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Great Floridian Triathlon - Ultra Distance Race - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Clermont, Florida
United States
Sommer Sports, Inc.
82F / 28C
Total Time = 15h 23m 53s
Overall Rank = 116/200
Age Group = 50-54
Age Group Rank = 1/2
Pre-race routine:

Packed the car and drove to Florida for a business conference in Destin, FL the week of the race. Continued on to Clermont on Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday, drove the course with Mark and took a quick ride up Sugar Loaf to get a feel for this epic monster (not so bad). Checked out other areas on the bike course that might be tricky (like knowing to downshift before turning onto Jalarmy road). Swam in the lake - gorgeous, calm. Registered and got all the bags for the race (wow! the bike special needs is small - will have to adjust my plans). Checked in my bike on Friday. Usual dinner of chicken marsala.
Event warmup:

We did not know until race morning whether it would be wetsuit legal and it looked highly unlikely that it would be. I prepared as though it would not be (bathing suit) and when I found out it was going to be wetsuit legal, I ran to the changing tent and switched to my trisuit. Ate a whole wheat english muffin, yogurt and hot tea for breakfast. Took a banana and gatorade with me to the race. Since I was staying with family, we walked the 400 meters over to the race start. Checked in all my bags (bike, run, 2 bike special needs, run special needs, warm up bag), pumped my tires. Stayed close to the bathroom (and used it several times). Finally headed down to the lake for a quick practice swim. Of course, since a cold front was starting to come through, the winds had picked up and the lake had a nice chop, hmmm. Water temp was perfect.
  • 1h 35m 39s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 16s / 100 yards

The chop was tough. I was glad I breath to the right side because the waves were washing over me and I could still breathe without getting a mouth full of water. Told myself not to fight it and just take it easy. It worked. I was not tense and my whole body just worked smoothly. After we rounded the first buoy I tried to breathe to my left and veered off course - so switched back to my dominate side and stayed there for the race. The last leg was great - - smooth sailing. Markers were easy to see and if not, there were plenty of colored caps in front of me. I did get a little confused at the beach. During the pre-race meeting, I understood that we were to go all the way through the finish shoot and run back down the beach and into the water. However, as I headed out that way, the photographer stopped me and sent me back down to the beach for the second lap. There was no one blocking the exit, and there were so many people on the sides, it was not obvious that the return was to the left (they looked like spectators). No worries, I got back in and repeated the same thing.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe double check exactly how the swim will work for lap 2. I was really pleased with my swim. I have a tendency to tense up because I'm working to swim too fast. As a result my arms, neck and lower back have always hurt about halfway through my races. That did not happen at all this time.
Transition 1
  • 06m 56s

I opted to skip the wet suit strippers. Although I had always wanted to take advantage of this help, I did not want to get all sandy. People run up the beach and lay down on the carpet to have their wetsuits pulled off - but, hello - - they are laying in the sand from everyone else - - don't want to have sand chaffing me the rest of the day. Transition in the tent went smooth. I used the table to spread out my gear, dried off with my towel and was out of the tent while 2 others (who were there first) were still changing.

Rank for T1 88/200

What would you do differently?:

have someone sunscreen my back - -again. I sunscreened in the morning, but apparently it came off - - I don't usually burn, but I have some very serious sunburn on my back - ouch!!
  • 8h 11m 24s
  • 112 miles
  • 13.68 mile/hr

I was very worried about the heat going into this race. The past month I had been riding in temps ranging from upper 50's to mid 70's, so anything in the 80's and over was going to be hot. My plan was to keep my heart rate between 130 and 135 and not worry about watts. It was extremely hard because coming out of transition my heart rate was in the 150's, so it took a while to get it down and then 130-135 seemed super slow and way too easy. It was all I could do to not bump it up a little bit and ride a little faster, but I knew if I did, I would be risking the run -- I had to remind myself that this little bike ride was preparation for a marathon later in the day. So while my bike pace is not what I had hoped to do for this race, I knew I had to be careful and make sure I made it through the bike, so I COULD run. I had prepared my malto mix and froze everything in insulated bottles 2 days in advance. I also froze 2 water bottles. Each of my special needs bags had one frozen bottle, wrapped in a washcloth and sealed in a ziplock back, plus a bunch of other goodies in case I wanted something different. I started with malto in my aero bottle and one frozen bottle. As I finished the aero bottle, the frozen bottle was thawed and I poured the now cold malto into the aero bottle - perfect! The aid stations were spaced every 10-12 miles - which was awesome. I realized I didn't really need all the bottles I had with me (I always train with 5 bottles so I don't get stuck somewhere without fluids) so I started ditching them to get rid of the extra weight. I took a gel about every hour and 2 electrolyte pills at the start of each lap (about every 2:45). I took extra strength tylenol about the 2 hour mark. I had a sinus headache the night before and the sinuses were bugging me. The tylenol did help get rid of the headache. I ate a rice krispy treat after the first lap and red licorice sticks after the second lap. I was continuously drinking water and had to stop at mile 50 and mile 90 to pee - - so good sign that I'm staying hydrated. I only noticed the heat when I had to slow down on the hills and boy was it brutal, a wall of heat! I was soooo glad I had put chapstick in my special needs bag. My lips were so dry and probably sunburned. After 75 miles - - I was parched and my lips were killing me.

Average Heart Rate: 133
Power: 95 (much lower than planned, due to heat)
Cadence: 83
Miles: 113 (I missed the turn off for transition and had to climb back up hill to retrace - added a mile)

What would you do differently?:

Nothing! It was perfect. I had training rides that were harder than this, however, those training rides did not involve running a marathon afterwards.

Actually - - - on second thought. I would put sunscreen in my special needs bag. I had originally put it in both my special needs bags, but took it out and put it in my run special needs bag. Better to have it on the bike during the heat of the day.
Transition 2
  • 05m 41s

nice to have someone take my bike from me and someone else to hand me my run bag. quick change out of shoes, helmet for visor. Took a little time to get my fuel belt on. I had frozen my run bottles, put them in ziplock bags and then inside a disposable insulated bag. They were still pretty cold - the water had leaked out, but malto bottles were fine. Hit the porta pot on the way out to the run.

Rank for T2 56/200

What would you do differently?:

Nothing, the extra time it took to keep the fuel bottles cold was worth it.
  • 5h 25m 29s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 12m 25s  min/mile

My plan was to keep my heart rate at 130-135, and to run a mile, walk a minute. I had fuel (malto mix) for a 6 hour run and plenty of gels). I also wanted to take advantage of what was available at all the aid stations. I quickly realized that I would be walking way too much if I stuck with that plan because the aid stations were not every mile, so as soon as I started to run, there would be an aid station. So I switched to running all the time, except for one minute at each aid station. I always take off super easy on the run and use the first 3rd of the race to cool down and get some calories in. I noticed my heart rate was hovering around 125 to 127, so decided it would be better to keep it there and see how things go. I was having problems with a stitch in my left side that was making it hard to breathe. I was also incredibly bloated from all the malto/gel on the bike (a huge gas bubble in my stomach). Hmm....what to do, what to do.....I started drinking a lot of water trying to flush my system and dilute the malto/gel mix so it would pass through my digestive system. That wasn't really working. I decided to try a little of the coke (it works as a diuretic for me, like coffee does for most people). Still not working, but I'm starting to feel better, the pain in my ribs is subsiding. I stop drinking my malto mix completely and only drink chicken broth, coke and water. This is working. At about mile 8, I take two more electrolyte pills. My pace is steady and my heart rate is steady. Even on the uphills, I slow my pace so that my heart rate stays in check. I absolutely loved it when not one, but two, awesome guys - at different times - - on the run ask me if the 52 on my calf is a mistake - "shouldn't that be a 25" - way to make my day :-). I had a huge cheering section - my family (11 people total) made a giant bed sheet painted with my name and race number. They had music and bells and whistles. It was so awesome - I could hear them cheering from a mile away. This course is great because I get to see them so many times (6 times on the run and 3 times on bike). Things were going really well, I had fallen into a pattern and soon realized that I would be needing some real calories if I was going to make the full distance. So I started to sip the malto mix again and drink tons of water along with it. I ate a few pretzels too. At one point, one of the aid stations ran out of water. I had just dumped my water (because at the prior station, the volunteer thought they were pouring water in my bottle, but it apparently was gatorade, so I was drinking a mix of water and gatorade - yuck). So, since they didn't have any water, I filled my bottle with chicken broth. Turns out it was a good move - -that chicken broth tasted so good as I sipped on it later in the pitch black. Yep. So black you can't see your hand in front of your face, nor the path you're supposed to be running on. Major-ly dark. I had a head lamp in special needs, but wanted to see if I could run without it. The glow sticks that everyone had to wear were great - without them, I'm sure I would have run smack into someone. It was only for maybe a 100 yards that it was crazy dark, the rest of the trail had enough light, so during that 100 yards I reminded myself to pick up your feet (no shuffling) so I didn't trip on something. I kept watching my time and trying to calculate when I might finish and realized that I was probably going to finish in less than 5:30. At mile 18, I was smiling - -this was as far as I had ever run and I was still steady and feeling pretty good. I had less than 9 miles left to go. By this time, EVERYONE was walking except me. I was passing people right and left. This always motivates me to keep moving. How many more can I pass? I was watching my heart rate carefully, because this is when it will start to creep up. I had to slow again on the uphill to keep it down, no messing up here and letting it get away from me this close to the end. By mile 21, my knee's were starting to ache. I only have 5 miles left. I can do 5 miles. I take two extra strength tylenol and hope they help with the knees. I pass my family one last time around mile 23 and tell myself, it's only a 5k left to go. You can do this. I run out of malto mix and don't want to take the extra time to stop at special needs. I only have 3.2 miles to go and I have gels. I will risk the digestive system backup for the instant calories of the gels. I hit the last aid station and don't stop. I'm on the home stretch. I know I have to go around the little picnic area, pass the little house on the beach, along the little stretch of park and them I'm in the final shoot. Woo, hoo! I finished in less than 5:30 and finished the race in less than 15:30. I'm stoked!!!!!
What would you do differently?:

i need to figure out how to balance the nutrition on the bike so that it doesn't back up and impact me on the run. I managed to work my way out of it - but I had 6 bathroom stops on my run - imagine my time without those stops!
Post race
Warm down:

walk around, drink water, go to the bathroom, collect my gear, give hugs to all my terrific family that came out and stayed out until I finished. They are truly awesome! Ate a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter and a banana (thanks, Janine! even though I wasn't hungry it tasted wonderful and was really what I needed at the end of the race). walked home and had a great time reliving the day with the rest of the family. Everyone signed the bedsheet banner and we took some more pictures.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

the heat. I was so glad I stuck to my plan - - it was the reason I was able to finish the race and finish it STRONG. Feels so good (especially when I see how much pain everyone else is in).

Event comments:

I love the location and the course. The police and volunteers are superb. They need to work on their website and communications a little - the information is dated (says 2010 in several of the FAQs) and there was conflicting information regarding the bike course and the swim lap counter location. Also, a pet peave of mine - -I am petite and a unisex size small is huge. I now have one more night shirt to add to my collection. It's a shame I rarely get to wear the race shirts. I just wish they would order a few extra smalls or at least some womens smalls. Plus, it amazes me that in this day and age, that there is no electronic website tracking for the athletes. For those who can't make it to the race, they like to watch the status online - not here. They said to check their facebook page, but you can't check specific athletes on a facebook page. People like to see the splits as they are happening. It's a small venue and part of the charm for me, is the smaller size. There is very little in the "Athlete Village" at registration - - a bike shop booth. The swim booth didn't show up until race day - -I don't bring money on race day, nor do I have the time to shop - I'm racing - and they're gone by the time I finish. This was my first Ironman distance and I highly recommend it for other first timers. Not a lot of hoopla - -but lots of friendly locals and a pretty bike ride with challenging hills (don't be fooled, there are definitely hills in Florida).

Last updated: 2012-01-27 12:00 AM
01:35:39 | 4224 yards | 02m 16s / 100yards
Age Group: 1/2
Overall: 143/200
Performance: Good
two laps of 1.2 miles
Suit: sleeveless
Course: because of the winds, the buoys kept drifting away. Someone on a jet ski kept moving them back in place. Very choppy the first leg of the triangle, less choppy on the second leg and smooth sailing on the 3rd leg.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 78F / 26C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 06:56
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
08:11:24 | 112 miles | 13.68 mile/hr
Age Group: 1/2
Overall: 151/200
Performance: Good
3 laps: Lap 1: sugarloaf hill Lap 2: the wall (a hill with 3 hills)
Wind: Some
Course: loved this course. It's beautiful and challenging. Several short steep climbs and several long rolling climbs. Wish I could have gotten more speed on the downhills - but one has a roundabout at the bottom and on some of the others, wind slowed me down.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:41
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:25:29 | 26.2 miles | 12m 25s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/2
Overall: 85/200
Performance: Good
two hills at the east end of the course.
Course: 3 loops in the waterfront park on the bike/run trail. Each full loop is about 8.8 miles and there are 5 aid stations on the full loop.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2012-10-21 9:57 PM

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New user

Naperville, Illinois
Subject: Great Floridian Triathlon - Ultra Distance Race

2012-10-21 11:18 PM
in reply to: #4462875

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Las Vegas
Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon - Ultra Distance Race
Well done!  I am signing up for 2013 because I've heard it's a great race!
2012-10-28 5:12 PM
in reply to: #4462913

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Extreme Veteran
Frederick, Maryland
Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon - Ultra Distance Race
Hey, I'll add my congrats! I was there too, but still working on my race report...lots to say for a first time Iron distance. It was a great day for the race despite the heat and hills. I so do enjoy warm weather and I thought this was pretty good, though perhaps a bit less wind on 19 and maybe a tad cooler, but it wasn't raining and it wasn't cold. Shame I didn't meet you or anyone else from BT. Perhaps another time. Again, CONGRATS!
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