The race is November 6th in Panama City, Florida. It starts at 7:00 AM with the 2.4 mile swim (broken into two 1.2 mile laps) in the Gulf of Mexico. Last year there was a hurricane stirring up the gulf and the swim was really difficult. By the second lap of the swim the waves and wind had picked up significantly and I really struggled with the final lap. I had not swam at all over the summer because I was preparing for the 2009 Leadville Trail 100 mile endurance run in Colorado. After Leadville, in mid August, I had just over 2 months to get ready for the Bike and Swim segments of the Ironman. Bad weather in Alabama wiped out a couple of weeks and I ended up only able to swim 7 or 8 times in preparation for the swim segment. That is not even close to enough swimming for an Ironman.
This year I started swimming in early May, as soon as the water in the swim lake at Oak Mountain State Park was warm enough to swim without a wet suite. I am now swimming 1.3 hours, twice a week and am about ready for the swim. Up until now the water has been warm enough to swim comfortably without a wetsuit. My last swim was September 30, and the water was quite a bit cooler than it had been, even from two days before. We have had low temperatures in the low 50's and the last couple of days in the low 40's and I fear it is time to dig out the wetsuit for today's swim.
Fortunately for the 112 miles bike segment, trail running is great preparation. My training for the Wasatch 100 was almost all hill running and mostly hill repeats. The Wasatch itself is all uphill or downhill. You use the same muscles running up and down hills you used to ride a tri bike. Weekend bike rides are up to 41/2 hours, making three loops of Oak Mountain State Park. I ride out the north entrance of the park to do the climbs out to the hwy. 119, then on the other end, ride up the Peavine Falls road to the crest of the ridge. I do all the climbing on the aero bars, that is, except the climb coming back in the north entrance. It is really steep. The one part of bike riding the hill running does not repair you for is sitting on a bike seat, leaning on the aero bars for 5 hours. My butt is suffering! I have confidence it will be ready by November 6th.
Thanks to who ever I borrowed these pictures from.
2008 Florida Ironman Mass Swim Start.
2008 Florida Ironman Swim Finish of the first lap.
2008 Florida Ironman Bike Transision Area
Moments before all hell breaks loose.
2008 Florida Ironman - The finish is an experience you will never forget.
2008 Florida Ironman - Early morning Transition - before the race.