Saturday, May 9, 2009

Gulf Coast Half Ironman Triathlon

So I got to Panama City Beach on Thursday along with Matt & Long. Mike never showed up. I got my packet and bought a running visor and swim mask from the expo. Bad news: the mask leaks. Good news: the visor was incredible today. Yesterday I bought a pair of FSU Sock Guy socks for $5.45.

On the way to rack my bike (had to be last night before 9:30), I noticed that an aerobar was loose. Good thing that got caught. Everything else checked out on my bike. I was able to go to bed very early last night (before 10!). I got up at 4:20, made some breakfast, and got ready. This is the first race for which I've used sunscreen. As I was putting it on, Matt told me that the permanent marker will wash off in the swim if I have sunscreen on. Oops...rookie mistake. The marker did fade a little. I tried to wipe off the sunscreen after I applied, but must not have got it all. You should wait until after body marking to apply sunscreen. I was in the transition area and heard my name. It was Steffanie. I introduced her to Matt & she knows Long. I almost forgot to put on body glide for the wetsuit because the swim almost wasn't wetsuit legal (it was NOT wetsuit legal for the pros).

I watched the start for the pros and a wave of women, then made a pitstop at the restroom. I put on my wetsuit and waited for my wave. The waves were only 1-2 feet, so not bad getting past the surf. I stayed on course really well in the swim. I passed a bunch of people from the wave ahead of me and some from 2 waves ahead. Waves started 5 minutes apart. At the end of the beach, they had freshwater showerheads to run through and a flooded area to get the sand off your feet! Awesome! I ended up running to the wrong spot in the transition area and took a half second to think about where my bike was and corrected that. Other than that, T1 went smoothly.
I biked pretty well, averaging 21.5mph. No penalties. There was a little rough terrain but my bike handled it pretty well. Only one hill on the course but I passed about 12 people on the up side. Got passed back by about 3 of them after descent. I ate a peanut butter sandwich, and a gel on the bike as well as drinking about 500 calories out of my "feed" bottle containing: FRS, agave nectar, Hammer gel, Hammer HEED (High Energy Electrolyte Drink), and protein. Of course I had to balance all that intake of nutrients with water intake. There were aid stations every 10 miles and they gave you a disposable water bottle, so I picked up one at the first 4 stations. There was a bit of a head wind and a couple times I felt a cross wind, but it was mostly decent on the wind. The dismount line was farther away than I thought it would be after approaching T2. I put on my left sock upside down in T2 and had to fix that. I also grabbed my water bottle filled with power smoothie instead of my race belt and had to fix that.
I wanted to run about 8 minute miles and I averaged 8:05. I stopped to pee around mile 1. I took at least a little bit of water at every aid station and there were around 13 of them. They also had sponges. They were supposed to have gels, but they didn't! Good thing I packed a gel in my top. If I would have known, I would have saved the gel I took on the bike. I ended up having to munch on a granola bar for some calories during the run. At one point, I got passed by a guy hauling ass in a Gulf Winds Track Club top. After the race I asked about his time and he ran 1:21! My fastest half marathon (on fresh legs) is 1:26. I think he might have been part of a relay. I ordered a running visor online about a week ago, but didn't get it in the mail before leaving Tally, so I was wearing the new one. It did its job very well.

Post race:
All the volunteers were really nice & helpful. The race was well organized. After I finished, trasition was still closed to finishers. I got a beer and a cookie. Then I heard about the massages. Got one of those, then had another beer & a slice of pizza. Needed to kill time, so had beer 3 and another slice. I got my bike & stuff out of transition as soon as it opened up. Went back to the hotel room, made some phone calls, went to the ocean to wash out my wetsuit, showered, ate a little, and laid down.

There's a Snoop Dogg concert right next door tonight. I heard he might be performing which case we can watch from our balcony! Tix are $30 so I'm not willing to spend that on the D-O-double-jizzle...unless I got a butternut reduction with it. Awards dinner at 6pm.

Results are at if you want to check yourself.
I placed 6th in my age group and 59/~1600 starters overall
my official splits: overall time: 5:03:21 (my goal was to break 6 hours)
1.2 mile swim: 36:22
T1: 2:52
56 mile bike: 2:36:36 (21.5mph average)
T2: 1:46
13.1 mile run: 1:45:47 (8:05 pace)
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