Ironman Florida. What I'd do different  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , , ,

With Ironman Florida coming up, I thought I would write a little about my 2006 experience.

Keep in mind as I have stated here before, I am not a coach, so you won't find me giving out coaching advice or tips.

I will talk about some of the things that I felt I did wrong, and what I would do different in my next Ironman. Whenever that might be.

1. Make sure the bike is ready. A no brainer for sure, but sometimes in the excitement of a new event, you just forget. Getting the bike ready means getting your food, and checking the bike mechanically. Checking that the tires are hard, and that the gears are set, and your computer is functioning. I simply forgot to check my chain and gears before I headed to the beach for the race start. Just before I was ready to mount, a couple of spectators yelled that my chain was off. It only took a minute to fix, but it was extra stress I didn't need.

A little while after, I noticed my computer wasn't registering. It was only re adjust the sensor on my wheel, it only took a minute, but again it was something extra I didn't need to deal with.

I also didn't bother to bring any food with me race morning. I knew the aid stations would have lots, and I assumed there would be plenty at the transition area. Unfortunately there wasn't. I had to wait for the first aid station to load up.

2. Wear really good bicycle shorts, and use chamois cream. I really don't know how Faris El Satan does it. Five plus hours on a triathlon bike wearing a little speedo. I know it is probably one of the proper triathlon trunks with the little chamois, but it still doesn't offer much padding.

Transition in long races like an Ironman is different from olympic or sprint distance. A couple of extra minutes to pull on a good pair of cycling shorts is not going to make that much difference to a MOP Age Grouper, plus you have the privacy of the tent, so reaching into your shorts to apply some lube is not an issue.

My bike split was 7 hours. That's a lot of saddle time. Part of the course was really bumpy, so every little bit of help is bonus. I am also contemplating a new saddle like the San Salle Marco Triathlon saddle. It is supposed to have a shorter nose, and gel in all the right places to make long rides in the Aero Position more comfy.

3. Eat more natural foods. My race nutritional plan was solid. I did it many times in training. every 15 minutes. Gatorade, gel and water, gatorade, solid food and water. During the race my food od choice were power bars. I had no trouble eating them in the beginning, but after 5 hours, I was really getting sick of them.

Next time around, I plan to mix it up with some bananas, and maybe even salted potato wedges. I may even mix up my own fluid. During the race, we had lime flavoured gatorade endurance formula. I drank so much, I haven't enjoyed a margarita since. Next time I might use a few different flavours so i don't get sick of the one as quickly.

4. Prevent Blisters. Two things. Tape up my toes, and ditch the speed laces. I knew I might be suseptible to blisters. I even had the forsight to change into dry socks before the start of the run, as well as pack clean dry socks in my special needs bag. This did help a little, but by the halfway point of the marathon, it was already too late.

An extra minute to tape my toes in T2 might have saved me a half hour overall. Also, properly lacing my shoes would have prevented my foot from moving around inside my shoe and also would have helped prevent blisters. This was definately the most painful part of the race. It kept me from running the last four miles. It also hurt during the Orlando Outlet Mall Marathon three days later. My wife won that race hands down.

Reading this you might think "Geez what a rookie. Any dummie could figure that stuff out." But hopefully, you might read this and get something out of it. If you are saying to yourself, "hey that's a good idea, I never would have thought of that." Then I have done my job. My work here is done.

New Recipe. Chickpea and Carrot Salad  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , ,

My wife just brought this recipe home from work. I made a couple of minor changes, swapped the sugar for splenda, and used a red salad onion.

I made a full batch and then, then took a serving to work each day for lunch. It could also make a great vegetarian meal.

1 lb Carrots, or about 10 med, sliced
Med Green Pepper or other colour bell pepper, chopped
1 Medium Salad Onion chopped
20 oz can Chickpeas
10 oz can tomato soup
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tsp mustard
1/4 cup splenda
Salt and Pepper to taste

Slightly cook the carrots. No more than 5 or 10 minutes. Once they cool, just mix all the ingredients together, and leave in the fridge to marinate overnight.

Divided into 6 servings, it works out to be 266 cal, 6.7 g Protein, 35.5 g Carbs, 11 g Fat

Tour de Shore Race Report  


The Tour de Shore is a relatively new multi stage bicycle race taking place on Labour Day Weekend on Newfoundlands beautiful Southern Shore. For more information visit

The Lead up

Part of the reason for me writing this post is to entice visitors from outside our province to come and visit and participate in this event, however, after reading this race report, anyone thinking about it might change their mind.

There were several reasons for signing up for this event this year.

  1. I thought it would be a fun event with lots of my tri and cycling buddies. I was interested last year, but with Ironman preparations, giving up the last long weekend of the summer wasn't in the cards.

  2. Having lived virtually my whole life in Newfoundland, I had never seen this part of the province. This would give me an excellent opportunity to see some of the scenery on the south coast, and at a pace that I could really enjoy it. I always find that cycling is a good way to take in the sights. Travelling in car is too fast, walking or even running is too slow and you don't cover much distance.

  3. I decided after Ironman Newfoundland that I needed to concentrate on cycling. So I made a concious decision to skip the St. John's Triathlon, and just ride my bike. It was kind of a relief not needing to work at three seperate sports trying to fit in bricks and swim bike combo workouts. Training was simple. Get on my bike and ride.

  4. I wanted to finish the year with a new challenge that would help motivate me to continue training right up to the end of the summer. I didn't think I had my best race in Corner Brook. I kinda missed my peak, and was a little heavier than I would have liked. I made up my mind to work hard on increasing my power to weight ratio,. (Thats cyclist code for lose weight.) As it turned out I was 10 lbs lighter, and feeling good come the day of the event.

About the Tour de Shore

This event features several different options for cyclists of all levels. There are competitive category's of differing stage lengths, as well as recreational divisions for anyone wanting to just ride one or part of one stage. I contemplated signing up for the competitive masters, featuring a 66km stage on Saturday, 33km stage sunday, and a 13k TT Sunday Afternoon. I opted instead to do the long opening stage on Saturday, but as a recreational rider. 123 km across the southern coast of the Avalon Penninsula.

The event was a point to point race with the start of the first leg starting in the town of St. Mary's and ending in Ferryland. The event organizers offered the option of riding the bus from St. John's to the start, a drive of about two hours. I thought it would be kinda fun to be able to relax and socialze with a few of my friends, as well as make a few new ones. With the exception of the crooked old driver complaining about having to take our bikes, the ride was nice and relaxing. The washroom at the rec centre in St. Mary's just couldn't come soon enough.

We got there a little early, but after we stopped unloaded our bikes and checked in, some of the elite cyclists starttd to arrive. There were some pretty nifty bikes there. And of course, not a 200 pounder in the lot.

Race Start

10 minutes after the elites started, we lined up for our "Recreational Ride" The 123km didn't scare me, I had done the distance in training several times last year, and at least once this year, so with a week taper, and really watching my diet, I felt pretty good about my chances of finishing.

There was about 20 of us in all. I started with a group of six who pulled out from the rest of the pack early. They were all very good recreational cyclists, and I managed to keep up with them for about an hour. I should have known I would pay for it later.

They were not really riding as an organized group. A couple of times, I sprinted to the front to take a turn and hopefully get the boys to fall in line and start riding as an echelon, but of course, one or two just had to be in front all the time. A couple of checks of my Heart Rate monitor had me at about 160 to 170, my 20k Time Trial rate. I knew it was high but I didn't feel like I was working real hard, so I just tried to keep up. The terrain was rolling. Not flat but no major climbs. And, there was little or no traffic, except for a couple of event cars.

After about an hour of riding, we hit the wind. It was strong and it was straight in our face. I started to work harder to keep with the group, even though I was tucked in behind. I would lose a little ground, then have to work to make it up. We eventually reached an area of the highway that was open to the Atlantic Ocean. Once again the group made a gap, and I decided to let them go.

The ride was windy, and the road was windey which meant a headwind one minute, and a crosswind the next. It seemed like it was never at my back. When I got to Peters River, I could still see the group off in the distance. There was a major climb coming up that would take you from sea level to the top of the southern avalon barrens. I am not sure exactly how long the climb was, probably a kilometer or two. But it felt like ten.

The first part of the climb was actually pretty nice. The road was well sheltered from the wind, the temp was just right, and the grade was not too bad. I could easily stay in the saddle and spin my way up to the first turn where the road started to flatten out. But then, the land opened up, the road turned to the right, and started to go up again. Now I was climbing hard, straight into a headwind, and to make matters worst, the fog was rolling in which meant now every piece of clothing I had on was slowly becoming soaked.

With the fog, I couldn't see more than 20 to 50 metres down the road. Some people prefer that, but I like to know what's coming. The hill seemed to go on forever. Finally the peddals started turning a little faster, and I was clicking the gears up a notch every couple hundred metres. I was finally on some flat ground.

The wind was still howling, and the fog was still thick. I was now in Caribou Country. At one time massive herds would cross the main highway, and stop traffic for long periods of time. But disease and human intervension had severely impacted the numbers. From time to time I would come up on a NO CARIBOU HUNTING sign, but I saw none. Truth was, one could be 20 metres away from me, and I wouldn't be able to see him.

Eventually another rider caught me, then past me. Then Charlie, one of the guys from the lead group who had dropped back earlier, caught up to me. We rode together for about 10 km until we came to the first aid station. Charlie did the flying feedzone pick up just like in the Tour de France. Snatched a water bottle and kept going. He was determined to cath up with our leaders. I decided to stop, eat, stretch and fill my bottles.

Feeling a little better now, I took off again, and rode alone until a scottish lad name Colin Brown caught up to me. He was a good companion, full of humour, and very positive. I wanted him to go on and leave me in my misery, but he was having nothing of it. In retrospect, he was probably as happy to have company as I was. Through the fog and the wind, we pedalled on. From time to time we would unexpectedly speed up. We would actually be going downhill, but wouldn't really know it because of the poor visability.

Finally we reached Portugal Cove South. This was another aid station, and a chance to take in some more food, and fill my bottles. It was also the start of the first stage for the age group divisions. Just about half way. We were told conditions would get better. The road was now turning north, and wind was supposed to be at our backs. After a little munch, and a little chat with the volunteers, I started out again. Colin needed a few more minutes, so I was by myself.

The conditions did improve. The fog was now patchy. You could actually see a good distance in front. The wind was also behind me making for a nice ride, although from time to time, the road would turn, and the wind again would be in my face, albeit, not as strong as before. After about 15 minutes, Colin caught up to me.

At about four hours in, I was really in trouble. My stomach was feeling crappy, I didn't want to eat or drink anything, and my butt was really starting to feel the effects of sitting on a 3 inch wide slab of leather for four hours. I also realized that I had not stopped for Pause Au Natural all morning. I am usually once every hour or so. Worried about possible dehydration, I forced down some water, and started to feel a little better. Then a little while later, I took in some Gatorade. we were within striking distance now.

With about 15km to go, we hit a hill. It wasn't particularly long, but it was a little steeper than the other climbs. Colin dropped me, but waited for me to power up the grade then ride along with me again. The finish was in Ferryland. I had been there a few years previous, but I had never been past, so I had no idea what was coming. After the first hill came another. Again Colin dropped me, the waited at the top. Over and over and over again. I still don't quite know how many hills there were, but when we finally topped the last one and cruised to the finish line, Coiln waited for me and would not cross before me, even though he wanted to finish sub 5 hours. We were just over by minutes. My time was 5:03:56, Colin 7 seconds behind in 5:04:03 He was a very good domestique

Post Race

What a relief to finally climb out of the saddle. I was so glad that I decided to use the the bus service. No bumming a ride back to St. Mary's to pick up my car. My bag was right there there at the finish. I loaded my bike on, then changed into dry duds. I couldn't believe how heavy my Jersey and Jacket were. Inside the heritage centre, the post race meal was homemade soup, and sandwiches. The soup was the third best I ever tasted, outside my wifes, and my moms.

After the presentation of the leaders Jerseys, there was some time to socialize, talk to some of my tri and cycling buddies, exchange email addresses with Colin, then on the bus and on the way home. I couldn't believe it was over. I also couldn't believe there was still a large group doing the same thing on Sunday. The second stage was only half as long, but very technically challenging. Lots of short steep climbs and descents, and lots of turns. Ah well maybe next year, I'll dive into the Masters Competitive division.


It seemed to me that even though our local provincial cycling organization was a big part of the event, the driving force was really the local people who gave up their time to organize and put off this event. They deserve a huge thank you for a job well done. I also need to give a big thanks to Colin who stuck with me and waited for me to cross the finish. That's a real pal.

Anyone involved in multi sport, triathlons, or cycling who would like to try a new event in a new venue, give the Tour de Shore a try. The people are friendly, the cycling is challenging, and I hear the scenery is nice. I am hoping next year I'll be able to see more than fog and pavement.

Diet and Nutrition  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , ,

How fast we swim, cycle, or run. Our maximum heart rate, or our VO2 Max are mostly determine by factors we have no control over. We can train effectively to improve these, but our maximum potential is ultimately determined by genetics.

Nutrition, on the other hand, is one variable that is under our control. What we eat, how much we eat, and when we eat it can have a direct effect on our performance. I consider a trip to the grocery store as important to success as a 6 hour bike ride, or a 3 hour brick session.

I have been asked by lots of people which discipline is my strongest. I don’t really consider myself particularly strong in either of the three main disciplines, but I consider nutrition the fourth discipline, and I consider it my strongest.

There is a seemingly endless supply of information out there on this topic. Some good, some bad, some very bad. I have done a lot of reading on this topic, and I’ll give the benefit of my experience.

Last year, I did a level 1 coaches clinic in cycling. The clinic was put off by Luc Arsenault, Head coach of the Atlantic cycling training centre in Dieppe New Brunswick One of the topics we covered was nutrition, and the advice Luc gave was to follow Canada's Food Guide. Luc has access to nutrition professionals, and this what they recommended. Following the food guide provides a balanced diet and provide most everything required to get you through training.

Another resource I used is the book by Chris Carmichael called Chris Carmichaels Food For Fitness. Chris was Lance Armstrong's coach, and his training and nutritional programs were a big part of Lance’s return to the sport from his recovery from cancer, not to mention, his seven Tour de France victories. I found this a good read. The scientist in me appreciated the way he layed it out with specific numbers. After reading it, I had no problem laying out an effective nutritional program for my Ironman year. I plan to do a review on this book soon. Stay tuned.

I also found some good articles that provided an insight into what the pros eat. One web site that I spent a lot of time on during my Ironman Florida preparation was Gordo Byrne is a little bit of a cult hero in the long distance community in Canada. He has an excellent site with tons of articles. He subscribes to the modified Paleo diet. I also plan to do a future post on this to give a little more of an explanation. A typical day for Gordo looks like this.

First Breakfast – four to six pieces of chopped fruit, with a cup of non-fat cottage cheese

First Session – typically 1:40 of swimming followed by weights and/or an easy run, during this session I’ll eat a couple of bananas

Second Breakfast – stir fry (red onion, mushrooms, eggs and smoked chicken or fish) served with a cup of cooked oatmeal

Lunch – repeat of First Breakfast, typically substitute some cooked meat or fish for the non-fat cottage cheese

Second Session – typically a two- to three-hour ride, I’ll use water, bananas, juices and sports nutrition products during this session

Dinner – either a monster salad that includes an avocado mixed with meat or fish or a stir fry served with a cup of couscous

In his article which you can find at Gordo gives a little more information on his food choices.

Another favorite of mine is this article from a couple of years ago in Triathlete Magazine titled diary of a champion, and is a full week in the life of another Canadian Pro, Heather Fuhr. A week of food for Heather looks like this:

Monday 6-7:30 a.m.: Masters Swim
BREAKFAST: Bagel with cream cheese Low-fat yogurt

2-hour bike

SNACK: 6 Fig Newtons 1 banana TK-cup Chidori crackers Massage: 1 hour

SNACK #2: Nectarine 1 pieces cheese 1 handful raw cashews 3 pieces dried pear halves

DINNER: Chinese Food (Chicken Cashew, Veg. Chow Mein, Beef fried rice, Sweet & Sour Chicken) 4 Chips Ahoy cookies 3 pieces dried pear halves

Tuesday 6-7:30 a.m.: Master’s Swim

BREAKFAST: Cereal with banana and soy milk 2 pieces dried pears

SNACK: Handful of raw cashews TK-cup Chidori crackers 1 pieces cheese

SNACK: 1 Balance Bar 1-hour run, with 8x accelerations

DINNER: Pasta pesto with chicken and veggies 1-1/2 cups grapes Wednesday 1-Promax Bar TK-cup grapes

1:15 Turbo Workout 30-minute run

BREAKFAST: 2 pieces toast with butter and 2 hard-boiled eggs 1 cup grapes 1 glass OJ

SNACK: Peach Honey Wheat Pretzel Twists (12) 2x Newmans Ginger-O cookies

1 hour weight training

DINNER: Rubios: Street Taco Combo with carne asada 1 cup rice pudding

Thursday (This was a day when I seemed to be picking all day long—even though I wasn’t doing any training!)

BREAKFAST: Cereal with soy milk

SNACK: 8 Animal crackers 1 peach 1 fruit bar 1 piece cheese 3 pieces dried peaches 2 Newman’s Ginger-O Cookies

Easy 30-minute swim—Endless Pool

DINNER: 1 piece tri-tip 1 chicken sausage Veggies and salad Potatoes

Friday- Feb 20, 2004 BREAKFAST: 2 pieces toast with jam

4-hour bike During bike: 3 bottles Gatorade (one had two scoops of Carbo-Pro) Snickers bar Before Transition run: 1 Fi-bar 30-minute transition run Gatorade

LUNCH: Tortilla chips and salsa Pasta pesto leftovers

DINNER: Tomato soup with crackers 2 pieces cheese Smarties for dessert! (Got these from a friend that brought them from Canada, so of course I had to have some!)

Saturday Pre-Swim: Fi-bar

90-minute Masters swim Luna Bar before run and Gatorade 90-minute run

SNACK: (Wasn’t quite ready for breakfast, but needed a little something!) Handful of raw cashews Handful of raisins

BREAKFAST: 1 yogurt 2 pieces toast with butter and 2 hard-boiled eggs

SNACK: 3 pieces papaya 1 pomegranate Tortilla chips and salsa

DINNER: Annie’s Mac & Cheese

Sunday 45-minute run Low-fat yogurt 45-minute bike—rollers Gatorade

BREAKFAST: Cereal with banana and soy milk

SNACK: Promax Bar 6 pieces sliced dried peaches 2 Newman’s Ginger O Cookies Handful of raw cashews

Easy 30-minute swim—Endless Pool

DINNER: Amy’s Stir-Fry 1 piece cheese 1pack fruit snacks

Finally, I am planning to buy two more cook books. The first is one featured in the September edition of Fitness Magazine called 5 Spices, 50 Dishes: Simple Indian Recipes Using Five Common Spices. The article is titled "10 New Superfoods For Women" and on page 136, there is a paragraph on The IT Spice where they talk about the cancer fighting power of antioxidents in Curry.
The second is a Vegetarian Cookbook The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet: 250 Simple Recipes and Dozens of Healthy Menus for Eating Well Every Day. I heard about this book on the Beginner Triathlete web site in the forum section. It was recommended by a member, and although I am not a vegetarian, I am always open to trying new things, and it sounds like a lot of the dishes are simple to prepare which I know is not always easy when following a vegetarian lifestyle.

Once I get these books, and give them a try, I'll Post a review to let everyone know how we make out.

Till next time.


Pre Race Jitters  


I just read an article on about a first time athlete's pre race jitters as she prepared for her very first race. I thought, I have a story about pre race jitters, and surely someone would love to hear about it.

In my case, the circumstance was slightly different, and although I am not a veteran, I am not totally new to the sport. With six years of triathlon under my belt, I counted a total of fifteen races, including seven olympic distance, one half Ironman, and one Ironman. Not to mention countless 5k to half marathon running races, as well as cycling time trials. I can honestly say that I have never had pre race jitters until this summer.

The morning of Ironman Newfoundland 70.3, I felt queasy. I didn't want to eat or drink anything. Yes a full blown case of the pre race HEEBEE GEEBEES. Standing on the beach before the start, several people commented on how relaxed I looked, but the truth was that my legs were so heavy, I just wanted to stand still, and not move.

Getting the jitters is one thing, dealing with them is a totally separate issue. Once the horn sounded, and I followed the crowd into deer lake, the feeling started to go away. I had a job to do, and once I got down to it, my stomach started to feel better, and I managed to finish the race just 6 minutes off my revised goal of six hours.

But why now after six years and fourteen previous race preparation routines was this different. Nervousness is not a new sensation for me. As a kid, I grew up playing hockey, in fact I was a goalie. I remember many big games where I felt so nervous standing there in the crease waiting for the puck to drop that I wanted the ice to open up and swallow me whole. But after handling a few shots I would always relax a little and the butterflies would go away.

I also remember lining up at the start of the Championship Race of the Royal St. John's Regatta. With nearly 10,000 people on the shore around Quidi Vidi Lake, and knowing I was about push my body through nine minutes of extreme pain, I should have been ready to puke. But instead on all three occasions when we raced in the championship, I was relaxed, calm, and ready to go.

So what was the difference this time? After several weeks to ponder, remembering back to a couple of articles I had read on the mental preparation, I came to the conclusion that it comes down to preparedness. The more prepared you are physically, the more prepared you will be mentally, and the less likely you will be really nervous come race day.

Leading up to race day there was a series of unrelated events that impacted my preparation starting with the weather. East Coast Canada can be unpredictable at best. In 2006, a group of us were preparing for Ironman events, and were cycling outdoors by mid may. It was cool, and we stayed on our mountain bikes, but once bundled up, there was no problem hitting the dry roads early in the spring. Spring this year started with some early warm sunny days, but then it turned cold and wet. It was just too miserable, and I had no motivation to get on the road.

Once it did warm up, I was suffed an injured toe. It was really painful, and it kept me off the bike, and prevented me from running until about six weeks out. Still benefiting from a solid base from last years Ironman preparation, I managed to get in some good long weekend rides and runs. But my midweek workouts suffered, and that affected the quality of my key workouts.

Next, I had a negative experience at work. The day I walked out the door to start my two weeks vacation, my attitude should have been "WAHOOO, I'm off for two weeks and ready to do a half Ironman. " Instead it was a case of "Thank @*$# I am out of this place for two weeks." The incidents stayed in the back of my mind all during my final race preparation.

Once in Corner Brook, I got in some good key workouts on the race course, but the weather was really hot which made it difficult to sleep. My whole family was on edge. Everyone, especially the kids were cranky. On top of that, I was a little off my goal race weight. I just didn’t look as lean and ready as I did a year previous in Florida.

Then on Wednesday, three days before the race, my wife left to drive five hours to her home town, for a high school reunion. In one way, it was good that I could focus on the race, but it left me without a vehicle. The race venue was a good 25km away, and I had to rely on the kindness of others for transportation to and from the race venue.

Finally the day before race day, I did a short workout, then left my bike with the LBS tent to check my tires, and run the gears. When I checked back an hour later, Pete the owner, told me that my rear dropout was bent, and he would have to run back to town to pick up the proper tools to fix it. Instead of checking in early, and relaxing, I spent the day worrying if my bike would be ok, fixed in time, or ruined forever. I ended up checking in an hour before the deadline.

So on race morning, when I lined up on the beach in my wetsuit, with a couple of friends. My race plan was to start the swim with the middle of the pack and get a good draft off a stronger swimmer and clock a good swim split. As I stood on the beach motionless, that plan went out the window. I just stood there waiting for the minutes to tick away with a blank look on my face. A few people told me it looked like I was very relaxed. Truth was my stomach felt like crap, and my legs felt like lead.

As I said before, once the horn sounded, and we waded into the water, I started to come around. Within about 10 minutes, I was concentrating so hard on keeping a good course, that my jitters disappeared, and I settled into a good race.

So what's to be learned from an experience like this? Well In my next post, I will let you in on five things I will do different next year to be better prepared. Stay Tuned.

Ironman Florida 2006 Race Report  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , ,

It’s less than two months to the start of the 2008 Florida Ironman. I thought some people participating this year, or thinking about participating in the future might appreciate some insights from a 2007 finisher.

If most people are like me, they are spending a lot of time in front of the computer, surfing and reading anything remotely associated with Florida, or Ironman in general. Articles about nutrition, tapering, race prep, etc.

I figured a good place to start would be my race report from the 2007 race.


Race morning was not what I expected. It was cold. In fact, at the awards banquet on Sunday night, we were told that at the start of the race, the temperature was 32 deg F. The most painful part of the morning was taking off my warm up clothes to get marked. BRRRRR. I went into the boardwalk hotel with about 1800 other racers, and put on my wetsuit in the nice toasty warm lobby. The line-ups for the washrooms were long, and I didn’t really have to go bad, but I figured by the time I got to the front of the line, I would be busting. And I was right, good thing I was thinking well in advance. Once I finished my business, it was off to the beach.


The sand was snow white, and with the temp that morning, it almost felt like snow. In addition to being cold, it was windy, as a brisk onshore breeze from the southeast was blowing 2 foot breakers onto the beach.

Thankfully the water was warm, and with a full wetsuit, it was quite comfortable. By the time we turned the buoy to cut across the course and head home, the waves felt like 3 or 4 foot swells directly at in our face. Sometimes I would be ready for the catch at the start of a stroke, and there would be no water there.

After the first lap, I was about 40 min. across the timing mats, and back in for lap 2, It felt like the waves were getting worse. When I hit the beach, I was 1:23 and change. Not bad for the conditions I convinced myself. My stomach was a little queasy, and I hoped once I got to the T1 tent, the nauseous feeling in my stomach would go away.


Once I left the tent, and found my bike, I immediately started to feel better. I stopped once to fix my chain, and again to adjust the sensor for my computer, then I started to spin and get into a groove. My cadence was up to about 90 to 95, and my HR was down to about 130. I was getting passed by a lot of cyclists, but it was important to stick with my plan. Besides, I was used to being smoked on the bike, I just kept telling myself, "at least I could swim better than they could."

It was time to implement my nutritional plan. The plan was to drink water for the first ½ hour until my heart rate, and stomach settled down. Then every 15 minutes, ½ bottle of Gatorade, then a GU gel, ½ bottle Gatorade, ½ powerbar. The only problem with my strategy was that I showed up that morning unprepared, thinking there would be lots of food at the start. Unfortunately there wasn’t. So I filled up a water bottle in the sink in the washroom, so I would have something to sip until the first aid station. That’s until I dropped it 10 minutes into the ride. I didn’t go back, and didn’t panic. Once I hit 10 miles there would be an aid station and I could stock up. I kept watching the miles tick off on my computer. Then the 10 mile marker, and guess what, NO AID STATION. Now I started to panic. I was almost 2 hours into an ironman, and I hadn’t eaten or drank anything.

The panic was short lived though. The station was strategically located at an intersection about 11.5 miles in. Once I got there, I went on a shopping spree. I loaded up on gels, powerbars, Gatorade and water. I was determined not to be caught without proper nutrition again.

The bike route was mostly flat with a few gentle rollers once we moved inland, but there was a fairly strong headwind for most of the first half. As well, a lot of the route was on some of the back roads on the North side of the bay. Some were pretty rough and after about 5 hours, my butt was really getting sore, and I still had a good bit of riding to go. After 90 miles I was sick of pine trees, Gels, Powerbars, and Gatorade. At the last aid station, I tried to eat 1 more bar, but I almost threw it up, and spit the rest out. Hopefully I had taken in enough.

I kept spinning. My body couldn’t tolerate the aero position any more. The boardwalk resort couldn’t come soon enough. Finally, I was on the main drag of Panama City Beach, through the chute, and off the bike. I handed her off to a volunteer, took off my shoes, then searched out my bike to run bag, and trotted off to the tent in my sock feet.


In the T2 tent, I took my time. I was 7 hours on the bike. I was hoping for faster, but I was satisfied that I was still feeling ok. In fact once I hit the pavement with my dry socks, and runners, I actually felt good. My legs felt fresh, maybe all those bricks during the last two months paid off. At the first mile marker, I was about 10:02, after a stop at the aid station.

My plan was to run from aid station to aid station. I would keep taking in solid food until my stomach had enough. The tables were stocked with a nice variety. Pretzels, bananas, oranges, chocolate chip cookies, as well as the standard gels, bars, Gatorade, etc.

That plan lasted about 4 stations. Then it was on to diluted Gatorade, until the end of the first loop. By then I had enough of that and from there on in it was chicken soup. By now the long day was starting to catch up with me. My feet were getting really sore; I knew blisters were setting in, so I changed into dry socks when I got my special needs bag. That helped a little, but it only provided temporary relief. In hindsight I should have taped my toes.

The walk breaks were getting longer, and by mile 24, I had to just take my time. At 4:34 and change, I now bore down and focused on breaking 5 hours for the marathon. At mile 25, I had about 14 minutes to run 1.2 miles the pain was pretty bad, but off in the distance I could hear Iron Mike Riley on the loudspeaker bringing people home. When I finally heard him announce my name, I was about five steps from the finish. It was all a blur, from there. I remember Tammy with a volunteer, a tin foil blanket, a medal, then I was whisked away to make room for the 711 people behind me.

That was it. I WAS AN IRONMAN. Finish Time, well you can see that on the picture.

Final Thoughts

It was a unique experience to say the least. For a first Ironman, it fell together pretty good. Some things I did really well, but there were certainly mistakes. In a future post, I plan to do a write-up on the things I did right, and why, and the things I did wrong, and why, and how to fix them. This is where anyone signed up for 2008 Ironman Florida, or any other Ironman can take advantage, and save some pain, suffering, and a lot of time. Check back soon.

Introduction to my multisport mission  


Blogs are great. They give you an opportunity to publish your thoughts on the world wide web and have them read by interested people. They provide an opportunity to give or solicit advice, provide commentary on any topic that may be of interest, as well as provide an incentive for the author to continue exploring the topics that makes their blog unique, and of the highest quality.

I will be posting about a variety of topics related to the sport of triathlon. Specific posts might include commentary on the individual sports of swimming, cycling, and running. They may include posts on the intangibles that make the sport more than the combination of the three previously mentioned sport. Stuff like diet and nutrition, off season training, inspiration, etc. I will also provide some commentary on races that I have participated in such as 2006 Ironman Florida, 2007 Ironman Newfoundland 70.3, and the 2007 Tour de Shore. I might review some books, and even add a few of my favorite recipes.

Although I have completed a level 1 cycling, coaches clinic, I will not provide direct advice. Rather, I will post about what I have tried, and what has worked, and not worked for me. If there are specific questions regarding my posts, or the sport of triathlon, I will try my best to provide the resources to help out.

In my participation in this sport, I have done a lot of research. There are tons of articles out there, some good, some bad. I would like to cut down on the time it takes to decipher the good and bad by writing about what I have read, and what worked for me.

You will also see ads on my blog. I will be quite honest, I am hoping to generate a little revenue. Triathlon can be an expensive sport. Once you account for equipment, running shoes, bike wetsuit; membership fees for a gym, pool, as well as organization fees like sport sanctioning bodies; race fees, and if you are inclined, travel expenses to and from events, it all adds up. A little added revenue would help offset a lot of this cost, allow me to continue to participate, and write about my experience. If you are a purist who thinks that using a blog for this purpose is somehow immoral, I apologize, but I encourage you to visit my site for the content.

In conclusion, drop back often, tell your friends, and maybe I’ll see you on the road.