Rob’s Blog: Ironman Florida Race Report



The sea was flat but with currents across the course. The start was on the beach and I started close to the front which with hindsight might have been a mistake. It was the roughest swim I’ve ever done, I was swam over, punched, kicked and had my goggles knocked off, it felt suffocating at times and I didn’t think I’d find clear water at all. Despite that I mostly enjoyed it. It was a two lap swim and as I ran onto the beach I got a look at where I was in the field. I was hoping to finish the swim somewhere around the top 100 in about an hour but as I ran back into the water it looked like there was a lot more than that ahead of me. The second lap was a lot more swimming and a lot less fighting and I really enjoyed it. I raced without a watch so had no idea of my time until afterwards how I’d done. I was over 6 minutes slower and more than 300 places further back than I had expected so not knowing was a good thing I reckon.
T1 was also slower than planed by about 2 minutes, I just couldn’t get it together. I was like a cabbage fumbling slowly through making mistakes and dropping things, bring on the bike…
The bike has gone really well this year and this is always both my favourite and strongest leg so I was looking forward to it. I straight away started passing people. The IM Florida bike course is pancake flat, the only “climb” is a motorway overpass and the road surface for the most part is great. This leads to fast bike splits but also to lots of drafting, made worse today by strong headwinds as lots of guys hid on wheels looking for shelter. The wind seemed to turn with us and we only had a tail wind for a short time late in the bike leg. In the first half I was constantly surging to get away from the packs on the bike having to go way over the effort I could sustain and getting more and more frustrated with blatant cheating. At about 50 miles I decided to let a pack of about 20-30 riders go and for the first time ever let rip with a string of curses and abuse, I got some startled looks from guys who were sitting on wheels it didn’t stop them but made me feel better.
I let the pack through and sat the required 7m back and was delighted to see a draft marshal pull alongside and start red carding them. There is an out and back section at halfway on the bike and I had a chance to count how many were still in front of me, pre race I hoped to get off the bike in the top 50 but at this stage it looked like I was only just inside the top 100 and I was about 10 minutes down too, at that stage I didn’t know if that was due to the headwinds we had all day or me not having great legs. I reckoned the only hope now to move up was a fast run. I concentrated on getting enough food in and kept pushing as hard as I could and got off the bike in 5:05, a lot slower than I had hoped but I was raring to go on the run.
T2 was another fumble fest and worryingly my legs didn’t seem to be working…
Onto the run and I was pushing to find a rhythm with a sense of panic. Miles 1, 2 and 3 saw catching and passing a half dozen guys but it felt very hard. All of a sudden something clicked and I was moving really well, picking off guys one after another. I felt really good and really enjoyed the run. Out onto the second lap I was now moving through the main part of the field and got a huge buzz from the feeling of moving well and caught a couple of the pros who had a 10 minute head start on us. At one stage I slowed at an aid station to be sure to get enough water in for a gel and was passed by a female pro who gave me a pat on the back and told me to keep going, I didn’t know it at the time but it was Eimear Mullan the Irish pro, she told me later she recognised the kit!! She was flying, I passed her again at some stage but don’t remember it, it’s great to have Irish pros racing both ITU and Ironman. The last 5k I was really hurting and had to change my run to stop oncoming cramps. With less than 1k to go I spotted a guy about 400 metres ahead and I put the head down to see of I could reel him in, I looked up after a couple of seconds and he was walking, head down and pushing harder I thought I have him, I looked up again and he’s running again but I’m gaining fast. Head down another big push and I’m past him, push again to get a gap and settle for the last 500m. I hear footsteps behind me and look back to see I’m being chased by someone else! I can’t believe it’s gonna be a sprint finish after over 9 1/2 hours of racing, I push again and again and he keeps coming back but in the end I get him by a couple of seconds.
My finish time of 9h40 was a pb but about 25 minutes slower than I’d hoped, when I saw the results though I realised that it wasn’t just me. All except the top couple of pros were slower than last year due I reckon to the headwinds on the bike. I finished 49th overall beating 5 pros in the process and 11th in my age group.
I missed a Kona slot by about 15 mins but to be honest I think I got the race I’d trained for so wasn’t as disappointed as I was in the Uk earlier this year. I also learned a lot and really enjoyed the race.
I’m taking some time off structured training as I struggled to hang on the motivation to train late in the season and gonna just run for a while. I’ll start next seasons training late December or early January and just try to stay fit till then.

If you want to follow the numbers more closely I’m on Strava as Rob Cummins Wheelworx or if you’re more of a pictures instead of reading type I post on Instagram as wheelworxrob.

 

Chasing Kona book available

From smoker to back of the pack triathlete to the Ironman World Championships.

Read about how I overcame all of the odds and discovered what it would take to get to the Ironman World Championships – my eBook is now available to buy as an eBook on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes

It is also available as a paperback at Wheelworx.

If you want to follow the numbers more closely I’m on Strava as Rob Cummins Wheelworx or if you’re more of a pictures instead of reading type I post on Instagram as wheelworxrob.

 

Chasing Kona book available

From smoker to back of the pack triathlete to the Ironman World Championships.

Read about how I overcame all of the odds and discovered what it would take to get to the Ironman World Championships – my eBook is now available to buy as an eBook on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes

It is also available as a paperback at Wheelworx.

3 Comments on Rob’s Blog: Ironman Florida Race Report

  1. Gavin Smullen // 15/11/2011 at 20:33 //

    Great report, really inspiring stuff

  2. Dave Lalor // 23/11/2011 at 21:35 //

    Fair play Rob, your some man, motivational stuff for sure!

  3. Cheers lads
    Rob

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