Ironman Florida 70.3 was so much fun! I don’t know if it was the race itself, or because I was in Florida and with my family. We ate like fatties all week at so many great restaurants, went to the beach, played mini golf, and a went to a trivia night. Maybe it was all of the time in the sun or the pizza and burgers and ice cream I ate all week that contributed to a slightly slower race time. BUT WHATEVER IT WAS SO WORTH IT.
On race morning I woke up at 3:15am, an hour and 15 minutes before we actually planned on leaving. I wake up this early to make sure I have enough time to make a pre-race poo (too much information I know, but it is a very important part of race day). For breakfast I made two pieces of white toast and put eggs on one and peanut butter on the other (I DID NOT COMBINE THE TWO PIECES OF BREAD), and took 3 Ibuprofen, and 1 Immodium (part of a balanced breakfast).
When we got to the race, I had to set up my transition area and get my body marked with my race number and age. Transition closed at 6am, the race didn’t start until 7 and my wave didn’t start until 7:30. So there was a lot of standing around being cold and nervous.
The water temperature was wetsuit-legal, meaning that it was below 76 degrees Fahrenheit. So you can wear a wetsuit but you don’t have to. I wore mine because it makes me really buoyant and warm. Before the swim, I stood around with my swim wave which was 18 to 34-year-old women and I made some friends with some nicer girls. Some girls were way too intense for me, I avoided them.
Each wave started 5 minutes apart, so once the wave before us started their swim, we were allowed to enter the water to where the starting line was. The water was about waist deep. We were standing in a big crowd and I’m going to be honest with you, I was definitely trying to force my way to the front of the pack to get a start in front of everyone else. All these bitches had basically made it impossible to make it to the front of the pack so I had to start in the middle of the group. After we started, the first 100-200 meters consisted of kicks to the face (accidental I hope) and people swimming on top of each other. I finally swam my way to the front of the group, running over several people in the process… BUT HEY TOLD YA I SHOULD HAVE STARTED IN THE FRONT.
The rest of the swim was fine. I caught up with some of the dads in the 40-44 age group in front of us. They are the worst to swim around because they are typically way more muscular than me and just get in the way/ swim on top of me and almost drown me. I finished the swim with a time of 31 minutes, 1 minute faster than Ohio 70.3! I believe I was the fourth or fifth woman out of the water.
I had a pretty far run from the lake to my bike in transition. When I got there, I COULD NOT get my wetsuit off of my feet and almost had a panic attack while writhing around on the ground. I finally got it off, put my bike shoes, helmet, and sunglasses on, and I was off! I had to run my bike pretty far to get out of transition too which sucks in bike shoes. Then I hopped on my bike as my mom shouted from the sidelines, “Have fun! We’re going to get breakfast now!” I don’t blame her. It was a long ass 56 miles.
The first half of the bike, I was FLYING. According to my Garmin, I was averaging about 22-24 MPH which was way faster than normal, but I didn’t even feel tired! Little did I know that I really just had a massive tailwind. Unfortunately, I figured that out a little later when the course changed directions and I caught the massive headwind.
The bike is definitely my worst leg of the 3 but I like it the most. Probably because it seems to be the easiest (probably means I’m not pushing hard enough). The route was very rural, it basically looked just like Ohio farms, minus the palm trees and occasional weird tropical birds screeching at us from the side of the road.
Around mile 30, I started to notice that I slowed WAY down. It started getting windier and windier, and the hills were getting bigger and bigger (yes, hills in FLORIDA?? Who would have thought???). I averaged about 15 MPH for my second half. Not good. The wind was so bad I could hear it whistling through the spokes on my wheels. I started to get V annoyed around mile 45 with the wind, plus my crotch started hurting (my bike seat is like sitting on a thin rock). But I powered through and came in with a time of 3 hours and 15 minutes. My Ohio 70.3 time was 3:04.
The transition from bike to run was a blur, I actually don’t remember any of it except getting sunscreen slathered all over me by volunteers on my way out of transition. The first mile of the run is always awful, my ankles always feel super tight and my legs feel like Jell-O.
So this run course was 3 loops which I liked because then I could see my family 3 different times, plus there is so much crowd support on a smaller course like that. The issues with the 3 loop course was that there were 3 giant ass hills in a row, meaning I had 9 giant ass hills during the run (I am very good at math, I know). I absolutely had to walk up the hills, people were running them and running about just as fast as I was walking.
The course looped through the park where the race started and through neighborhoods that were by the park. People who lived in these neighborhoods were standing outside with hoses so the athletes could cool off. It was really nice! However, running though hoses equals wet shoes which equals blisters galore. I started getting one on the bottom of my left foot that hurt so bad I almost just quit the race (okay I am exaggerating I would never just quit).
My first lap felt pretty great, but unsurprisingly, each lap got slower and slower. I started at about a 9:30 pace for a few miles then slowed to an eventual 11:30-12 minute pace. I crossed the finish line with a run time of 2 hours 27 minutes (7 minutes slower than Ohio 70.3) for a total race time of 6 hours 20 minutes, 18 minutes slower than Ohio was.
I was not upset by this time in the least! I finished the race and didn’t die! That’s great. Like I had said previously, I did eat like shit that week and spent a lot of time in the sun which probably didn’t help. I also have been training in Ohio, where it’s been like 40 degrees then went to sunny, 84 degree Florida, so it was a bit of an adjustment.
It was a great way to start my triathlon season and I am really excited for Muncie 70.3 on July 8th! I also have the Flying Pig FULL marathon (ahh!) on May 7th and an Olympic distance triathlon on June 18th. So stay tuned!