2006 Ironman Florida Race Report – Gretchen Duncan
Two weeks before…
Two weeks before my race is when I really started freaking out. I had been looking forward to tapering for nine months, but now that I was tapering, I had too much free time to think and start worrying about everything.
That is when I started what-if-ing…
• What if I get into a car accident and break my nose?? Will I still be able to race?
• What if I get the bird flu?
• What if I die 2 days before the race?? I won’t be able to race, but will they still give my family my medal…probably not.
• What if my car breaks down on the way to the airport and I miss my flight…will they let me race if I miss the mandatory meeting?
• What if they lose my registration stuff and don’t even have my name on the list?
• What if Fed Ex loses my bike?
• What if I get more than 2 flat tires?
• What if I get stung by a jelly fish?
• What is I oversleep on race morning?
Two days before…
I arrived in Panama City Beach on the Thursday before the race. This gave me just enough time to check into the hotel, register and pick up my bike.
When I went to pick up my bike Inside Out Sports had taken my tire off my wheel for some reason. They said the 2nd layer of glue was drying on my wheel and I would have to come back in an hour to get my bike. Two full layers of glue?? How am I supposed to get the tire off if I have a flat? They told me I would need to get a razor blade and slice it off. Great.
That night I was lucky enough to meet up with Scott, Bill, Ben, Barry and his parents for the carbo loading dinner. I felt like I was eating lunch with the cool jocks in high school! The dinner was inspiring, but now I was starting to get really nervous. I told my self to stay calm because I still had a couple of days to go.
The day before…
First of all, I am a very slow swimmer. My first triathlon 5 years ago at Shawnee Mission Park took me 20 minutes to swim 500 meters. I have not improved much since then.
I woke up at 5am that day, so I went ahead and got up, had some breakfast and piddled around until 7:00 when the beach opened for swim practice. I had been swimming in the ocean one other time for the LA Triathlon. I remember the Pacific Ocean being much friendlier than what was in store for me. The water looked beautiful…clear as could be…but it was brutal.
It was choppy and stung my cheek every time it slapped me in the face. There was a nasty current. I felt like I was swimming on a treadmill and going nowhere. I swallowed tons of saltwater. It tasted like fish and dirty martinis.
I ended up swimming out 2 buoys (about 1/12 of the Ironman swim) this took me 7 minutes to swim out and it took me 13 minutes to swim back. Plus, I ended up about ¼ of a mile down the shore from where I started. I’m adding this up in my head and I started to REALLY freak out….
• Holy crap…I’m not going to make the swim cut-off!
• I’m not going to be an Ironman; I’m going to be a Statistic!!
• I told everyone who knew I existed to track me on the internet and they’re going to think I drowned!!
• I shouldn’t have skipped those swims on Thursday nights to watch The Office.
• Everyone is going to be sooo disappointed.
• I hope I don’t make my coach look bad!!
• I hope I don’t ruin my mom and sister’s vacation when I am depressed the rest of the week.
• Why did I sign up for this?
• If I wanted to do something cool, why didn’t I go sky diving or something…would have been a lot cheaper.
• I’m not even going to get to ride my bike. There goes $4,000!
I got back to my room and got under the covers in my wet bathing suit and pouted for as long as I could stand being wet and cold. (About 2 hours.)
I got lots of encouraging phone calls throughout the day. (Thanks Sheryl, Joel, Glenn, Pat, Don, Jennifer, Brenda, Allyson and Caroline!!!)
I was still a depressed, nervous wreck though.
Later that evening my friends from work ha