Sunday, November 11, 2012

Susan Hayes' IRONMAN Florida 2012 Race Report

Early Thursday morning, we started out for PCB. The drive was uneventful. We surfed the Internet, chatting, ate and hydrated while Dale was nice enough to drive. Once we arrived in PCB Thursday afternoon, we were dropped off at Ironman Village so we could check in and pick up our packets. They gave us a really nice backpack to carry all our stuff. We walked through the IM Store, but could not buy anything because we hadn’t completed the race. Next, we found our names on the M-dot board and had someone take our pictures! Then, we were off to see if we could sneak into transition. We found our racks and then walked out to see the swim start. Once we saw everything, back to the condo we went. Our spectators suggested we walk back to get a time reference. Not that it mattered; we still ran late race morning. We didn’t plan on the extra time it would take to get to Alvin’s Island to drop of our Special Needs Bags.

Thursday night was the IMFL Welcome Dinner. They had a jumbo-tron set up so you could see the stage where the PCB Mayor and others would speak. Dinner was typical: pasta, salad, brownies and cookies. The guy that sat across the table from us had two heaping plates of food. He ate like he'd never eaten before. He was done with both plates before I finished my one. It was pretty gross to watch him; silverware was an option in his eyes. The Welcome Dinner is pretty cool. This is where all the athletes come together before the race. They share stories of athletes racing, Race statistics, the breakdown of the athletes (males, females, states, countries, profession, ages), etc. They said it was 1 female to every 10 men. Wow! We were there! Professional Triathlete, Jessica Jacobs spoke and had some great advice. They asked the biggest looser up on stage, she lost 142 pounds! That is a full person. She made the decision to get in shape while eating hot Cheetos and watching an Ironman event on TV. They also auctioned off an IM Florida sign that had been signed by all the pro athletes! The guy that bought it said IM Florida would be his very first triathlon EVER! Holy cow! Nothing like taking the big plunge.

 morning, we went for a swim. The water was in the 60's but actually didn't feel bad. Made the decision right there to go sleeveless. I reminded Sharon and Jennifer if they were cold on the swim, how to get warm quickly. They gave me a look, ‘like you are kidding me, right’. After we swam, I remember thinking... "I'm dying here, how on earth will I ever complete this race!" We walked up to the pool and chatted with some volunteers and a 14-time Ironman finisher. Then looked at our watches and decided it was time to finish getting stuff together so we could make it to bike check in on time. T1 (BIKE BAG: shoes, helmet, gloves, sports bra, cycling shorts, bike jersey, butt butter, deodorant, sun glasses and sunscreen) and T2 (RUN BAG: Tri shorts, shoes, run top deodorant, socks, hat, fuel belt, refill for the gel flask) These are the bags you grab from the swim and after the bike.

Our ride to loosen up the legs was a total of a mile to transition. It was just long enough to make sure everything work properly. Once in transition, they took photos of all the bikes as we entered. C looked great and didn’t mind getting his picture taken. Then to our racks we went to drop off our bikes and put our T1 and T2 bags in the appropriate spots. Now, we were able to see where we would come out of the water, run up the side of the hotel, and where to grab our bags and enter the hotel to change. We went over the same scenario for when we came back into transition from the bike. One of my favorite things about Ironman races: someone takes your bike; you grab your bag and head directly into the changing tents! Once we had this all set off we went to grab lunch.

Friday night, I slept 2 straight hours, and then woke up every hour until I decided to get up around 3 AM. Made my shake and ate bagel with Almond butter for breakfast, put my hydration in the appropriate bags (so I thought) and off we went to transition. Once in transition, I helped Sharon pump her tires, and noted that I was really hydrated as I REALLY needed to pee. Off to the Porta-potty I went! Opened the door, did my TP check... WHAT NO TP, you've got to be kidding me! NONE of them had or ever had TP! This is an Ironman event 14 years in the running and they did not have TP stocked and ready for race morning! You've got to be kidding me! Ok, let me see if how long I can hold it and get my bike ready to go. Sharon was at my bike by now. She pumped my tires as I added 2 Infinit bottles and realized I left my water for the Speedfil in the fridge. My rack mate said they had water tables setup and we could grab water from there. Boy did I luck out! We went around adding last minute things to our T1 (bike) bags and then into the hotel to add our stuff to our T2 (Run) bags. I was attempting to get stuff in order, when the urge to pee came back. My best training buddy said she'd make sure everything was there for me to go. Thank goodness she did, the line was starting to grow inside the hotel. By the time we got that done, we rushed back to the condo to grab our wetsuit and to do last minutes things. We looked at the clock it was 6:10. Holy cow! We still have to walk back to the race start! We poured ourselves into our wetsuits then hurried Dale and Mary along. I heard something about coffee and said ‘get it at bike out. Sorry, we were late’. Once we were down stairs and on the beach Sharon, Jennifer and I took off walking as quickly as we could. Three quarters of the way down the beach we heard the gun for the Pro-Men to start... Crap we're late! We made it to the timing arch just in time for the National Anthem. We got through it, walked to the far right were we saw Dale and Mary. Got our wetsuits on and posed for a few photo shots before heading out to the water. 

The waves appeared to be larger than us. Oh boy! What happened to the calmer water from the day before? I do have to say, us running late gave us no time to look around or get nervous. Once we walked out to the water the cannon went off and away we went. I thought to myself, swim your own swim, this is your race, and do it at your speed. Then I thought I am glad we started to the right, the combat swimming isn't too bad. About that time I got sandwiched in. Come on guys really! They kept it up, forcing me to come up with a new form of defense. Instead of high elbows, it was side elbows. It worked well.  They both gave me space.

Had a few guys try to swim over me. After kicking a few, I decided I’d better focus on swimming and not kicking them off, as I felt a cramp coming. The first turn buoy was the most fun. As we approached, everyone started swimming diagonally to it. Once around it, people wanted to swim out to sea. I had to stop a few times to let those people go ahead so they wouldn't take me with them. Guess people forgot to sight, or were counting on the swimmers next to them to guide them in the right direction. The second turn buoy was pretty uneventful. Back to the beach! I looked at my watch 33 minutes! Sweet! That was, I'm sure, my fastest 1.2 mile swim yet! Now to start the second loop. The waves were larger and stronger. Through the waves we went, diagonally out and got in line with and swam along the buoy line to the turn buoy and back in. When I reached the beach, I found some open wetsuit strippers, 3 working together. Two to pull the wetsuit off and one to keep you in place. They help you up and off you go. I remember thinking WOW! You feel great! How is that possible? You just swam 2.4+ miles. How is it you feel great! 

Off to grab my T1 bag and into the changing tent. Found a seat. Volunteers came to help. I change my clothes, put on my helmet and out I went. Had to wait for the guy to hand me my bike. I checked to make sure my tires still had air and off I went. Again I thought, this is your bike. Do it like you trained. Waited 5 -10 minutes to start hydrating on the bike hoping any issues from the salt water would settle down. Next time, I will have Pepcid on the bike. I didn't want to wait too long as I knew the bridge was around mile 11. At the top of the bridge were 5 or 6 guys in the wild underwear dancing, screaming and cheering us on.

I Probably could have lived without seeing it, but was pretty cool for them to do that taking our mind off the crappy climb we just had. Around mile 50, as we headed out to get our special needs bags, the road got pretty bumpy. Every 10 feet thump thump thump... Will this ever end! I Grabbed my special needs bag, took my 2 new Infinit bottles and my 2 new Crustables, and off I went. I was really wishing I had something crunchy, non-sweet and a Sprite. 

I thought I was going to throw up if I ate another Crustable, but I knew they would give me the energy I needed to finish. From mile 59 - 65 we had some climbing to do. Not bad, just enough to make you work a little harder. As I approached 77 on SR-20, I was watching the cop that was supposed to be stopping traffic for us. He was waving the cars on. I thought, ‘shouldn't you be stopping them’. By this time I was in the middle of the intersection. I think he got his hand signals confused for stop and go, because he smacked one of the cars that went through just in front of us. I didn't stick around to tell him it was his fault, I just kept going. I rode with my mirror, so I could see the cyclist coming up from behind and I could plan my tactics. I noticed this girl right on my butt for 4-5 miles. Finally enough was enough. I sat up, waved her on, and told her ‘draft time was over and it was time for you to work’. I don't think she was very happy with me, but really didn't care. A 7 meter distance between bikes is the rule. If I had to work so did she. Finally back to 79, in the home stretch now, headwind or not, it is just 30'ish miles. On the way out to the landfill, I was looking for Jennifer. She was about 2 miles ahead of me. I never saw Sharon. Hmm, I hope everything was ok. As I was heading back to 79, this lady was riding beside someone chatting up a storm... REALLY! I overheard her make a commit about drafting and she moved on. As she gets alongside me, she says "My husband is an official and told me to watch out because they would be looking for drafters".  I was thinking to myself REALLY! WHAT THE HECK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING... and there is an official right behind you. Are you STUPID! Once on Front Beach Rd, it was a tailwind all the way back to transition! SWEET! What a way to end the ride. Saw Dale and Mary around mile 111. It was nice to have our cheerleading squad there waiting.

sdrI remember thinking as I was heading into transition, will I be able to stand when I get off this bike... Feet are on the ground and the legs are holding me up! Nice! I grabbed my Infinit Endurance bottle and into T2 I went. I still felt AWESOME! What is wrong? How could that be? In I go and ready to change. I had two great volunteers helping me. One handed me my clothes the other filled my gel flask. As I reached for the deodorant, she says, “you don’t need that, we don’t care if you stink.” As she started to put it in my bag, I told her it wasn’t for her. I really didn’t want to smell myself. Finally dressed and off I go out for the run. About a mile into the run I felt a little cramp in my left knee. I looked at what I had and saw Pepcid AC, Sports Legs, GasX, and Imodium. So I took my sports legs and the Pepcid, drank some Infinit then ate a banana. Believe it or not the pain is gone. Around mile 4, I saw Jennifer heading back. Off to the park I went. Aid stations were every 1/2 - 1 mile on the course. Very nice! At mile 8, Dale and Mary were waiting to get photos. I unloaded some unneeded crap. A minute later, Sharon popped around the corner and I made her stop for a photo. Off I went to special needs. I left my fuel belt. I was looking forward to changing my socks as I was getting blisters. I forgot to grab my light. I really wished I had a Sprite. Looked at my watch I was on track for a 6-hour Marathon. Then off I went into the dark. Saw Sharon around mile 15 or 16. Shortly after that, my stomach decided to get really pissed off. Holy Cow really and it is dark, none of the potties have lights. I finally found one that did. Just in time. Took care of business off I went. As I got back out to the park it was dark. The generator lights stopped working. They moved some lights around. My poor stomach was still unhappy. I took the Imodium and prayed for the best. I knew by this point I was not going to make that 6-hour Marathon for a sub-14. Ok, suck it up and go.

You are still going to finish and I was very happy about that. During the run, I talked with several very nice people, spectators and volunteers. They were awesome! I could not believe I was in the final stages of completing 140.6 miles, and felt good about it. When I hit the finish shoot, I made sure I enjoyed every minute of it. I was a little disappointed the announcer did not say Susan Hayes you are an Ironman. I knew I was, but it would have been really nice to hear him say it as I crossed. 

I am thankful that somehow, I had my hydration and fuel on the mark. On the bike I had 3.5 Crustable sandwiches, 3.5 bottles of Infint Endurance, 1 quarter banana, water and an 8 oz. mixture of Napalm, honey, Sustained Energy and 6 -Sports Legs. On the run, I had 24 oz. Infinit Jet Fuel, 8 oz. mixture of Napalm, honey, Sustained Energy, 3 bananas, some soda, pretzels, chicken broth and some grapes. Also took 7 - Sports Legs, 4 - Pepcid AC, 1 - GasX and an Imodium. I believe this really helped me get through the day with minimal pain and suffering. During the Marathon, I took it in segments only 6.5 mile to the halfway, only 6.5 back to special needs. That really helped me; I probably was a little conservative on the run, having never run a Marathon before. I had no idea what to expect. I wasn't sure if I would have enough.

Once I made it to the park for the second time, I knew I was going to make it. The best part is I never had the Marathoner Dread Man thoughts. I have been doing triathlons around 4 years now. It is really hard for me to believe that the Full Ironman has been by far my best race yet. I felt strong, in control and focused and enjoyed every minute. 

Thanks to Dale, Mary and Krista and all the other spectators who traveled to see us race. It was absolutely amazing to have your support out there on the course and though out the week. It was a joy to hear your voices and see your smiling faces. Also, thank you to all the friend and family who followed us at home. I could feel all the prayers and positive vibes coming my way. Thank you!!!

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