This video is long but such a great recap of race day. Be careful: watching this video could cause you to want to do an Ironman! There’s some great stories in here.
Finally! Race morning! When I woke up on Saturday, around 3:45, I immediately noticed the very ominous howling noise. It sounded like a freight train was going by outside. I grabbed my phone and looked at the weather. Uh oh. I had a bad feeling when I saw that there were rip current warnings. But I put it out of my mind and continued my morning prep. Hugo and I got dressed and drove over to the Walmart parking lot to take a shuttle to our special needs bags drop off. It was COLD. I was not prepared for this weather at all. Leading up to the race I bought arm warmers for the bike and had packed gloves with fingers for the bike as well. I brought multiple running shirt options as well. I was feeling prepared to race in cold weather. I was not prepared, however, to walk around in it. I had flip flops on (of course) and my Space Coast marathon pullover was all that was keeping me warm. Once we made it to Pete’s condo, after pumping up our bike tires, we had a nice breakfast and Hugo, Maria and I headed to swim start while Kari stayed warm in the condo a little longer.
Almost a year and a half ago, I started a crazy journey that finally culminated at Ironman Florida this past weekend. Its crazy to think about all of the things that happened to get me to the starting line of the race. Some of it was cosmic intervention. A lot was pure grit. The journey was important though and for anyone that would ever consider taking on something like this, be it an Ironman, a 70.3, marathon or whatever your goal is, enjoy the journey. The end result should be the icing on the cake. I’ll get this part out of the way: Ironman Florida had no swim this year. Due to weather conditions that made it impossible for the safety crews to get and stay in position, the WTC made the correct call to cancel the swim. So this year’s Ironman Florida was a 138.2 mile race rather than 140.6.
Now that Ironman is over, I wanted to reflect for a minute on the chain of events that got me to the starting line in the first place because they were really quite remarkable. After I did my first triathlon in the spring of 2013 I decided I needed a trisuit. I went to Fit-2-Run in Tampa and one of the trainers there came over to talk to me. It turned out she trained with a bunch of other people and invited me to reach out to her and join them. I took her info and then didn’t contact her for a couple months.
There will be a long version of this! First of all, I did it. There were some incredible challenges this weekend out of my control and in the end I embraced what I was given. The race is supposed to be a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run. The swim, due to conditions that prevented the navy dive team from getting into position, was cancelled. It was the first time in 16 years of this particular Ironman that that has happened. People walked away from this race. I have an acquaintance who did that. Packed up their bikes and left.