(Note: These were written pre-race and are set to auto-publish once per day for the next few days)
There are a lot of reasons I’m looking to do Ironman Florida – but the biggest being I just wanted a second crack at it this year. Ironman Canada (IMC) back in August didn’t quite go as planned and I know I trained better than I raced. I honestly don’t care too much what my final time is – as long as it’s a better than IMC. While I certainly have expectations, I’m just not as hung up on them as before. Just want to go out there and at the least, learn something. Since signing up I kept it pretty much under wraps from everyone except Coach and The Girl – just wanted to keep everything low-key until it’s done. A fair number of you via the comments have wondered what was up with the increased mileages post-IMC. And a small handful of you actually figured it out and sent me e-mails on the side (just in case you didn’t know, all Ironman races show all registered participants pre-race). :)
So with that…onto the show (note, all pre-race posts were written pre-race and posted post-race)…
I flew into Florida last night (Wednesday) by way of Charlotte. I was happy to be able to see my bike get on and off each leg of the journey. Here it is in DC getting ready to ride the belt into the plane:
Because it was dark out when I arrived, I didn’t really know what things looked like – except that I was on the beach in a high-rise near the race start. I had booked a 1-bedroom condo via Expedia for super-cheap – about $109/night. Which – btw – is about a 1/3rd of the nightly rate compared to Ironman Canada. One of the advantages of Panama City Beach, FL is that they have a significant city-wide bed-count, and thus even an event like Ironman doesn’t really make a dent in the overall capacity of hotels/condo’s. So, I present you my pad for the stay:
After I was done looking aimlessly out at the ocean, I decided to head out and do my brick workout for the day. I had a swim and run scheduled, and was set to start at 7:30AM – or basically the point I’d hopefully be finishing up the first loop and going into the second loop of the swim. So my workout for today was to swim one loop of the swim course (1.2M each loop) and then do a 25 minute run brick-style.
From there, it was out into the water for a nice little jaunt. They were just starting to setup the buoys at 7:30AM, so I waited until around 7:50AM to give them a bit of a head start so I wouldn’t catch up.
Clear enough in fact that you can see all the little Jellyfish hanging out. Not tons of them. I tried to get a picture of them but failed, but it wasn’t like the below when my brother and I went to Palau and swam in Jellyfish lake:
The nicest thing about the salt water is that you’ve got extra buoyancy. Add to that the fact that it was pancake flat – like glass – and you’ve got a fast course. I’ve been in bathtubs more choppy than this.
Though, you can only sit so long before you have to get other tasks done. So right before lunch I headed over to pickup my packet and get everything I needed.
However, my hope for a quick packet pickup was quickly dashed by a massive line. Stretching out of the expo area it meant a long time to wait. But, there really wasn’t much to do except wait. So I grabbed a water bottle and had fun standing in line for an hour…in the sun. One step forward, two steps back with respect to relaxing.
At least the line meandered past all the booths in the expo, so you could check out their wares:
I then swung by the ART (Active Release Therapy) tent to get my lower back and left knee worked on a bit. I have ART appointments at home, and after the plane flight yesterday my back was a bit sore. But about 15 minutes later all was awesome. ART has been my best friend for almost a year now.
But the Community fund bag did have in it a t-shirt and a visor, so not all was lost.
I spent the rest of the afternoon just lazing around watching TV and surfing the Internet, along with a bit of a nap. I awoke just in time to find the sun setting (rather early here mind you):
Then it was time to head out to the Athletes Banquet.
I thought it was funny that the President of World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) referred to the area as the ‘Redneck Riviera’ during her little speech….which…it basically is. :) Oh, and Mike Riley was the emcee for the evening.