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jmcglos's picture
Joined: Nov 29 2004
Posts: 212
My 2007 Florida Ironman Race Report (long!)

I finally got a chance to write it up! Enjoy.....

2007 Ironman Florida Race Report – Saturday 3 November 2007

Ozzy Osbourne is playing on the loud speakers as we wait on the beach of Panama City, Fl for the 2007 Florida Ironman to begin. I’m waiting with 2400 of my closest friends to embark on a day-long journey that will hopefully end with the words “You are an Ironman.”

The gun goes off and we all start heading into the water to begin our first 1.2 mile lap (of 2) in the Gulf water. This is the part I was most scared about in preparing for my first IM. I am not a big girl and there are lots of big men at the starting line with me. As expected, I am pushed, shoved, grabbed, run over, and swam over in the first several hundred yards of the swim. I try to remain calm, keep telling myself to breathe deeply and soon I can get into a rhythm in my swim stroke. No such luck at first, as I begin to panic and start hyperventilating thinking to myself that I could just turn around and stop now. But that’s not the reason I’m here – I’m here to begin and finish the biggest race of my life with my mom and husband waiting on the beach to see me accomplish my goal. So I decide to move off to the side and try to get away from people, and this tactic works. I am able to swim alone for most of the lap, although this counts against me in that I’m not drafting people for most of the swim, and it shows in my final swim time of 1:30:42 with a rank of 63/68 in my age group. But I am happy that I didn’t battle people for most of the swim, although occasionally my legs were grabbed and pulled and I was swum over a few times throughout the two laps. As I exited the water, I heard someone yell out “you’re 1/3 of the way there!” Not quite, I tell myself, as it might be 1 out of 3 sports for the day, but it’s the shortest segment of the day by far!

Into T1 and I’m given my transition bag to prepare for the bike leg of the race. Volunteers are scrambling around asking if we need help. I am able to quickly get in and out, making sure my helmet and bike shoes are on and fastened correctly. I run out of transition and a volunteer hands me my bike. It is obviously one of the last ones on the rack, but I know I’m a much stronger cyclist than swimmer, so I’m looking forward to this part of the race. T1 time: 6:10.

The bike route is fun and I knew my special needs bag would be waiting at mile 49 where I could grab some chocolate chip cookies and pb&j sandwiches. The ride up to that point is wind-free and I’m enjoying passing lots of people on the route. After the special needs, we turn onto a larger road and there the wind begins to pick up. Not too bad, but definitely some headwind. Another turn and more headwind and this time a headwind that is relentless. I keep seeing my mph going down and down as I’m struggling to keep a steady rhythm. This is the worst part of the bike course, but because I’m still on the bike, I’m still having a lot of fun. The last 7 miles on Front Beach Rd and into transition is all tailwind which really helps to recover before my most dreaded part of the race – the run. Bike time: 6:08:31 for an 18.2 mph average and good for 28/68 in my age group.

Going into T2, I hand my bike over to a volunteer (which is one of the greatest things of IM!) and another volunteer hands me my transition bag. At this point, I know I need all the rest I can get before the run. I take my time in transition, go to the bathroom, and head out for the run. T2 time: 8:20!

The run is a 2 loop out and back course, so approximately 6.5 miles each way – very manageable, or so I keep telling myself. The first few miles is so energetic with the crowd support and music. My plan is to run between aid stations, walk through the station to grab a drink, then begin running again when the aid station ends. The aid stations are located about every mile on the run course. My plan actually works really well and I’m feeling good and confident through mile 8. Between miles 8-12 I start to hurt some, but keep pushing knowing I have much more to go. At mile 12, I see the crowds again, the music is there again and I regain a lot of energy. I keep up this energy through to at least mile 16, when the pain settles in again. I start looking for Bill who is riding roads parallel to the run course and sees me and cheers me on at different turns of the course. It really helps to keep me going and his support becomes really valuable. As it’s getting darker out, the struggle becomes harder and harder. Thoughts of quitting go through my mind b/c the pain is almost unbearable. But then I think – why am I here? Not to quit, not to give up and I keep reminding myself that 2400 other people are feeling this same pain and are pushing through, so I can’t give up now. At mile 22, I have to stop and walk some b/c I’m just in pain and pain and more pain. It’s at that moment that I tell myself to remember this moment and how much excruciating pain I’m in so that I won’t go and sign up for another one of these races again, ever. I know myself and I forget the pain after a race, but this pain I wanted to remember so I don’t go and be stupid again and sign up for another one of these suffer-fests. After all this is going through my head, it actually is beginning to be more painful to walk than to run b/c I’m on my feet that much more. So I begin running again. About 1.5 miles to the finish, I meet a German guy who comes up behind me and we start talking. He’s had a rough day and was originally on track for an under 9 hour, 30 min race, but at the half marathon point, his stomach said no and he started having diarrhea and throwing up. So to get through it, he started drinking beer provided by the spectators and put on a speed skating suit, again provided by a spectator. His goal was to finish the second part of the marathon having fun. Talking to him made me forget all the pain I was in. He told me to enjoy this last portion, keep a steady but good pace, and remember this moment b/c it will be amazing when I cross that finish line. He also said he’d let me go in first ahead of him since it was my first IM (his 9th) and he really wanted me to enjoy the moment. Marathon time: 5:17:32. 45/68 in my age group.

Coming up to the finish line was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The energy and emotions from the spectators was overwhelming. I was so happy to be finished but also so happy to have come this far, pushed through this much pain, and to be almost skipping through the finish line. My final time: 13:11:14 and 42/68 in my age group.

It’s Tuesday and I’m still on a high from the race. I could only sleep about 5 hours the night after the race and was up early the next morning, perky and happy. Surprisingly, I’m not that sore. My knee hurts some, but muscle soreness is barely there. This was the best race of my life – a grand adventure that I will always rememer. And of course I’ll be signing up for another IM or ironman distance race again for next year!

triNick's picture
Joined: Jun 15 2005
Posts: 617

Congratulations! on your IM finish, you did it! Enjoy the experience and take some time off and relax, the hard work is done for now.

Good race report. It was an amazing day, I'll have to get see what I can write up for my RR from down there...

kylie's picture
Joined: Jun 1 2004
Posts: 5521

Congrats! And glad you convinced yourself it was worth doing again :)

deepbluex's picture
Joined: Oct 5 2005
Posts: 897

Congratulations on your IM baptism! Awesome job pushing through the pain and initial swim panic and getting the job done!

Iron Dan's picture
Joined: May 16 2007
Posts: 672

[QUOTE=jmcglos;84717] I heard someone yell out “you’re 1/3 of the way there!” Not quite, I tell myself, as it might be 1 out of 3 sports for the day, but it’s the shortest segment of the day by far!

I love spectators who cheer you on with these types of encouragements. I know they are being encouraging, but it gets in my head. I have had so many people tell me that I am almost there when I am just starting a half or full marathon after the bike ride. I begin to think are you crazy, I still have 13/26 miles left to run. However, it is great to have them out on the course cheering everyone on.

Great job on you first Ironman finish and since you have already seemed to forget how absolutely painful it was, I hope you enjoy the next one you do just as much.

Leroy Bonkers's picture
Joined: Aug 29 2007
Posts: 365

[QUOTE=jmcglos;84717] I was so happy to be finished but also so happy to have come this far, pushed through this much pain, and to be almost skipping through the finish line. [/QUOTE]

It is amazing that we can push ourselves to the brink, but when you see that finish line and hear the announcer you almost certainly have a little spring left in your step.

Nice work!

jmcglos's picture
Joined: Nov 29 2004
Posts: 212

Thanks everyone! As for the spectators, my husband was standing by a lady as she was cheering people on and she was saying "You're almost there!" She turned to him and said, "do you know what mile mark we're at? I'm just trying to encourage them but I have no idea how much farther they have to go."

But it is great to have them cheering - better than no one around. Oh, and another guy watching yelled to the person ahead of me on the run "Man, you look like you're hurting. Oops, you probably didn't want to hear that - I couldn't do half of what you're doing today. I'm such an idiot. Ok I'll shut up now." In the meantime he's holding a beer and has a huge beer gut. I just find it entertaining and grateful that somebody is out there cheering.

cjhoffmn's picture
Joined: Sep 3 2007
Posts: 704

Awesome report - thanks for posting. I look forward to a day I can write a similar one! It was inspiring to read this.

hipfan's picture
Joined: Oct 5 2004
Posts: 136

Wow. Great time and congratulations on finishing.

I hope that when I do my first IM in 2 years that I can run with a speed-skating suit clad German with a beer in one hand. I think that it was amazing for him to let you go first.

Congrats again.

RV's picture
Joined: Jan 19 2005
Posts: 3419

Great job Ironman!
Amazing how those "I'll never do this again" thoughts disappear once crossing that magical finish line! :)

tri-ac's picture
Joined: Dec 7 2005
Posts: 3720

congrats ironman jmcglos! enjoy a well deserved rest!

gfd's picture
Joined: Jan 28 2006
Posts: 3086

Congrats Ironman. I was also surprised that I was not that sore the next day after an IM. Kinda cool. Enjoy the glow it lasts for a really long time.

Star's picture
Joined: Jan 19 2005
Posts: 1046

Enjoy your accomplishment [B]Ironman[/B]!

trainDaBrain's picture
Joined: Apr 15 2004
Posts: 495

Excellent race report. Congrats on the great race!

Tikal Dog's picture
Joined: Feb 4 2005
Posts: 1028

I enjoyed your race report. Congratulations IRONMAN!!!!!

I remeber saying to myself during races "I'm so stupid, i will never do this again" and jsut after crossing the finish line all that goes away.

trainDaBrain's picture
Joined: Apr 15 2004
Posts: 495

I told my wife at the last iron-distance race to never let me do it again. I read a post like this and I am suddenly planning for the next :)

Tribro's picture
Joined: Apr 11 2002
Posts: 2499

well done! way to hang in there through the pain. I so wanted to pull off as well, that run has been ridiculously painful in both my experiences. The true test isn't your finish time as much as the endurablity of the suffering. and you are an Ironman!

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JohnieTri's picture
Joined: Sep 15 2005
Posts: 242

Nice report and congrats. Although, when I read your report and you said you didn't want to do another IM again, I knew if you finished this one, you'd cahange your mind. It's one of those things that, like the potato chips, you can't have just one. Nice job Ironman!

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