|sunset from our balcony|
- rolled into PCB around 3:30pm on thursday. a little later than planned but it worked out great as it seemed most athletes had already done the mandatory check in, which had to be done by 5pm. i walked right in the check in tent, no line (unusual to not have a line at an IM event), got my wrist band, really nice gear bag, timing chip, swim cap, etc.
- after check in we went to our condo located a 1/2 mile from where the race starts and finishes. mental note, this condo is in a great location, will stay there again next year. by the way, it is totally worth it to rent a condo versus going the hotel route. it ended up only costing about $20 more overall and we had 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, full kitchen, washer, dryer, linens, and a view of the gulf of mexico to die for.
- next stop, quick trip to walmart right across the street. this eliminated the need to eat restaurant food for every meal. i was able to eat like i normally would and during a race week, that is very important. walmart was also a lifesaver on 2 occasions. i don't race with my garmin (i'll tell you why later) but instead i just use a basic timex ironman watch and keep an eye on my overall race time. well, the dang watch decides to fall apart on my easy 2 mile run the day before. I was running with Summer and we had a good laugh when it happened. i told her, no prob, i'll either go buy a new one at walmart or maybe just a new band will suffice. the other save my life event was for unknown reasons, i started to breakout with itchy hives on thursday night, so J-man darted over to the W-Mart and bought me some liquid benadryl; disaster averted.
- so i don't race with my garmin. why? i have read on many forums about way too many people losing them in the swim. i would be so pissed if i lost a $400 watch. J-Man overheard a few people mention that they had lost their garmin's during the swim on Saturday. i don't mind losing a $30 timex ironman watch, which is exactly what ended up happening on Saturday. the new band made of velcro came undone and in the middle of all the chaos, i'm trying to secure it. i did that about 3 times and finally just had to say, F it, if it slips off, it won't be the end of the world. before the first turn buoy for lap one, the watch and i bid our farewells and i wondered how many watches were down there in the watch graveyard.
|Summer B and Shorty KC|
- friday, the day before the race was very uneventful, which is exactly how i planned it. did my 2 mile shake out run with Summer as i mentioned earlier and J-Man took his parent's around town and they did lots of walking, sight seeing type things. after the run, i walked down to the main IM tent to register for next year's race. last year, i waited until the day after the race to register and man was i glad i didn't wait until Sunday this time because it was the longest line ever. longer than last year. after that, i met up with a bunch of bloggers and made some new friends, then went back to the condo to grab Mandy (my bike), T1 and T2 bag so i could check them in before the 3pm deadline.
|J-Man sitting in his favorite beach chair|
|blogger and friend meet up|
- i used my left over special needs bags from last year and made up my T1 and T2 bags before i left Tampa so the only thing i needed to do was transfer everything over to the official race bags. i highly recommend doing this if you are like me. i am highly organized but start to lose my mind and all common sense when it gets closer to race day.
- i slept really well on friday night which i never do before a race, so i was very happy about that. i planned on waking up at 4:30am but some alarm (unrelated to any of the 3 alarms i had set) kept going off around 4am. J-man went outside to check and said it was an alarm a few floors above us and lights were flashing. he said he didn't see smoke or fire so i went about my normal race morning routine. i ate a 3 egg white omelet and 2 slices of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, then gathered all of my stuff (wetsuit, goggles, swim cap, watch, water, gel) and off we all went for our 1/2 mile walk to the start.
- i got over to body marking around 5:30am, then went to check on my bike, no flats thank you Jesus, stuck my cell phone in my aerobag, then met up with J-man and his parent's again, put my wetsuit on and walked down to the shore. it was already 73 degrees. first thing that jumped into my head when i looked at the water ...
- as angry as that sea was, i knew i would be fine. somehow i have tricked myself into believing, "it's just like swimming in the pool." laugh all you want but it has worked for me. i won't lie, it took about 1/2 mile for me to feel settled in but i never felt panicked or scared. the swells were incredible, which made sighting a little tricky and i felt incredibly dizzy. nonetheless, i kept telling myself to just keep moving ahead and that i'd be on my bike soon. as i mentioned earlier, my watch slipped off around the 0.4 mark and instead of getting discombobulated, i told myself that maybe it was a sign from above that it was best i didn't have a watch on today, so i just let it go and didn't think about it again. about a minute after going all Zen with the watch incident, someone grabbed my goggles and pulled them down, so i had to quickly get them back on, which i did without any problem. my eyes stung from the salt water getting in them but i quickly forgot about it and kept on moving forward.
- last year i saw a million, huge jellyfish, this year, only 1 itty bitty one. the water was not as clear this year and that was fine by me as i heard several people saw sharks under them at last year's swim. the 2nd lap was a little less crowded but i did manage to get a soft kick in the jaw on the way in. i quickly stumbled out of the water like i was drunk. normally i am always a little off balance when i get out of a swim, even at the pool, but this was a little more than usual. i made it up the long transition to the wetsuit strippers (love them) and ran through where the T1 bags were, was quickly handed my bag and then ran into the hotel where the women's T1 area was set up. thankfully, i had a volunteer all to myself, she dumped my bag out and i put on my helmet, sunglasses and race belt as she sprayed me down with sunscreen, she put one sock on my foot as i did the other sock, slipped my shoes on, said a huge THANK YOU and out i went to get Mandy. definitely not as smooth as last year but finally got Mandy and headed out, jumped on at the mount line and we were on our way.
- all this time i had no idea what my time was but was somewhat disappointed when i saw the clock heading out on the bike and it read 1:45:??. i thought, my god, that swim really did kill me. thankfully, my mind wasn't that out of whack and i remembered that the time started when the pro's started so it was about 15-20 minutes ahead, so i cut myself some slack and didn't give it anymore thought.
- on the bike, i immediately washed my salty mouth out with water, drank some powerade and got settled in. as usual, i started eating about 15 minutes into the ride and thereafter eating about every 30 minutes and drinking every 10 minutes. i really made sure to not screw up on hydrating because it was hot and getting hotter and sunnier by the minute. i never had to stop on the bike, just grabbed what i needed from the volunteers as i rolled by them. the wind is always a factor at IMFL and did not disappoint. mostly the last 20 miles were the worst but i just tried to stay mindful that i had a marathon to run after so blowing up my legs on the last 20 miles to keep a 20mph average or to maybe make up about 5 minutes on time, would not be too smart. thankfully, i did not witness any crashes or near misses but as usual, did see lots of drafting and loved when they got caught, ha-ha!
|heading back with 1/2 mile to go|
- i was so glad to finally get off of the bike. weird thing that happened was there were about 7 volunteers standing around waiting to grab your bike as you came in and i walked right by all of them like i was invisible. someone yelled at them, "someone get her bike!!" then they woke up and someone grabbed my bike and i hauled ass into the hotel to get my T2 bag. uneventful here, just put on visor and running shoes, a quick spray down with sunscreen and a quick pee stop at the port-o-potty.
- i knew within the first 5 minutes of the run that it was going to be brutal because of the heat and that i would have to come up with a plan of attack to make it through without looking like the walking dead by the end. the plan was, walk through every aid station, sip some water, dump rest on head and arms, drink a few sips of Perform or coke, dump one cup of ice in tri top, and hold some ice in each hand. repeat again at next aid station. i did this the entire time and it helped tremendously. i learned the ice in the hands thing recently. studies show that holding ice in your hands is one of the best ways to keep your core temp down. who knew? the first lap was hard with the heat but the second lap was better with the sun finally starting to set. i saw lots of people i knew along the run route and want to thank all of them for the shout outs. they helped me so much and lifted my spirits. i got a lot of compliments on the Betty designs tri kit i was wearing too.
|HOT! The weather, not me.|
- the last mile was the best. as much as i wanted to do a cartwheel across the finish line, there was no way my legs would tolerate that. i would have surely ended up on my ass, so i opted for the double bicep pose instead. i also let all the racers in front of me go ahead to give me my space this year because last year, i was dwarfed by all the people around me, so it was hard to see me finish.
- guess who never once knew what her race time was, even after she finished the race? me! i had to ask the person who was catching if she happened to see my finish time. honestly, had you asked me what i thought it was, i would have guessed 13 hours, so i was pleasantly surprised when i turned around to look at the clock and see 11:41. i knew it was a few minutes under that time and was thrilled considering how hard the day was.
- as much as i would have liked to have beaten last year's time, i was not at all mad or disappointed. i proudly claim my time of 11:39:47.
here is the comparison of last year's race and this year's:
S - 1:20:30 1:21:42
T1 - 8:26 8:36
B - 5:43:16 5:41:29
T2 - 4:49 4:59
R - 4:08:28 4:23:01
Finish: 11:25:29 11:39:47
i had a great time this year and can't wait to do it again next year but hopefully with cooler temps!
much love and peace out!