Gulf Coast 70.3 – My Race Report
The swim was not as expected… It was nuts.. The day before it was absolutely perfect, calm, and ideal. (pictured below)
But then the conditions changed to this…
The swim was pretty crazy… I never got “used” to any part of it, never got into a routine, and it was just pretty much stay alive.. LOL… It’s pretty bad when the sheriffs boat would magically appear and then disappear before my very eyes behind the rollers… Now you see it, and now you don’t… Got punched in the face about ten times, got kicked in the face a few times, swallowed salt water, got my goggles kicked off one eye, and ate some funky seaweed stuff.. The current was pretty strong and the waves were coming in at an angle so it seemed like everyone was zigzagging the whole swim just trying to get it done. I saw a few people quit and get pulled out on boats and kayaks with a DNF. The swim can be competitive and yes, people get punched and kicked…
The bike was perfect and I moved pretty fast for 52 miles, and then we made a left turn and hit the beach where the wind was strong enough to blow a few people off of their bikes… I don’t know how slow I was going in the last 4 miles but I felt like I was standing still… LOL…
I got off the bike pretty tired… That last 4 miles sucked the wind out of my sails and sort of bummed me out… I knew I was averaging about 20 MPH from my bike computer but then that damn wind beat my average down to 18.1 (which still beats my Ironman New Orleans time so it’s not so bad). I should have removed my bike computer and just had fun and not worried about speed or average speed… Watching stats can be fun but in this case I think it bummed me out right before the run.
I racked my bike, changed my socks, used the bathroom, and then got to running… This is about where I realized how much energy the swim actually took out of me. My legs were pretty heavy but I just grabbed a slow pace and stuck to it. I walked through some of the water stations but stuck to my pace through the whole 13.1.
The finish was fun, packed with people, and I really felt good when I crossed that line. I wanted this at Ironman New Orleans 70.3 but since the swim was cancelled I had to wait 2 weeks and do it all over again. It was worth the wait. This trip to Panama City Beach was unexpected but life changing… I met some great people, stepped up to the line in front of an angry ocean swim, and charged full ahead for 6 hours 42 mins of suffering… And I loved every second… Most of all, I learned so much in my first triathlon… Ironman Louisville 140.6, here I come…
Ocean swim, 1.2 miles, 3-5 swells, Beach start, Rectangle course (beach, 5th buoy turn left, 1st buoy turn left, take it all the way to the beach) Cloudy
56 mile Out and back course, bike out directly north, on the way back a couple right turns to get the mileage in, flat course with only one short climb each way, last 4-5 miles was insane wind from the beach.. 30-35 mph gusts.. Some Rain as well..
One 13.1 mile loop, flat, road /sidewalk