The Athlete Guide for Ironman Florida was released over the weekend. Gulp.
My brother called on my way home from work yesterday to let me know and I immediately downloaded and printed it as soon as I got home. Full distance Ironman races are done a little differently than regular triathlons, so I want to make sure I’m fully prepared.
There’s a lot to know, for starters, athletes have to check-in at the race site on either the Wednesday or Thursday before the Saturday race day. That means I need to be in Panama City a full two days before race start. My bike and gear won’t need to be checked in until Friday, but I will need to pick-up my packet, sign my waiver, and attend one of the mandatory pre-race meetings on Thursday.
Derek and I are planning to leave for Panama City bright and early Thursday morning. Check-in closes at 5 and I’m hoping to book a massage appointment at the massage tent for that evening
There’s also a complimentary Welcome Dinner on Thursday night and complimentary pancake breakfast Friday morning. Free food – check and check!
I like being forced to go early because that also gives my siblings and I a chance to test the course out with an open water swim and bike ride. Nothing crazy, just enough to get a feel for the course.
I’ll go over race bags in a different post because I’m still mulling them over. I think race bags – and the fact you have changing tents instead of a traditional transition – are really what separate the full distance Ironman from other distances. Basically I’ll be heading to the changing tent instead of my bike for transition. This also opens up the option of, well, changing instead of doing the entire race in a single tri kit. Man, I also still need to figure out what I’m going to wear (yep, that’s another post, too!).
Gear bags will need to be turned in Friday (when the bike is dropped off), but special needs bags don’t need to be dropped off until race day.
Ironman has been testing self-seeded swim waves this year (instead of the traditional mass start) as part of their swim-smart initiative. Florida wasn’t on the original list of races with swim waves, but was added later. Honestly, before the decision was finalized, I’d been rooting for the mass start. It makes me a little sad my time won’t match up with the official race clock’s time when I cross the finish line. Boo. 🙁
The bike course and run course seem pretty normal, with aide stations every 10 miles on the bike and every mile on the run. There’s special need stations at the midway point on each. Something to note – chicken broth will be available after dark at the aide stations on the run (something I plan to take advantage of!).
Something that I’ve noted in the athlete guide (and have been obsessing over since I signed up for this race) are the cut-off times.
I keep running every time scenario imaginable through my head to see which ones have me making time and which ones don’t. I’m nervous, really nervous, but I know I’ve got this. I just need to get to the run and I know I’ll be good.
So, yeah, you know you’re training for an Ironman when you spend an entire evening reading and obsessing over an athlete guide, then write a whole post about it. I sometimes forget no one else really cares about this, but I find it all so fascinating. Yep, I’m officially a tri-geek. 😉