I headed down to the Gulf Coast last weekend. Planned on volunteering at this year’s IM Florida to have a guaranteed spot for next year. Good thing I did as it appeared that the 2013 on-line race registration sold-out in minutes. Popular race it appears. People apparently like to draft. Sorry, just a little jab at the much maligned bike course.
I got to the race site on Friday, early afternoon. Checked out the expo and helped the WTC-Ironman corporation by buying a few, probably, unnecessary things at the IM store. There was a non-mandatory meeting for out-of-town volunteers but it was less than ideally organized. I finally found my group to hear the last of our captain’s instructions. She also was out of the coveted volunteer T-shirts. The T-shirt is your ticket for registering early Sunday. She promised to have more the next day, so I walked back to my car and drove to the hotel.
Saturday started early. I wasn’t scheduled to volunteer until 5:30pm but I wanted to catch the swim start. I watched from the balcony of the host hotel. The swim start is definitely spectator friendly.
The age-groupers are in the water. Most were right of the buoys to compensate for the decent right-to-left current. They were spread apart by at least 200m. I’m afraid some of these folks swam 3miles by the end. I’ll pass on that and stay in the middle. Going to get slammed either way when you’re swimming with 3000 other people.
I stayed until the male pros started coming out after their second loop. I watched transition as they filtered through. Still playing with the panoramic option.
T1 times are slow but you have to run up from the beach, pick-up your bike gear bag, run around transition to the changing rooms, then run all the way back around to get your bike. Sub-6 mins would be fast.
I moved down to the bike start and caught my favorite female pro-triathlete Miranda Carfrae (Since Chrissie and Desiree retired, that is)
I returned to my hotel to change for my weekend long run. It was on the schedule for Sunday, but I couldn’t see myself running after driving home late the next day. So, I picked out a close municipal park that had a cross country loop. Of course, the one I picked was also the site of a tri-country meet. Actually, it was a good distraction as I dodged teenagers much fleeter of foot than I. Damn youth!
After a quick shower and lunch, I made it back to the race in time to see the pros finish. Stayed long enough to high-five Rinny as she ran through the finisher’s shoot.
Yes, it’s a big picture, but I’m a big fan. Also so her fiancee, pro-triathlete, Tim O’Donnell, was at the finish line to welcome her home. I couldn’t get a decent picture of the fast couple however. The first age-grouper came pretty close after the first pro women…fast much. Probably, ex-pro, racing age-group now. There’s always a good reason other than pure talent, at least I keep telling myself that.
I got to my shift at gear bag pick-up early and a few folks were looking for their bags early so we helped them out. It exploded after that and we worked nonstop for 3 hours handing out bags. Unfortunately, 9,000+/- bags were jammed into a small ballroom and in poor order. Sorry, to the IM finishers that had to wait to get their bags. Lines were long. IM Florida will need to find a bigger area to prevent this next year. The race site is limited in staging areas though. I finally got my volunteer shirt after my shift, so I was ready to go for sign-up Sunday.
Needless to say my legs were trashed by the time I got back to the hotel. Head hit the pillow and I was out. I was up and at the on site registration by 7am. There was already 200 folks in line, but they opened up registration early at 8am and the line moved quickly. Twenty minutes later I was officially signed up of IM Florida 2013. Of course, the reality of what I just did hit me hard on the drive home. Going to be a long year. Better start doing the dishes now. My wife will need a extra special anniversary present too.
Thanks for reading,