This was my 6th Ironman finish, but my first time at Ironman Florida. I have completed Ironman Arizona three times, Ironman Cozumel once and Vineman Full before it was an Ironman branded event. I figured I would try a new IM that I had not tried before and Florida seemed perfect. It was later in the year and my training partner was also doing this race.
I really enjoyed the raced. I went into it very relaxed with a goal of simply finishing as I had some challenges this year that impacted my health and fitness. I decided to just keep a moderate pace and was shooting to finish right around 13 hours. I stayed on track most of the day. Swim was choppy and there was some walking involved! The water was quite shallow for a ways, then you can finally start swimming, but then there is a sand bar that requires a bit more walking again. After finishing the first of the two lap course, you exit the water and are routed through a chute (with 2900 other racers) to enter the water and start the second and final lap. The chute was pretty crowded, so yes… more walking.
The bike was a one loop course, mostly flat but it was windy. I took it very easy to save my legs for the run since my run training was not optimal and I knew I’d needed to save my legs.
The run was also flat. It was two laps and winded through the local neighborhoods and then through a park. I enjoyed it while I used my run/walk strategy. I was staying on track for my 13 hour goal until approaching the final turn around of the second lap. My friend and training partner was having a hard time. She was sick. Up until this point she was having the race of her life… on track for an Ironman personal best. Unfortunately, sometimes our bodies do not cooperate. I stayed with her and walked her in the last 7+ miles. This was our 3rd Ironman together one of which I was sick due to a jellyfish sting and she helped me to the finish line sacrificing a personal best that day too. It was a bummer she got sick but for the second time we crossed the finish line of an Ironman together which was very cool. We both want to do this race again someday.
We are already planning for our next Ironman for 2017! Looking forward to a fresh new year of training and conquering!