Friday, October 31, 2008

Ironman Florida *2006* Race Report

Race Report from IMFL 2006... written as posted on the DC Tri Club Forum.

Thursday, November 09 2006 @ 12:16 AM EST

I love triathlon. I think I am made for long distance races because I just do not want the race to end. I really do enjoy staying out there all day. For me, it is a blast. The support, the competitors, the friends on the course, being outside… I really enjoy every minute of it. I love the training. Maybe that means I don’t train or race hard enough. But, things have happened in my life that make me extremely grateful to have the opportunity to participate in triathlons. I feel that it is a gift. Ironman Florida was an unforgettable experience for me. It had a spiritual component to it that I can’t really describe in words. You just had to see the smile on my face throughout the day as we “raced”.

I'd also like to express my congratulations to all the other finishers. I am awed by Olwen and Bobby and have a tremendous amount of respect for Bruce. We have a great club. I am proud to be a member.

This was my third triathlon “season”. Training for Ironman started in November 2005 but really kicked in by January. I had scheduled five races throughout the year. Columbia, Eagleman, Pittsburgh, Diamondman and Ironman Florida made up my race schedule. Throughout the year, I set PRs each race. Training was self paced (I didn’t have a coach or do an online program) but was done in conjunction with Chad and then KDOG. I own the book Going Long and read it cover to cover many times throughout the year. We did long runs on Wednesday’s, long bikes and short run (brick workout) on Saturday’s. Long swim at least once a week. Twice a week swim, twice a week run and twice a week bike. Usually only one day off per week although there were some 10 days in a row periods. I lifted weights twice a week until the middle of September. I practiced my nutrition and settled on Accelerade and water to drink, Hammer Gel and Clif bar (chocolate chip/peanut butter) to eat. I also did the ChesapeakeMan AquaVelo and feel that it was a great exercise for Ironman Florida preparation.

Race Week
A buddy of mine who got me into triathlon (Willie) and I stayed at the race hotel. We had a three bedroom condo on the 20th floor. He’s married and has kids, too. We didn’t bring our families with us. Too much stress as it was. However, my mom and sister came down. They stayed in their own place and volunteered. We took it easy most of the time. Ate a lot of pasta and watched a lot of sports. I swam the loop once on Thursday around lunch time, did a 30 minute run that evening and rode the bike for about 30 minutes on Friday. Slept like a baby and really was prepped, calm and serene by the time I heard the cannon go off.


It’s called a blender of legs and arms for a reason. I have never been in such a swim before. I was calm, however, having done one loop on Thursday. Getting around the bouys was tough as it was bunched up each time. My nose clip was kicked off right near the end of the first loop. But, I felt really good even though there was obviously quite a swell and a current that didn’t seem to be consistent with direction. My splits were about the same time and I got out in 1:12.

Tent was packed. I just took my time. I changed into bike shorts and had a thin, long sleeved jacket that I put on. My transition times are notoriously slow and this was no exception. 12+ minutes in T1.


I focused on keeping my heart rate below 140, cadence at 90 and my speed at 18 mph. I took it easy the first 50 miles and really tried to live by the maxim of “race the course, not other riders”. Keeping my MPH, cadence and HR plan together was hard to do on Route 20, or Egypt Road extended as I like to call it. I did not enjoy that road. I also was not fond of the rough stretch of road where it was bumpy. Mostly, I did not appreciate the head wind the final 7 miles back to T2. But, when I got off the bike, guess what my average MPH was… 18 miles per hour. Right on target. I stopped to pee at mile 30, grabbed my special needs bag at mile 50 and rode the last 62 miles without stopping. I packed WAY to much food in my special needs bag. I only ate one Clif bar (had two on the bike and two in the bag), ate about 6 Hammer gels (4 on bike and 4 in special needs) took a bite of the peanut butter bagel and Fig Newton from special needs bag (dumped each after one bite). I did eat the 99 cent bag of potato chips out of my special needs bag. I had two bottles of Accelerade on the bike and two in the bag. I only wound up drinking about 2 ½ bottles. So, I definitely overpacked. The only other thing I did was eat bananas at each aid station and grabbed a bottle of water every other aid station. Bike time was 6:14.

I changed from bike clothes to run clothes. I slathered on Vaseline and then went to a porta potty. I peed and it hurt like I had syphilis. It was very painful. My pee must have been very acidic or something. I went back into the tent to slather on more Vaseline and headed back out to the run course. 10+ minutes in transition.


Support on the run was great. I liked the aid station at the turnaround the best. I did the “walk through” the aid station thing at miles 2, 5, 8, 10, 13, 16, 19 and 23. I ran the rest of the time. At miles 19 and 23, I wound up walking about a mile rather than just walking through the station. I was tired but mostly did not want to cramp up. Quads were tight and on the edge of that cramp feeling so I didn’t want to push it. I loved the chicken soup. Cola was nice, too. Orange slices were good. I ate 99 cent bag of potato chips out of special needs bag. I did a couple of Hammer Gels on the run but that was it. No Accelerade. I changed socks at special needs and put on the long sleeve, thin jacket I had in special needs bag. I peed twice on the run. Once when it was light and once when it was dark. I don’t remember exactly what mile markers. My heart rate did not go above 140 and was under 130 for most of the run. After it got dark, I barely looked at my HRM so I really don’t know what was going on for the last 10 miles. Run time was 5:01.

Finish Time

I will definitely do Ironman again. Not next year but probably in 2008. In 2007, I plan on doing Columbia as a Team in Training mentor and TimberMan with my sister who will be doing her first 70.3.

I would like to give a shout out to Chad. He was a great training buddy and is a good friend. KDOG joined us about three or four months into the training and added a different attitude to the “Maverick & Goose Show” that Chad and I were having. The dynamic after she joined us was different and… well… better. Thanks KDOG. I’m really touched by the genuine love you two expressed in your respective race reports. You two should get married and have tri-freak kids.

Speaking of kids… this year was a big challenge for me and my family. I missed the Saturday and/or Sunday day trips with my daughter Jessica Rose. I am grateful that my wife Linda put up with the mornings and evenings alone as I woke up at 4 am to go run/bike/swim and went to sleep at 8:30 pm so I could get up early. Our yard looks like a wreck because I haven’t been home for a weekend in months. It has been very trying on her and I hope that it didn’t do irreparable harm to our relationship. I very much love my wife and know that I have gotten a lot better than I deserve.

But, I’m kind of like Richard Dreyfus in “Close Encounters”. I am drawn to this sport by something inside of me that I can’t identify. Is it ego? Is it pride? Is it a “mid-life crisis”? Is it an addiction? Are aliens sending me some sort of signal? I don’t know and I don’t care.

I think the DC Tri Club is stuck with me… at least for another season. And Ironman? TJ Collins of Silver Spring, MD is an Ironman. That is something that no one can ever take away from me. I DID IT!


Anonymous said...

Swim 1:14 -- not bad for only having swum 6 times since August.
T1: 10:45.

Anonymous said...

5:41 bike time! Wow! Rock on!

Anonymous said...
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