Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Race Report: IM FL

This past weekend 30+ Austin athletes and their trustie sherpas made the trip to Panama City Beach for the 10th Annual Ironman Florida.

The days leading up to the race were full of the usual excitement and concerns. How cold will it be when I get on the bike? Will it be windy? How many times will I have to go to the bathroom? Will I see Jellyfish? Will I be eaten by a shark? --> Good news, the 700lb Mako shark was caught a few miles off shore the day before the race so we were all safe (no joke)

T1 was interesting. As usual the change tent was very crowded by the time I exited the swim so I decided not to even bother. Lucky for me, a volunteer came running over to help me, "You're Michelle from Austin, right?" Holy cow, this was the coolest thing, someone recognized me. As we stood outside the tent there were others cheering for me as we tried to force my arm warmers on, "Go Austin." Even with a slow swim, I felt like a rock star.

The bike at IM FL is very flat and fast. I saw a lot of my Austin friends along the route and made some friends with other people. That seems to happen during IM. It's a long ride and you tend to see people over and over again. An old co-worker of mine talked with me about my new Felt bike and told me another girl had questioned him using a disk. I met a guy from Corpus who remarked there were a lot of Austin people here. I scolded one guy for tossing his gel wrapper and gilt him into holding onto the others in his hand.

T2 was just as exciting as T1, another Austinite ran over to help me. This time I was inside the tent with plenty of room to change into my favorite running shorts and put on some sunblock.

Somehow my legs seemed to collect themselves under me and I felt pretty darn good as I hopped onto the course. I saw Jason McMillian finishing his first loop with a huge smile on his face. I think that smile was contagious b/c I was instantly in a great mood. Jason lapped me a couple miles later, still smiling, on his way to a 8:34 IM finish and 13th overall. It is really quite amazing to feel all the positive energy of your friends when they are having a good IM race.

I saw former Austinite and Pro Triathlete Michael Lavato as I crossed the line and cheerfully told him that I'd gone under 11.

Among my Austin friends there were a lot of PR's on Saturday. There were also a number of Austin athletes racing their first IM who had amazing times. Keeping a positive attitude no matter what the day brings is important, even if things aren't going your way.

Thanks to everyone who encouraged their friends out there on Saturday, much appreciated!



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