Me, Stancie and Team Tri Everything athlete Bill Peterman, raced Ironman 70.3 Florida on April 10, 2016.  

Swim:  My wave gets in the water (in-water start), and the horn blows.  I am trucking along and feel great.  The only issue with this swim is it is an M-Dot swim (see below), meaning you go straight, make a right, then another, then a left, then another left, a right and a final right toward the finish line.  As swimming is not my strongest discipline, I set mini goals during the swim for myself…don’t get passed by the wave behind us until I make the second turn (check), start passing other waves by the third turn (check).  At this point, I am feeling good and am beginning to pass earlier waves, while only a few of the swimmers in the wave behind me caught up – good so far, then came my first misstep, on the last turn to home, I swung too wide and kept going.  I realized it when all of the rescue personnel were between me and the other swimmers. This little misstep caused me to swim an extra 200 yards (per my Garmin).  Once onto the land, I looked at my watch and PR’ed the swim by over 8 minutes (despite swimming 200 extra yards) – GREAT way to start!



T-1 was uneventful, got my bike and off to the races… 

Bike:  I got on my bike and within 200 yards realized I had hit the button on my aerobars and was in T-2 according to Garmin L. Quick thinking…I end the multi-sport mode and turn it to bike.  This allowed me to get numbers while on the road, even though I would not have them the way I would have liked…this will hurt me later.  I feel great on the bike, some rollers and some flat.  At most points I look at the watch and see 23-24 mph and my HR is in check.  Now for the first big hill…I get good momentum on the small hill prior, but need to change gears and pop – chain off and I am spinning, spinning, spinning.  So I stop and fix my issue, but now have to start from a dead stop to climb…damn it!  The rest of the ride was uneventful and pretty fast.  I Saw Stancie about 45 miles into the ride, yelled her name and kept going.  I am on pace for a bike PR, which I did get.  I wanted to be faster (missed my goal by 0.2 mph average), but a PR nonetheless. 

T-2 was uneventful, switched to my run shoes and I was off… 

Run: Legs felt good coming off of the bike, so I thought to myself, this is gonna be a great run.  At the 1.5 mile point I see Bill Peterman, who is on his second loop of the run.  Quick hello then…the 10th street hills. Who said Florida was flat…I guess this is what the Race Director was talking about at the briefing when he said to prepare yourself for the 10th street hill! I chug up the feel OK but not great…oh did I mention it is a 3 loop run and I have to do that two more times? CRAP.  I continue on with the run and then the wheels come off the bus (mile 4), nausea sets in and I feel like I am gonna vomit.  At this point I realize that I have not had any solid food since breakfast at 3:30am.   Time for some food, banana & Clif bars are being offered at the aid station, so I have one of each.  It took me 2 miles to recover from the nausea, but now knew I was not going to PR the run. I am not a fan of the 3 loop runs, this is my second one and after the first one said “I won’t do a 3 loop run again” and here I am.  I am again saying it, thankfully my next race is a one-loop run (but a 2 loop bike).  About Mile 9 I see a friend from Boston, who is a team member for Team BPC.  I slow down to say hello and keep going.  As I approach the finish line I look up at the clock and start doing math in my head, the clock says 6:46.  I do some quick math in my head and am pleased, as my goal was sub-6 hours and being wave 10 meant I subtract 50 minutes, therefore I achieved my goal.  Or not, wave 10 starts 45 minutes after wave 1, thus I missed my goal by 1 minute (I did not figure this out until later).  I cross the finish line and they announce my name – “Stancie Rhodes, Bay Head, NJ” -  WHAT, I look around and start to wonder if my run was that bad or hers was that good.  How is she finishing right behind me – Oh wait, did I wear her chip? Did they get mixed up during the practice swim?  Yup.  My first thought was, oh crap, Cindy is tracking us, so I call Cindy (phone was in transition) and let her know what happened.  Now I have to find an Ironman rep to let them know what happened.  I let them know and it was fixed the next day (when they emailed to say Stancie did not turn her chip in).  I advised them of the screw-up again and that they removed it from my ankle at the finish line.  

Takeaways from the race:

  1. I PR’ed the overall race, swim and bike. Missed the run by 2 minutes.  I set other goals, some of which I achieved and some I did not.  I have 8 weeks to work on things and will set even higher goals for that race – Patriot Half in Massachusetts.
  2. Bring a throw away sweatshirt from home, even if racing in Florida. It can still be cold in the morning and Florida stores do not have a great selection.
  3. Swim straight! Garmin 2:09/100 yards, Ironman 2:28/100 yards. Had I gone straight, I would have achieved my goal time.
  4. Don’t hit the button while using the multisport mode, it sends you to the next transition.
  5. I really liked the XRCEL because it is less filling, but now need to work on #6.
  6. I need solid food while on the bike, to prevent nausea on the run. I am experimenting now before the next race. I am considering a coach again, and he may have some advice for me on this.  Over the past two weeks I have tried something and it seems to be working on my long bricks…I will keep you updated.
  7. Continue to have fun. I am still going to set high goals for myself, but continue to enjoy things.  I do this for the love of the sport!