IM Florida Race Report by Anne BoonePosted by Pete | Categories: Race-Report
I started training for IMFL last March. This was my 4th IM. First was Kona in 1987, then IMFL in 2010 and 2011. After the last one, I swore I’d never do another, but you know how that goes. I was well prepared for the bike. I had one hamstring and three calf pulls this year, so my running wasn’t up to par. But then, I knew I would be walking a good part of the marathon, so what the hey? Swimming, well, that’s a sore subject. I knew I would barely make the cutoff, if I did. I hate swimming, plain and simple. Especially in the ocean. I drove down to Panama City Beach from Charleston by myself, which was a bummer. But I was driving a cute new Chevy Spark, with OnStar and satellite radio, so that took away some of the pain. Arrived Thursday and checked in to the race even before I checked into the condo. Priorities! My son Danny flew down from Washington D.C. late Friday afternoon, so I had my support crew. What a great guy! Thursday and Friday the weather was AWFUL. Howling winds and rain. The surf was so bad that there was a chance they would cancel or shorten the swim (which would have suited me just fine). Saturday AM the ocean was rough, but doable. The temperature forecast was great: 60’s at the start and upper 70’s during the day. The IM folks tried a new arrangement for the swim start…people were lined up according their planned finish times along the beach, with the fastest nearest the buoy line. I was in the farthest group. The cannon boomed and everybody plowed into the surf. Well, the plan didn’t work very well. Everybody arrived at buoy line at the same time and it was a mess of arms, legs and bumping bodies, jockeying for room to swim. I had carried an extra pair of goggles inside my wetsuit, but luckily my goggles didn’t get knocked off. The first half mile was a zoo. Then the crowd started to spread out a little. I got through the first lap in 54 minutes, which is my normal half IM time. I was swallowing a lot of water, with all the waves, but so far so good. The second lap I was still swallowing water occasionally but felt OK. I had a couple of calf cramps, but they went away. The last stretch coming in I felt like I might have a better time than my previous 2 IM’s (2:17 and 2:08). I felt like I was swimming strong, but somehow that damned beach just didn’t get any nearer. I swam and swam and finally made it in 2:14…too close for comfort. Wetsuit strippers did their thing and I headed for T1. Those volunteers in the transition area are absolute saints. Cheerful , helpful, and supportive, just when you really need it. Out on the bike, I felt good. There was a bit of a headwind, probably 10mph, which wasn’t bad. The temperature was perfect. I started munching my Uncrustables and drinking my Gatorade. There seemed to be a lot of flats out on the road, but there were several support vehicles helping people. I stopped briefly 3 times, but managed to hold 16.8mph while moving. 3 Uncrustables and 6 Fig Newtons later, the end was in sight. In T2 I lollygagged around, chatting with the volunteers. Don’t EVER lollygag around in transition! I took about 13 minutes, 5 minutes more than my usual T2 time. Dumb. The first half of the marathon I jogged and walked a little, feeling pretty good. I ate several little chocolate chip cookies at the aid stations. They hit the spot. I just couldn’t stomach a gel. Yuck. My son had yelled at me that the first place woman in my AG, Nancy Downs, was only 12 minutes ahead at the start of the run. She had had a fantastic swim, 1:15, but I had almost caught her on the bike. Actually, I didn’t have a huge desire to catch her. I had been very iffy about whether I really wanted to go to Kona. That would have meant working like a madwoman on my swim all winter, and I didn’t think I was really up to it. Kona is a brutal race. When I did it in 1987 I was a young, very fit 41. Now I am 26 years older and things ain’t so easy anymore. At the half way turnaround, I changed into a dry long sleeved shirt and applied some lipstick. That really cracked up the people watching me. Hey, at my age I need all the help I can get! At mile 15 I decided to just walk the rest. I figured Nancy could have Kona and I would enjoy relaxing this winter. I had signed up for Chatanooga and was looking forward to a swim in a river instead of the ocean. I guess I could have run some, but the soles of my feet felt like someone had been hammering them. As I was approaching the finish I heard the announcer say that Lew Hollander was finishing, about a minute ahead of me. Lew is 83 years old. That kind of made me feel like a slacker. I did manage to jog into the finish chute at 15:59:50 and they didn’t bring a wheelchair for me like they did in 2011. I actually felt OK, but my son was there with a strong arm so I wouldn’t collapse. Back to the condo, chocolate milk, shower and bed at midnight. Phew! I woke at 4 AM and got up and made coffee. My body was still racing. Heart rate was about 70 I guess. Took a couple of Ibuprofin and didn’t really feel so bad. There was an award ceremony at 11 :15 AM. The weather was gorgeous and, of course, the ocean was like glass. The Kona roll down was at 11 and I walked over just to check. Nancy hadn’t signed up! I found her and she said that she said that she had no desire to go to Kona…it was too tough. When they called out “Anne Boone, do you want to go to Kona?” I jumped up and down and waved my arms and yelled, ” Yesssss!” I’m such a faker. From not wanting to do it to ready to shell out megabucks in a heartbeat. It was about $875 just to sign up. This is not going to be a cheap trip. But I am really excited, and looking for a good swim coach right now. Guess I’ll be swimming my guts out for the next 11 months.
Turns out that I was the oldest woman to finish the race. Chris Gause, age 72, DNF’d. I am so lucky to be able to do this stuff and I do love it. I plan to run and tri until I drop. Yahoo!!!