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Ironman Florida - Triathlon


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Panama City Beach, Florida
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
Sunny
Total Time = 11h 20m 36s
Overall Rank = 670/2891
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 19/116
Pre-race routine:

Pre-race I was feeling good. We had arrived in PCB on Tuesday afternoon, so I had plenty of time to get situated, organized, and ready to race. Went for a practice swim on Thursday, and the breakers were pretty big with large swells. It was my first time really swimming on the ocean (aside from vacation frolicking) and I thought it was pretty darn fun! Friday was worse, windy and rainy, but I got my short bike and run in before dropping my bags off in transition. Had my traditional pre-race pizza and a beer, and called it a night around 9pm. Woke up around 4:15, got up, got dressed and had breakfast (bagel with peanut butter and a big ass cup of coffee). Took a banana with me, and walked the 1/2 mile to transition, arriving around 5am. I quickly got body marked and dropped off my special needs bags at Alvin's Island after checking the contents for the 1000th time. Made my way into transition and pumped up my bike tires and got my hydration and nutrition set up on my bike. I gave into the compulsion to check my transition bags one last time (seriously, this was becoming a habit...) and finally decided to sit down and relax for a few. As I sat and ate my banana, I felt calm. Very calm. I didn't have the anxiety that I usually get before a race, since this was my first IM. I had goals, I had expectations, but I wasn't putting the same pressure on myself that I would for a 1/2. It was a good feeling. I was excited, but relaxed, and ready to start the day. I trusted my training. Around 6am I pulled on my wetsuit and made my way to the beach, dropping off my morning clothes bag. It was still dark, but I could see and hear the breakers in the Gulf. The crowd was already thick around the beach and they seemed just as excited as the athletes.
Event warmup:

At 6:30, I hopped into the water and took a few strokes to test out my goggles. the breakers were pretty big, probably 5-6 feet, but it didn't seem as bad as Thursday. of course, on Thursday I wasn't swimming with 2800 of my closest friends...Got out and watched the pro starts, and felt the butterflies in my stomach turn into giant bats!
Swim
  • 1h 04m 15s
  • 3800 meters
  • 01m 41s / 100 meters
Comments:

How NOT to Self-Seed Yourself at IMFL or My First MMA Match
Oh, ugh, good grief, this was NOT good. With WTC's new Swim Smart initiative, the start at IMFL was kept as a mass start, but had "self seeded" areas spread down the beach, with the 60 minutes and under folks starting closest to the buoy line, and getting slower as you went down the beach. They used the analogy of a horse race, with the fastest horses breaking from the inside. Well, I knew that I could swim <60 minutes, but the mass start made me nervous. So, I made the HORRIBLE decision of starting from the first group, but probably 7-8 rows back. Have I mentioned that this was a horrible idea? When the cannon went off, we all waded into the waves, and as soon as I dolphin-dove into the first wave I was brought to a standstill by a giant wall of people. Flailing people. People who should NOT be in front of me. For the next 300 yards I was punched, kicked, and generally assaulted as I tried to find an inch of water in which to swim. I immediately knew that my 60 minute swim was toast and just made it my mission to get to some clear water! I don't think I actually started swimming in any sort of rhythm until the turn buoy, where I promptly got pummeled again. I swam wide on the way back to shore, not caring about the extra distance. I just wanted to swim, not get punched. I'm a swimmer, not a fighter. I finally made my way to shore, staggering out like an extra from the Walking Dead, and went back in to do it all again. Less contact on loop 2, but still very congested, and i drank much more salt water then i would have preferred. I also began to notice the arms of my suit filling with water. I seems that someone had ripped open the velcro neck of my wetsuit on the fray, and I was taking on water. Lovely. This also left marks all the way around my neck that look like someone tried to strangle me with a rope.
What would you do differently?:

Ignore the seeding and start wide, but front row.
Transition 1
  • 06m 12s
Comments:

After what seemed like an eternity, I finished loop 2 and zombie-d my way out of the water. As i attempted to get my wetsuit over my Garmin, it got stuck. I ran over to the wetsuit strippers and he yanked it with all his might over my stubborn watch, finally freeing my arm. I flopped down and he got the rest off no prob. Just an idea, WTC, but maybe having the wetsuits stripped in the sand is not the best idea. I felt like I was in Shake n Bake (and not the Ricky Bobby kind). Ran through the showers, which did little to dislodge the sand. Got my bag from a volunteer and ran into a quiet change room. There were only a couple other ladies in there, so I had a volunteer all to myself. She dumped my stuff out, and got my sunglasses out of their case while I applied chamios lube, and put on my helmet. I took my time here, and thanked everyone as I trotted out to my bike. I was relieved to see full racks of bikes, and got my bike and made me way out of transition absolutely soaking in the cheers from the crowd.
What would you do differently?:

Go quicker. I took my time.
Bike
  • 5h 41m 53s
  • 112 miles
  • 19.66 mile/hr
Comments:

Is This an ITU Race? or Choo Choo! Here Comes the Train
From the moment I got on my bike I knew that I just had to chill out, and ride my own ride. People were going to pass me. Lots of them, and this was ok. I just had to stay calm and ride in my HR zone. I knew that I could have a good bike, but I also knew that I could blow it on the bike if I got too excited and started chasing people. I even wrote "RELAX" on my torpedo mounted bottle to remind me! It took a few miles for my HR to settle down, but once it did, I kept it where I wanted it to be for the remainder of the ride.

Within the first few miles I began to see it. The drafting. It was everywhere. I know that packs tend to form on this course simply due to numbers and flat terrain, but much of what I saw was blatant drafting. 2 people working together. Draft packs. Freaking pelotons. Cheating. I did my best to ride legal, dropping back when I was passed, and just hoped that the marshalls would hand out drafting penalties like candy on Halloween. I was dismayed to see mostly empty penalty tents throughout the race, although I did derive great pleasure from watching a marshall bust a blatant wheel-sucker. That was awesome.

But, I digress. I felt good the entire bike. I was running 3 bottles of fluid (Skratch labs) with my refillable Speedfil A2 in a torpedo mount, a bottle on the downtube, and one behind the saddle. I sipped my drink regularly, and took my other nutrition every 45 minutes, alternating between gels and solids (banana, peanut butter filled pretzels). The wind was light, and before I knew it I was at the out and back section that housed special needs. This road was the one section that was composed of crappy, cracked pavement. It was a minefield of lost bottles, gels, spare tubes, and even a poor lost pb&j sandwich. I stopped at special needs and swapped my 2 empty bottles for 2 fresh ones of Skratch, and got back on the road. I was quite relieved to finish that section and get back to some smooth roads. The rest of the ride was relatively uneventful. Had a bit of a headwind for a while, but nothing too awful. I remembered to sit or stand up every hour or so to stretch my neck and legs. Around mile 90 or so my left shoulder really started to hurt. I'm not sure what this was all about, but I'm chalking it up to spending such a long time in my aerobars. I was able to shift around in my bars a bit and just dealt with it. As we turned towards home in these last 20 miles, we picked up a nice tailwind and I felt like I was effortlessly flying back towards town. I was so excited and knew that I would finish around 5:40, well under my self-allotted 6 hours. Riding on the final stretch I smiled and waved to all the awesome spectators (as I had been during the entire ride) and was very excited to see my husband, Mom, Dad, and my 3 year old daughter as I made my way to transition.
What would you do differently?:

I could have ridden harder and gone faster, but would that have affected my run? IDK, so probably not much.
Transition 2
  • 06m 41s
Comments:

I dismounted at the line and got my bike to a volunteer. I clip-clopped over to my T2 bag, thanked the volunteers and went inside to the change room. Not busy at all in there, and once again I had an awesome volunteer taking care of me. Bike shoes off, socks and run shoes on. Helmet off, visor on. As i did this she got my fuel belt (2 bottles of Skratch) set up, and I got it on and ran out. Stopped at the port-o-can to pee before leaving transition. Do you know what is more gross than a port-o-potty at an Ironman? Nothing. Those things are naaaaaasty! Made for a quick pee break, though.
What would you do differently?:

Again, go faster. I just chilled out and took my time.
Run
  • 4h 21m 35s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 59s  min/mile
Comments:

The Run: Don't Be a First Lap Superhero
As I set out on the run, I was filled with both excitement and trepidation. I was excited to be that much closer to finishing my first IM, but nervous because the run is my weakest link. But, again, I trusted my training and just settled into a good, steady pace. I had a range that I wanted to keep my HR in, but alas, my HRM chose this time to stop working well. Oh well, luckily I'm good at using RPE and knew from my training runs what this range should feel like, so I just got going! The first few miles had lots of spectator support, and I can see how it would be VERY easy to get excited and go out too hard. It took all my mental effort, but I kept myself in check. That being said, I totally enjoyed the crowd and gave out high 5's, smiles, and danced through the section with the scantily clad women with the whips (yes, they whipped me). They were hilarious! At each aid station I took a cup of water and dumped it over my head, and a cup of ice went down my shirt. It wasn't really hot, but definitely warm, and much warmer than my recent training weather in CT, and I tend to overheat, so this strategy was very important for me. I took Coke to drink at each aid station as well. I ran through the first 2 stations or so, before deciding to just walk them, since I am clearly incapable of running and drinking liquid from a cup. The miles began to tick by, and before I knew it I was at the turnaround in St Andrews State Park. As I headed back, I felt good, and kept my pace steady, knowing that I still had almost 20 miles to go. I chatted a bit with some men who were around me, with one commenting that I wasn't even breathing hard. I told him that I wasn't going to be a one lap superhero and blow my race by going too hard too early!

Mile by mile I made my way to the end of lap 1 and special needs. I decided to stop and change my socks, as the water and ice that I was dumping on myself had turned my shoes very very squishy, and I didn't want to get trenchfoot. Or blisters. Stopped, changed my socks, and ran out for lap 2, commenting to the volunteer that lap 1 was SO fun, I was going to do it again!

Lap 2 was very similar to lap 1, water, ice, Coke, and the occasional pretzel or potato chip at aid stations. HR felt good, and my pace was steady, and staying under 10/mile. I made a stop to pee around mile 15, and shortly after the mental games began. I still had 11 miles to go, but I was starting to feel the day in my legs. They didn't feel bad, just used. Mentally, this is when I began to remind myself to run tall, and run strong. I reminded myself that in less than 2 hours I would be an Ironman! The mental cheerleading worked, and by mile 17, I was happy again. At this point, I began to count down the miles 9,8,7,6,5...5 miles? That's nothing? You've got this! 4 miles? You can do that in your sleep! This were moving along, even as my legs got tired until mile 23 when I was hit with a sharp pain in my toe. I could feel that my pinkie toe had turned into a giant blister and suddenly it started to hurt REALLY badly. I kept running, and tried to ignore it. I wasn't going to let a stupid blister ruin this for me! I kept running, watering, icing and Coke-ing (soda,people, soda!) until I hit mile 25. Then I got excited. Really excited. This was it! The end was in sight! I smiled and ran, and may have high fived someone while yelling, "I'm about to finish a f***ing Ironman!!!" As I rounded Alvin's Island, I saw the finish chute, heard the crowd, and gave it everything that I had. I slapped every extended hand on my way to the line and smiled the biggest, craziest smile when, steps away from the line, I saw my husband and daughter cheering away! I crossed the line and heard my name called. Holy moly, I did it! I finished mt first IM. I finished under my 12 hour goal. I finished in 11:20!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Not get a blister?
Post race
Warm down:

I was guided by the volunteer catcher through the finish area, and immediately left to find my family. I gave nasty, sweaty hugs to my husband and daughter, and got my morning clothes bag before shuffling back to the condo. I had some food (cooked by my wonderful Mom), a couple of beers, and relaxed.



What limited your ability to perform faster:

Besides the swim, this race went far better than I could have hoped. I knew I could go under 12 hours, but just how far was a question. I didn't know how my run would hold up, or if I'd go out too hard and blow. But I trusted my training (sensing a theme here?) and paced well, which led me to a great result. In retrospect, could I have gone harder/faster? Yes, probably. I know I could easily go 10-15 minutes faster simply cutting time in transition and pacing the run just a tiny bit more aggressively. But for my first IM, I am really thrilled with the way that I executed this race.




Last updated: 2013-11-07 12:00 AM
Swimming
01:04:15 | 3800 meters | 01m 41s / 100meters
Age Group: 3/116
Overall: 270/2891
Performance: Bad
Suit: Nineteen Frequency Full
Course: Rectangle perpendicular to the beach. 2 lap swim with short run in between.
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
T1
Time: 06:12
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
No
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
Biking
05:41:53 | 112 miles | 19.66 mile/hr
Age Group: 18/116
Overall: 780/2891
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course:
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
T2
Time: 06:41
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
04:21:35 | 26.2 miles | 09m 59s  min/mile
Age Group: 19/116
Overall: 670/2891
Performance: Good
Course: 2 loop flat, flat flat!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

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2013-11-07 8:48 PM


21

Subject: Ironman Florida


2013-11-08 8:41 AM
in reply to: #4894825

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Champion
7704
50002000500100100
Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

WOW what a spectacualr result for your first IM!! Congratulations

2013-11-08 4:15 PM
in reply to: Socks

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Pro
5123
5000100
Canandaigua NY
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

I am not sure that there was a good strategy for that swim, certainly the changes made to the start made it a challenging swim, but you still had a strong swim and your bike and run times are solid!  Especially for a first IM!

Congratulations Ironman! 

2013-11-08 7:12 PM
in reply to: #4894825

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Master
1945
100050010010010010025
Subject: RE: Ironman Florida

EXCELLENT race!!! Succinct report & you dialed your effort in perfectly..Congratulations Ironman- can't WAIT to see you next one- Podium anyone????

2013-11-09 8:26 AM
in reply to: isis


21

Subject: RE: Ironman Florida
Thanks everyone! It was a really great day, and I'm so glad to have had that experience. That being said, I'm going to concentrate on 70.3's next year. IM training as a stay at home mom of a 3 year old was as challenging as the race, lol!
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