November 04, 2019 - They say it’s better to be underdone than overdone - I was probably overdone on the underdone bit...
IMFL was a great way to end a long season. I’d kicked off 2019 with Galveston 70.3 in April and with three 70.3s and a fair few intermediate distance races it’s felt pretty intense this year. This was my 12th triathlon in 2019 and with the race on November 2nd I was really looking forward to November 3rd!
To be honest I was underdone for this race - I’d had a nasty virus and two separate week-long European trips for business in the 6 weeks leading up to the race. The old adage you’re better being underdone than overdone in my case meant I’d probably overdone the underdone bit...
In the week before the race the weather was appalling - hot, humid, strong winds, rain, rip currents. On the Friday I went to Expo and a book signing with Mike Reilly - such a nice, personable guy.
Day of race could not have been more perfect. 36hrs earlier the wind had switched to the North and dropped to around 5mph as a cold front went through calming the seas and dropping air temps by 20+ degrees.
Up at 04:00 coffee, porridge and applied AMP PR gel to legs. MUD + banana before the start.
A bit chilly waiting for swim start but the water was calm and crystal clear and after the first few 100m it really warmed up (the shallower water responded to the significant temperature drop much more quickly than the deeper water) - the temp difference was really quite surprising!
The swim was fine but was also one of the most crowded courses I’ve ever experienced - 3,000 athletes fought for the same yard of line for no reason and despite the crystal clear water continued to do so for the entire race. It wasn’t until 1/3 of the way through the second loop that I found more clear water and gained rhythm. I was wearing Roka R1 amber tint goggles - great goggles but being an anti-clockwise course I should have used mirrored goggles to reduce impact of sunrise glare on the out leg when I was facing East as sun rose. A 2 loop course it was almost harder to wade 50m or so through the shallows for entry and the repeat than the swim itself. Out in 1:30:48 - around 8mins slower than I’d planned.
Due to the low temperatures I’d decided to wear swimming trunks under my wetsuit and then change into my Tri-suit inT1 and set off on the bike leg dry and warm. Fine in theory but wet suit stripping required dropping onto soft coarse sand (no mats) which didn’t fully wash off in the showers- you can imagine how that played out on the bike despite my best efforts to clean up in transition...
Don’t let anybody tell you Florida is flat - the bike course (new for this year) had some nice rolling hills to break up the monotony but they were all steadily rolling upwards! Final turn onto 79N meant headwinds and a long, steady 10 mile uphill leg until the turnaround at M68 - but then a steady downhill, wind on back for 40 miles and I was flying (+33mph at some stages).
The residual sand in areas not to be mentioned made it a little uncomfortable though!
Off bike in 7:09:06
T2 another longish transition - I opted to apply more AMP PR gel to my legs before the run (used a sachet for each leg). I’m becoming a fan of this product - I sense less muscle fatigue in my thighs in particular than before. Not sure if it’s psychological or actual but I’ve not felt the fatigue in my legs that I used to.
Off on the run - what to say, I’m not a runner and it’s a slog. I did the first half in just over 3hrs which for me is really quite good. Loop 2 was tougher, especially my left shin and right knee started to sing a bit which made running a lot less pleasant.
Inspiration when I chatted to a lady suffering from Parkinson’s disease - doing it to say F you to her disease while one of her friends was bedridden. She was determined to finish and was on track. Wish I’d remembered her bib number to see if she did - doesn’t really matter though, she was already an absolute hero.
On to loop 2 and sounds of fireworks? Nope, police helicopter, fire trucks, EMS, police cars - a murder suicide at a local hotel?? - never a dull moment.
Crowd support wonderful - locals in costumes, sound systems, cheering or just sitting out in deck chairs and encouraging everybody.
Last 2 miles and we cannot hear Mike Reilly Clint athletes home. A bit more pep in the step and then the final rundown the finisher chute - “David Jenkins, 64yrs old, YOU.ARE.AN.IRONMAN”.
Only my 2nd full but that moment was almost as special as the first, I can’t see it ever getting old.
15:44:05 - 15mins less than my 1st IM.
Back to my accommodation - Normatec and 2XU compression recovery tights on - time for a well-earned rest.