Updated: Dec 18, 2021
Panama City, FL - November 6, 2021
1:33:48 Swim (2:25 / 100 Mtr)
5:35:02 (20.12 MPH)
5:50:34 (13:22 min/Mi)
It's not IMFL if we don't have crazy weather conditions! And this year didn't disappoint. It was really cold. And really windy! The morning of the race, the temperature was around 40° F. And the wind was steady 20-25 MPH or more. And it didnt change all day!
The sand was freezing. Luckily, the night before we went to Walmart and got cheap socks and flip flops! The ocean didn't look bad from outside. It was quite flat. Seemed like an easy swim... but were we wrong !!!
There were rip currents, and as you got further out, things got worse and worse. It was like a washing machine. There was no way to get a rhythm. We were getting thrown around all over. I was drinking water at every breath. Never did I swallow half of the amount of water I did during this race. It was definitely the worst conditions I have ever swam in.
And the times showed. I was 15 min slower than my previous slowest ever swim. Of course, the fact that I was untrained had something to do with that as well. But it was no joke.
Of the around 2,200 athletes, 516 people didn't make the swim cutoff! Another 120-130 people didn't even start the race! I have never seen numbers like these!
Transition was a long one (not as long as Italy, but not by much). We had to go on the sand, then cross the street and go around to the parking lot (on the street). It was so cold, that my feet started burning up as I jogged to the bike. So bad that I couldn't run anymore, and had to gingerly walk on the side of my feet. I took my time putting all my clothes on. Socks, jacket, wind breaker, gloves... things I never used in a race before! I was freezing.
The bike started slow. I was really cold and couldn't get going. It took almost halfway for me to not feel cold, and feel normal. The other issue was the wind. It was relentless. And it seemed like it was always a head wind. Even when it was a cross wind, it still was just enough of a cross-head wind to make things miserable.
At mile 60, we turned directly into the wind, for 10 long and awful miles. Seemed like forever. But then, 25 Miles of pure, unadulterated ecstasy! After not blowing up against the wind, I was fresh and put the hammer down with the tailwind. I passed everybody, as if they weren't even pedaling. Seemed to me that everyone blew their load against the wind, and were just coasting to the finish. I did the opposite, and was reaching over 30 MPH in several moments. It was great. The last 40 miles went real fast, and to top it off, I was still fresh!
I started the run feeling good, and had a good average going, for the first 8-10 miles (quite similar to Italy). I was surprised how well things were going, and just hoped to be able to maintain it. But of course, you can't fake endurance. The lack of run training got me once again. Around mile 11-12 I hit the wall. The next 6-8 miles were tough. Really tough. I walked a lot! But then I turned around and had 6 miles to go. I got a little bit of a 2nd wind, and started picking up the pace. The finish shoot couldn't come soon enough... I was tired.
I was really happy to cross this finish line. It was a really hard race. Many didn't make it. I was proud that I was able to have a respectable race, even with the difficult conditions, and the lack of training. Overall, another IM done. On to the next one !!!