I'm back from the Gulf Coast Triathlon 70.3 - it was quite an experience.
Overall time - 6:42. Only other 70.3 - Steelhead 2006, 7:52.
It's gonna take me several posts to cover all the details.
We drove 6.5 hours down to Panama City Beach on Friday. The car was packed - remember, I travel with 5 women. I mistakenly thought that I would have the most bags packed, with all the tri stuff I had to bring. Ha - wrong. None of them know what they're going to feel like wearing, so they bring everything they might want to wear. Also, no can seem to sync their bladders on these long car trips - someone's always got to go.
We arrived in PCB in the early afternoon, and headed for registration. We walked around the expo a bit, and racked our bikes. Then we headed for the beach with the kids.
Let's talk about sharks. I was very disturbed recently by the death of the triathlete in California who was attacked by the great white. Florida is even worse than California in terms of shark attacks. So we're on the beach in PCB at 3:00 in the afternoon. I'm playing in the surf with my 13 and 11 year old daughters. My wife and older daughters are laying out on the beach. I go and sit in the sand at the water's edge to rest a while. The younger girls come out of the water to tell me they saw some sting rays swimming in a circle, which sounds really strange to me. They point to what they're talking about. I look up and not 15 feet from me in 2 feet of water is an 8 foot shark! Totally freaked everyone at the beach. Some young guys from PCB said it was probably a sand shark going after small fish in shallow water, and it wouldn't attack humans. They said the bad sharks like bulls are out past the second sand bar. I thought to myself, "Yeah, where we'll be swimming tomorrow morning at 6:15 am - feeding time!"
My wife was really freaked out about it all. Her intial reaction was to call the whole thing off for herself. Then we saw Ryan, a fellow blogger, who is from Pensacola - he did a good job of calming things down by explaining that, although there are plenty of sharks in the Gulf, they would all pretty much scatter with all of the activity of the triathlon traffic. All but one, that is. More about that when I tell you about my swim.
A bit about my race nutrition. I had a long discussion with my Vision Quest coach Dan prior to GCT. He gave me several good pointers for pre-race issues, like don't eat a bunch of fiber the day before the race - too much bulk in the gut the following day. He advised me not to drink Gatorade or take gels before the race - those don't mix well with all the salt water I'd drink on the swim (and did I drink a bunch!). For breakfast, have a starch (like a bagel) with some fat on it (like peanut butter or cream cheese) - the fat slows absorption of the carbs somewhat for the race. He thought on the bike that I would need about one gel per hour, which I did, and another gel about 6 or 7 miles into the run, which I also did. I brought some crackers on the bike with me also and snacked on a few of those as I rode - he thought it was a good idea to have some food with me that had a little substance to it. Hydration-wise, on the bike I had water and Gatorade bottles on my bike - I think I drank 2 bottles of water, and 1 bottle of Gatorade. On the run, Dan told me to drink at each mile at the aid station - a few sips of Gatorade and a few gulps of water would be all that I needed. He was right.
Overall, I feel my nutrition plan was good. I was not hungry at all at the end - I usually finish long events starving. I was never nauseated or thirsty, either. I was very happy with nutrition and hydration, and hope things will be the same in November.