What does it take and how does it feel to complete your first IronMan. Follow the race from the view of Nicole Davis.
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Not sure how to structure this, so I'll just run through it in order (what a concept) and take snippets of everyone elses structure I am wordy (I prefer "thorough") but I make up for it with humor so it evens out. Goal: < 16:45 for fear of having a heart attack because of being pressed for time. I literally expected to be 15-16 hrs. Training Plan: 20 Week Ironman Intermediate Plan. Trained about 20-23 hrs/week during peak weeks Race History: Racing 5 years, 2 HIMs, one of which was Gulf Coast HIM in May (same venue as IMFL). This was my first IM Results: Nicole Davis 27 F Time: 14:07:33
Swim - 1:15:36 T1 - 10:47 Bike - 6:51:57 T2 - 11:43 Run - 5:37:32 Pre Race Random Bits: For some reason I was not nervous at all, I dont think it ever registered with me, so no jitters, stomachaches, butterflies, not even scared, which
was almost scary in itself. Oddly enough, I had never felt so relaxed before a race, especially the biggest one I had ever done. While the host hotel leaves something to be desired, it was worth the $$ (more like $$$$$) to be able to walk down to the water 15 mins before race start and to stay away from all the pre race hype and chatter and left the Jimmy Buffett playlist streaming in my headphones until I had to get into the cattle call line to start. Pre Race Nutrition: Chugged 2:1 water bottles/Perform day before the race until I couldnt drink anymore or felt like I'd turn into a liquid person. Went with a suggestion of heavy lunch and light dinner. I even got a little crazy and had a light beer the night before (I only finished half of it because I was so sick of taking in fluids by that time of the day). At 2 am ate english muffin/cream cheese and then 1/2 english muffin and bottle of water at 5 am Swim: No matter where you go, 2500 people starting at once is not ideal nor can you simulate it in training so I didnt go wide and just took my time wading into the
Team Psych Members Nicole Davis ( new USAT coach) and Phil Findley of AOR Wheels Before joining 2500 other swimmers for a mass start all at once. water because I'll be damned if I have been training all this time for my day to end early due to TKO. They warned us of jellyfish, but I only had 1 issue - I literally swam face-first into one on my first lap. Luckily, I faceplanted directly into the top of its head!? (not sure about jellyfish anatomy), so no damage or stinging involved other than residue of jelly shit on my face which never ended up stinging. Gross. but I learned that not all jelly encounters hurt. To my sur-
prise, the first length was not that bad and I had no undesirable physical encounters (not that the minor ones were desirable...) The congestion around the first turn buoy was nuts. I got hit semi -hard in the face by some guy but goggles didnt move. Aid station was a cluster after first loop so didnt have a chance at getting any un-salty h20. Second loop was much faster and slightly less crowded. Wetsuit strippers A +, they have it down to an art in such a big crowd. Bravo. Was surprised by my time because
with all the crowding and slowing down and body repositioning that took place, when swimming I was upset that this swim is in no way representative of what I am able to do, however, my projected time was 1:15 anyways if nothing went wrong (this was the only projected split I had). T1: How does it feel to be a rockstar? Like Ironman T1. Rumors were right about being ready to get your own bag for T1. So many volunteers and so many barking orders being thrown around, I know its easy to get confused, God bless 'em. So regardless of nearly 9 people yelling my race number clearly, the volunteer kept trying to hand me someone elses race bag. Thankfully, I had patterned duct covering my bag and could ID it quickly. Other than that, I soaked in feeling like a celebrity and saw lots of boobs and butt in the changing tent. Volunteers in tent were SO helpful and even helped me get dressed even though I felt weird about it (I’m 27…I can dress myself) – but thats what theyre
there for, so whynot. Was feeling slightly dizzy before leaving the tent so took in some hammer gel. Bike valet was on point and had my bike ready to roll. Bike: I planned to stay above 16 mph when possible, but the first 40 miles of wind threw that out the window. Plan was also to take in liquid every 3 miles and gel every 10 miles and 1/8 of baked potato (in my top/SN bags) every 2 hours. However, as Coach P said, something snapped at mi 30 and I decided I'd rather eat dirt covered poop than one more ounce of hammer gel. I took a chance on power bar at the next aid station and I was glad I did - not only refreshing but for some reason, it was the yummiest thing I'd ever tasted. The halfway point and special needs was a well-oiled machine and the volunteers were very helpful; they held my bike while I peed, read my notes from family, cried, and ate candy corn (and of course offered some to the volunteers). Second half of the ride was fantastic, wind to our backs, some rolling hills (to a native Floridian) and I felt completely refreshed and made up for my slow first half. The miles ticked off
- 70, 80, 90. Before I knew it, it was mile 100 and I couldn't believe how quickly the day was going by. The last 10 miles was a heavy headwind coming back into transition â€“ but I knew I was almost there so I kept pushing. I was so excited to see my family that I was actually afraid I might throw up from excitement (100% serious). i was unsure coming in what my split would be or if I would get cutoff, so I was tickled that I finished in 6:51. T2: I handed my bike off, grabbed my T2 bag myself and
proceeded to changing tent. I had been worried about having enough strength to get my compression tights on, and being the stubborn ass I am, I decided to do it myself. I must have been a sight, half naked on the ground wrestling with getting my compression tights up (they always win, by the way – it was pathetic). At this point I let a volunteer help me. It ends up, they’ve seen more lady parts in one day than most people see in a lifetime and they really don’t care about your butt in their face as long as you get your stuff together and get out in a timely manner. They really are dedicated, God love em. I found myself running out of transition and wondered why the hell I was doing that… I’m gonna be running for 26.2 miles, what the hell is the rush – so I just soaked it in all the way to the run start Run: My legs thought I was Usain Bolt in the 100 meter dash at the Olympics and began running a 9:00/mile pace (yes, 9:00/mile is like Olympic gold medal pace for me). It was amusing to see it on my Garmin, but I know better, so I settled into my normal turtle/
molasses pace. The aid stations are amusing and the support is incredible and makes the miles fly by. I was so jealous of people who were coming in from their first lap, but before I knew it, I saw Coach P and Paul Hough at the 9 mile mark and I was feeling great and thanked Coach P in advance because it was the first time I realized I was going to fin-
ish and that nothing was stopping me short of the earth turning upside down or some other natural disaster. I hate the turnaround park, I hated it in Gulf Coast Half and I still hated it. Until I got to the FSU water stop, which almost made me cry from happiness. Nothing moves me like garnet and gold. I had maintained my turtle pace and was feeling comfortable. Had to take in some coke due to feeling some stomach cramping, and it subsided quickly. Another nutritionally risky move, as I don’t drink carbonated drinks (except beer). Got to mile 13 feeling good, I grabbed more motivational notes from Special needs bag (no candy corn this time-bleh) and decided to spread them out over the next 9 miles so I could have things to look forward to and not get consumed with “mile 18”. I figured if I can save my last note til mile 21, I can carry myself through 5 miles. My race plan of walking 30 steps for every 10 minutes of running had stuck like glue, and I was still going strong even though I could feel my pace slowing, my glutes and legs tightening, and my feet screaming, but I kept pushing, I finally read my last note, and it was mile 21. By
now, I was alternating broth and coke at every aid station. Each mile seemed to take FOREVER after that. The pain was setting in, but I couldn’t stop moving forward. Like RnP said, I passed people like they were standing still after mile 18, but still was moving slow. Miles 22-25 were the longest miles I have ever run. 25 was pure adrenaline and preparing for the greatest moment ever, and it was!
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