Sunday, May 21, 2006

Florida Half Ironman

This race is either the Ironman 70.3 Florida or the Florida Half Ironman, depending on where you look. I think the first name is now official due to the WTC's push of the Half Ironman (i.e. 70.3) series.

I was a bit concerned going into the race because my swim and bike preparation was quite a bit off. But I decided I could race conservatively and still have a fun time.


This was a tough swim, from a contact point of view. It was three sides of a rectangle, and on each side I had a battle or two for positioning. Another problem was an error of mine - I forgot to take my bike jersey off beforehand, and couldn't get back into transition to leave it. I thought about hanging my jersey on a railing and getting after the swim, but if the jersey were stolen, I would get a horrible sunburn. So I tucked in the jersey as much as I could and made the best of it. Swim time was 49:59 - ugh!

Exiting the swim, wearing my bike jersey. Ouch.


The bike course was mostly flat with a few rolling hills. I decided to keep between 16 mph and 17 mph and not exhaust myself before the run. I did the 56 miles in 3:21:39 which is an average of 16.7 mph, just exactly like I planned!

Cruising along on the bike


At my other half ironman, I had a tough time on the run stemming from heat and/or bad nutrition during the bike. This time around it went much better. I was able to run about 9 min/miles through mile 6, and then 10 min/miles to mile 10, before I had to stop and walk. It was very hot, above 95 degrees, and the course didn't have much shade at all. The run course was about a 4 mile loop with an extra section for the finish, half along roads and half along a dirt/gravel trail. I picked up some ice and a sponge at most every aid station and did my best to keep cool. The 13.1 mile run took me 2:25:43 for an 11:08 min/mile.

Total time was 6:51:00.

So, not exactly an earth shattering performance, but I am happy about a few things. The first and puzzling was my swim. My swim was only 5 minutes slower than at the Florida Challege, but I had trained more for that one and wore a wetsuit, whereas I had a drag suit on for this event. The bike was reasonable given my training. The run also went well - no teetering on the edge of heat exhaustion, and I ran the first 10 miles before the heat took its toll.

Finished at last!

Now that the track program is over, I need to get my bike mileage back up there. A good way to kick that off will be the 7 Hills of Kirkland ride I will do on Memorial Day. :) My goal of 6:30 at a half is still within reach, and I'd like to hit it at this year's Florida Challenge.

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