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Ironman Florida - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
Ironman North America
65F / 18C
Total Time = 13h 47m 5s
Overall Rank = 1713/2401
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 51/86
Pre-race routine:

This really all started over a year ago when Dotti Porter met me at the finish of the Patriot Half iron race and told me that I was ready for an ironman and to be at her house in Nov to register for IMFL. Well at the time I thought she was crazy, but the more I thought about it I thought she was right. So last Nov I went to her house and we registered together. Over the past year we have done most all the long training together and its been really FUN! Hard to believe that I say that because when I started to review the training plan, I was in tears thinking that I would never be able to handle the volume. Now here I am.

Dottie and I left VA on tuesday and drove to Jacksonville and stayed over night. The drive down was great, we never stopped talking about the race. Dotti gave me a beautiful scrapbook with letters from my family and friends congratulating me on this accomplishment and lots of well wishes. Wed we finished the drive into PCB. Arrived at the rental house and was happy to find a beautiful house really close to the beach. Drove to Pineapple Willys for lunch on the pier, and noticed that the gulf was very calm. We could only hope for race day to be like this day. We then went to the race site and got all the registration stuff completed.

Thursday we got up early and went down to the race site and join my fellow BTers for a swim. I was a bit nervous because the gulf seemed rough to me. I have never gotten to swim in the ocean so I really needed to get in and test myself/ We swam out to a small white bouy that is there year round to mark the course and then we came back. While out there we noticed alot of jelly fish which made me a bit nervous. Thank goodness I didnt get stung. Packed all the transition bags and special needs bags.
Met Dotti's husbands family for a late lunch and then headed to the athletes banquet. OMG I have never been in a room with that many people. The energy in there was so amazing!! Very inspiring. Disappointed that Mike Riely would not be there to announce for the race.

Friday we got up early and took the bikes out for a short test ride to make sure everything was working right. Winds were really strong at 10-25mph. Drove down to race site and dropped off the bikes and transition bags. Then waited for our families to arrive. Enjoyed a nice spagetti meal together and hit the hay early.

Event warmup:

Up at 5 am to try and force down 2 bags of oatmeal and coffe. Kevin drove Dotti and I down to the transition area. Got boddy marked and headed over to my bike. We did not take a bike pump with us figuring that we would borrow one. Not a great idea!!! Used the ladies pump right beside me, which is one that I'm not used to and it broke my valve stem. Took a spare tube and front wheel over to the bike mechanics tent and have them change it for me. I figured they would be quicker than I would. Got it changed and headed back to my bike,once I got back and started to put my wheel on, noticed that my tire was buldging on one side. all of a sudden----BANG----the tube exploded. Now I have 20 min to get my tube changed, food in my bike trans bag, wetsuit on and get to the water. Back over to the tech tent I go for them to give me another tube and fix it again. This time the mechanic made sure that the tire seated onto the wheel. Good to go! Thank god Dotti came over to check on me because she was able to get my PBJ sandwhiches to my transition bag, I got the tire on and then headed into the hotel to put our wetsuits on. Pics with the families and headed to the beach. When we got to the water,I noticed the gulf was like glass. The NE wind was a blessing. Looking down the beach I got a bit nervous as I saw 2500 people ready to do an amazing feat! 6:50 the pro gun goes off and my nerves were gone. I was ready for this. I have done the training now I'm ready to become an IRONMAN!! 7:00 gun goes off and the mass enters the water. HERE I GO!!!!
  • 1h 22m 5s
  • 4156 yards
  • 01m 59s / 100 yards

This was my best OWS ever!! I waited a few minutes as the mass entered the water so I wouldn't be in the middle of the "washing machine". A friend who is also a tri coach told me to start later and stay as close to the bouys as I could or even to the inside. I was able to sight really well. The first 800 yards or so it was imposible to find any open water. Once we rounded the turn bouy I started to notice the jellyfish. Was able to stay away from them and didnt get stung. After turning on the second turn bouy I was able to try and draft off a few guys. I have never been able to do that and it helped alot getting into the beach. As I came out of the water, I pulled the GU out from my sleeve got that down and stopped for a quick drink of water. Back out for the second lap I was able to really get into a groove and breath bilaterally and draft. Started to pass a few swimmers and as I was coming back in was getting hard to push against the current and wind. Took my time to notice how clear the water was and saw schools of silvery fish, sting rays, sand dollars and clams. How COOL!! On to the wetsuit stripers and I was done.
What would you do differently?:

Transition 1
  • 12m 48s

Ironman transitions are the coolest. The volunteers are amazing!!! I forgot a towel, so the lady sitting beside me lent me hers. Took time to get a bike jersey on, put my Uncrustables in my pockets, suncreen, then a wind breaker. I hate to be cold and with the wind I knew I would freeze on the first half the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe go a bit quicker but I was really in no rush. I wanted to enjoy this.
  • 6h 30m 2s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.23 mile/hr

Well the NE winds that kept the gulf flat was a big pain in the ass for the first half of the bike course. Headwind almost the entire 56 miles till the turn around. Got passed a good may times mostly by guys. I actually covered my bike computer because I got very discouraged to see speeds of 12 and 14 mph with me working as hard as I ws. When i got to about 35 miles into the bike I saw the lead pros on there way back. Man that was cool. They were flying!! Ate every 40 minutes and took either the water or the perform as I needed it. God uncrustables sure do taste great when you're starving. Once we got out to the first short out and back the roads really got terrible! Worse then expantion joints on the freeway. Good thing I had taken some motrin for a headache before I got to that road or I would have def needed it afterwards. Only had to stop once to use the bathroom just before the turn around. When I got to the special needs stop, I dropped off my wind breaker.I had saved my legs a bit on the first half just in case the winds didn't help on the way back. Then the tailwind hit!!! I was flying(for me) and started passing a ton of people (guys!). Met up with Glen A. he was from MD and we chatted for a few minutes and I went on. He caught back up and asked how fast I was going becuase his computer had broke. I was goin 22 and not really working to hard. He asked if he could ride behind me for awhile so he didnt push to hard on the way back. His goal was to get the bike done in 7 hours so I told him sure I think we could do that for sure. Coming back down 79 towards the city was great. Second out and back is where I finally saw Dottie. I knew that she would come close to catching me on the bike. The big bridge was a blast flying down! Once we got back on Thomas Drive the crosswinds and headwinds almost stopped me cold. Saw a young man from RIC triclub on the bike and said hi, will see him again on the run. Down the shut into transition and grabbbed my left over shotblocks out of the bento box for the run and away the bike went. Again the volunteers at this race were amazing!! Once off the bike I had realized that even if something drastically bad happened I could def walk and finish by the cut off. Was all downhill from here!!
What would you do differently?:

Probably push harder on the way back. Since this was my first IM, and the first full marathon I've ever done, I really didnt want to not have anything left in the legs.
Transition 2
  • 08m 46s

Vol had my shoes and socks all ready while I took my biking jersey of. Put a shirt on over my tri top because I had a chill. Got sunscreened by the vol and hit the road. As I was coming out of transition, Kevin and the girls were there so I took a break to give them hugs and got kisses from the girls.
  • 5h 33m 27s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 12m 44s  min/mile

After getting off the bike , I had already figured that if something bad were to happen, I def could finish this race. That being said I wanted to take some time to enjoy this run. Was pretty hungry coming off the bike so I grabbed the bag of Cheetos left from my bento box and carried them out of transition with me.Saw the family and Kevin told me to hurry up and just go but I really needed the hugs so I took my time! Once I got over to surf drive I started to eat them. My legs were feeling really great. Much better than I ever expected, so I had decided that I would stick to the original plan and do the 9 min run/1 min walk. Running down the road having all of the spectators cheering for you was a thrill that I have never had at many of my races. A few guys were yelling "look at this girl, she looks great and holy cow she's freekin eating Cheetos!!" That made me smile! Right before I crossed over to Lagoon I had gotten hot and had to take my running shirt off. Left it at the light to pick up on the way back and put in my special needs bag. Most of the water stops were not very close to my walk breaks so I ended up walking a bit more than I wanted but the breaks were welcome none the less. Once I got out to the park I chatted a bit with a lady that I played pass be passed with. Now I know that it was Maria 527. We had briefly met at the BT swim practice on Thursday but didn't find out it was her till after I got home and saw her on the highlight video.

At each water stop I would take an orange or grapes, then either water or perform. That mango flavor sucked so I had to stay away from that. I just kept plugging along. Mostly sticking to the 9/1. Loved the different themed stops. Christmas Town, a beach team, then on surf drive there was a "girl zone" with some "hot chicks" one girl had a whip and actually got me a few times.

Once I got to the half mary turn around, I had to grab a long sleeved shirt and hat from my special needs bag. Also grabbed my special candy, that I thought I would want(wrong)and a flash light. Dotti had told me that the park gets very dark when the sun goes down. On the second and third laps I got to see Kevin and the girls along with Dotti's family. Was so nice to have so many loving faces cheer you on. Abby had told me that everytime I saw her I needed to be running and thats just what I did. Well except for the hugs and kisses.

The second half I really started to need walk breaks more often and the GI issues were making an ugly appearance. I stopped at alot of really disgusting port-a-potties. Once that started I figured I must need some salt so at the water stops I started to drink the chicken broth. Oh man that really tasted like a little bit of heaven. Would run as long as I could and then walk all of the water stops and then some. Started to have some pain in my left knee and lower left shin. Came to the park and really happy that I had the flashlight. Man it was dark out there. Ran into the young boy from Richmond and he was walking. I told him that he was way to young for me to be passing him and that he needed to run with me. He had been feeling sick to his stomach for ahwile and just couldnt run. I walked with him for a little bit and it passed the time and kept my mind off my own GI issues for awhile. Started to run again and left him. Once I got close to Surf drive and the girl zone I could hear the finish line. Was funny to see a TV in the parking lot. I guess some pople are die hard football fans and also Tri fans because they didnt want to miss the LSU game or the Ironman. Started to get myself all striaghtened around and looking better so I would not look crappy at the finish. Running down Thomas Street Richmond(Samuel)boy passed me and pushed hard to the finish. Really didnt want to walk anymore but when I got close to Alvins Island my knee and hip had a different idea. I walked about 30 seconds and told myself that I was NOT walking to the finsih and started to run. There was a lady infront of me so I ran slow so I had my own time crossing the finish.

What would you do differently?:

Other than give up about 20 minutes to the potties I dont think I would have done anything different. I knew that I was probably going to do better than my goal time, and I wanted to enjoy my first Ironman.
Post race
Warm down:

Once across the Line I heard the announcer say that Susan O'Neal you are and Ironman. Thats all I needed! Then I find out that the vol that was my catcher was from Chesapeake VA. So cool! Got my medal, hat and shirt and then posed for my finishers picture. Came around the food tent and there was Kevin and the girls. We all were almost in tears! I have never felt so incredible! Not in a million years would I have thought this possible. Our bodies are amazing machines!!

Then as I was sitting putting on my sweats, and the nausea started. I grabbed a piece of pizza and a coke but could only get a bite in and didnt feel really great. Dotti had came acorss the finish line 6 min after me and then we met up! We got a pic together and then headed into the hotel to use a clean bathroom and get warm. I had hoped for a nice message after the race but all of my muscles hurt and I could barely touch my arm myself let alone have someone rubbing them. We decided to go and grab the bikes and head back to the house.

Event comments:

I would love to thank my husband Kevin,for being such a wonderfulhusband and supporter because he was out there doing alot of the training with Dotti and I for no glory. My girls let me be a slacker Mom almost all summer so I could go train and for that I am grateful.

All I can say is that without Dotti Porter talking me into doing this race and doing almost all of our training together, I would not have beat my goal time by 40 min. This is something that I had said I would NEVER DO. So glad that I did!!! Loved all the training, the race was amazing, the weather almost perfect. Who could ask for more? I will do this again!!!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2010-11-10 12:00 AM
01:22:05 | 4156 yards | 01m 59s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/86
Overall: 0/2401
Performance: Good
Suit: full sleeve promotion
Course: 1.2 mile rectangle keeping the bouys on our left then back out again!
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 69F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 12:48
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:30:02 | 112 miles | 17.23 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/86
Overall: 0/2401
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: out and back loop with 2 short smaller out and backs.
Road: Smooth  Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 08:46
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:33:27 | 26.2 miles | 12m 44s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/86
Overall: 0/2401
Course: Down Thomas drive to Surf, the over to Lagoon thru neighborhoods then out to the state park, back and then do it again!
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]

2011-11-15 7:00 PM

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Williamsburg, VA
Subject: Ironman Florida

2011-11-15 8:28 PM
in reply to: #3903526

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over the rainbow
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congratulations, Susan!  You rocked your first IRONMAN!
2011-11-17 4:06 AM
in reply to: #3903526

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, North Carolina
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

I get so choked up when I read race reports.  Congrats on an awesome accomplishment!!! 

Glad you were able to handle the tire situation, I'm sure that was stressful.  And good job not letting the headwind get you down; that was TOUGH!

Well done IRONMAN!


2011-11-17 4:33 AM
in reply to: #3903526

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Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Congratulations!! I'm so inspired. Smile
2011-11-18 8:45 AM
in reply to: #3903526

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Extreme Veteran
Raleigh, NC
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Ah I totally saw you on the run in your Wicked 10k shirt!  Congrats on a fantastic race!!!
2011-11-18 1:49 PM
in reply to: #3903526

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New user
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

You did awesome! Get used to being called Ironman, you earned it. Too bad theres only one "first" Ironman.

2011-11-18 3:00 PM
in reply to: #3906979

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Williamsburg, VA
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
jrj0924 - 2011-11-18 9:45 AMAh I totally saw you on the run in your Wicked 10k shirt!  Congrats on a fantastic race!!!
Jen thanks. Was a great time. Really starting to miss all the training. Plan to do the Shamrock marathon so that should keep me pretty busy. Have a great Thanksgiving.
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