Monday, November 06, 2006

Ironman Florida- First Thoughts

I have quite a bit I want to post about this race, although I was on the sidelines as a spectator and not experiencing it first hand, and I'm hoping I get it down before I forget it all. After five days of little or no internet access (once in a while the 30 mph winds seemed to blow some faint open access wireless my way, but in the end I had to go to the host hotel just to submit my homework), the frustration has been palpitable.

I've been down there five times in six years- one person's rut is another person's comfortable old shoe, I guess. Of those five times, I've raced once and spectated four times. I take that job seriously, but I've never done it before with a 30lb baby strapped to my back most of the day- and it's never been so fraking cold ! I mean, the beach on race morning is always cold to your bare feet- and you do go out into the water to encourage the athletes, don't you ?

I love it down there. It's usually warm and muggy and you go out and run one loop of the two loop marathon course (paying a dollar to get into St. Andrew National Park) and when you're done you've sweated off five pounds and you hang up your workout clothes but they never actually dry. The sun is warm on your face and at night you put on a long sleeve t-shirt but you don't really need it.

Not this year. We got in on Wednesday and it was nice, but not as warm as we were used to. By Wednesday night, when the winds were howling in the gutters at 20-30 mph and the temperature dipped into the forties, we knew something was not quite right. Normally I look to get up early and get my runs at around 7 am so we still have the whole day to do what needs to be done- and there's so much that 'needs' to be done at an ironman, from the check-in to buying that M-dot gear. On the days when I did intend to workout around Margit's schedule, the earliest I ran was 10 am, until the very last day.

Even the water was cold. Not frigid, but cold. On Friday, I swam out to the bouys and until you got 150 yards into the water it was VERY cold, almost too cold to be in there without a wetsuit as I was.

Everyone kept telling themselves and each other that the wind and the cold would be gone by race day, but the weather was predicting an high in the sixties, and sometimes, weather trumps optimism...

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