Hubs surprised me with this super sweet video of the race. My brother-in-law, Chris, also did the race and the joke of the day was figuring out which of the three look alike TriGators he was, hence the comments in the video.
This was my first IronMan event and I could not be happier with the experience.
Awesome course (well, mostly)
Plenty of aid stations throughout
The only down side was no finisher's swag :( I really wanted a finisher's hat or shirt like they gave out last year. That's purely fluff though, when it came to the important athlete amenities, they hit it out of the park!
The morning of the race, I was a wreck. My hands were shaking and I could barely eat or drink anything. I got up at my usual 4 a.m. and was out the door by 4:45. Having that as my normal schedule for the last few months really made it easier on race morning. Chris and I made the nearly 1 mile walk from the hotel to transition where we set up and got body marked without any waiting. Seriously, no waiting at all. We had a little over an hour to just hang out before my wave started. I did my best to choke down a banana and then sipped a Gatorade Prime 01 pre-race drink. It was the perfect pre-race fuel for me since I couldn't eat anything. Then before I knew it, I was lining up at the water's edge.
Swim: 1.2 miles
Okay, so I've read in numerous articles that the swim is supposed to be this "zen-like" experience and frankly, I always thought those authors were full of it. But low and behold, it happened to me! Who knew they were right?! As soon as my face hit the water, I was calm as could be. I followed my plan to hang back and to the outside of my group and it worked beautifully. I had plenty of room and swam slow and easy until the first buoy. It was about that time that I realized how badly I had to pee. Sorry if this is TMI, but it's a very important part of my race experience. I guess I was too nervous before the start to even notice so here I am, halfway through the swim and it feels like someone is stabbing my bladder. I slow down and try to "go" and swim - no luck. I breaststroke and try to "go" - no luck. I freakin stop and tread water and try to "go" - no luck. I saw the swim finish and literally did not want to get out yet! I really didn't want to have to make a pit stop on the bike course but that's exactly what happened.
Other than the bladder issue, the swim was awesome. It was actually EASY! I even felt great when I got out, not exhausted at all. Granted, I took my sweet time and probably swam too easy but I could have easily swam the loop twice! I had plenty of pep to run all the way to T1 and was on the bike in no time. Transitions are usually very fast for me since it's the easiest way to make up time for being a slow runner. For this race, though, I was in no rush. I figured it was better to take an extra 30 - 60 seconds and make sure I had/did everything and was ready for the 3 hours that were to follow.
T1 - 3:50
Next time I need to apply sunscreen.
Bike: 56 miles
Bike Time: 2:55:34 @ 19.1 (including a 7 minute potty stop)
This was fun and fast! I felt amazing on the ride and really enjoyed the "rolling hills." I was easily holding 23 mph on the straight-aways and passed my way up the climbs. It was crazy how easily I was getting up the hills. At mile 17 (I think) we hit the first aid station so I finally got my potty break. Unfortunately, it took me forever to get my one piece tri suit off/on and I lost a lot of time. Once back on the bike, the next 20 miles flew by. The bike portion of the race was so much better than I expected it to be.
The last 15 miles got a little tough but that is where my lack of longer training rides comes in. At mile 40, we hit a headwind. The wind wasn't terrible but it was bad timing considering I was starting to feel achy at that point. My hips were sore and my neck was tight from the aero position. There was also a portion of the course that went through a neighborhood that got a little slow - lots of cars and turns. Overall, the bike course was awesome. It flew by and never felt like a 3 hour ride.
Again, I took my time in transition to fully prepare for the next 2+ hours of running ahead of me.
Run: 13.1 miles
Run time: 2:34:50 @ 11:49
I knew going into this race that the run is hot, dirty, long and miserable but it was worse than I expected. I have lived in Florida for almost 20 years and can honestly say that I have never experienced anything that hot before. Running on the asphalt was a relief from the heat of the long stretch of grassy dirt trail. I don't know what the hell made it so much hotter but you could literally feel the heat radiating off the ground and sucking the oxygen from your body. It was dangerously hot and I give huge credit to the event staff for offering water, ice, Gatorade, power bars, cookies, pretzels, cool sponges and bananas at every single mile. Not only that, but the drinks were cold and there was plenty of ice even by my third run loop. Outstanding! The saving grace was the kiddie pool filled with ice and water at each mile. I am a serious germ freak but I had no problem sharing that ice cold water with thousands of my closest, sweatiest, and snottiest friends. I would be shocked if I didn't get sick from sharing so many bodily fluids but hey, desperate times! I took my time through every aid station - stopped to poor ice water on my head, replenish my sponges, sip some Gatorade and drink a cup of water. This half marathon was not about a PR, it was about surviving the heat.
My legs felt great off the bike but the first lap was definitely the hardest. I think that was largely in part to not knowing the course yet and being surprised by the severity of the elements. Lap two gave me a big boost as I passed the 8 mile marker. I had accidentally stopped G-Unit for a few miles of the first lap so I really wasn't sure of my mileage. It then became about tackling the the three loops rather than the 13 miles. The mile markers on the course were sporadic at best and I was in no mood to try and figure out the math. At first glance of the mile 8 marker, I was thinking that it didn't apply to me until the next loop. It took me almost a mile to convince myself that I was really that far into the run. It was cake after that! Before I knew it, I was heading down the finisher's chute! It was just as amazing as I had hoped it would be! I would literally do it all over again next weekend if I could.
If Miami wasn't sold out, I would be there in October. So instead, I signed up for the IronMan 70.3 New Orleans in April 2011! Maybe, I'll even do NOLA and Florida back to back!
40/85 AG 30-34
Other than the potty break, I am very pleased with the results of my first HIM. It never ceases to amaze me what we can do when we put our minds to it. More importantly than time, I raced smart - my fuel and hydration were right on point. Nutrition is usually a problem for me because of two reasons. First, I'm not that knowledgeable on the subject. All my research materials are either too specific and become confusing or too general. Thankfully, I surround myself with poeple who are much smarter than me. Secondly, I don't like to eat or drink all that much during swim and bike training. I knew that getting this right was crucial to prepare for the heat so I planned accordingly and actually followed my plan. Here's how it played out...
Gatorade P01 drink
2 Endurolytes (10 mile mark)
4 fig newton bars throughout
Jet Blackberry Gu (30 mile mark)
3 refills of water
2 Endurolytes (40 mile mark)
Water and Gatorade at every mile
Jet Blackberry Gu (mile 3, 7)
TriBerry Gu (mile 11)
I hate pizza but that was all they offered so I forced myself to eat a piece. On the drive back home, we stopped at Chili's and I had a cup of chicken tortilla soup, half a chicken wrap, lots of water and a glass of orange juice. I figured OJ was a good immune system boost to combat the germfest that was surely taking place inside my body :)