Cliff notes Version:
Swim 2.4 Miles - 1:08
Bike 112 Miles - 5:57
Run 26.2 Miles - 7:00
Total time including Transitions - 14:25:07
There ya have. But, if you’d like to keep reading, please feel free to do so.
Long Version: Please don’t pull out your purple or red pens and critique my writing. This is who I am, and how I write. Yes, this is a first draft, but it’s probably the only draft you’ll get, so, if you see some bad grammar, misspelled words, or things that don’t make much sense, correct it in your own minds, and deal with it. I’m sure I’ll read through this post 1000 times in the next week, and, if you come back to read it later on, you may just find something corrected. So, please note: this is a first draft!
I won’t bore you with all of the details of my training leading up to Ironman Florida, you’re on my blog now, so you’ve probably been here before, and if you have, that means you that I’ve been training for this for a year. I will give a quick run down of my total distances for 2011 leading up to IMFL.
As of November 4th, 2011 distances:
Bike - 2598
Run – 363
Swim - 257887 yards, (146.5 miles).
Yes, as you can see, my run training suffered this year. It is what it is. Get over it!
Now onto what you came here for.
A recap of my 2011, Ford Ironman Florida from Panama City Beach Florida.
Why did I choose this IM to be my first? No, not because of the “flat” course, (hey, it’s got a hill!), but because my dad lives 6 miles from the start. It made for a quite easy decision. I got to Florida a little early, this is something I like to do. Yes, those that know me well, know I’d prefer to be 5 minutes, (ok 10 minutes) early rather than 1 minute late. So, I headed down to Florida with my gear the Sunday prior to race day. Two reasons 1- Spend some good quality time with my dad. 2- Swim in the ocean as much as I possibly can beforehand so that on race day, it will feel like I’ve been swimming in it for a long time. I got wet pretty much every morning. Some mornings this week the water was rougher than others so I didn’t stay in the water as long as I wanted, but still got wet.
Anyway…My wife and son came down on Tuesday, it was great to have them there and letting my son ride Grandpa’s golf cart, (no son, you can’t ask Santa for one!). My Wingmen, Mitch and Shelley arrived Thursday night, and it was real good to have them there as well. I dropped in to the Athletes Dinner Thursday night to hear the “interesting facts” speach, and the motivational speaches that were given, then stuck around for the “Mandatory Athletes Meeting”. yada yada yada.
OK, get on with it, right…
Friday: Did the usual stuff, bike/bag drop, milled around the athlete’s village, checked out some goodies at the Merch tent, (NO FINISHERS SCHWAG YET THOUGH! Can’t buy anything that says “Finisher”). Had a great dinner of BBQ Chicken and Ribs at my dad’s house with family and friends, kicked everyone out around 8:30 and headed upstairs to try and get some sleep. 3am comes offly early.
Race Day: My ride showed up at 4:15 - (This won’t be the first time I thank Mitch and Shelley, so get used to it guys!). And we headed down to the race site.
Surprisingly, my stomach is quite calm; nerves seem to be in check. It’s “just another race”, (only this one’s a little longer and with a lot more people). Spent a lot of time inside the hotel staying warm, and using the “super secret” bathroom that no one knows about, but those who do, only use it to go #2, so, if you have to go #1, it’s the best place to go!
Ya, ya, ya, get on with it right…Sorry…I promise it gets better from here.
The SWIM: Goal - 1:10 - 1:20
Actual - 1:08 (Well, I claim it was 1:07 and change, but I guess the timing mat is a little up further on the beach. But, I’ll still take it).
The swim is what I love to do. I don’t see the 2900 or so other people, I just see me, bubbles, and the occasional jelly fish. I got in the water a little bit just after the Pro’s went off to get my face wet and to make sure the goggles weren’t leaking. Got out, hugged Mitch and Shelley and said, “I’ll see ya at the finish line!” Walked through the swim arches and along the back side of the fence. I had told my wife that I was going to be starting on the far right side, so as I walked along the fence I kept searching for her and the rest of my family. She has a knack and ninja like skills for getting close up, so I knew she would be on the fence line. And, yep, there she was. I was glad to run into them before heading out. It sort of helped calmed my mom’s nerves I think to see me before getting into the scrum, well, either that or it made it 100 times worse, I’m not quite sure. But, it helped me to see them. Took some pictures with my dad, mom, wife and son and then said “See ya at the finish!”.
The Cannon: I felt calm the entire time, never once freaking out, never once pulling up to catch my breath. It was almost as though I was swimming in the pool back home with a lane mate and a full pool. I know everyone always says, “I found my own space”, but, I truly did. Maybe I swam a little too wide coming in and therefore I had my own space, but, ok, it is what it is. The swim at IMFL is a two loop swim, you actually have to get out of the water, pass an aide station, (ya, I know right, people actually stopped for water!), and then “run” along the beach back into the water. Since the current was from right to left, (as you’re looking at the ocean), the “plan” was to run down the beach as far as I could before getting back into the water. Well, the “plan” was thrown out relatively quickly when I realized they had parked someone on the waters edge making everyone go back into the water at the buoy line. So, had to swim a little into the current and make my way around again.
2nd loop done, and nothing new here. Same old jelly fish I saw before, and same old space I had to myself. Time to head into transition. One tip my friend Bruce (who had done this race 2 years prior) gave me, is “Skip the strippers!” Wait, what? Skip strippers, you say? How dare you! NO! Not “those” kind of strippers, the Wet Suit Strippers, skip those strippers! (Well, I guess now they have changed the name to “Peelers” because “Strippers” just isn’t PC). Anyway, the reason behind this is, well, quite frankly, you’re “behind” will thank you later. Remember, sand finds places you didn’t know you had. So, great tip! I skipped the strippers, found my bag, stepped out of my wetsuit and into the changing room, (I won’t use tent, because it was actually a conference room in the hotel). I knew from volunteering in transition last year that the changing room was going to be a war zone. I’m fine with slow transitions, so I took my time.
The BIKE: Goal – 6:00 - 6:30
Actual – 5:57 and change.
I had known for awhile now that if I was able to hit a 6 hour bike at IMFL, that I would finish in around 14 hours total, but, I kept that little piece of information to myself and knocked on wood every time I mentioned it to myself in my head. Out of transition and found my bike rack. Wait? Out of 20 bikes on my rack, I’m the first one off the rack? Holy cow, was my swim that good? Well, yes, actually my swim was that good. Top 100 in my age group out of the water. I’ll take it. Anyway, back to the bike…
Hobbled up to the mount line, and got on, noticed shortly thereafter that my family had made to the bike mount line, which was cool. My wife knows how to maneuver at Tri’s to get the best spots. I think Mitch and Shelley were there as well, but I could be wrong. Yes, the bike course is a relatively flat “fast” course. I think the fun part of this ride for me was the first 4 miles or so. I headed out of town with the wind at my back, passed the pier where I had been coming all week to swim and to just be me during the week. That brought me great peace and quiet hitting that pier. I knew from then on, it was just me, riding my bike, and everything was going to be A-OK! Nothing fancy through about mile 22 when I started to hear a funny noise coming from my bike. Didn’t think much of it, but, then noticed what I thought was a lose seat. Finally decided to pull over at the aide station at about mile 30ish and see if I could fix it. Yes, I do carry a small tool just for this very reason. Tightened the seat back up and away I went. Ran into, (no not literally), Mitch and Shelley I think about mile 42ish. This was a good thing. I needed to see some people that I knew. Mile 50 is where I got sucked into a pack. I won’t admit to drafting, because I truly feel that the Marshalls caused this pack to form. I had been riding clean all day, and actually just had a pack of riders pass me, when I heard the Marshalls motorcycle come up behind me. I didn’t fear them, because I knew I was clean, and they moved along to the pack in front of me. This is where it gets complicated. The Marshalls slowed the pack down, which in turn, made me get sucked into the pack. Which was NOT fun. I looked at the guy next to me and said, “I guess this is what it feels like to ride in de Tour, eh?” He laughed and asked how fast we were going. A quick check showed we were soft pedaling and doing 21 MPH. This is not my idea of fun. Finally the marshal headed off and the pack was able to break up. It’s about here where we get to the out and back section and I get to see more of my family. This is a good thing. I again needed to see some people. Crossed the intersection where they were cheering and headed out into the out and back section. This road was absolutely the worst road I’ve ever ridden on, it was like riding on cobblestone, only it wasn’t cobblestone. I figure the out to be about 5 miles to Special Needs and then back. Stopped at SN and grabbed all of the nutrition I had in my bag, even though I still had some on me, I didn’t want to run out and need it, but not have it. I did have to go to the bathroom, but decided that the line at SN was longer than I wanted to wait, and since there was an aide station not too far down the road, I’d hold it until then. Good call, no line at the aide station. Back passed my family again and on the road. Nothing real exciting happened from here on out until the next out and back around mile 90 or so. Where I got to see my family once again. Somehow or another my friends and family knew where I needed to see someone, and they appeared right at those magical places. My ass hurt like a son of gun, but my legs were good. I just really didn’t want to sit down. Up and over the bridge (highest part of the race course at 161 or so feet above sea level). And then make a left turn and head back into town for the last 6 miles. The one thing that hit me like a ton of bricks on this section was the wind, (well, and the fact that it really hurt to sit, did I mention that already?). The wind was coming from my left to right but in my face, it would hit the hotels on my right side and then bounce off of then and push me to my left. It was a constant struggle with the headwind/sidewind/whichever way the wind wants to come from. But, I knew when I hit the pier again I would be in a good place, only a few miles left to go.
Into transition: I knew again that it would be a mad house, but, I just told myself to take my time and do my thing. The volunteers in transition were amazing, (well, they were amazing everywhere, but wanted to call them out here for sure). But, I shoed them away because I just wanted to do my thing and do it right. Got out of my bike stuff, new socks on and headed out for a little run.
The RUN: GOAL – To Finish
Actual – 7:02 – I’d say, goal complete!
I am a little disappointed that I didn’t run, actually run, more of the run, but my main goal was to be able to finish, and leave what I had brought with me on the course. I did this. I left what I had on the course when I crossed the finish line, so, no regrets here. (oh, crap! This is where it’s gonna get emotional for me! Dang it!)
Out of transition I headed and down the street. It was absolutely amazing to come out and here people cheering, no, yelling your name, and the wonderful words of encouragement. I have no idea who these people are, but they are cheering for me? Yes, dummy, they are cheering for you! I don’t know whether any of my family or friends where in the section right outside of transition, but I managed to catch a glimpse or two of my wife further down the road. Which was a good thing. But, by the time I got to her, about ½ mile or so into the run, I was starting to feel my left hamstring tighten up. It had been doing that on longer runs/bricks for a little while, but it really wasn’t anything too bad prior to this, it hadn’t slowed me down too bad prior. Stopped and chatted for a brief second and off I went. About 2 miles into the run is the “Girl Zone”. This is sort of like an alley where a ton of folks come and, well, party all day, and all night long. Good times running through the “Girl Zone”, and yes, you must “run” through it. It was about here where I started to do more walking than running. My hamstring wanted nothing to do with rapid forward motion. I’ll keep the run details short, because, well, it wasn’t too much of a run. I ran what/when I could, but mostly walked.
I will say two things about the run: 1- AMAZING Aide station support! Wow! Those folks were out there all day, no matter if you were coming or going they had whatever you wanted. It seemed like there was an aide station every ½ mile. 2- I NEVER want to run through that park ever again! (Well, I should say, never say never, but, I’d really rather not do that again).
During the course of the run, my wingmen and family once again knew exactly where I needed to see someone, and they magically appeared. A little over 1 mile left to go in the marathon and out of nowhere here come Mitch and Shelley, we chatted for a little while, (and yes, I will admit to this, because, I don’t see how walking with someone could be considered pacing, plus I hadn’t seen a Marshall on the run course all day), they walked me in. I remember two topics of discussion as we got closer. 1- I asked Mitch, “Since I didn’t puke or poop myself, am I still an Ironman?” And as we got closer to the final turn I asked Mitch, “Will I need to go to medical?” I didn’t think I did because, well, I certainly felt fine in my stomach and hadn’t puked all day, but, after 14 +hours of constant forward motion, I didn’t know if I was in the right mind. I told him, if I did need to go, or ended up there, I wanted him to be in there and not my family, (I didn’t want them to see me like that). But, as it turns out, I didn’t need to go to medical. We parted ways just before the turn to head down the finishers shoot. The excitement and the energy coming from the crowd was, once again, absolutely amazing. I had told myself a long time ago that no matter the pain, you will run across that finish line. So, I picked up the pace a little bit, passed one guy who was walking down the shoot, and another guy who was not running quite as fast as I was. I heard the music stop, (in my mind) as Dave said, “Peter Engwall from Kenmore Washington…YOU. ARE. AN. IRONMAN!”
The FINISH: I will come back to this post and finish it a little later today. So, if you’ve stuck with me this long, and are interested in reading the details of my finish, please stop back again real soon. If you’ve made it this far and don’t care about the finish, please come back later on and read my “Thank You’s” to sooooo many people. They deserve to be read, and heck, who knows, one of those people might just be you.
Picked up my bike from Tribiketransport today and then headed out for a ride. The tail winds on the way out of transition made for a nice easy spin, however, guess what, head winds on the way back. But, that’s ok. Was great to get back on my bike today.
This is happy me because I am riding my bike.
Shortly after I took this picture I had my life flash in front of me, literally. One car turned in front of me, which he had room to do, but the second car didn’t have the time to go without me jamming into the hood of his car. He looked right at me, sort of slowed down, then decided it was ok to go. Well, it wasn’t. Thankfully my catlike super biker dude reflexes kicked in, and a very wide open parking lot got me out of that pickle with just a loss of breath.
My legs are certainly ready to fire! A good, real good ride.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 11/02/2011
- Time: 14:30:00
- Total Time: 1:00:00.00
- Calories: 926
- Distance: 18 miles
- Average Speed: 18 mph
Spent a lot of time this morning down by the pier. All by myself. Checking out the views, reflecting on the last year. I haven’t gotten "nervous" yet too much. I have had waves of emotions, (lots of different emotions) crest over my "bow" over the last few days/weeks, but nothing too serious. These feeling last for just a few moments, nothing too long. So, while I am here, I’m trying to soak it all in. Enjoy the view(s). But, mostly I am trying to be me. Trying to visualize the course, and keep in mind the fact that there are only some things I can control.
It will be a long day, but it will be a great day. This is what I know for sure.
- Type: Run
- Date: 11/01/2011
- Time: 10:00:00
- Total Time: 00:21:00.00
- Calories: 243
- Distance: 2 miles
- Average Pace: 10:30.47/mile
First open water in the ocean. And, oh my gosh. Felt so good. Like floating. Simple, smooth strokes. Once I got my face in the water it was like life was so dang easy. It was a good swim, there’s no doubt about it.
Hard to say total distance, but, life is easy floating, and swimming in the open ocean.
- Type: Swim
- Date: 10/31/2011
- Time: 12:00:00
- Total Time: 00:30:00.00
- Calories: 312
Last run on the Burke before heading out to IMFL tomorrow. Again, nice time to be alone and get inside my head and do some visualization. Oh, and it didn’t hurt to see the Eagle, and just be outside on such a wonderful day. Lots of things about this run made me happy.
- Type: Run
- Date: 10/29/2011
- Time: 12:00:00
- Total Time: 00:53:00.00
- Calories: 613
- Distance: 5 miles
- Average Pace: 10:36.04/mile
Indoor spin on the trainer this morning. Nice time for me to be alone inside my head and picture the course. Full of emotions. It’s all coming together.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 10/29/2011
- Time: 07:00:00
- Total Time: 1:30:00.00
- Calories: 1388
- Distance: 26 miles
- Average Speed: 17.33 mph
Indoor spin, so, it’s a little faster than an actual ride, but still a good time on the trainer. Intervals. Closed my eyes a few times and envisioned riding on the course. Can’t wait!
I will admit, I miss my bike. But, the trainer will have to do!
Thanks MB for chatting with me during our spin today. Really helped keep my mind off of “things”
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 10/28/2011
- Time: 05:00:00
- Total Time: 1:00:00.00
- Calories: 1234
- Distance: 22 miles
- Average Speed: 22 mph
Had to run later in the day as I had a “date” with some folks at Ladro, so I wasn’t able to run post swim, but, got it in. Felt good. New runners are nice. Nice little neighborhood loop. Always enjoy the scenery!
- Type: Run
- Date: 10/27/2011
- Time: 13:00:00
- Total Time: 00:20:00.00
- Calories: 231
- Distance: 1.9 miles
- Average Pace: 10:31.58/mile
A real good last swim in the pool. Felt smooth, comfortable and enjoyed it. Did a lot of “vision” work, picturing my Florida swim and how it would all play out. A good final swim in the pool!
WU: 250 Choice, 300 Pull
MS: 3×250 (broken) 50Kick (10″), 50 Swim (10″), 50 Build (10″), 100 FAST(15″)
400 Pull - breath control (breathe every 3-5-3-5 strokes)
800 Build by 200’s (20″)
100 - Easy Kick
CD: 200 Choice
Total = 3000yds
- Type: Swim
- Date: 10/27/2011
- Time: 05:00:00
- Total Time: 00:45:00.00
- Calories: 463
- Distance: 3,000 yd
- Average Pace: 1:30.11/100yd
New runners are grand! They should be, same ones I’ve been running in for awhile now, just have less milage on them! Enjoyed this one!
- Type: Run
- Date: 10/26/2011
- Time: 06:00:00
- Total Time: 00:10:30.00
- Calories: 121
- Distance: 1 miles
- Average Pace: 10:30.47/mile