Race Report by Statesboro Pacer, Doug James


May 12, 2007, Gulf Coast Triathlon, Panama City Beach, FL;  RACE WEBSITE

1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run


Short version:  Swim – 42:57, T1 – 4:39, Bike – 3:00:13, T2 – 4:32, Run – 2:21:13, Finish Time – 6:13:30, AG Place – 161/221, Overall Finish 617/920 (males)


Long version:  My family and I left for PCB early Thr morning and arrived at the Boardwalk Resort without incident.  After checking-in, we went down to see the water…white caps!  I went and got my race packet and settled in for the evening.


Friday morning brought a swim clinic.  From there, I spent the day with the family, checked-in my bike, and got a short nap in the afternoon.  Friday night I ate the race’s pasta dinner (not too bad) and listened to the USAT official tell us not to pee in people’s yards or risk getting arrested.  I got to bed around 10:00 pm.


After a relatively restful sleep, I awoke around 4:30 and got-up at 4:45.  I downed my obligatory bowl of flavored oatmeal and a left-over chocolate chip pancake.  It sure was nice having transition right in the parking lot of the hotel.  I motored on down to get marked and set my area up.  Being that my swim wave wasn’t starting until 6:55, I decided to go back to the room and watch some TV.  At 6:00, I got dressed and drank a serving of Infinit.  I made it to the beach at 6:30, swam for a few minutes, stretched-out, and entered the start corral at 6:50.


6:55 and there we go!  Glassy seas meant a good swim.  After about 100m of swimming, I latched on to a guy that was just kicking his little heart out.  If I had been any closer to him, I might just as well have bungee corded myself to his wetsuit.  The Gulf water is very clear, so I just followed his bubbles until the first turn at about 900m.  From there I lost him, but I was feeling very strong.  I was feeling so relaxed that I actually started to worry that something bad was going to happen.  Around the second corner and I looked for the huge hotel for my line of sight. 


One thing that I found interesting was that my wave was wearing orange caps…the same color as the final line of buoys.  Now, I can’t swim a straight line for nothing, so I kept veering off to the right and having to correct.  Unfortunately, looking for an orange buoy, with fogged goggles, in a sea of orange caps was a little frustrating.  Amazingly enough, I ended-up coming up on the beach right at the corral!  I don’t know…divine intervention?


I hit T1 feeling very good, used the facilities, and headed-out for the bike ride.  Other than some rough roads, the ride was uneventful.  Even though I did not ride as quickly as I had planned, I was pleased to finish feeling as refreshed as I did.  Nutrition on the ride: A concentrated triple serving bottle of Infinit, an PB&J Uncrustables sandwich, and a gel.  I ate the sandwich as soon as I got onto the bike, drank the Infinit every 15 minutes, and ate the gel at about mile 50.


T2 was uneventful with a stop at the facilities, some BodyGlide smeared on the toes, and on to the run.  After stepping foot on the course, I immediately downed 2 Pepto Bismol caplets and a huge gulp of water.  My nutrition regimen for the run was similar to the bike.  I carried a concentrated double serving of Infinit in 2 bottles on my Fuel Belt and drank every 15 minutes.  I walked through each aid station, downing whole cups of water and putting ice into my hat.  Even though I looked like a moving water feature, with all of the ice melting all over me, I remained relatively cool. 


At mile 4 I started feeling the slight pangs of stomach upset, so I took in some Coke, after that all went well.  I felt amazingly strong, but was afraid to push the envelope.  I used the facilities, again, at mile 11.  The course was very hot with no shade.  I couldn’t keep count of how many poor souls were walking the 13.1.  Luckily, I wasn’t one of them.  At mile 12, I zipped up my shirt, adjusted my hat, threw away the sponges, and got ready for the photo finish. 


Overall, I am pleased with my first HIM showing.  I now know what to expect and can start working on my T1&2 times and a PR for my next HIM.  This was an awesome race that I will definitely put on next year’s race calendar.  The expo was pretty cool, and I only managed to spend $30 on stuff.  The hotel sucked, but was more for convenience than luxury.  I will be looking forward to 2008.


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