Florida. Fun. Flat. Fast. Fantastic!
We left on Thursday afternoon for Panama City Beach, an 8+ hour drive. Saturday morning I competed in the Gulf Coast Triathlon, a half Ironman race. (Actually, I should say half Iron distance race because Gulf Coast isn't an Ironman sanctioned event. But you get the idea.) 1.2 mile swim in the ocean, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run. Florida is very flat, so I was excited to see how fast I could go. My previous PR (personal record) for this distance was 5 hours, 59 minutes, 58 seconds. My goal was to break that, but hearing about how the wind and the heat can really make this race a doozie, I wasn't sure I could do it. Friday morning I awoke to no wind and a pleasant high 70 degrees. I ran a little with a friend of mine, and we kept praying to the triathlon gods that we get the same weather the next day. Fortunately, someone up there heard us, and we had awesome conditions. Here's how my race went:
1.2 mile swim: 41:39 (goal was 47:00)
T1 (swim to bike transition): 3:47 (goal was 4:00)
56 mile bike: 2:49:58 (goal was 2:57:00)
T2 (bike to run): 1:43 (goal was 3:00)
13.1 mile run: 2:03:25 (goal was 2:00)
Total: 5:40:31 (goal was 5:51:00)
I came in 18th out of 63 women in my age group - top 30%. I was very pleased. The ocean swim wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, and the bike was really fun and really fast. The run even went well for me - at least up until mile 10. I lost my focus after that and struggled a little the rest of the way. I'll blame it on seeing a fellow Nashvillian pull over to the side of the road to puke, and another walking in pain just 2 hours after happily blowing by me on the bike. Overall, it was a great race for me. Today I am very sore and tired, but happy.
Unfortunately, I wasn't very productive with my road trip knitting. Last week I decided that my Somewhat Cowl was somewhat short, so I ripped out all of the ribbing on the bottom. I didn't have a chance to steam the kinks out of that used yarn before we left, though, so I just had to work with what was in the bag. I have about 15 rows of ribbing left to do, the neckline to whipstitch down, and ends to weave in. And it needs to be blocked. This yarn, as nice as it is, shows little inconsistencies in my stitches very well. I'm counting on a good blocking smoothing things out. Last week on my way to Maryland I started the back of a Rowan sweater vest. I finished the back of it in the car on Friday night, but I have to rip the whole thing out and start again on smaller needles. That's what I get for not doing a gauge swatch. I'm going to blame that on my plane companion Joe - had it not been for a great view and good conversation, I would've paid more attention to what I was doing. Joe - you're killing me.
I'll leave you with some pictures from the weekend:
Saturday afternoon delight.
This is what the ocean looked like on Sunday. Good thing the race was the day before! I don't know if I could've made it through those waves.
He looks like he's grimacing, but it's just the sun. That's his normal "Cheese!" face. He had a absolute blast on the beach.
Sunday's car ride back home was not the highlight of the weekend, that's for sure!
Hanging out on the beach drinking beer all afternoon isn't the right way to recover from a race, but it sure was fun!
The only true race injury I had: a gash on the inside of my right knee.
I have a Bento Box that I strap on the top tube of my bike to hold snacks. It makes it really easy to ensure you're fueling correctly during the race and won't bonk. However, it wasn't strapped on tightly enough to stay in place and kept leaning to the right. Every once in a while, the hard piece of plastic in it (that later I found out I could've removed - d'oh!) would stab me and cause me to mutter curse words that would've caused me to get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty had the officials heard. Note to self: keep my box nice and tight. It'll make everyone happy in the end.