It seems like just yesterday I was dabbling in tris, learning how to swim and trying to stay upright on my bike. Yet, here I am less than a week away from the Great Floridian (GF), an iron distance triathlon that I would never have considered doing not long ago. Heat plus hills? NO THANKS!!
But GF has a rich and storied history. This year marks its
Two words: Ironman Florida (IMFL).
Two weeks later, usually cooler and a whole lot flatter, IMFL now attracts most triathletes in the area who are seeking their first ironman finish, ironman PRs or a Kona slot. A large part of it is also probably the brand name marketing, i.e., getting called an "Ironman" when you cross the finish line of an Ironman brand race.
Me? I'm actually the type of person who would do an iron distance triathlon when no one is looking. What I wanted this year was a new challenge, not a new name. I already knew how to swim and could swim long (though not as fast as I'd like). I'd ridden 80-100+ miles several times and had run over 50 marathons. So just doing any ol' race with a 2.4 mi swim, 112 mi bike and a 26.2 mi run didn't stir those butterflies like it did back in 2006 when I was brand new to the sport. I needed more!
With the help of Coach Bill, we devised a plan so that I could tackle one of the toughest iron distance tris around and another one two weeks later that was similar to IMFL. This year I'd learn how to ride hills and handle extreme heat like my tri heroes, and I'd also have a shot at finding out what I could do on an flatter, cooler course. Both within the same training cycle and for about the same price as one Ironman brand race. Now we're talking!
And the excitement has seemingly made time fly. I never got really burned out from training this year. I was never more dedicated in getting myself to the pool or getting outside to deal with the horrible FL summer heat. Embrace the heat my @ss, it was more like try not to let it kill you! I never lifted weights and stretched more diligently. I never watched my diet and weight so closely. Critical when training long in serious heat!
So very different than back in 2006 when I trained myself for IMFL. Then, I basically got so that I could swim 2.4 miles, but only in the best water conditions, and I could get by on the bike and run. Unfortunately, Mother Nature would produce the worst water conditions making it a short race day for me -- Oh well!
Thus, it's ironic that the big question this Saturday is also what will Mother Nature throw at us? Namely, will the water temp be wetsuit legal (78 degs or less)?
Well, in its
Ahh, the uncertainty of ironmans.
Wish me luck. There's no athlete tracking available so I'll update you all after the race either late Saturday or on Sunday. Hope you all have a great week!