so proud of what I did.

People ask if I will do another one. At mile 18 of the run I would have said no way in hell. But now I feel like I do want to do it again, but not for a while. I have unfinished business, I want to go in 100% healthy and no stupid knee issues to hold me back. But I think I need to have a life again that doesn’t revolve around training. Scottie and I made dinner tonight together and it was so nice to cool and eat dinner together. I look forward to sleeping in on the weekend, walking the dogs and going out for brunch. I’m looking forward to painting the house. I want to travel without a bike and a pair of running shoes. Triathlon and Ironman will always be a part of my life but I look forward to not having it rule my life.

And now that you have read all of that, you can understand why I was so excited at the end:

Last updated: 2010-11-11 12:00 AM
01:25:09 | 4156 yards | 02m 03s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 08:03
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:25:02 | 112 miles | 15.10 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 06:44
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:08:22 | 26.2 miles | 14m 04s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2011-11-08 9:44 PM

User image

Extreme Veteran
Raleigh, NC
Subject: Ironman Florida

2011-11-08 11:09 PM
in reply to: #3895099

User image

Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
First here too! Let me just say that that was some serious HTFU! You expressed it well and I felt your pain! I am not sure I could have finished with that pain. You are truly an Ironman!
2011-11-09 6:29 AM
in reply to: #3895099

User image

Wilmington, NC
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Kudo's Jen.

Congrats on awesome achievment. I thought you were a pretty tough cookie when I read that Nature Trail 50k report, but this confirms it.

2011-11-09 7:01 AM
in reply to: #3895099

User image

Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Great job out there.  It was tough indeed on the bike.  Congratulations!!! 
2011-11-09 3:16 PM
in reply to: #3895099

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2011-11-09 6:24 PM
in reply to: #3895099

Extreme Veteran
The Center of My Universe
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Great Job Ironman!  It was a great day out there-my first too. Well done!

2011-11-10 5:29 AM
in reply to: #3895099

Apex, NC
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Nah, those weren't tears...I pinched my finger in the door....yeah that's it.

So proud of you Jen.  I've never raced that distance, and never will, but having been there in '10 with Paul, I felt like I was with you every step of the way.  I understood what you were going through, as I saw it all day last year.  I know you're proud of your accomplishment.  Never forget it.

2011-11-10 8:34 AM
in reply to: #3895099

, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

AWESOME job out there Ironman!!!  It was SO good to see familiar faces on the course.


2011-11-10 12:02 PM
in reply to: #3895099

Johns Creek, Georgia
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Way to represent Pirate Nation!  Awesome job Jen!  YOU MY FRIEND ARE AN IRONMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2011-11-10 6:35 PM
in reply to: #3895099

Chapel Hill, NC
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
I cried just reading your race report - way to stick it out on such a tough day of wind and pain. I'm so proud of you! And you looked so damn cute running thru that chute - they really ought to use you in a brochure!!!!
2011-11-10 8:01 PM
in reply to: #3895099

St. Louis
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congrats Ironman!  Way to tough it out.

2011-11-11 8:53 AM
in reply to: #3895099

Apex, north carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Gave major props on Facebook but gotta send some BT love too!!    Now go give those knees and IT bands some well earned rest!!!  
2011-11-13 10:41 AM
in reply to: #3895099

New user
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
You did great! The only reason I didn't close my eyes open during the swim was so I wouldnt open them to find myself swimming by myself to Miami.
2011-11-13 11:13 AM
in reply to: #3895099

New user

Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Loved eading your account of ironman Florida.  Congratulations that is terrific!
2011-11-13 4:04 PM
in reply to: #3895099

Williamsburg, VA
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congrats IRONMAN! From another first time finisher, your race report brought back so many memories and tears. I so miss that day! Greta finish video. I got announced well after I came across the line!
General Discussion-> Race Reports!
General Discussion Race Reports! » Ironman Florida Rss Feed