Monday, September 28, 2009

2009 Florida Challenge

Well, they don't call it The Intimidator for nothing. The Florida Challenge was already the toughest half iron tri in Florida with its hills, heat and humidity. There was really no need to move it up a month and change the bike course to make things even tougher. Good grief.

Still, it was a good opportunity for me to practice racing my own race as Coach would say, get more training on the Great Floridian (GF) course, work on my ironman pacing, nutrition, etc. Dave, however, put as much work into it as if it were a real race so I'll show off some of his photo handiwork :-)


As expected, the water temp was too warm to be wetsuit legal so, sorry, no funny pictures of me dancing or wriggling to put the rubber suit on.



But, does this swim cap make my head look FAT?



Out of the water in 53:38, not fast but a new non-wetsuit 1.2 mi swim PR for me and many pink caps still behind me. 8/10 F45-49, 38/53 Female.



T1 - a leisurely 3:58 with too much time spent trying to pull on my tri top (not easy when wet) and then running my bike all the way to the end and around the transition area as required to avoid colliding with folks coming in from the swim. So much for being close to the Bike Out. It meant you had further to run with your bike -- ARGH!



My HR was 171(!) by the time I got to riding and took several miles to settle down. Climbing hills out of the saddle didn't help. I know it's hard to tell with my short legs so just work with me here ...



But that was just for show. I sat back down as soon as I passed the camera ;-)



Halfway on the bike course and being a good girl now staying seated spinning up hills, coasting down them and letting everyone and their grandmother pass me.



Not a very aggressive aero riding position at all but I can ride forever and back.



56(?) miles done in 3:25:38 (16.3 mph). My Garmin and others I spoke to said 58+ miles but it is what it is. 6/10 F45-49, 20/53 Female.



T2 - another leisurely 3:50 thanks to a pit stop. Probably the only time I'll ever pee on my bike is when I'm desperate. On to the run!



Whoa, who put a brick in my Camelbak?! Man, it felt like it weighed 20# (really only 6-7).



What's worse, though, I just realized I've somehow lost all the gels I had in a pocket. $#?@%!!! Surely there'll be some gels or food on the course, right?



Nope, just fluids. And extra from Mother Nature too. But the rain made the 98 deg heat index plummet down into the 80's for a while --Ahh!



Finishing lap 1 of the 2-lap course, keeping things slow and easy. A kind volunteer had given me a small bag of chips her friend had (the friend wasn't too happy about that, I might add) and I had one emergency gel in a separate pocket. All was not lost.



Ate the gel at the 6.55 mile turnaround and decided to walk through all aid stations and drink as much Gatorade as possible for extra calories. Now it was solely about survival.



Ended up doing a lot more walking when the sun came back out but, fortunately, it rained again and my final mile ended up being my fastest -- Yippee! 13.1 miles done in 2:18:34 (10:34 pace), 4/10 F45-49, 20/53 Female. Not the run I'd hoped for but far from my worst.



Me and my beautiful racing buddy Erica. We leapfrogged and encouraged each other on the bike and run segments.



Final race time: 6:45:23, 5/10 F45-49, 20/53 Female. Funny, it does not feel like a half iron PW (Personal Worst) at all.



Maybe it's because of the awesome medal I got.


Or perhaps it's because I know now I'll be happy with any finishing time at GF, which, BTW, is only FOUR weeks away - OMG!!!

36 comments:

Kevin said...

Great job on the race. It sounds like you will be well prepared for the GF

jen said...

Congrats!! Very impressive times for a training day. I can't believe that rain! A solid out there that definitely predicts a fantastic IM in four weeks. :)

DaveP said...

It's not the cap. ;-)

Regina said...

Wow! Great race and great photos! You look so relaxed in every pic; very prepared for this race. You are going to kill at GF! Congrats!

Meg Runs said...

You totally rock and looked so strong. You didn't even look exhausted or too hot. Amazing. Wow, only four weeks, I'm excited for you!

Molly said...

Great race! Sounds like a good training day for what lies ahead!!!

skoshi said...

That must have been a hard run without your nutrition--and on such a hot day--but you made it look so easy. I so admire how you're able to mentally stay the course and maintain your pace and focus--what with the hills, heat, humidity, and nutrition snafu.
Just reading that the GF is in 4 weeks gives me butterflies. I will so be rooting for you!
p.s I took your advice about sighting, and it helped in my next event. Thank you!

Petraruns said...

First off you're looking fab - I love your tri outfit! And your atttitude is great - even when something doesn't work out- like losing your gels (!) you work it in and work it round. Do you feel you ran your own race?

Love, me

Marci said...

Wow I only wish I could rock it like that!! Great work! Are there any tris in Florida in December? I would love to travel to one!

WADDLER26.2 said...

Awesome job on the race. Thanks for sharing all the photos. You did great.

EndorphinBuzz said...

Those gels have a tendency to escape on race day, don't they?

You did great and looked good, very impressive!

Wendy said...

Awesome "training day" Shirley!

lindsay said...

nice race! love the pics too - esp the close up of your face in that one shot, very nice ;)

that medal looks huge! nice bling for sure. you kind of make me want to do a triathlon... but i'm still quite terrified of OWSing.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

You look happy in the pics.

I love the pink cap, purple top - colorful in the water!

Actually, your bike clothes are cute too.

Cuz, being cute is part of the game, right? :-)

Brent Buckner said...

Way to grind it out - lots of training benefits!

RunToTheFinish said...

wow I am so motivated just reading your recap!! I am in the process of moving from KC to Miami and terrified by the heat change...but this really helped!

Marlene said...

Congrats on the half iron!! You look strong out there. Less than 4 weeks to go now!!!

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Love the race report and all the pics! Sucks that you didn't have the gels with you and all the rain, but you did an amazing job!! 4 weeks to go!

Oz Runner said...

great pics and race report....it looks like you enjoyed it, and you did great!

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

I rode with a group the other week and this one girl used the bathroom while riding. Still not sure what I think about that... yuck!

You are more than ready... less than 4 weeks now. YIPPEEE!!! bring on some more race bling.

Runner Leana said...

Losing all your gels? That is rough!! Way to tough it out Shirley! Congratulations on your race.

Sunshine said...

You are a winner again, in spite of all. Loved the pictures. They do help tell your story.
Congratulations.

Sherry said...

Shirley! I thought about you SO MANY times this weekend while I was up in Augusta! I kept thinking to myself, no matter how tough I think this Augusta course is... think of Shirley Pearly racing the Florida Challenge! Now THAT'S tough!!!

You look so great in all of your photos! Relaxed! Lovin' it!!! You are SO ready for GF and B2B!!! You simply rock... and continue to inspire the crap out of me!!!

Woo-hoo! Congrats on a GREAT 'practice' race!!!!

Maria said...

Congrats on the race, it may be a PW but it's still a race in the books and it's good experience for your busy weeks ahead! Love the medal design!

TRISHARKIE (AKA Ronda) said...

Well Done! Thanks for the race report. Looking forward to meeting you at B2B.

Missy said...

Nice training race! Great pictures out there. You look really happy about it too. I heard that race is a bitch.

Stef said...

Wow you really adapted and dealt with them having no nutrition on the run course (which I personally think is unacceptable for long course but then again I usually carry something with me as you obviously do too).

GREAT job all around -- love the pics as usual. You are really into the meat of your season now.

GO SHIRLEY!!!

Vickie said...

Great job! You are amazing, as usual. Where was this race? Looks like Central Florida somewhere with those hills.

X-Country2 said...

Nice! Great day! And that perma-smile you always have? I need to find me one of those.

lizzie lee said...

Congrats, my hero!!!

Spokane Al said...

I am just getting caught up on blog reading.

Congratulations on a great race. Running through driving rain, then sun must be interesting.

jeanne said...

you look fantastic! Congratulations, nice job, and terrific photos. That rain looks intense!

RoadBunner said...

Congratulations! Great job! Lost gels?! Aaaaahhh!!! The mad potato chip friend can suck it!

Dori said...

Congratulations, Shirley! That was a PW? I'm in awe of your athletic prowess.

peter said...

Whew, I'm exhausted from reading about your challenge! Your little description of riding up on the camera (up in the saddle) and away from it (back in the saddle) was hilarious. Good job!

aron said...

WOW you are amazing! CONGRATS, love the report and pics as always :)