Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

Florida Half Ironman part 2, the race!

DSCN1073 As per usual on race day, I woke up about once an hour and checked the clock. I guess I probably slept in these in between times but it didn’t feel like it. Finally it was almost time to get up, so I got up and got started getting ready.

Soon after, our wakeup call rang and Julie got up. I was already in my racing onesie (aka triathlon skinsuit) and pretty much ready to go. As i said, I had forgotten my cycling bibs and I was concerned about the state of my ass when I got off the bike, so I was wearing some Underarmor compression pants under my onesie.

This also allowed me to strip off my skinsuit after the bike and put on a shirt and some shorts in T2 without being bare-assed naked, thus crossing the finish line looking somewhat like a runner as opposed to a multicolored sausage. Race officials frown on bare nakedness in transition, but you can believe that male and female triathletes would happily strip nude in front of God and everyone if they thought it made their T-times faster.

That’s why it’s outlawed.

DSCN1078 Here’s Julie, founding and highly dedicated member of Team Hodgson and myself in my racing onesie on race morning. Julie came with me to my Olympic distance race last September and cheered me on and helped drive. She has no reason whatsoever to do this other than to be supportive and a good friend. She gets up at the buttcrack of dawn, rides a million miles in the car even when I’m farting my ass off from drinking milk, and was the only person to meet me at the finish of my marathon in addition to being at two places on the course.

Which was fortunate, because although it was awesome to have a lot of friends see me on the marathon course, finishing and then sitting on a park bench by myself sucked. Even the girl I was seeing at the time was on the course but didn’t come to the end. I was thinking I was gonna have to hobble to a Marta train by myself, but Julie walked up and kept me company. Thanks, Julie.

DSCN1074 We got in the car at the hotel, drove onto the Disney premises, and filed onto a bus. In line for the bus, Julie made someone take a photo of us with my camera, as you can see here. I stuck my finger in her ear.

My bike was already in transition so all I had was my transition area bag with all my gear in it. The other athletes smiled and joked with one another. I needed to borrow a bike pump before the swim start just to make sure my tires were ready to go, but other than that we had over an hour to kill before go time.

The race started at 6:20, but my swim wave didn’t start until 7:09. I set up my transition, borrowed a pump, pumped my tires up, and then we walked down to watch the start.

DSCN1082 After a while, it was time for me to start. I saw another guy in the same racing onesie I had on and I said “Lookin’ sharp, buddy” to him. I scooped some bay water onto my head and put my swim cap on over my wet hair. I don’t like putting the swim cap on over dry hair because when I take it off it pulls hair out.

I walked over the timing mat and through the big inflatable IRONMAN archway to the start, following the rest of my start wave and being led by a girl with a piece of posterboard with our wave number on it like a ring girl at a boxing match. We all spread out on the beach and got ready to start.

“This is the men’s thirty five to thirty nine wave, folks.. some of these guys will finish around the five hour mark!” the announcer was saying over the loudspeaker. Not this guy, I thought.

Somehow the crowd on the beach kinda filled in behind me and I was in the middle of the line of people. I didn’t really want to have to fight anyone in the water, but I wasn’t gonna back up, so I just let it lie.

The announcement came for ten seconds to start. I got my watch ready with my finger on the button. They blew the horn. We were off.

DSCN1085 I started my watch and pranced into the water with high knees like everyone else. Soon we were far enough in to swim and I began pulling through the water.

It’s hard to see what’s going on in the water, but at what I thought might be the halfway point I had 17 minutes on my watch. I probably was a little shy of the halfway point, however, as I got out of the water at 43 minutes it turned out.

I ran to transition, and the Soul Coughing song Super Bon Bon as remixed by the Propellerheads was on the stereo. It’s a favorite song of mine and pretty obscure. Weird.

The transition area was black sand with grass and the occasional live oak around. The black sand coated everything, especially my feet. I just decided not to worry about it and put on my socks right over my dirty feet. I strapped my helmet on, put on my gloves and stuffed a few powerbars in my onesie pocket. I unracked my bike, and jogged toward the bike out.

The beginning of the bike course was twisty and tight so speed was low. There were a lot of 90 degree turns. Finally we got out on some open roads and I got down into my aero bars and cranked ahead.

The bike elevation was flat as a pancake. It had something like 500 feet of climbing over 56 miles, which around Atlanta is unheard of. My team training ride on Thursdays is around 2000 feet of climbing for more like 35 miles. So I knew I would be able to lay down in the bars and spin it out without having to work too hard.

That’s exactly what I did. I immediately began passing people on very expensive bikes with deep dish carbon wheelsets. I was riding an aluminum Specialized Allez with entry level non-aero wheels. I looked down at my shadow and noticed that I appeared to be undulating. I’m not sure if it was a trick of the light or some sort of race day hallucination, but I know it wasn’t flattering.

Just then the finest female ass I have ever seen passed me on the left. In the sun her pants were see through. Good lord. I was looking directly at her naked ass and she was riding about a mile an hour faster than I was.

Well, I mean. You know. Call me a chauvinist or a pervert or whatever, but I put the hammer down. I know a sign when I see one even though I don’t believe in them.

I ended up leapfrogging with that ass for the entire bike leg. Any time I would sit up to drink water or eat a powerbar, she would pass me. If she took a break and slowed down, I would pass her.

We came to a few little rises along the way and the pack would bunch up as the other riders climbed up the hills. I cranked past people in groups of ten to twenty. They didn’t seem to be able to climb even these tiny little hills at all for some reason. I guess most of them as Floridians haven’t ever ridden up any hills.

Also the bike leg was littered with trash. Goo packets, gel flasks, seat bags, and even a Garmin forerunner 305 someone had dropped and not gone back for. Weird.

I kept thinking I had put Miss Fine Ass to bed for good, so I would sit up and take a drink and there she’d be passing me on the left. Well damnit.

By the end of the bike I was pretty tired and I decided to lay off a bit just to let my legs rest some before the run. A guy cycled up on my left and said “If I never see another rolling hill it’ll be too soon!”.

“Shit man, this is flat!” I said, and he laughed like I was kidding.

Miss Fine Ass rolled ahead and I let her go, coasting into transition and jogging to my spot. I figured I had seen the last of her, but when I got into transition, there she was, the next bike rack over.

“Hey that was a good ride,” I said “I was leapfrogging you the whole way!”

“Heeeeh” she said, clearly not interested in my multicolored sausage transition flirting. It was the sound a person would make if they wanted to be directly in between a dispassionate sigh and a single halfhearted laugh. Open your mouth and make a slightly laugh-ish noise and you’ll have it.

Oh well, it wasn’t meant to be, I guess.

I stripped off my onesie, treating everyone assembled to an unobstructed view of my hairy nipples and very un-triathlete gut, pulled on my shorts and running shirt and headed out on the run.

sun_run_overview The run was also flat as a pancake, but there was no shelter from the hellish sun. I decided to relax and take it easy. Even though I wanted to try to finish in 6 hours, I didn’t want to kill myself. So I just walked a lot and let the miles come to me.

One part of the run pictured above was an arrow-straight section of grassy pathway with no sun cover whatsoever. You could see that you were going to be in the beating sun for the next mile or so with no breaks. As one fellow racer said to me, “They should call that first lap ‘The Demoralizer'”.

As I was walking along a guy patted me on the shoulder in a fatherly way and said “You’re doing very well.”

I said “Thanks, buddy! You too!”

He didn’t seem to be congratulating or encouraging everyone, just me. So I guess I looked like I needed the help. Hey, I appreciate it, but it makes me think I don’t look like someone who would be doing Half Ironman distance races.

I guess he hadn’t heard that I had just completed a 20mph bike leg following a girl’s naked ass.

On my first lap through the finish area, there were people cheering and shouting and clanging cowbells and waving banners. On the second lap through, the crowd had diminished a great deal as people finished ahead of me. On the third lap through, everyone was looking at their watches and complaining that the cowbells were hurting their fingers.

DSCN1097 I finished and sat down on a picnic table and drank water. Julie found me after a few minutes, and I collected my finishers hat, tee shirt (not a tech shirt) and finisher’s medal and we left.

All in all it was a great race. I finished in 6 hours and 30 minutes. I could have pushed it and finished under six hours, but I decided to just chill and finish easy. I felt a lot less tired than I did after my marathon, that’s for sure.

I’m looking forward to my full ironman race in August now. I want to get it overwith. I know what I need to concentrate on this summer, though… running in the heat.

Hopefully no girls with ridiculously fine asses will be there so I can do the bike leg at a more relaxed pace.

6 thoughts on “Florida Half Ironman part 2, the race!”

  1. Jules

    basically amazing… how could you not mention Disney? next blog? :)

    and Team Hodgson will have t-shirts for the full Ironman!

  2. jimmy

    Great job. Conditions sound the same as my first half at White lake the week before (flat ride, hot with no shade on the run).

    Your bike time is awesome.

    Good luck with your training

  3. Emily

    nice work Jim! and a great race report.

  4. Adam

    you’re the effing man, jim! reading this was so inspiring! i’ve always wanted to do a triathlon and seeing the hard work and dedication you’ve put in actually makes me believe i might be able to do it. kick ass in the ironman!

  5. Sarah

    Damn. You are really fast. I’m so jealous. Maybe if I busted my butt as much as you do, I’d be faster too. Hmph. Nice job on the race – enjoy the ride to Ironman, even if you’re ready to get it over with, this is a big deal.

  6. Patrick

    Great job in the race Jim! The race report is great, reminds me of doing the Escape to Florida Tri every year. Have a great Ironman! See ya in next years half..