First, thanks to CFT/Sommer. We always want race directors to publish
results on R.S.T, and they seem to be the first.
This post is for all those who enjoy reading a personal account of an
Ironman distance race. I hope you find it informative/entertaining.
Also, a "Hi Mom" to Herm Ulloa and Matt Mohoney, other R.S.T folks at the
BEFORE THE RACE
6 Month's ago, I thought not using a remote constituted exercise. Through
a vicious obsessive/compulsive spiral, I found myself sitting at pre-race
meeting of the Great Floridian.
At the pre-race meeting, the race director talked about the race day's
predicted weather. "High 80's accompanied by high humidity." You could
see the people from the northern climes (Michigan, Canada, Wisconsin)
visably blanche and turn white. He also shared some good news. He found
a great view on top of the tallest hill in Florida (citrus tower hill) and
wanted to share it with us on the 2nd mile of the run.
Race day morning found lake calm, with bouys stretched out as far as the
eye can see (was that 2.4 or 24 miles?). I had hoped for a 1:30 swim. I
got more than my money's worth by continually drifting right, looking
around, feeling lonely and swimming back into the fray 30 yards to my
Eventually, I found a straight swimmer to draft. My boredom was
alleviated as I spent 3/4 mile focused on not hitting his feet. At the
halfway point he slowed and I lost my guide.
The second half, I found between two groups. Without someone else to
focus on, I withdrew inside myself, focused on my stroke, felt much
smoother and stronger than when I was drafting. As I went by the third
bouy that was deflating, I began to suspect one of the leaders carried a
Bottom line, I finished the swim in 1:20 instead of 1:30. Thank you QRMan
for the wondeful $60 longjohn.
After a brief (well 10-12 minute) transition me and my 29lb wonder
"Bessie" and I went onto a 113-116 journey. (The course director had said
it would be 113 and some change due to construction, riders, swearing by
their cat-eyes grumbled it was 116)
The beginning 35 miles was rough and tumble, with lotsa steep short
climbs. (One's that I had walked during my first hilly training ride).
The weight training and hill rides paid off, and I felt absolutely great
going into mile 40. Then it got flat and long and flat and long and flat
The Florida heat extracted it's toll. As I rode through mile 90 in, the
course began to look like a battlefield, with victims strewn roadside,
huddling under shade, many of the wretches retching. (I just had to play
those words together).
It took it's toll on me too. I was *HOT*. The ball of my foot (left)
ached, feeling bruised. The last miles of the bike course shared miles
5-10 of run. What a psychological blow to see the leaders breezing ahead
full (fool?) steam on the run as I rolled forward inch by inch.
Finally, off the bike. I never liked that damn bike anyway. Sigh of
relief. Change of socks. Towel off sweat. Hot tent. More suntan
lotion. Where's that race belt?
"Huh?" "More gatorade.?" "Sure, Thanks." headed towards front door.
Someone's stopping me. Oh, the back of the tent for the run....ok...I got
Feels good to use different muscles than the bike. The "bruised?" ball of
my foot doesn't hurt as I run.
I walk up and run downhills for the first 3 miles, then start my slog. So
this is why they call it the Ironman shuffle. Smile on my face though,
it's the least I can do for all those great folks watching and cheering.
Make every passerby feel like they are Greg Welch or Dave Scott.
Mentally, the toughest part, miles 10-19, not close enough to taste the
finish line, not still relieved from getting off the bike. Darkness
falls, mosquitos bite, mile by mile. Still clapping, cheering, the
spectators keep me moving. Pass lots of people walking. Ongoing refrain
"Hanging Tough" I say, hoping to add encouragement. "Looking Strong" they
say, exaggerating how good my stumbling forth at more than walk pace
Finally, mile 20, only six to go, feels good, I will survive. Mile 22,
nasuea, walk, mile 23, pick up the jog again.
200 yards to finish. The road is lit by the halogens. I stop, rip the
cigar taped to my race belt off.
Finishing picture: big smile, stogie*** out of the side of the mouth.
I took IV afterwards, because many of my friends said it would help with
recovery. That night, I was up four times to "powder my nose". Severe
nasuea. Woke up feeling good, brief nap in the afternoon, legs fatigued
by not aching. Feel much better than I have a right too.