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Gulf Coast Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
Gulf Coast Triathlon
80F / 27C
Total Time = 6h 21m 18s
Overall Rank = 418/732
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 11/34
Pre-race routine:

I am writing this so long after the race that I'm not sure I remember what I did that morning. I was pretty much on my own, so I got myself up in plenty of time to have some coffee, eat a little bit, and gather up my water and nutrition for the day. Parked at Wal-Mart and walked over to the transition area. May have been able to park closer, but I think the Wal-Mart parking worked well.
Event warmup:

Got in the water for a few minutes. Warmer than last year maybe and similar wave action. Or so it seemed. I kept telling my HB friends that the waves would subside once the water got deeper and the rest of the swim wouldn't be too bad. Apparently, I lied.
  • 50m 53s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 25s / 100 yards

Holy cow! I started the swim better than last year and was more quickly able to settle into the wave action. But I kept expecting the water to calm down like it did last year, and it never did. In fact, it was progressively getting worse. I was very pleased that I managed to stay calm and relaxed with the 4-foot waves towering over my head and kept swimming except for the few times I needed to regroup after getting a face full of water. Then, we swam into this enormous and extremely dense school of fish. I kept thinking we would swim out of it, but not until the water became much shallower. I was concerned I would swallow one (ugh!) and they kept getting between my toes. Could not see the buoys over the waves, so just tried to stay focused on the big condo behind the finish and the other swimmers around me. While I was swimming well, in my focus on staying relaxed, I was not moving very fast. The shore was finally near, but that's when the rip current kicked in. I was quickly and forcefully being swept west of the finish line and could not get back toward that general direction. I thought if I could just get my feet down then I might be able to wade, but as long as the water was still chest deep, I was too buoyant in my wetsuit and just kept getting swept back off my feet. It was frustrating. I know to ride rip currents out, but I really didn't want to end up. Finally, I was out and took a little jog several hundred feet across the beach to get to the swim finish. Slowest HIM swim ever.
What would you do differently?:

Try to swim a little more strongly just to finish more quickly. Fastest lady was a full 20 min faster than me.
Transition 1
  • 04m 30s

I thought this was longer, so pleased to see it was similar to last year (I think).
What would you do differently?:

Always I can go faster. Practice might be a good idea.
  • 3h 10m 20s
  • 56 miles
  • 17.65 mile/hr

I had looked back at my logs and while I did not have as much continuous saddle time as last year, I did have more overall volume on the bike. I was not expecting as strong a bike as last year...I just hadn't felt strong in much of my training. It was windy at the start, but not awful (yet), and I knew most of that wind would come on the return trip. As I made that last turn back onto 79, I was quite pleased and a little surprised to see I was fairly close to last year's time. Now, we were into the wind a bit, but even when I got ready to turn back onto the beach, I thought I would be finishing just a smidge over last year's time. That's when we found the real wind. At least 20-30 mph headwinds that gusted viciously between the tall buildings. I was barely pedaling at some points and truly thought I would be blown off the bike at others. I put my foot down once (and I heard a couple of people did get blown off). That last 5+ mile stretch took forever, dropping me from an 18+ mph average to around 17.5 mph. Garmin had me going as slow as 9 and 10 mph at times into the wind. It really sucked. And was scary. I was never so glad to run.
What would you do differently?:

I ended up throwing my bento box away. It was driving me crazy. Then, I had no place for my gel flask, so it went to. I survived okay, but it was probably not a good idea to dump my nutrition when I still had close to an hour on the bike before the run. I need to rectify this situation. I hate carrying stuff and my little bike does not have a lot of extra room.
Transition 2
  • 03m 21s

This was slow on purpose. I needed to gather myself before heading out on the run, I was so stressed by the final miles of the ride.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I think taking the extra time was a good idea.
  • 2h 12m 15s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 06s  min/mile

So, running is treating me well these days. It was a slow start...still recovering from the bike...but once I got going, I felt great. I walked a bit extra at the aid stations. My legs were most definitely tired and the mile or so between each was about as much as I could handle. I don't consider this run time to be very fast, so at 4th in my AG, you can see how the course really affected everybody. I suspect several ladies rode hard and fought that crazy wind, which probably took a significant amount of remaining energy out of their legs. I don't remember many details of the run other than I followed a nice looking guy wearing Newtons for a while.
What would you do differently?:

Go ahead and start the real running sooner and not walk so much at the aid stations. I was 1 minute exactly down on 10th...being more aggressive could have made the difference in being able to place. Qualified for Nationals (Long Course) anyway. This was by far the hardest HIM I've done. But it is still my second fastest time at the distance (by a mere few seconds)...even faster than Augusta with its downhill swim. I know, at my age, this upward trend won't last, but I am riding it for all its worth right now!
Post race
Warm down:

They had catchers at the finish line this year, which was good 'cause I needed catching. I was good after a few steps, though. Then, needed to sit before getting food and drink.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Crazy weather. Not quite enough training.

Event comments:

I just love PCB and this race. I am thinking of making it an annual trip.

Last updated: 2012-04-08 12:00 AM
00:50:53 | 2112 yards | 02m 25s / 100yards
Age Group: 19/34
Overall: 580/732
Performance: Below average
Suit: Blue Seventy Helix Full
Course: Same as it always is. Straight out about 1/2 mile, left turn, straight back.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: High
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 04:30
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
03:10:20 | 56 miles | 17.65 mile/hr
Age Group: 21/34
Overall: 443/732
Performance: Average
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: Same course as last year. Along the beach, out 79, a couple of out and backs before heading back on 79.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:21
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:12:15 | 13.1 miles | 10m 06s  min/mile
Age Group: 4/34
Overall: 443/732
Performance: Good
Course: Back out along the windy beach, around St. Anthony's, and home again.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 2
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] 4

2012-06-29 11:17 AM

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Madison, MS
Subject: Gulf Coast Triathlon
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