Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Florida 70.3

I was soooo nervous going into this race.  A bit undertrained (ok.. a lot undertrained) and worried about race cut-off times, not to mention the dreaded flat tire that I still wouldn't know how to change... I'm glad I chose to fly in Saturday morning because any more time hanging out down there pre-race would have been terrible.  Tammy dropped Jon and me off at the airport at 6:00 Saturday morning for the early flight, arriving in Orlando around 10-ish.  Grabbing the rental car was easy and we took a quick detour to a grocery store so I could load up on PB&J and some vitamin water.
Everything packed & ready for TriBike Transport!

Animal Kingdom Jambo House is AWESOME.  We paid a little extra for the Kilimanjaro club which guaranteed we'd have a deck where the animals could wander around.. right away we saw giraffes, long horned cattle and some zebra.. so cool.  I was anxious, so we quickly made our way over to the race site, where we *should* have just parked at Magic Kingdom and taken the shuttle, but instead we thought we were cool and decided to park at Wilderness Lodge and WALK the mile (or so?) to the race site.  Check in was a piece of cake, found Deb right away and bought a few 70.3 merchandise items.  Time for bike check-in.. I shipped my bike through TriBike Transport, which ended up being the best $310 I have spent!  My bike and gear bag were waiting for me and all I had to do was walk the bike over to transition.. so easy!  Then Deb, Jon and I carb-loaded on some pizza before heading back to the hotel to get everything organized and set up for the race.. 3 hour infinit solution in the water bottle, attach numbers to helmet and race belt, you know the drill.. then it's off to Downtown Disney for the Cirque show.
The view from our room at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House

The actual race:  alarm goes off at 4:10.. UGH.. the worst part about racing!!  Scarfed down a PB&J sandwich, banana and vitamin water, and Jon drove me over to the race.. on the drive we were greeted with a HUGE lightning storm which, by the time we hit Magic Kingdom where I was meeting Deb, was accompanied by pouring rain.. wha???  I did NOT want them to cancel the swim.. cancel the whole race, or none of it please!  Deb and I boarded the shuttle and made our way over to transition where they were announcing we only had 15 minutes until transition closed.. ok, we'll skip body marking for now and just get our stuff set up.  I hadn't checked my tires, so asked a rack-mate if I could borrow her pump, which of course she agreed.. most people on race morning are so friendly.  I got everything together, got my tires pumped, the only thing I forgot about was that when I put my number on my bike, I left no room for my seat pack that contained spare tube/CO2 cartridges.. oh well if I get a flat.. finished up everything except sunblock (since I hadn't been marked yet) and headed out of transition for bathroom and body marking... let's roll!!

The swim was a beach start, so I went slowly into the water letting most of the people pass me so that I had some space.  The water was warm but full of crap.. seaweed, debris, gross.  The buoys seemed to come quickly but I had no idea how many there were.. swam easy, and eventually the later waves started catching up with me.  Seriously, why they had the super fast men start after my wave is beyond me.. so about halfway through people started swimming up my back and hitting me.. annoying.  The buoys kept coming and I had no idea how far I'd gone.. finally the turn.. then another turn and it was a straight shot back to shore.  I glanced at my watch and 38 minutes had gone by.. not so bad.  Kept swimming and finally reached the shore 56:56.  Not bad for a non-wetsuit swim for me... and also proof that Eagleman 2010 was mis-marked.  3 half iron distance swims of 52, 53 and 56 minutes make it fact that the 1:14:XX swim time was ridiculous.

There was seriously like a 10 mile run from the water to transition.  Seriously.  Well.. OK.. not seriously... more like a quarter mile run.. but still.. I'm not great at going from swim to run, so I walked, leading to my >7 minute transition time.  Oh well.  Off on the bike.. I really liked this bike course.. mostly flat with some rolling hills.. very little shade though.  First the 5 mile marker, then the 10.. we had our names on our bibs so people would pass yelling personalized cheers.. Saw Deb as I approached 30 miles and we exchanged a friendly wave.. Finally getting a little tired around 35 miles.. my nutrition was going well and I decided that I LOVE starburst on the bike!  Not so much the peanut butter and jelly sandwich or the pretzel m&m's.. I got tired of my infinit after awhile, mostly because I forgot part of the straw on my aero bottle and had to reach WAY down to get any water (which you have to drink to wash down the over-concentrated infinit solution) and started using gatorade. OMG, my butt is seriously starting to hurt.. mile 45.. mile 50.. geez, when were we going to get back into Disney property??  Finally, finally, FINALLY.. back through the Wilderness Campground and into transition.. and again, I walked my bike through the ridiculously huge transition area to get my running shoes.

There was a girl that passed me on the bike around mile 40.  I kept her in my sights and passed her around mile 55, but her transition was faster than me.. I knew I wasn't last, but oh gosh, was I going to miss the run cut off?  Surely the other cyclists who were behind me are much faster runners.. need to keep this girl (Hillary as I later found out) in my sights.. and I did!!  In fact, I caught up with her halfway through the first loop, caught her a few times and we went back and forth.. one of her friends told us the cut off to start the 3rd lap was 3:20.. NO PROBLEM!!!  I calculated that I could walk (slowly) and still make it.. PHEW.. one less thing to worry about.  Started the 2nd loop.. it was going to be really hard to do this whole lap twice more.. got to a long stretch alongside a creek and brush and noticed some smoke and a couple property employees.. hmm.. then I saw flames.. a fire?  Well.. just keep going.. about a mile and a half later I heard fire engines.. I guess it really was a fire in the brush.  Kept going, knowing that I was well on target to make the cut off and finish this thing as painful as it was.... only about a quarter of a mile from the 3rd lap start and over 15 minutes before the cut off... sweet..... except that's when Hillary's friend came up to her (and we were side by side at this point) saying the closed the 3rd lap at 3:00 instead... WHAT???  NO FAIR!!!!  It was because of the fire... they forced us to the finish, and I collected my medal even though I missed ~4 miles... not my fault there was a fire!  I was on track for the cut off time, so this was just God's way of giving me a break :-)
I had a "good enough" finish and was SO HAPPY to be done!!  Let the vacation begin -- and begin it did because it required a boat ride, monorail ride and bus ride, all just to get to Animal Kingdom Park, not even the Lodge.. we decided just to stay there since we were within an hour or so of our dinner reservation.. rode one of the attractions and then dinner, all before showering.  The hostess at the restaurant was going to seat us on the 2nd floor, so needless to say we took the elevator (no way these tired legs were doing stairs!).. on the way down, the elevator doors opened and who was standing there waiting to get on but another girl wearing the triathlon medal.. classic.  On to 4 more fabulous (but tiring) days at Disney.. remind me next time to book a SPA vacation after a race!
Wild Africa Tour in Animal Kingdom

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