Thursday, November 12, 2009

2009 Beach 2 Battleship Iron Tri

Official Finishing Time: 12:45:52, 3/10 F45-49.

Where to begin???

First, I must thank all of you who have helped me, supported me, cheered for me, listened to me, put up with me and stuck with me all throughout this year. I could not have done it without you. Thank you!!!!!!

As you probably have guessed, B2B went well for me overall. There were a number of bloggers doing either the half or full iron distance so this event, for me, was probably half about racing and half about socializing. Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet up with everyone I wanted to and of those I did meet, a few (Linae, Skoshi, Dread Pirate, Kevin, IM Able) did not make it into my camera :-( But my camera did capture a number of folks at B2B, including my support crew (thanks Dave and whoever else took the pictures), so this race report will be heavy on photos and not just of me. YAY!



At the expo (L to R): Vickie, 21st Century Mom, me.

After the pasta dinner (L to R): Me, Vickie, 21st Century Mom, Waddler, SW Trigal, TriSharkie.

After the 12:00 athlete meeting (L to R): Me, Nancy, Calyx, Donna.

Lesson learned: If you want to stand out, wear a high vis jacket. I had people asking me if I was Shirley all weekend it seemed and met the most number of bloggers I've ever met at a race. It was like old friends getting together since we'd been following each other's blogs for so long. Missy and Ryan, I'm sorry we missed meeting up, Ryan for the second time at a race. How is it I can miss seeing a guy who's like 6'5"?


The Race

The B2B swim was a point to point course with an incoming tide that was expected to result in extraordinarily fast swim times, as in 2008. At the athletes meeting, the race director mentioned that you could probably even stop swimming and float along in the current and still make the 2:20 cut-off. Me likey!

But on the bus ride over to T1 (swim to bike transition area) race morning, the woman in back of me said that a couple folks actually missed the swim cut-off last year because they swam on the right side of the channel where the current was supposedly the strongest and went too far past the first turn and were not strong enough swimmers to fight the current to get back. Yikes! So I made a note to keep my eyes peeled for the "wiggly" man (air filled stick figure on a boat) that marked the turn and start swimming towards it early.

Unfortunately, spectators were not allowed at either the swim start or swim exit so I have no photos from either. Nancy's training buddy Dave zipped up my wetsuit at the swim start and I saw Roy, another Orlando athlete I've trained with a bit, and IM Able just before getting into the water. The water temp this year was 67-68 degs and felt nice compared to the air temp which was below 40 when we started 8-O Here's a video from last year's swim that someone took that will give you an idea of what we looked like in the channel. WEEEE!!!

2.4 mi swim time - 1:06:40* (1:34/100 yds), 7/10 F45-49. WOW!!!
*Time includes climbing out of the water on a ladder, getting my wetsuit stripped, going through a fresh water shower and running to a timing mat maybe 100 yards from the water.

So it's a good thing that Dave did not listen to me when I said I thought I'd finish the swim in around 1:20-1:30. He got there early and caught me running to T1 (I am to the right in the above photo wearing a jog bra under my swimsuit). BRRR!!! I was very happy to be wearing swim socks, which were allowed, so my feet could stay warmer before, during and after the swim. They also made running 400 yds from the water to T1 on concrete and asphalt MUCH easier. Thanks Bootchez for recommending those socks!

The women's dressing tent was a lot more crowded than at GFT but I found a chair to sit on in a corner. I took the swimsuit off but kept the jog bra and HRM that was underneath on and dried off as much as possible. Then I proceeded to put on more clothes than I've ever worn on a tri bike segment. Tri Shorts, short sleeved bike top, leg warmers, arm warmers ... I saw Vickie and Dread Pirate come in shortly afterwards. Jacket, bike gloves, ear warmer, socks -- where the heck are my socks???

After searching desperately in my bag and around me for a couple minutes I realized I must have worn them during my test ride the day before and forgotten to put them back in my bag. DOH!! Sockless I go (hopefully the toe warmers on my shoes will keep my feet from freezing). At my bike I pulled on my fully fingered gloves too but wound up taking them off only a few miles into the ride.

T1 was no doubt a new record slow time but due to a timing glitch was not captured. Instead, it would be included in our bike splits. Oh well ...

This race had two separate transition areas. T1, where we started our bike segment, was near Wrightsville Beach and we'd finish at T2, which was by the Battleship North Carolina about 12 miles away. Of course, our ride was wee bit longer than 12 miles and part of it early on was actually on I-140, an INTERSTATE. Ooh, wet cycling dream come true!!!

For the most part, though, the bike course was on rural roads. I thought it was pretty flat as advertised but there were so-called false flats (sneaky inclines that look flat but aren't). The wind was low in the first half and since the pressure of finishing my first iron tri was off, I let my HR hover in the hi Z2 to lo Z3 range early on and passed a lot of folks. A few women asked me if I was Shirley as I went by. Sorry, I'm not sure who you all were but thanks for the words of encouragement!

At mile 30, we passed the first aid station and I was definitely warming up. I had to make a brief full stop to pull off the removable sleeves from my jacket so it could be worn as just a vest. They went into my front pockets along with the gloves I took off earlier giving me a nice tubby tummy look. My arm warmers went up and down depending on whether I was riding in full sun or shade but never came off, nor did my leg warmers or the vest. I don't remember my feet bothering me so they must have been fine without socks.

Around mile 35, a black sedan drove past me with some folks cheering and honking a bike horn out the windows. I didn't know whose car it was but recognized hubby Dave and my step-daughter KT. They'd found me! My son-in-law KV was behind the wheel of a rental car.

Dave's nickname for me is Muffin and it was his idea that they'd all wear orange during the race to make them easy to spot.

They came prepared and cheered for me several times along the bike course, which was great. We also saw a hunter with a bright orange hat and camouflage clothing sitting on a chair by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere watching cyclists go by with either a rifle or shotgun in his lap. Yeah, he motivated me to go a little faster! No, we did not get a picture of him or ask him what he was doing.

Somewhere along the way, Dave got out of the car with his bike to get his workout in during the race. As he hammered along, he encouraged folks and perhaps disheartened a few who thought he was in the race. No race number, not racing! He caught up to me after about 20 miles, said a quick 'hi' and then fell back to be picked up by KV. Must be nice.

The last 38 miles of the bike course were the toughest. Notice on the bike map that nearly straight stretch of road from the topmost part of the course to the bike finish? I'll give you one guess which way the wind was heading. WeatherUnderground said it wasn't more than 6 mph but it felt more like 8-10 mph, especially going up and across this one last bridge that was in the last couple miles. Evil!

T1 + 112 mi bike time - 6:30:47*, 2/10 F45-49.
*My bike Garmin says I averaged 18.0 mph for 107.4 mi (it's missing some miles because it turned itself off a few times and I didn't notice right away) so assuming I rode about the same speed the whole 112 miles, my T1 time was ~15 min, which is about what I expected.

I handed off my bike and helmet to a volunteer and then was totally dependent on other volunteers telling me where to go as I'd never been to T2 (bike to run transition area) before. I found my running gear bag and then almost went into the wrong changing tent. Oops!

T2 time - 9:34, including a porta-potty stop, as usual.

I began the run feeling probably the best I have ever in a tri. Hmm, maybe I should ride 112 miles more often? Looks like KT had taken my suggestion about what could be written on signs literally. (Click for a closer look at the sign).

The run was much hillier than I thought it'd be with 2 bridge crossings and two other short climbs later along the course, all of which had to be done twice since the course was two laps. But at least the temps were really comfy, high 50s to low 60's when I started. In the first few miles, I saw Nancy, Calyx, Donna and SW Trigal, who were finishing up their half iron. They looked strong and gave me a boost. How fun it is to see folks you know during a race!

I got down to the 6.55 mi turnaround in about 1:05 but then got hit with GI issues again, unbelievably, even worse than what I had at GFT two weeks ago. WTF?!?!!! Not sure what was wrong this time (I didn't even take Perpeteum on the bike at this race and there was no Gatorade being offered on the run course) but I took all the meds I had with me (Gas-X, Pepto Bismol and Immodium). Nothing seemed to help. I had to take off my Fuel Belt and carry it over my shoulder again, and make friends with every freaking porta-potty along the course. Thankfully they were at mile apart intervals at this race too.

Every time I got out of one, though, I felt fine and was able to run well again until about a mile later. My gut was like a clock! One guy told me he couldn't help but smile every time I passed him (he passed me when I stopped). I hoped it was because of my shirt and nothing that might have shown the problems I was having (like toilet paper stuck in my shorts or worse ...).

Meanwhile, the Team Muffinator B2B Support Crew waited patiently for me along Water Street (miles 3, 10, 16, 23). KV's sign got some laughs from folks.

The sign on the back, however, probably puzzled some. (KV is a Civil Engineer specializing in water modeling and I think this is his way of saying "imagine you're running downhill")

Starting my second lap, it was getting dark and colder so I grabbed my clip-on headlamp and a long sleeve shirt from my special needs bag. Although the race director had said the run course would be well lit the entire way, I wasn't taking any chances and it turned out to be a good decision as parts of the Greenfield Lake Park area (southernmost part of the run course) were very dark, so dark that I once ran off the path and onto a street. Too busy looking at the ground where I was stepping, I had missed seeing a sign and volunteers directing us to turn right. Oops again!

My need to make stops pretty much every mile continued on the second lap, unfortunately. How in the world can I have anything left in my system? But, I was making good progress regardless so after I saw my support crew at mile 16, they took a water taxi to the finish line to make sure they got there in time to see me finish (the lines for them were long!). I kept busy by looking for folks I knew along the course. I'm not sure when I saw them but I remember seeing Linae, Kevin, Skoshi, TriSharkie, Dread Pirate, Vickie, and Waddler. I cheered for them and hoped everyone would make the cut-off.

As I was making my way back, Dave used the Buddy Pass we were given to grab all my gear so I didn't have to go collect it after I finished the race. Thanks Dave! My crew found ways to entertain themselves.

Unlike other races, B2B had runners from a local college escort you in on your last mile if you wanted. Mine showed up about half a mile from the finish and I'd forgotten about this so I tried to outrun him at first. Where the heck did this young guy come from? I'll show him ... Dude then started talking to me, told me I was really moving well (yeah, like a sub-8 pace!) and asked how far I wanted him to run with me. What? Oh yeah, uh, how about just to that T2 clock up ahead. That way I could slow down some and actually make it to the finish without dying. At the clock, he told me I had 300 yards to go and congratulated me.

26.2 mi run time - 4:58:53 (11:24 pace), 3/10 F45-49.
Total race time - 12:45:52, 3/10 F45-49.

We received a nice race medal and I also got a little piece of the original teak deck of the Battleship North Carolina.


Post-race - Most of these were taken during the awards cruise:

Me and my two favorite post-race treats: hubby Dave and recovery socks.

Vickie and I on the Henrietta III riverboat. B2B was Vickie's first iron tri. Congrats, Vickie!

Poor lil' pancake ain't got a chance against an ironwoman :-)

After breakfast and the awards ceremony, the boat began to finally move.

We got a closer look at the USS Battleship North Carolina. Lots more guns!

Outside in the fresh air, I found Nancy and her training buddy Dave. Nancy completed the B2B half while Dave did the full distance. Well done to both!

Wonderful time with family, gorgeous weather, great race -- what more could I ask for?

Congrats to everyone who raced B2B, Ironman Florida, Silverman or otherwise last weekend. Please forgive me, I am behind on my blog reading but will be catching up soon!


Wendy said...

Fantastic race Shirley, and equally good race report! (Such a pity about the g-i issues, though. I do hope you are able to get those sorted!)

Janyne Kizer said...

Another excellent report! It sounds like you had a great time :-)


TRISHARKIE (AKA Ronda) said...

You looked AWESOME out on that course!!! Great job Shirley. It was so nice to meet you; you've got such a great positive and energetic spirit! Despite your GI issues, it looks like you had a fantastic race! And to think you did 2 iron distances in 2 weeks! You go girl!

I met your son-in-law at the airport, how funny is that?

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

Now what.... will you recover from an amazing year? Hard to turn it down when you have been on such a high. GI issues SUCK! Atleast you got your moneys worth from the Porty Sorry, I know that it not funny.

Thanks for the FULL report. Amesome as always. Thrilled for you Shirley. And to share it with your family...even better :))

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Congrats Shirley!! 3rd AG too! Amazing!! Great race report and race!! So what's next? LMAO @ poor little pancake. :D

DaveP said...

All in all, it was great weekend. Thanks,


Great report. Look like B2B is the place to be. Especially love the swim course. Much nicer than the full contact course I swam on Saturday.

Bruce Stewart (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

Great report and excellent result, Shirley. The best is yet to come. Makes me feel inclined to give Ironman another go some time and somewhere.

Spokane Al said...

Wow, what a great race. You rocked Shirley! Congratulations.

Calyx Meredith said...

Such great pictures - and the "something clever" poster totally cracked me up! So sorry you had GI issues again. And finally - CONGRATULATIONS on the AG award. Super cool!

Bootchez said...

Wow, what a great race for you! 3rd AG, woo hoo! I love the look of the swim with all that current. Glad the socks worked out well, too!

Lily on the Road said...

What an excellent report Shirley, and again, congratulations.

I love all the photo's and your support crew shirts are the BOMB!!

Nice to see there were so many bloggers' there and I love the photo of you and Vickie...

Marathon Maritza said...

Great report Shirley, and congratulations again!!! How great to see all the shots of you in action!!!! Whoooooooo!

Runner Leana said...

Shirley, congratulations on an amazing race! You absolutely rocked it! GI issues are so frustrating. I hope you are able to figure out what is causing them.

It looks like you had a great support team out there.

So what is next?? :)

Nancy Toby said...

Congratulations again!! Amazing what you've done in 3 short years since IMFL!!

You were FLYING on the run when you sped past me, too!

WELL DONE!!! Great to see you as well!

21stCenturyMom said...

Great race report!!

I'm really glad I didn't notice that guy with the gun - ack!

And I SO hope they send me my piece of the Battleship. Thanks for cheering for me at the breakfast even though I missed it. My daughter and son in law really needed to get home.

Congratulations! You are a wonder for completing 2 of these races in 2 weeks. So amazing!

Vickie said...

Shirley, great race report. Really glad to have met up with you and Dave. You have a great race crew. If you could send me some pics by e-mail, that would be great: Good luck on continued training. If I make it down to Orlando next March, I'll let you know.

Marlene said...

Great race report! I am truly in aw of you... fantastic.

What a great support crew you had! I love some of those signs.

Congrats again!!!

Regina said...

Great race!! It's official, I love reading your race reports, they are always entertaining and keep me interested. Sorry about your tummy issues. I'm having some today so I can't imagine running 26.2 how I'm feeling right now.

swim socks...hmmm, I like it!


Sara Cox Landolt said...

Fun race report & pictures! I'd like to do this race in the future, so it's especially good. Congrats on your 3rd AG award!! And I love the sense of motion in that first bike picture, cool!!

Meg Runs said...

So much support! Your whole report put a smile on my face and I really enjoyed the pictures! You deserved this great race; worked hard and stayed positive. WELL DONE SHIRLEY!

Kevin said...

Congrats on your AG award. It was great seeing you out there on the run. Hope you can figure out your GI issues

jeanne said...

Congratulations, fantastic race! That swim time is INSANE! I love that they have people to run you in at the end!
Great props to your support team too, they did fantastic.
I can't believe you had the energy to go out on a cruise afterwards!

You're an amazing woman, Shirley.


Maddy said...

You are amazing Shirley!

Congratulations on your Age Group award and for finishing 2 Irons in 2 Weeks.

You Rock!!!

jen said...

Congratulations X 1000. I am so impressed and inspired! Thank you for sharing this race report and your great attitude and incredible spirit with us. Thank you. Enjoy your recovery, you deserve it! :) :) :)

Petraruns said...

Wow. Wow. Wow. Shirley that was just an engrossing report. I can't believe it. Despite the GI issues - you've got to get to the bottom of those! - you make it sound so easy! How did you find the swim? Were you tired at any point? I can't believe you've done this amazing achievement. I owe you a big hug for this one!

Missy said...

Congratulations! I love that they had people run with you at the end. I kept looking around and thinking it looked very lonely out there. I'm glad you brought your own cheering section. You needed it.

MarathonChris said...

Great race report and congrats on your IM PR and overall fantastic race!!! :-)

Shannon said...

Following your blog has always been an inspiration to me. Thank You Mrs. Thing! You are BEAST at what you do, keep striving, working, & pushing to be the best. I ♡ me some Shirley!

Maria said...

You are a true Fe-Male (Iron-Man, get it?! Ok, bad joke)! You should feel extremely accomplished about this last month of racing! Any chance you're going to rest and let the rest of us catch up?

Sunshine said...

I am truly amazed! Fun to see you and Vicki in pictures.
Will read your report tonight.

aron said...

you are so amazing :) :) :) what a great race and great report!!! LOVE all the pics. congrats shirley!!!!

X-Country2 said...

Congrats!! What a great race report. Love the first bike pic, love your fan signs, and love that you're smiling the entire time.

lindsay said...

loved your race report! your crew, their signs, the bright orange - so fun. lol about the hunter! that would either make me speed up or i might have to ask him to put me out of my misery ;) jk jk.

awesome stats/placement in each section, and finishing in 3rd for your ag! (and let's not forget you just did this 2 weeks ago) you are amazing! congrats!!

SWTrigal said...

Wow-seriously wow! 2 IMs in 2 weeks I am so impressed you have no idea. And 3rd place to boot. Congrats-you rock!

lizzie lee said...

Not much to say, other than you are amazing, you inspire me and others, you are so good at what you do, You are fabulous and I will never do a tri!!!!

Thanks for a great story... the DNF monkey is TOTALLY gone.

Cliff said...


Congrats! :)

EndorphinBuzz said...

Congrats that is an awesome race performance and entertaining report :)

Lisa said...

Great job! Great pictures! Sounds like you had a great weekend in addition to a great race!

RoadBunner said...

Shirley!! Where have I been?!?!

Double congratulations for your two iron-distance finishes!! You are my total hero. I am a piddling pup for being concerned about back to back marathons. 2 weeks apart?! Gah!

I laughed out loud at your comment about Kona being too cool for heat training :) You are a machine.

I hope you enjoy some well deserved down time before getting back into thing in January!

alcatrazswimmer said...

Very Cool! Congratulations! I was watching your video, trying to find another race to do, after being down in the dumps after failing at the IMSG. The SG course was brutal & horrific. I heard this was a nice race. I am very impressed 3rd place finsh!