Ironman Florida 2014

Ironman Florida 2014 [9hr 27mins] – Holiday time

After Lanzarote I wanted another race before the years end but also it needed to be a holiday as it had been a super busy year with work and training so booked up for Ironman Florida (White sand and sun). It was a flat bike course and I would have enough time to recover from Lanzarote and fit in another training cycle with some efforts to improve the run off the bike in hot weather. So for this one I would get out 10 days before the event to give myself enough time to get use to the heat.  I will keep this race report pretty short as the swim was cancelled.

SWIM (cancelled): So we booked a hotel (Laketown Wharf ) 2 mins from race start – not the most beautiful hotel but its position to the start of the race was perfect. The rooms where massive like a mini apartment with great shops and a Wallmart 5 mins walk away, which was perfect if you have kids. Race morning we had heard on local news of warnings of rip tides and the double-red flags out on the beach – not good. It was also pretty unexpected as the whole time we had been in Florida the weather had been stunning and the water pan flat.

Made it down to transition and it was freezing (in the low 30s from 70-80s the days prior) and very windy (25mph with 35+ gusts).  So happy I went out to Florida early to acclimatize for what I thought would be a hot day. Despite the pro’s starting the swim was cancelled before they made a few 100m out as it was just too unsafe. There was a lot of cold and shivering people who had not brought a change of clothing other than skimpy tri-suits. Then we had the announcement that the event would be a bike-run (Duathlon) with athletes released every 30s by order of race number. That for some was a 2-3Hour wait in the cold before getting onto the course.  Not great if you had come from the UK and spent big money on travel, hotels and the event, especially given there was not option for a refund as one guy I met from Luton told me (as he had tried). I was lucky as relative to the 3000ish participants I have a number closer to the front end.

BIKE (5hours 53mins): Once on the course the wind made it clear it was not going to be the super fast day I thought it would be. Out on the course I had 2 flats just to cheers the day right up, but you just have to laugh these things off and keep going. The bike course is pretty flat but and fast times I might have gained was destroyed due to the 25-25mph winds and flats. I have to say that despite what I had heard over the course being a draft-fest there was not a massive amount of drafting. This might have been a result of the timed starts so people where very well spread out over the course and the high winds meant closing that gap had taken longer.

RUN (3Hours 27mins):  I was chomping at the bit to get off the bike and had held 175w for the bike course (about 72% FTP) so was feeling pretty fresh despite the windy bike. Once out of T1 the legs felt good and I started off strong – with fresh memories of Lanzarote and the walk of shame came rushing back reminding me to stick to the pre-planned pace. The goal was to hold back and to run towards a 3.30 marathon. The temperature was cool which suits me and this really helped with my run.


Figure 1. Run pace and hr over the Ironman.

The supporters especially surrounding the 3-5 km close to the course were great and gave a boost to all the athletes. As you can see I averaged a pretty steady heart rate (see Fig 1, average Hr 146bpm). In the end it was a relatively solid race but disappointed over the swim being cancelled and some real issues with the weather and flats on the bike but as they say never give in. I crossed the line in 9hr 27mins.

Next stop 2015 and to start thinking beyond just finishing to competing and racing these events. Looking back over the last 12 months and ending 1ST full year of training I was over competing. I had done 2 full Ironman’s, 1half Ironman, a full marathon. Given I had only had completed 4-6 months of training the year before I was still in need of some uninterrupted training to ensure I could improve my biking and running fitness. So that was the goal for 2015 and made the decisions no more full Ironman’s for at least the next 12 months.