I can’t believe it’s been a year since last year’s Ironman Florida. Time really flies by when you’re busy training and racing 🙂
This year’s IRONMAN Florida has completed, and like all Ironman events, there was plenty of excitement and drama. It’s been a tough year for Ironman, and that’s referring to the foul weather that has plagued a good number of their North American races, from extreme temps at Louisville, the blanket of smoke at Lake Tahoe, and to today’s heavy winds and dangerous rip currents here in Panama City Beach.
The race officials made a last minute decision to cancel the swim, noting that the rip currents had created dangerous conditions for not just the competitions, but to also the kayakers and other swim course aids. In my opinion, that was the right call – it’s not worth the risk. Period.
Once the announcement was made, competitors quickly fled the beach and scrambled to get their bike gear ready. Conditions this year were exceptionally difficult. Wind was always a factor, but the unseasonably cold temps made it feel like a Fall day in the Northeast!
The race was changed to a time trial start for the bike, by numerical order. Pro’s started at 8, everyone else at 8:30. I didn’t stick around to watch every TT start but word was that the last biker started after 10am. While they were doing that, I was able to sneak in a quick half marathon run by doing a loop of the run course.
Afterwards, it was the Lionel Sanders show! What an impressive performance and debut Ironman for Lionel. He crushed the bike course and followed it up with a low 2:40’s marathon split to win with no one close behind.
After that, it was Sherpa time. Because of the TT start, the only way to find the whereabouts of my Chocolate Milk teammate, Jill, was by refreshing the Ironman tracker every few minutes. I missed her coming out of T2 but later found her out on the run course. She did fantastic and fought through the tough conditions. Kudos!
As a Sherpa, I got the opportunity to check out her bags and her Trek bike so that she wouldn’t have to lug it around after finishing. The last thing you want to worry about after the race is checking out your stuff, so having a Sherpa is highly recommended!
Overall, Ironman Florida was a success, even with the adverse weather conditions and rough waters. It was a pleasure to be on the other side of the fence – spectating and being race support for my teammate. Thank you Team Chocolate Milk for providing delicious samples of low fat chocolate milk to all the finishers! It’s been fun. Cheers!