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Ironman Florida - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
Ironman North America
68F / 20C
Total Time = 14h 53m 22s
Overall Rank = 2047/2800
Age Group = M50-54
Age Group Rank = 166/200
Pre-race routine:

PB&J bagel, hot chocolate.
Event warmup:

Walk from condo to special-needs bag drop-off, then to T1 to drop off bottles, etc,
  • 1h 33m 54s
  • 4156 yards
  • 02m 16s / 100 yards

I was worried about the wave action in the water after Friday morning’s practice swim. I was pretty certain if it was as bad, I would be extremely lucky to get out of the water before the cutoff. KathyG and I were high-fiving each other when we got out there and saw how light the waves were. One GU 30 minutes prior to the start, and a second as I was trying to walk without falling between laps; although I DID step into a hole right in front of the lifeguard and went down into the water to keep from jamming my ankle.
I started about mid-pack, and about 150 feet over to the right from the buoys, after looking at the currents. All through the first lap my biggest concern was keeping a little open space in front of me so I wouldn’t keep getting kicked. I did have a couple people around me who swam up against me, and some very lightweight woman who thought she could swim over me… she couldn’t get over the floating whale! A little nudge straightened her out onto a better path. The second lap was much more open since so many people were ahead of me, but I did have one guy who kept swimming a zigzag pattern in front of me the entire lap!
I was planning a 1:45 swim, and I was very pleased that when I got out of the water, nobody was standing there to pull my timing chip off. The first lap was 43:55, which was a minute better than my hoped-for time. My second lap was right at 50 minutes, even though I didn’t look for the clock. Trying to get the wetsuit off my upper body, my right hand didn’t want to come out for what seemed the longest time. Dropped down for the wetsuit peelers, and then it was off to transition. I saw Briana with a smile on her face as I was going into the stripper area, so I was a happy man!

What would you do differently?:

I don’t know that I would change anything. I felt like I positioned myself as well as could be expected spatially, and knowing I am not a fast swimmer, I didn’t see any sense in forcing people to swim over me or into me by being more to the front of the pack.
Transition 1
  • 15m 17s

The room was full when I got into transition, so I sat down right next to the pile of bags already left by the departing racers. I felt pretty good at this point. I somewhat slowly dried my feet, changed into dry clothes and loaded up the chamois butter. Filled my pockets with the Infinit baggies and I was out the door.
What would you do differently?:

Not too much differently, other than trying to be a little faster. I think not worrying about trying to find a chair helped, actually, since where I sat was right between two volunteers who were keeping things light-hearted yet were very efficient in helping me get bike stuff out and swim stuff back into the bag. Love those guys!
  • 6h 41m 23s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.74 mile/hr

It seems like a really LONG run to get to the bike, but having volunteers standing there in the aisle with your bike ready and with lots encouraging enthusiasm, makes for a really great bike start. Crossed the mount line and got over to the left side, with people taking the time to read your name off the bib and hollering support. Once I got on the bike, I was trying to get my Garmin reset but for some reason it didn’t want to budge, so I said “heck with it. I will let it beep every mile and I will use that as the reminder to drink”. That worked out really well, as it turned out – definitely something to think about for the next time. I knew the first few miles it is just a matter of us getting in tune with the bike after the swim, and there were for some reason a lot of riders jockeying for position right off the bat. I got myself into a fairly smooth pedal stroke, not pushing too hard but passing more than the number of those passing me. There were some cross winds between the condos on the way out to 79, but fairly light.
I typically don’t smile a lot, but I was grinning ear-to-ear when we got to the overpass and I was passing riders going UP the climb. I went by 8-9 riders, saying something to each one of them as I did so. I kept thinking about last year, when Briana’s son and I were on the motorcycle, encouraging two riders as they were climbing up the hill on the way back in. One of them actually thanked Dalton for the distraction as we crested the climb, so I thought maybe I could be that distraction for somebody this time. Actually, I tried to say something to every person I passed, and almost every one that passed me. (I think I talked to more people in this event than I have EVER talked to people before!) Got to see Mike’s family and Briana about mile 40, and that was a great mental lift.
We had winds most of the ride, and some of us would say the direction shifted at some point. There wasn’t anything stronger than what we were used to riding in Austin. I really enjoyed the trip back in on Hwy 20, because I was hitting some 20-25 mph speeds at times, even though there were a number of rollers in this section. That little bit of tailwind was a perfect break between the first half of the ride and the last 17 miles. The trip back down Beach was an adventure with much stronger cross winds. This was the windiest conditions I have ridden in with the disc cover, so I was very cautious about a rider being in front of me or when the one guy passed me on this stretch.

What would you do differently?:

I think with some more bike work, I can be a stronger rider and would be willing to push harder from the turnaround point on back in. The stomach-pounding of the kachunk-kachunk going through the out-and-back at halfway managed to mangle my bowels and kidneys, so I know there is a potty stop that will be on the schedule as long as that road is the way it is. I need to do a better job of coordinating my water stops with any porta-potty stops, and save a few minutes here and there.
Transition 2
  • 13m 43s

I felt really good getting off the bike. I know now I held back on the bike a bit, but I also knew I had another 26.2 miles before I could call this “done”… something I had never done up to this point. I kept the cycling clothes and arm warmers on, changed socks and shoes, talked to a couple of the riders who finished the bike with me, and headed for the porta-potty before the run.
What would you do differently?:

Speed it up… that’s about it.
  • 6h 09m 5s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 05s  min/mile

I started out with the 4/1 plan as Briana and I had worked on. Did that for 4-5 cycles and then realized the heart rate was staying up a little bit. Dr. V had told me that whenever it felt that way, I would need to back off. So I switched to a 3/1 and then a 2/1 for about another 6 miles, through the park on the first lap. I was spending too much time re-calculating runs and walks, so I settled on a 1/:30, 1/:30, 1/1 so the 5 minute timeframe on the Garmin would fit, and I think that worked really well. The nutrition plan for the run worked out pretty well. I started out with the Shot Blocks, chewing one every other walk section, and mixing that in with water and the orange/mango Perform from the aid stations. After two packs of the gels, I was tired of them so I decided to stick with the water every aid station and Perform every other one, so the stomach wouldn’t get too crazy or bloated. On the second lap through the park, I did grab some grapes, thinking they were mostly water with fairly light solid matter, and those were really good! So I made a point to grab them every second or third aid station. When I got back up into town and the air was cooling, I decided to take one of the chicken broth cups and drink half of one with some water to chase it, and see how that worked with my stomach. That was awesome, so the broth became the alternate with the grapes. It all worked out really well, so I was excited about that
I was taken aback by all the positive support all the way around the course. Even though it was dark at the bottom of the park on the 2nd lap, the volunteers kept the noise up so you could hear them from the first aid station to the second, and that was pretty cool. I was whipped by a dominatrix as I passed by the loud groups in the neighborhood toward the end of the laps, I got to high-five Santa Claus and I had fun with all the LSU supporters, so it definitely made the time – and miles – pass by in a great way. I came across a lot of the BT folks along the run who recognized the jersey, so I want to thank all of them for the support. It made a BIG difference! I saw Kathy 3 times on the run course and Sue once, and that was great. I did see Mike’s family and Briana just before and again just after the turnaround, so another mental life. I finally for the first time asked what the time was, and realized I could actually finish around 10:00pm rather than the 11:30 I had expected, so I was almost floating on a cloud after that.
I did walk a bit longer at about mile 24. I was finishing up a run cycle and came up on a woman who was walking. We started talking and I found out she was from Fort Worth and she had been stung by a jellyfish on the swim. She was walking a good pace, so we walked and talked a bit before she stopped at a porta-potty… told her to have a good finish and off I went. I pulled the red ribbons out of my pocket (for all my cardiac friends) and straightened them out between run segments. These 40+ people were strong supporters all year long. I think my biggest fear going in was that I might let them down if anything happened, but at this point the smile just got bigger!

What would you do differently?:

I know I will need to be better-trained on the run next time around, but overall, the race-day plan for the run held up pretty well.
Post race
Warm down:

One slice of pizza, a cold, fresh Coke and then a massage. She worked on me so long I thought I was going to have to adopt her! Talked to Mike, his family and Briana at the massage tent, and found out Mike had had an asthma attack on the run and his inhaler had failed… what a story. Walked back to the condo with my very gracious babysitter!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I am slow, overweight and really wasn't concerned about the competitive aspect.

Event comments:

Having put items into specific Ziploc bags ahead of time is a great idea. I know it helped the organizational needs, and I know now that it will speed up transition times, if I am so inclined. Thanks to KathyG, Socks and Bar92 (Briana) for reminding me to do this!
I think the biggest factors for me were: 1) people said it many times, but - Have plan A, and plan B, and plan C. I think it is so important to the success of the effort that you remain flexible. Granted, I was not one of those trying to qualify for any podium positions, but knowing what to change in order to reach my goal was key; 2) if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it! And PLAN to enjoy it! - Yes, people complained about the wind on the bike, and even though I was worried the night before about the water, I was still going to give it my best. There were so many people who really looked like they were not enjoying the race, and I really felt bad for them… guess it is because I know what I have gone through to get here, and maybe too many people don’t think about it that way. 3) the people – I know now I could not have managed myself through this with Briana there. You absolutely have to have people around you that “get it”, who know what they need to do, who know what YOU need to get it done; the volunteers – I have volunteered at a number of events, but until you experience this level of support, I don’t think you appreciate the intensity of the day. From the sweet bike handler who handed my bike to me ever so lovingly, to the guys in transition who essentially were my smiling babysitters the whole time, to all the run aid station support, and even the police officers wishing you a great race as you thank them, these people absolutely made my day what it was; the spectators – it was truly inspiring to see Mike’s family and Briana when I did, but there were so MANY people out there supporting every athlete that went by (not just their own athlete). There were people sitting on their porches all along the run course, there were people driving along the bike course with cowbells, clappers and screaming support as they went by; and finally, the “home support team” – I didn’t look at the phone, or FaceBook, or text messages, until about 3 hours after I finished the event, but the outpouring of support totally knocked my socks off! The involvement with the AHA folks, my cycling and triathlon friends at home, my family, my new cardiac triathlon team, IronHeart Racing… heck, even a guy I met on an airport shuttle who asked about the “Cardiac Ironman” on the side of my hat, and followed me on the athlete tracker.
I enjoyed every single minute of this journey!

Last updated: 2010-11-21 12:00 AM
01:33:54 | 4156 yards | 02m 16s / 100yards
Age Group: 175/200
Overall: 2158/2800
Performance: Good
Suit: Nineteen Sleeveless
Course: Long rectangle out and back
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 76F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 15:17
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
06:41:23 | 112 miles | 16.74 mile/hr
Age Group: 163/200
Overall: 1923/2800
Performance: Good
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Single lap, 2 out and back legs
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 90
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 13:43
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
06:09:05 | 26.2 miles | 14m 05s  min/mile
Age Group: 166/200
Overall: 2047/2800
Performance: Good
Course: 2 laps
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %2
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2011-11-11 10:59 AM

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Subject: Ironman Florida

2011-11-11 8:04 PM
in reply to: #3898524

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congratulations on a great race!!!
2011-11-12 9:08 AM
in reply to: #3898524

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West Palm Beach
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congratulations Ironman! You are awesome! An inspiration to all the people out there with cardiac issues :-)....yes, it can be done!
2011-11-12 10:41 AM
in reply to: #3898524

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Congrats Pat!

You did awesome and clearly had fun out of there. IM is bigger than finish time but the experience and the inspiration you give to many. You have overcome a lot to do this race....very impressive!

I look forward to see all you accomplish in your continuing journey.

We enjoyed hanging out with you throughout the long weekend. You always gave me a boost when I saw you on the run. Yes we were so glad water conditions were best of the week.

2011-11-12 4:48 PM
in reply to: #3898524

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Williamston, Michigan
Gold member
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Awesome job out there Pat !! Congratulations
2011-11-12 5:11 PM
in reply to: #3898524

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Gloucestershire, England
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

Great job !


2011-11-12 8:00 PM
in reply to: #3898524

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Williamsburg, VA
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Pat congrats IRONMAN!! What a true inspiration! You are right this race was a truely awesome experience! Loved the race report.
2011-11-12 10:23 PM
in reply to: #3898524

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Lacey, Washington
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Pat, you ROCKED THIS! I was so incredibly thrilled to follow you all day and see you just crushing it! Incredible job IRONMAN! You rock!
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