First of all I want to thank everyone from the Wellington Runners Club for all the support. My Great Floridian race started Friday afternoon with packet pick up and race seminar. During the seminar, the race director warned us of the difficult bike course. He said it's one of the more difficult bike courses you will do, and that to be careful leaving transition because there's a "small"
hill that athletes misjudge and at least one person every year will tip over. After the seminar, I met up with some friends and they also warned (more like scared) me about hills with names like Buckhill,Sugarloaf, the Wall..and yes they name their hills over there. I told Adrienne that we were going for a drive around the bike course, needless to say we were in shock with what we saw. I was sure that I was going to kill myself going down those hills. I went straight back to the race site and bought a new cassette (thanks WRC) with an easier gearing, because I knew my current set up wasn't going to make it.
The next day, I felt good about my chances for the race, I knew I was in shape and even though I haven't practiced the hills, I would be going up them fine. My race started with a solid swim, my goal was to swim strong, but not so hard that it would affect my whole day. I came out of the water and out of transition around 14th place. I made a decision during the bike course to take a chance and see what happens..I've never been so afraid in my life! The other bad thing about going up hills is that u have to come down them. Combination of speed, rough roads, side winds really made the descents tough. At certain points I was reaching speeds of 50mph!; there were other roads that I purposely held on the brakes so I don't go too fast but still was going 39mph. A few times, I was sure I had a flat because I wasn't going anywhere, but turned out to be false flat areas. At no point in the bike ride was I ever bored;I kept shifting every second, thinking about what was the best way to attack sections of the course.
I believe the cool conditions, mental fatigue, and being preoccupied with the bike course led to my biggest mistake of the race. It was really a rookie mistake, but I admit it... I didn't drink enough. I only had maybe 3-4 bottles of liquids. I finished the bike ride with a really solid bike leg. I felt amazing coming out of transition and started running. For 9 miles, I was right
on schedule, I managed to come up to 4th overall...then the problems just hit me, I was so dehydrated that my whole body cramped up..couldn't run, my whole body was in so much pain, that even walking took all my energy. For 2 hours I walked and drank as much as I could. I probably drank a few gallons of Gatorade during that period of time. When I felt better I could only muster a jog and walk to the finish. It was the best 5:28 marathon ever!! I finished in 12:25. I was bummed but at the same time hopeful about the result. Bummed for not being able to follow my hydration plan, but hopeful that the distance is not over my head. Its totally doable and finishing a difficult course like Clermont will make any other ironman look easy. It can only get easier from now on.
Thanks again for the support!