Holy cow! what- the -heck I am heading to the famous "Beauty and the Beast" Ironman 70.3 on St Croix! Opportunity arose out of nowhere and was hard to say no. But dang I am still feeling the effort from the hot/humid half in Panama less than 2 months ago. And this course and elements even more demanding? Uh oh. It's 90 degrees out right now and I guess I should go bust out a nice zippy 10 mile run. A Suppose I should put in a few hard and hilly 50 milers on the bike as well. And almost forgot: A few long swims. Soon. Now. Oh well, business as usual I suppose.
They keep sending me pics I will have fun with them. These 3 of the finish I just got over the weekend. What I feel so cool is I peeked on YouTube for any race highlights and one of the first videos to choose from has these two Newton Running Team girls vid running down the last half mile together pretty much step for step. In the back you can see myself about 100 yards back in the video. I came up on them and then did not want to be like what most would do and pass them before the finish. My other concern was I did not want to hold back too much as one of my goals for the half Ironman was to shoot for sub 5 hours. Running behind them I knew it was (very) close to 5 hours yet still did not want to be an ego -monster -ass and pass them. Especially after coming up on them and observing their awesome strides, camoraderie and efforts. My watch was reading 4:59 and high change with the finish in sight. I almost felt like saying "pick it up girls"!! but held back. Karma played it's role as my clock time was 4:58:30 on results. I forgot I started my personal watch a minute plus before my wave to make sure it was going and not read blank later due to missing start button while wading in the deep water. Great job girls from Brazil. You two rock. And I made it on your YouTube video : ) Cool stuff.
Mucho caliente' on this run!!! I came into the bike transition and said to myself "WTF"?? There is not a another bike in yet on my rack. Which meant I was the 1st off the bike. I had already planned on changing the cycling skin suit I wore during the bike into a lighter and more pliable tri suit. Even though my new found adrenaline said: Run. Screw changing (would have been huge mistake) Just go!! But I stuck with plan, threw the towel around waist, dropped skin suit, slid on tri suit. Keeping my peripheals open I noted in the approx 4 to 5 sloth like minutes during the non Nordstrom-like apparrel change, nobody else arrived on my division rack. Cool I thought. And off I went. Then very soon I thought: ummm not so cool.......... still pretty freaking hot!
Okay these bike shots have story!!! The 56 mile ride took us in and out of town toward the boonies and back 3 loops. If you look at the middle pic you see the fella giving direction is all energetic. And I have 3 bottles filled with fluids. Then look at the pic above it which is probably the 3rd loop. He has his sleeves rolled up and his socks rolled down. And very non energetic. Me? Rear seat mounted water bottles done and gone. Aero drink level on bars very low. Safe to say we were both feeling the heat! Great ride. That is the downtown Panama skyline and where we stayed. Loved it.
The year is in gear and Ironman Panama was a beautiful start. In all respects. 1500 mostly Latin athletes from various Central and South American countries. I started in the 6th swim wave and had all the professionals and all the female competitors in the previous 5 waves starting ahead of my group. So it seemed like I was coming up on pretty Latin girls all day. Not a bad thing. Look how fast this young Columbian gal has her wetsuit down. Just seconds out of the water. Full on race mode!. My 1st impression as I exited the water and ran the long 1/4 mile stretch to the bike transition was: "Dang, everyone is hauling ass already...........if this keeps up all day ...............it's gonna hurt"
Okay, will get some race report in and done: It was brutal hot. The swim epic in a canal that is one of the 7 wonders of the world. It was brutal hot. We were racked with our competition. Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Columbia, El Salvadore, Mexico, Costa Rica so many more all lined up. And of course Panama! Did I mention it was hot? Yeah like 36C. And the humidity? Yikes. Makes Hawaii feel somewhat tame.They provided exceptional on the race course. Volunteers, ice, water, energy replacement, etc. Off the charts. But damn it was hot.
Highlight of trip no doubt spending time and being treated as if we were family with Gabes beautiful familia. Soccer games, eating like a local, grocery shopping, visiting friends and family, etc. Everyone and I mean everyone knows them. And all that do are blessed. We certainly were/are. I will even toss in a few more blogs this week it stoked me such. We are just a little more like a Panamanian again from this trip. And our outcome of the race? Pretty cool.Both Jodi and I and won our divisions in some steep tough comp qualifying for Worlds. I myself am still quite partial to the off road stuff though. I do not train on aero bars. But the TT bike suited up and delivered the fastest bike split by 12 minutes in my division. Enough cushion to soldier the 1/2 marathon and stay in front. Jodi is just so efficient she just did her thing. Schooling.
Oh and I went 4 hrs. 58 minutes with a not- so- perfect race. Very stoked being a dinasaur and still cracking under 5 hours : ) GREAT vibes this trip was