Ironman Florida Race Report
After a chilly day at Ironman Wisconsin , I thought I would go for redemption in Panama City Beach . I flew to Houston a week out and made the 10 hour drive over to the beach with my training partner, Justin( www.justindaerr.com).
As race day got closer I felt strong, rested and eager to line up on the beach. After arriving down at the start, it was obvious that we were in for a bit of an adventure. The temperature was 43*F and there was a stiff wind that was blowing parallel to the coast. This meant that there would be swells and waves to deal with for the entire swim.
The cannon sounded and I expected to get pummeled at the start, but to my surprise there was very little contact. I managed to get into the group and the hardest part was not the pace, but just dealing with the conditions and not swallowing too much salt water. We rounded the turn and somehow my part of the group decided to head out to sea….after about 30sec or so, and finally being able to sight a buoy through the rough seas, I made my way back on course. I tried to lift the pace to catch the group that I lost, but was unable to bridge the gap. I exited the first loop just under 1min behind the group. After running across the beach I headed back out, still with thoughts of drilling it to catch up. I made my way through a few other swimmers, but it soon became apparent that I would not make the catch. I decided to back off and cruise into T1 where I saw 60minutes and change, not too bad considering all that went on.
After a transition that included knee warmers, a jersey, gloves and arm warmers(I WAS NOT going to freeze today:), I was out onto the bike with NO idea how far I was behind that pack (I found out later that the gap was only about a minute). My heart rate came down very quickly and I settled into a very easy pace that was governed by my Powertap….and the wind J
The first 80km of the ride were straight into a headwind, which made things tough. We then made a turn to the south and were greeted by a welcomed tailwind. I continued to roll steady, but in hindsight I probably should have backed off a bit and used the tailwind to my advantage. I made it to the out and back section of the course at 120km feeling great, though I was a ways back from the action. For the next 40km I had a mix of head, tail and crosswinds.
After riding over the causeway, it was a flat ride back to town. I made the final turn into the wind about 10km from T2. Boy was I tired. I never like ending a ride like this, but on the other hand I was excited to start running. My total ride time was 5:05:01.
I made my way through T2 and headed out onto the run feeling great. I held back and ran like do in training. Things felt easy, my HR was low and I was clicking off miles that put me at a sub 3hr marathon pace. The first half of the run was quite uneventful; I was enjoying the great running conditions, spectator support and continued to the turn around. I saw 1:32:xx and after 2 more port-a-stops I was quite pleased.
At about mile 14 I became very achy in the feet and ankles and within 2 miles I went from running 6:55 per mile pace to 8:30. The muscles felt good (no cramping) and my energy was great, but unfortunately my achy joints forced me to slow to a walk/run. After a few ups and downs, I decided that I needed to make the best of the day and since I had no other races left this season I would thank the volunteers and support the other athletes on my way to the finish. By the time I crossed the tape, I saw 10:35:xx.
Though my time was disappointing, I took away a lot from this race. I probably got more from this IM than any of my 7 IM's I have raced. I really enjoyed being out there and racing, even with the conditions and a sub-par time on the day, I enjoyed every minute. THAT is how it should be. This race also showed me what I am capable of, even if it was only for 15 miles on the run. I think that with a switch of shoes, being a year older and a few other small changes, I will be able to execute next time around.
This race has lit a fire within that has me excited to start working toward my next Ironman this spring. I will take 2 weeks off and then spend another 2-3 weeks "just moving" before I get back to preparation for a spring Ironman.
I want to thank everyone that believes in me. My family, friends and sponsors: Hammer Nutrition, Zipp Wheels, Saris, Oomph!, Blue Seventy and Fuelbelt. I am still planning out 2007 and will let everyone know my plans as things get closer. Also, keep an eye out for a new look to my website in the coming weeks. I hope everyone enjoys a bit of ice cream, pizza and sleeping.