Florida Challenge Triathlon - Race Report; Part I

Florida Challenge Triathlon - Race Report; Part I

Post by L. M. Eden » Sat, 30 Sep 1995 04:00:00

Well after living vicariously through the race reports of Tricia, Marcus, and others I
decided to give this race reporting biz a try.  This was my first 0.5 Ironman and I'm
really wanting to share my experience with some fellow triathlete's, particularly those
BOPper's, or former BOPper's who have slugged it out against the course clock through
their first long race.  This is my second year of actively/regularly competing in triathlons
and so I set the rather unambitious for myself, but what I thought were realistic goals
of 1) fininshing, and 2) not ending up in the medical tent.  The course has a reputation of
being very tough because of the hills (not something we Floridians are use to) and the heat
(something we Floridains are use to, but we generally try an avoid).  In preparation I went to
Clermont twice to ride the bike course, once in its entirety and once only the most hilly
segment.  I had skimped some on swim and run training to several illnesses
this summer and job + other life stresses, so anyway I was feeling slightly undertrained
(isn't that always the case!).  But, none the less ... Off to the Races.

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Florida Challenge Triathlon
Clermont, FL

Sunday, September 24th
1.2 mi Swim
56 mi Bike
13.1 mi Run

After spending much of the last week staying up until 2 AM, trying to finish a seriously
overdue work project, we (my husband, hereafter referred to as Lee and I) went on Friday
afternoon and closed on a house we are buying. We then proceeded to spend Friday riping out
the carpet and removing the drapes from the house (OK not exactly the best tapering method,
but it was so hard to resist, as we wanted to see the hardwood floors underneath).  Saturday
AM I spent fininshing up my work project until 2 PM then ran home, packed and headed down to
Clermont.  4 PM arrived at Clermont, go to check-in at host hotel and they convinently have
arranged to have the prerace registration and packet pick-up here.  This was only the
beginning of what I considered to be the best race management job I've ever had the pleasure
to experience (No I'm not getting kick-backs from RD Fred Sommer).  After settling into our
room we decide to head over to the race site and go for a short bike ride to checkout the
first 5 or 6 miles of the run course, as the was the only portion of the course I did not have
some prior experience with.  Get out on the course and its a balmy 90-odd degrees, but there
is a nice breeze associated the approaching thunder clouds.  Not to worry its only going to be
a short spin and the weather, well all week the weatherman has been promising that this cold
front is going to hit and that by Sunday it will be a pleasant (by Florida standards) 80-82
degree high temperature.  Well we don't beat the clouds and get caught in real "gully washer".
Oh well I needed a shower this evening anyway.  Go back to the hotel and change and head over
to the prerace pasta dinner ... "Why am I here" I think to myself, "everyone looks more fit
and worhty than me".  Yes, a bit of panic is beginning to set in!  I met several nice (aren't
all triathletes) people who were doing the race tomorrow, I tried to retain anonymity so as
not to have to confess my time tomorrow at the awards ceremony.  Back to the hotel, clean
bike, get everything set out for the AM.  Fall asleep easily at 10 PM (guess my sleep
deprivation earlier this week did something good).  3 AM wake up, sweating, dreamed I drowned
during the swim ... of course due to under training.  5:30 AM ... wake up call, OK lets get
this DAMN thing over with! 6:20 AM arrive at race site, set up transition, stand in
porta-potty line.  I listen to everyone in line discuss when they are turning pro, and whether
they are doing the Great Floridian or Hawaiian Ironman for their full IM next month.  Am I
feeling a bit out of my league ... YES.

7:15 AM Swim Start - water temperature is 85 degrees, no wetsuits today! I'm in the third
wave. Ready, set, go, we are off, it feels really good to finally get this thing underway.  I
fall into a good rhythm and feel like I can finally focus on the race.  The course is
rectangular in shape and I figure there are about 10 bouys, so I count each one passed is 10%
completed.  This helps pass the time.  I'm hoping for a 45 minute swim, I don't look at my
watch until I'm comming out of the water, it says 52 minutes, oh well I had skimped on
training here, knowing I could slug on through.

Transition #1 - reapply sunscreen and pull on my cycling jersey over my bathing suit.  Head
out on the bike course.  I'm not feeling quite as fresh as I had hoped, guess the swim took a
bit more out of me than I had planned.  I meet the first big hill at mile 1.5, ah get that
pasted me and focus on trying to keep a steady cadence at a gooc clip.  I've set my heart rate
monitor for 135 lower limit and 175 upper limit.  I rarely hear the beep, beep, beep, except
when cresting some of the larger hills.  I start passing people around mile 15, this feels
good.  I also feel I have a tremendous psychological advantage in that I know the course
relatively well.  Sugarloaf mountain ... has to be the longest and steepest hill in Florida.  
The first time I came to ride the bike course I laughed when I saw it, stopped, pulled my map
out of my pocket and figured out how to get back on course if I wen around it.  Not today
though ... I ride it the whole way passing a number of people walking their bikes up the hill.
As soon as you crest the hill a lovely view of Lake Apopka (one of the largest lakes in
Florida) greets you.  It looks beautiful with the morning sun rising over it, with a light
mist on the lake.  Yes, I'm on a roll now, I even have a delusional moment when I contemplate
how I might do the full IM next year.  5 minutes later ... trouble, bad intestinal cramps,
please not today, what is going on?  Mile 35, pass back by Lake Minneola, wave at Lee, get a
fresh water bottle and continue on to the flatter final segment of the bike course.  Mile 30
to 56 I have off/on cramps/nausea ... why today I keep thinking.  I was not consuming anything
I had not tried out in my trial runs, but I guess the heat (its already in the 90's, so much
for the weathermen) + stress made my system go haywire.  I finally stop consuming GU packets
and hope I have***ed the problem.  But my bike time is a dissapointing 3:38.  Oh well, I'm
only racing the clock now and I have 3.5 hours left to finish the run.

Continued in Part II.