Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ford Ironman Florida 2011 Pictures!!!

Hey Everyone!

I hope all of you had a great Turkey Day, and for those of you who don't celebrate, I hope that you had a great weekend!

I thought I would post my pictures from the event.  There are a couple more that I am trying to get a hold of, but until then.  This is what I got.  Don't laugh too hard at the finisher photos!  I mentioned what happened in part 3 of my race report at the finish line.

Mike (left in both pics) and I on Thursday morning right after I arrived and took my stuff upstairs to the condo.  Gotta get that open water swim practice in before the big race.  Hopefully the water won't be that choppy on race day.  There were a number of jellies about 250 yards out and the radio on the way in was saying that there were huge blooms of jellyfish not too far away.

Mike and I on Friday morning for one last swim before race day.  Water was not quite as bad on Friday compared to Thursday.  Met a couple random participants on the way back to the condo and chatted with them about the race.

 Friday afternoon prior to the Blogger meetup with John, Wes, and I.  Not a bad looking bunch of guys!

Wes took a couple photos of me sitting outside the main venue, the Boardwalk Beach Resort.  Even with my Rev3 visor on, I was squinting so bad an ended up having to take some headache medicine in the afternoon when I got back to the condo.  I think some of the WTC folk weren't too happy that I was sporting a competitor's series visor, but there is nothing like some healthy competition to make all the race series better for all athletes.

It's the Blogger meetup for IMFL 2011!!!  It was great to meet people that I already followed and followed me, and to meet new bloggers and friends who share in the same activity that I am passionate about. :)  From left to right; (front) Matt and Heather.  (rear) Kristine, Mandy, Wes, Colleen, Laura, John, ME, and Kristin.

 Race morning!  Snagged a good picture of me headed into transition to drop off everything, get marked, and prep for the race.  Two cups of coffee and some good sleep gets you a smile like that!

After hitting the head for a third time prior to the race, I donned my wetsuit and randomly run into Wes and Dee Dee who are there to watch the swim start, and were there to spectate the entire race.  

Heading out of the water into T1.  This is the theme of my entire day for my race pictures.  Always behind someone or someone is in the way.  Lol!   Here are another couple photos of me heading out of the water as well.  Wetsuit strippers were quick and nimble and I was out of the suit fast.  Of course it helps when you volunteered as a wetsuit stripper the year before and know how it goes.

Headed out of T1 and just getting out on the bike.  Melissa got the pic of me headed out and got my rear end heading out.

Wes got a pic of me just after the turnaround (left) and then a pic of me headed on the way back in on the bike.  The Dermatone definitely helped me from getting burned out on the bike and the run!

 Headed out from T2 feeling pretty good, and then Mel got a pic of me at mile marker #1, still feeling OK.

 Just after mile marker #3, the wheels were falling off with regards to my legs (at least no leg cramps this race!) and my stomach, but I still somehow kept a smile on my face.  Mike caught up to me about a mile down the road.

 Mike and I after we met up, finishing the first loop.  The turnaround is at the back of the picture, one more lap to go!  I was getting a pep talk from Mike's father who I am looking at standing out of the picture.  Tri-PTC was posted up just past mile one, which was only a couple hundred yards after the turnaround as well.  I got to see April as well on the second lap back in as she was out there cheering people on!  She had entered in Beach to Battleship Full the week before and she got 2nd place!  Way to go April, and thanks for cheering us on!

 Mike and I headed into the finisher's chute.

Andy Murtha, you are an IRONMAN (again)!!!

Post Race Finisher's photos!

There were some other photos, however, these were the best that I have.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.  Have a great rest of your evening and weekend.  Look forward to reading more of your stories, as well as composing more of my own.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ford Ironman Florida, November 5, 2011 (Part 3)

So here we are, into the last post for this race report.  I will do another post after this one of just pictures from the weekend including the race.  Let's get this party started.

The Run

After coming off of the bike and out of T2 I felt good.  The cramp in my left leg had started to go away, and I had definitely fueled up for the run between the last few miles on the bike and what I took in during T2.   I was probably pushing somewhere between a 9:30-10:00/mile pace for close to the first mile.  I was feeling pretty good.

And then the wheels started to fall off...

Between the last 30 minutes of the bike where I was cramming down the nutrition I did not evenly space out, the gel and the half PBJ in T2, the fact that I was taking something in every aid station (besides just water) for the first three miles, and that I had not had the amount of electrolytes I needed in the last hour and a half, my stomach and body started to shut down.  Between miles 2 and 3, I was in walk/run mode, more walking than running.   My stomach was doing back flips, and every time I got into jogging, I felt like I was going to get sick.  Add to that my lack of training due to graduate school this last year (doing both of those at the same time = bad idea!) and I was also plain worn out.

Needless to say this is where my mental game went south.  I had already compartmentalized the entire day into pieces, and I was doing the same on the run.  Out and back two times for the run = 4 segments.  However only halfway through the first segment and the darkness started creeping into my brain.

Looking back at all of the races I have ever finished, which are all of them (there was only one I have pulled out of due to injury, but that was before race day) I have never "thought" I would DNF a race.  I have done races at all conventional distances.  Some were great finishes, and some not so great.  However, this was the first time I thought I would not finish.  Mentally I was in a BAD place.  I have never had anxiety issues in my life, and I have never been clinically depressed, but in the next few miles I think I went through all of these emotions and more.  Deep, dark places that your mind normally never wanders and consciously you never want to end up in those places.  I could not get my brain to grasp the fact that, despite all I have gone through the past 12 months, that it would be OK if I did not finish.

Most people don't ever get to the start line... A little over 300 million Americans in the US and there will probably only be 61,000 people that will finish an Ironman in the 2012 race season (.02% of the population). 

Finally I get past mile marker number 3 with my sorry walk/jog routine and before I hit mile marker #4 I run into Wes and Dee Dee.  I smiled for the camera when Dee Dee took her picture, however, I was a hot mess.  Wes walked with me for about 100 yards to cheer me up and assess the situation.  He told me to get some electrolytes in my body and stay away from everything else but water until my stomach felt better.  I had some salt tablets in my Fuelbelt so I took a few when I got to mile marker #4 and stuck with just water until I got to mile marker #7.

In the meantime, I had about 1/2 hour on my buddy mike coming out of T2, and by the time I had passed through mile marker #4 he came up on my right side and exclaimed, "Man, you really look like hell!  Wes was not kidding when I saw him."  I chuckled for a minute and then explained the situation to him.  Mike stated his legs were beginning to feel a bit worn down from the race and that he had no problem run/walking with me for the remainder of the race.  I told him that I would oblige.

For some reason this was a big mental break that I needed.  I could talk to my buddy now during the race, so I had someone to get my mind off what was going on with me mentally and physically.  After about mile 7, my stomach began feeling better.  The 2nd leg of my run was a bit faster on average that the first leg on the way out.  As we hit the turn around for the 3rd leg to go back out, we saw Melissa and Mike's father cheering us on from one of the restaurants on the course.  About that time they decided to head back to the transition site to go pick up our bikes and gear.  Special needs was at the turnaround as well, and Mike got out his long sleeve shirt to wear on the second lap.

The weather was nice enough such that I had made a good choice not to wear long sleeves on the run, and only wear arm warmers on the bike.  As we headed out for the 2nd loop, it began to get dark.  We kept in our run/walk schedules, but we began walking a bit more than we were jogging at times.  About mile 10 or so we turned on our headlamps since it had gotten dark.  We also had reflective stickers on us so that we would not need any additional lighting to be seen during the race.  I had begun taking in some additional nutrition besides water and Gatorade Perform at the aid stations.  Some chicken broth here, bananas there, even some flat coke at a few aid stations.  I finished my last salt tablet around mile 19 or so.

There were a lot of funny signs out on the run as well.  Honey Badger signs were the hot theme this year and they were hilarious.  If you don't know what the Honey Badger is, here is a link to YouTube where it all began.  There were also the traditional signs, such as "Your Feet must HURT from kicking so much ASS!," "Nude Cheerleaders next mile," "Pain is Temporary, Race results posted online are FOREVER," and my favorite "CHUCK NORRIS..... Not an Ironman."

I ran through the motivational mile twice, and neither time did any of the special messages that anyone wrote down (including the one I wrote to myself) showed up.  Kinda sad about that.  On the way back, my legs were just really fatigued.  The rest of my body felt good and mentally I even wanted to jog more than I was, however, my legs just were not having it.  I saw April Burkey at the Tri-PTC tent on the way back in and yelled at her.  I heard she had done really well at Beach2Battleship Triathlon the weekend before.  Mike was going through the same motions.  As we got closer to the finish we saw more and more people and the noise was getting louder and louder.  People who had already finished the race and were headed back by us to go home for the night were cheering.

Mike asked me as we got close to the finish line who was gonna finish first.  I told him, this was his first Ironman, and he helped me mentally through the run, so he could pass through first.  He deserved it.  We made the left turn onto Thomas Drive and it was a half mile to go.  We picked up the pace a little bit and as we got to the final leg of the finish line and our names were being called out, I motioned Mike forward and he passed over the finish line right before I did, but so close that we got the same finish time.

Run Time - 6:15:56 (14:20/mi pace)
Overall Time - 14:17:51

Hooray!  My second Ironman Complete!  It was really funny at the finish line because when you go back and look at the pics, I should have either crossed the finish line at the exact same time as Mike, or I should have let him finish 5 seconds or more in front of me because he is kind of in my way for my finish line photos, LOL!  The guy from the left has an OK shot of me, I am still kind of behind Mike, and the guy on the right does not even get me because I am all the way behind him.  Oh well, lesson learned for the next time I do an Ironman ;)

I went through the finisher chute and got my medal/hat/mylar blanket/water/etc.  A girl named Emily helped me out through the finisher chute and I thanked her a few times.  I guess there were a few people that did not finish well before me.  Although my legs were tired, I felt good overall and so I though that she was being a little overbearing trying to help me with every little thing through the finisher chute.  Melissa then took a photo of me with my finisher medal on, and then it was off to grab a slice of pizza and a Coke before grabbing my transition bag with Mike and heading back to the condo.  Melissa rushed back to the condo after the finish because the Alabama/LSU football game was on, apparently that was more important than Mike finishing his very first Ironman.  Crazy football fans...  and Alabama lost anyways!

Mike's father found us on the way back to the condo and told us that he would buy us some dinner from Pineapple Willy's and bring it to us in the condo.  That was really nice of him  I got in the shower when I got home for about 1/2 hour, watched Alabama lose the football game, and then ate my dinner that Mike's father got for us.  I then doubled up on all my clothes fully expecting that I would being to lose body heat during the night.  I think I went to bed around 11:30pm or so.  After taking a few things out to the car so I would not have to do it in the morning.

The next morning I got up early so that I could eat breakfast, finish packing the car, and get in line for my finisher's jacket.  Sure it is $150, but I really regret not getting one the first time around when I finished IMCDA.  So this was to make up for it.  My hip hurt a bit after standing in line for so long, so it was nice to walk it out after standing in line for the jacket.  I then picked up my photo package and we headed back to the condo.  We left shortly afterwards to head back home because our checkout time was at 10AM... WTF is up with that???? 

So I can go off on a tanget for a minute... it really bugs me when I go to an out of town race for the weekend, and all the hotels are booked for the race, and the race is short enough where I am going to head home that afternoon, but I basically have to check out before I head to the race site on race morning.  Now yes, I technically left the day after the race, but I had to be out by 10AM!!!  I think that for races like that they should just give you a late checkout for the hell of it, and for shorter races, you should get a late checkout so you can shower real quick before you drive all the way back home.  So annoying... I think in 2012 if I travel for races I will just stay an extra day so that I don't have to do early checkout.

I think I am gonna put some perspective in my next post with the IM photos just because this post has gotten kinda long.  I hope you have enjoyed it!  I have enjoyed writing about it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ford Ironman Florida, November 5 2011 (Part 2)

Wha...?  Where was I?  Oh yea, this thing called Ironman, :D  Let's get back to it.


After getting out of the transition area and heading down the chute, I mounted my bike and headed out on Thomas Dr.  Wes and Dee Dee saw me heading out, as well as Melissa who got a couple of photographs of me.  BTW, as far as photographs go, I am gonna do a post after this one of race photographs and comments below each one :)

As I headed out on the bike, I kept reminding myself that I needed to take a dose of humility and make sure I did not overdo it on the bike.  I am notorious for going out hard on the bike and then falling to pieces on the run because I cramp up or just lose steam.  The wind was coming out of the NE, so the ride was going to be most favorable coming back in on the bike except for the last 6 miles finishing the bike.  I settled in on the 6 miles out on the coastal highway until we headed north away from the coast.  I had taken in a gel and half a PBJ before getting on the bike, so I was not keen on taking anything in for the first few miles other than water.  Once we began heading north on Hwy 79 I noticed that the wind had not picked up a lot yet, and so my average on the way out was higher than I expected.  People were not lying, this was going to be a draft fest.  Better to take a dose of humility and let people pass, than to get clipped with a drafting or blocking penalty. 

The only other frustrating thing about races such as this, you get into your "zone" and then there are people in the way.  I liken it to going to Six Flags or Disney World/Land.  You get there, and you know what you want to do, you know what rides to get on, etc, but for some reason the people around you don't seem to have the same sense of urgency that you do.  Unfortunately in an Ironman this is caused by different speeds, different gearing, different road conditions.  You will get behind someone where you know that they are kind of in your way, but if you go around them, there is a chance they are just gonna pass you again, or you were almost going the same speed as them.  This problem pretty much ended after I got to the halfway point of the race, but before then, it was a minor annoyance.  I did pass some people on the way up 79.  I think it was more my frustrations than anything, because I was pretty much happy with the speed I was going, I just did not want to have to slow down for anyone.

About 10-15 miles into the course we went up and down one of the only hills on the entire ride, which was a bridge going over a waterway.  The ONLY hill.  If anyone tells you this course has hills, just laugh at them please :)  This is Florida for crying out loud, there are no hills.  Once we turned onto 20 East this was our first real taste of the wind that IMFL had to offer, since it was almost a headwind at this point.  the elevation was up and down, but there were no hills, just the wind.  There was slightly less of a problem with regards to traffic, but I was picking people off.  The really good swimmers that were OK at the rest of the race.  My back was acting up a bit, but there was no sense to come out of aero, would just make you more miserable, and work harder to get where I was going, which was the next turn.  I got to mile marker 20 which was my first scheduled stop for aid.  I threw away one of my water bottles, and took one of the 22oz disposable water bottles that they were giving away (Zephyrhills water for those of you who drink that brand).  It also fits really well into XLabs Gorilla cages for those of you who have those cages.  After I got the water on the fly, I stopped and took a gel, which lasted about 40 seconds and then was back on the bike in aero headed to Hwy 77, the next turn.

Hwy 77 headed South for a few miles before we had to head back East on 388.  I eventually hit mile marker 40 here, and stopped for another bottle of water and another gel.  After this I went strictly on a gel an hour, and since my average speed was less than 20mph, I was taking one quicker than every 20 miles after that.  Once we crossed over Rd2301, this was the part of the ride that I considered hell.  The weather was good, still riding fast enough to where my arm warmers were needed, but the road was absolute shit.  Cracks and chip seal everywhere, and bumps every bike length.  For the next 10 miles it was going to be this, and half of this was also going to be into the wind.  I was out of the saddle a good bit during this section.  Sure I had a carbon frame to absorb some of the vibrations, but I could only handle so much.  Before I got to the turn around and eventually the 60 mile marker to get another bottle of water, I stopped on the side of the road to pee.  While not sexy, it saves time because I am not waiting in line at the porta-johns at the formal aid stations waiting to pee.  That and I am not fast enough to need to pee while on the bike.  Wes And Dee Dee headed out to the turnaround after we all went through T1, so when I got to the turnaround they were both there cheering me on.  I had a smile on my face, however I let them know how I felt about that stretch of road I was on.

After the turnaround I tried my best to get back in aero but I just could not do it.  I got my water bottle at Marker 60 and I figured that I would keep doing what I was doing until I go to Blue Springs Rd, and get of this crap road.  Once I got to Blue Springs Rd. I breathed a sigh of relief that the worst of the road issues were over.  The wind was almost at our face again as we were all headed North for a short period of time.  After Blue Springs Rd, we made a left back onto Hwy 20 on our way back to the finish.  The wind was at our backs at this point which was great.  There were periods where I was not pushing too much wattage, and I was north of 20mph consistently.  Even though I only averaged 18.5 or so through the middle 1/3 of the course, I think that the crap road section and heading North on Blue Springs, and one other section I will talk about in a moment just held me back from averaging more.  There were a few people in this section that I boomeranged with back and forth.  I took another piss break before mile 80 so that I would not have to wait in line, took another gel, and then just cruised through mile 80 grabbing a water and headed on. 

I forgot to say that I did have other nutrition on the bike.  I was hitting up a mix of Heed and Perpetum every 15 minutes from two bottles I had on the bike.  There were 600 calories in each bottle, and then I had a gel for every hour plus one more in case, so I was going to be averaging just over 300 calories an hour.  Around mile 90 I was going for a salt tablet in my bento box and not only did I miss the salt tablet, but my Ziploc bag will all the remaining salt tablets for the bike fell on the ground as I kept riding.  Oh well... stuff happens and I had two salt tablets i was hitting in T2 anyways.  I stopped on the side of the road to take one more piss, and then it was a right hand turn onto Steelfield Rd. just for a few miles so we could fit in 112.  This was the third area that held down my average for the middle third.  I had once again hit it too hard on the bike, but not as bad as I would have normally.  Instead of the bad cramping, my legs were just fatigued.  I was tired.  and so I thought since I was getting closer to finishing the bike leg, I would just slow down on the Steelfield Rd section of the course.  I am glad I did because I felt better for the remainder of the ride coming back in. 

Once we finally got back onto Front Beach Road, it was the 6 miles of headwind.  Definitely slowed down the average of the last 1/3 of my bike.  I mean there was no point in fighting it, and also I was about to run a marathon, so why blow your legs trying to go 17mph when you could go 14-15mph and save your legs.  It was only 6 miles anyways.  Quote of the day happened here.  Some guy pulled up next to me and said, "Hey buddy, I have been staring at your ass for the last two hours, I think I know it better than your wife!"  I am not married, but I told him thanks nonetheless and he headed on past me to the bike finish.  Not to long later I was getting of my trusty steed and headed into T2.

Overall Bike Time - 6:24:07
Average Speed - 17.49mph


Thank goodness that I had a short T2 with regards to running in my bike shoes and picking up my transition bag. I was into the men's changing area quickly and moving along quite nice until I tried to put my left sock on.  My left leg kept cramping up. I think this added about a minute thirty to my transition time.  While 1:30 did not mean much in the whole scheme of my race, you know, you just don't want to have to spend any longer in transition than you absolutely need to, right?

Another half of a PBJ and another gel, two salt caps and a swig of drink and I was off onto the run course for the last leg of the race.

T2 Overall Time - 5:57

Well this post has gotten really long for the bike, which I guess it should since the bike is usually the longest portion of the race for most people.  On that note, I am going to extend it to a part three for the run and finish that I will post this weekend!  Have a great weekend y'all!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Ford Ironman Florida, November 5, 2011 (Part 1)

It's Tuesday night (IMFL 2011 +3 days) and I have had a couple marathon work days, some recovery, cleanup, and reflection.  Well, the wetsuit is still in the T1 bag from Saturday (eww).  I am gonna wash it tomorrow afternoon.  I promise.  No I really promise, OK?  It was a gift from someone, so I can't treat it like crap.

So, I guess it is time to get down to the real meat of this post, correct?  I think what I will cover is the pre-race through T-1 in my first post, and then I will post the bike through the finish on either Wednesday or Thursday.  Well get your cup of Joe or your nightcap, depending on what time of day that you are reading this and let's get going!

Pre - Race

Most of the week leading up to the race I had been going to bed early and getting up early.  In the past, and not just with long distance triathlons, I will tend to stay in my sleeping habits, and this results in 2-3 hours of sleep before a race.  It has nothing to do with being nervous, however, it kind of messes with me in the mornings if I don't get a least 4-5 hours sleep before a race.  As I have talked about before, my friend Mike conned me into doing this race the year before, and his wife and parents were in town to watch him compete in his first Ironman.  Since I really had no family in town (except for Wes and Dee Dee), I decided to have dinner with them prior to going to bed.  We had the traditional pasta meal with salad and garlic toast (yum).  I skipped the wine with dinner, which would not have been a problem, actually, I would have fallen asleep faster.

After dinner, I worked on my two blog posts prior to this one, and then got everything ready to go for the next morning.  Suit laid out, nutrition bottles, and bike nutrition packed, and got all of my swim stuff together.  Rolled out and foam rolled my body before I went to bed as well.  I had been doing this every night during the week as well.  It helped A LOT.  In bed by 10pm.  Sweet, just like I had planned.  I had set the alarm for 4:15am so that I would have time to wake up and get things going early before the race.  For those of you who have not read some of my posts from earlier this year, I have had a curse for about the last 14 months regarding GI issues prior to a race...

I think I woke up one time around 1:30am and went to the bathroom and got some water and was back in bed.  4:15 rolls around and I hit the snooze button, and get 10 minutes more rest.  Then I jumped out of bed and got my routine started.  First things first, COFFEE and FOOD!  On Thursday morning I was fairly regular when shopping down in PCB for food for the weekend, I remembered that I had a fair bit of caffeine which I believe helped things along that morning.  Tall cup of coffee, about an apple and a half worth of apple slices with peanut butter, a banana, Greek yogurt, glass of OJ and a Nature Valley fruit and nut bar.  Oh and a few good luck gummi bears.  Yes, I did that and they were Haibro as well.  Afterwards I finished packing up my stuff, brushed my teeth and washed my face, put some Dermatone on my face and neck, and the put my suit on.

After that I was in a holding pattern, packing up a few things that I was not going to need for the rest of the weekend.  And then it finally hit me!  Number One!  Hooray!  I was really excited.  And then about 20 minutes later, Number Two!  Friggin Sweet!  I am so glad that I got that 800 pound gorilla off my back from the past 14 months.  Around 5:30 Mike, Melissa and I headed towards transition at the Boardwalk Beach Resort to drop off our morning clothes bag, fill up the bikes with our nutrition, pump up the tires, and get to the start line.

I got to talk to a few random athletes near my rack, one of which I helped pump up his tires with the "crack pipe" adapter, and then in turn he let me use his pump for my bike.  All of the bustling, everyone in their own head thinking about the day ahead, checking and rechecking their bike setup, the rustling of the plastic bags coming off the seats and the handle bars, long lines at the porta johns, the noise of zippers everywhere from wetsuits being donned.  As I was walking to drop off my morning clothes bag and put on my wetsuit, I even heard a couple loud booms.  People's tubes exploding from being blown up too much or a pinched tube while it was being inflated.  And then the cussing that followed. 

I got in line with about an hour to go, and I am glad I did, because it took me 25 minutes to get through the line.  Good thing my wetsuit was partway on, kept me warm.  Speaking of warm, the weather on race day was GREAT!  Sunny skies all day long, and a high of 74, and it really did not start cooling down till about 9:00pm at night.  At this point I was separated from Mike and Melissa as Mike had to go and drop off his special needs bags before the race began.  I decided to head down to the beach and at least watch the pros begin before my day would.  I saw Wes and Dee Dee near the swim corral and talked to them for a few minutes before I headed in with the group.  Wes looked so amped to be there, even though he was not participating.  It reminded me of the year prior where I was in the same position, and I remember the smile on my face prior to it all beginning.

As I made my way into the corral, the pros, both male and female, were about to begin.  I took a look at the water.  The wind was out of the Northeast, so the water was like glass.  No waves, and it was low tide to boot.  Next thing I know, the gun goes off and they pros are at it.  Shortly thereafter, the national anthem was sung by a couple people over the PA, and then there were about 5 minutes to go.  Now I am in my head, by myself.  365 days ago I was standing just on the other side of the corral looking in, and now I am standing on the inside.  Goggles... check. Swimcap on right... check.  Visualizing the swim with my toes in the water.  And then the gun goes off.


The first 40 meters or so of the swim was actually wading into the water where it was deep enough to actually begin swimming.  It was humorous because after about 50 meters of swimming we hit the sandbar and hand to stand up again and walk another 25 meters or so before it was deep enough to swim again.  Ah yes the human washing machine that is the Ironman swim start.  I am going to try to keep this section as positive as possible, because there are just some people who seem to be in it to win it during the swim, and so they will swim all over you regardless of your time, or if you pass them at some point down the road. 

Around 400 meters into the swim, I put my left hand into the water to pull, and what do I grab but a timing chip.  Obviously someone did not put their timing chip under their wetsuit when preparing for the race.  For some reason I felt the need to hold onto the chip for the remainder of the first lap so I could hand it in to someone.  At least that way they would know whose chip it was.  Not to long after this I got my goggles kicked off my face, thank goodness they at least stayed on my head, I had to stop and put them back on.  Normally this would not be a problem if I was by myself in salt water with a wetsuit on, however, I had around 2000 of my best friends trying to swim past me.  I got them back on and continued.  As we got to the first turn bouy, we began to see the jellyfish.  Most of them were sitting about 8-10 feet below the surface, although they knew something was going on. 

After making the crowded left turn, it was swimming directly into the sun for a couple hundred meters till we turned left again.  Still hand the extra timing chip with me, and had already switched hands by that point while I was swimming.  Jellyfish were still all around.  We finally made the next crowded left turn to head back in to finish the first lap.  The jellyfish started to thin out, and I saw a couple schools of fish swim by as I was headed back in.  Since the sun had already started coming up over the horizon, I could see deeper that I could on the way out.  I even saw a few stingrays on the ocean floor.  Around halfway back into the beach my collar on the back of my neck began bothering me so I stopped for a brief second to adjust and then continue on.  Eventually I hit the sandbar and then got back to shore to run over the timing mat and back into the water. 

I handed off the extra timing chip to a volunteer and quickly told them what happened as I started jogging away from them.  Grabbed two cups of water before I got back in.  Man fresh spring water never tasted so good when you have been swimming in water for 1.2 miles.  As I dove back into the water there were a diagonal line of buoys that were taking us back out to the main buoys for the second lap.  If this seems weird it is because they race director did not want us running the couple hundred yards back down the beach to where we started, so we just swam back over to the original line of buoys headed out.  It was great because the water was headed away from shore in that same direction, so everyone was getting a quick swim back out where we needed to be.

The second lap had thinned out, which was good, except that there were some horrible sighters, and for some reason, they are all men.  Every person that was zig-zagging back and forth was a man.  Could not figure that one out.  There was a girl that was about 2 meters to my right and we were swimming at the same pace and kept the same distance from each other, and that seemed to also help us swim straight.  As we got close to the initial turn buoy again, the jellyfish were still out there.  This time though, they had sensed that the crowds had thinned out and started coming closer to the surface to see if they could make a meal out of us.  Or at least sting the bejesus out of us.  There were  a couple that I literally had to dodge as I was swimming, I kinda felt like Neo from the Matrix movies, not only because I was making weird maneuvers, but also because I dodged all the jellyfish that were in my way.  I made the final left turn and as I was heading back in, the jellyfish thinned out and eventually disappeared. 

I was occasionally looking at my watch and saw my time on the way back in and I did not think I was going to make it in under 1:20:00 so I stepped on the gas and negative split the last 500 meters of the swim.  I was pretty impressed that I made it back in that fast, and that I also did not cramp up.

Swim Time - 1:21:16


As I got out of the water I already had my wetsuit down to my hips, my goggles and swim cap were off, and I was jogging up the shore to the wetsuit strippers.  Ah ha, now I am on the other end of the stick here.  Not stripping, but getting stripped.   Since I had figured out the technique of how to properly get stripped the year before, it came off very easily.  And then I was back up and off in a hurry to try and get through T1.  I got my bag fairly quickly, and then they corralled us into the ball room area, half for girls, half for guys. 

I feel that I am going to want to try to get faster on the swim, not only for time, but also to miss the crowd for T1.  I spent probably 2-3 minutes just trying to find a place to stand so that I could do what I needed to do and get out of T1.  I hit up some Gatorade I put in my bag so I would not have a saltwater mouth after the swim, and I also had half my PBJ.  I opted for the arm warmers (good choice) and decided not to wear the gloves or the bike jersey (also good choice). 

Once again this year WTC has sucked it up and applied for waivers so that they were allowed to tell AG'ers that they could not put their bike shoes on their bikes in T1, but they could dismount and leave them on their bikes going into T2.  That is so dumb.  I think it is a liability issue for them.  Here is the thing, people are not gonna do it unless they have practiced to do it and know they are not gonna fall over or anything.  Add to that you can't really run on pavement with Speedplay cleats.  And once again I had one of the worst rack positions, and this is based off the fact that I was running around in my bike shoes.  Had I been in a triathlon where I transitioned at my bike and got to have my bike shoes on the bike before heading into T1, then I would have had a pretty good spot.

After grabbing my bike, I was headed out on road for a few hours

T1 Time - 10:36

I am gonna stop here for now, and then have another post (maybe two) for the rest of the race.  Just depends on how long the bike, run, and T2 portions of the story are.  Till next post,

Friday, November 04, 2011

Ford Ironman Florida 2011, Dedication Speech

This is dedicated to the past 365 days of my life.  The 5am workouts, lunch runs, evening workouts, track workouts with raceMates, time trials, reeking of chlorine every day, saddle sores, beat up legs, and bruised pride.  The workouts in the rain, cold, the Georgia summers, snow, and ice.  For the two a days and the races that helped lead up to this day.

This is for all of my supporters.  My family, friends, and training partners.  For those bloggers that believed in me, and still do.  This is also dedicated to all the pessimists, realists, and optimists.  The people who think I am crazy, stupid, and insane.  For all the people who I know AND and don't know that will be screaming their lungs out as I cross the finish line.  The people who will be tracking me throughout the day.  For all the late nights, social events, and weekends I skipped.

Last of all, this races is dedicated to me.  To my commitment, drive, persistence, perseverance, hopes, dreams, and aspirations.


Ford Ironman Florida 2011, Day 2

Another successful pre-race day!

I woke up twice last night, once at about 1:30am and once around 3:30am.  I freaked out because there lights outside my window and I thought it was the sun coming up.  It was not race morning, however, I did not want to sleep in too late.  Got up at 6:30am and took a LONG shower, and stretched out.  Time for another swim.  This morning Mike opted not to swim, but that is his strong suit, so he is not as worried as I am.  The water was more calm today than the day before, and I felt more comfortable, which was good.  Hopefully by the time I hit the water tomorrow morning I will be very comfortable.  Went about 50 yds further out than yesterday, so 500 yds.  Met a few random people out in the water and we had a nice chat before swimming back in.  Nice chat you say???  Well when you are in a wetsuit + salt water = pretty easy to chat.

Afterwards, I came back upstairs, ate some food real quick, and then Mike and I got geared up for our bike ride.  The plan was to ride from the condo to St. Andrews State Park and back, about 10 miles.  Mike had his SRAM S60 in the front and disc cover in the back.  He got dropped real quick.  He was getting blown all over the road.  So when we got back, he switched to his stock wheels and we went out for a short 15 minute ride, and he was much more comfortable and able to stay in aero the entire ride.  The ride on the way out was awesome because it was a strong tailwind.  I think we were pushing 90-100 watts and going almost 21 mph on the bike, but coming back we were probably 250 watts and only going 17 mph.  Kinda ridiculous.

Now that the bikes were tuned up and tested, we came back and packed our T1 and T2 bags.  From the condo, we headed back down to the race site (which is only a quarter mile away = bi-winning) with the bikes and the bags.  I would like to say something at this point.  I love our condo that we are staying at, except for the elevators.  I don't know how much they are raking in a year in profits, but they need to add one more elevator bank and then speed up the elevators they already have.  When we went down to drop everything off, it took us 15 minutes just to get an elevator to go down.  If we did not have all the stuff we would have taken the steps down.

Lunchtime!  Went to Liza's Kitchen.  Great place to eat, good prices, BIG sandwiches and my last beer before the race (you can't say no to $2 Yuenglings!).  Gotta get those carbs in.  We also took the back route so that Melissa can drive between areas without getting stuck in race day traffic.  They are all staking out at Hammerhead Fred's for the run.

Came back to the venue so that I could finally buy some swag for the race.  I only spent $60, I was pretty proud of myself.  Gotta get that finisher jacket on Sunday morning.  Met up with Wes and Dee Dee at the venue, and they told me that they were meeting with a whole bunch of people from the blogger community.  I met up with CJ, Mandy, Colleen and Laura, and some other people who are new to me in the blogging community (sorry I forgot your names!!!!)  It was kind of like going on a blind date, because we all know each other from the blogging community, but most of us have not met in person.  I am glad that we were all able to meet up.  I did not get any of their phone numbers to meet up after the race, but if we see each other, great, and if not, I am sure we will hear about the post race festivities on everyone's blogs.

I came back and started working on the Day 1 blog post and got the rest of my stuff ready for the race tomorrow before we started cooking dinner.  I also packed because our checkout time is at 10am on Sunday morning = dumb.  Melissa is going to try to call during the day tomorrow for an late checkout if that is possible.  Mike's parents are in town to watch his Ironman and so they had dinner with us.  His parents are pretty cool.  Now I am sitting here composing this blog post and thinking about the next 24 hours of my life.  It is not the race, but the journey to get here.  Think about this like a wonderfully composed sentence with an exclamation point.  Tomorrow is the exclamation point.  The past year is the entire sentence.  I can't believe that is my analogy, as I was horrible with grammar and literature in school.

Ok off to stretch and then head to bed.  Till tomorrow...

Ironman Live Tracking Site
Race #973

Ford Ironman Florida 2011, Day 1


After logging into my blogger account and seeing that I have had almost 1,000 unique visitors in the last month, and no posts since July 29th, 2011, I thought I better get to posting.

Mike and Melissa came down on Wednesday as they had a bit more free time for the week.  Earlier in the week, I decided that I would get in a habit of giving myself a curfew.  I have a bad habit of not falling asleep till almost midnight on most nights, so I figured training myself to fall asleep earlier would help, so maybe I can get at least 5+ hours of sleep rather than maybe 3 hours like I normally do.  I got to bed late Wednesday night before I left because I forgot to download the new iPhone iOs software and my computer is so old it took forever to get everything done.  I think I was in bed by 10:45pm.

I got up at 3:45am and after showering, packing (what was left), breakfast, coffee, and stretching, I was out of the house by 4:45am.  It took longer than I thought to get there, but it was good news!  Bevan and John from IMTalk kept me company for the first 4 hours of my trip with days 6 and 7 of their Kona Super special.  Yes I am a bit behind, but it was good listening nonetheless.  Bevan, I was creasing myself about the bathroom thing at the end of the day 7 podcast while I was in the car, I thought I was gonna wreck.  Let's just say that I was very regular and theoretically it happened before race time (I think it happened about 6:20am).  Hooray!  Hopefully, this will bode well for the rest of the trip while I am down here, keep the fingers crossed and pray for me.

I rolled into town around 9:30am and Mike came down to help me bring everything upstairs.  It's really funny, I am fairly light on packing every other trip I try to take, but when it comes to long distance triathlon races, I pack like I am going somewhere for a month!  We needed to use one of those hotel carts and then I still had to hike the bike up to the hotel room. 

After dropping everything in the room, we turned around, grabbed the wetsuits, and went for a swim.  Got BEAT up.  The wind was really pushing the water and there were actually whitecaps in the bay on the way in, so I should have known I was in for it when I got in the Gulf.  We swam for about 10 minutes or so, mostly just to get the fell of ocean swimming more than anything.  There had been rumors of jellyfish during the week, and they did not disappoint.  Although there were not may out there, we had some close encounters, and that is not what I wanted to deal with on my first day in town, not even here for an hour.  Funny story, when we got back to the hotel room, I was cleaning up and I leaned forward and all the sudden I felt like I had a bloody nose out of both nostrils.  Nope, it was sea water coming out of my nasal cavity, lol.

Went to the race registration and sat in line for about 20 minutes.  Didn't buy anything on Thursday, was so proud of myself.  I really want a finisher's jacket this year, I am still pissed I never got one when I finished CDA in 2009.  Speaking of which, I am still kinda fumed I never did that race report.  I guess I could do that, I still remember that whole week pretty vividly.

For lunch we went to The  Back Porch at Pier Park.  Pretty good, I had a Yellowfin Tuna sandwich with bacon and lettuce, it was pretty good.   Too much food though, it came with two sides and we got a cup of soup with our lunch special.  Pint of Blue Moon to wash it all down.  For those of you who have been to a Dick's Last Resort, they are putting one in Pier Park in PCB, I think it is slated to be opened in February.

I came back and took about an hour and a half nap.  Woke up and had a snack, and then ran 2 miles before hitting up dinner.  Went to Spinnaker's last night for dinner.  It was pretty good.  I came home in my food coma and hit the foam roller and stretched before reading in bed.  I think I fell asleep around 10pm.

As far as the day went, I was happy with it.  Standard first day for Ironman Week, get your shit together, get a few small workouts in, and then focus on the rest of your day and chill.  A year has almost past.  It's been a heck of a year.

Till tomorrow,