After racing Ironman Lake Placid this year and a bunch of half’s, I wasn’t so sure about how Ironman Florida would play into my race calendar and season.  Feeling  a little tired from a long season and an ok performance at Lake Placid, I was hungry for some sort of tri redemption.   Excited to race a flat course and test my cycling as well as run limits; Florida seemed to be a great option.  I didn’t tell many people about this race and considered it my “stealth race”.   I remember several times saying vaguely, “ I have a race at the end of this year, a long training day, no big deal ”.  Well that wasn’t quite the truth, I had and have been training hard for this one but I wanted it to be more of a secret to take some of the race pressure off my shoulders.  So without further ado, here is my race report for you to catch up.

Race Day Weather
56-80 degrees, 30% humidity, winds 5-10mph

...some inspiration....

Swim: 56min (100th overall)


-Starting from the shore the morning had a chill in the air but the water was nice and warm as 2,185 participants waited on shore.
-6:50am the pros start their race.
-7:00am placing myself on the far left of the swim start, I jumped behind two faster swimmers and followed them to the first buoy.
-Making the first turn the sun was straight in my face.
-Feeling good
-First lap, clock says 36 min…. ? huh, does that mean 1:12 swim pace.  Oh boy.  No wait that’s with the pro start time!  26min for 1.2mi!
-Lap two, pop in a gel and dive back into the water finding a female pro swimming nice n fast to hang onto her feet.
-Drafting behind someone  with a good pace I accidentally keep tapping his feet. Oops, enough times that he stops rolls onto his back and makes a face at me to make it stop!
-I find a new pair of feet and hang on to the shore. 
T1:  4min
-Well not blazing fast here but a good story…
-Someone stole my sock from my gear bag! 
-Asking a volunteer he gives me the sock off his own foot for me to bike!  What a gesture, volunteers are great.

Bike: 4:48 (42nd overall)

-Feeling great (This is a repeating theme throughout the day : )
-Start on the bike HR 155…  ok, give it 20min to settle down.
-15min in HR 145 bpm, drink, eat, drink…
-…hmmm this course really is flat. 
-Joe Bonnase (52yr old Iron legend passes me @ mile 30)
-50mi clicks by in 2hrs…. 25mph, what?!, this is fun. 
-Here come zee Germans.  These guys are moving, I mean hauling past me at mile 70.
-Mile 90, feeling good, not great.  Drink more, eat more. (Total bike nutrition; 4 powerbars, 1 gel, 6 bottles water)
-Mile 110, this is nuts….  Feeling great.  Is it the disc wheel making me go so fast?  ….thanks for letting me borrow the disc Stefan!
T2: 2min
-Having lots of energy I jump over three lanes of transition bags to grab mine and run into the changing tent.
-Never felt this way before in an Ironman, ready to run!
-Exit T2 with Tim Hola.. sweet (He’s good

Run: 3:16 (41st overall)

-Feel good!  …it is hotter than I thought though.
-mi #1…6:30/mi,  way too fast
-mi #2…6:45/mi, way too fast
-HOT spots on my feet.  Ouch.  I slow a bit to ease the burn.
-mi#3…7:03/mi, better but HR >155 bpm
-mi#4-8….7:10/mi, better pace with HR  <149 bpm, now we are talking.
-Running with a Camel Back, sipping between each aid station.  Totally in the zone can’t even remember the run course.  Must have blacked out!
-13.1mi down in a time of 1:33.  Ok, don’t pop, KIT, KIT, KIT…. KEEP IT TOGETHER!
-Pick up 2nd Camel Back at special needs bag. (Total run nutrition = 18 scoops of Gatorade endurance powder in Camel Back w 1 cup of Gatorade endurance/aid station)
-At least two guys in my AG ahead of me.  They are flying on the run, don’t think I can catch them.
-mi 20…. Race starts here.
-Hang on for dear life, this is going to hurt. 
-Don’t stop, don’t stop.  For anything.
-mi 24, going to a new dimension of hurt!
-mi 25, what? Who is this guy?  Racer #406 passing me?  Is he in my age group? Go get him!
-Don’t think I can hang on, this is ugly.  HR 151…. Pace 6:45/mi.. I can’t here anything, only see the guy in front of me.
-Tuck in behind him to get out of the wind.  200 feet to go.
-Give him the “rope a dope”.  I let out a gasp, drop back five feet, he looks taking the bait.  When he turns his head forward again… bury the hammer, passing him!
-120% across the finish break the tape 9:07!
-im overcome, can’t believe my eyes….. on top of the world!!!  PR!

Results: 44th overall, 11th amtuer, 5th in age group    9:07!

This was a great day and great race for me.  Victories in triathlon are sometimes realized less often than we like, but when you can have a high this high, all the training and effort just seems incredibly worthwhile and rewarding.  Thanks to all my family and friends who wished me well on this one.  I can’t do it without you!    …..Clearwater here I come.

~Coach Cliff

ps post race celebration was held at  


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