On Sunday, I participated in the Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida triathlon. This was my second half Ironman race. My first was the Rohto Ironman 70.3 Miami last October, which like most people, I thought sucked. The result of that suck-iness was that the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), owners of the Ironman brand, gave all participants a chance to enter another half Ironman this year for free. Okay, so I chose the Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida because it’s in Orlando, less than 15 miles from where I live!
The race takes place mostly at Walt Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Resort. The swim is in Bay Lake, the bike is mostly in and around Disney property, and the run was three loops within Ft. Wilderness.
I’ve lived here for 9 years, and this is the first year that I can remember the weather being so nice in mid-May. Low humidity and temps in the 80’s (degrees F). There was rain the night before the race and on race morning, but it quit in time to delay the race by only 20 minutes.
Registration: Took place at Ft. Wilderness and took less than 10 minutes. Parking was at the Magic Kingdom parking lot. They had shuttle buses take us the less than 1 mile across the street to within 50 yards of registration. The volunteers and organization here were great! The fact that they had the IronKids event going on Saturday at the same time as checkin and bike checkin speaks volumes to me.
Race day: Parked in the same Magic Kingdom lot as for registration. Shuttles again taking athletes to the transition area. It was raining, so most athletes were taking shelter and waiting out the rain. It really wasn’t that bad for Florida. There was lightning in the area, so they ended up starting the race 20 minutes late. No biggy. There was more daylight by then and it was still 6:40am when the Pro’s when out.
The temp of Bay Lake was awesome. Well over 78F, but not too hot. I managed to get off course at least twice but still managed a 50 minute split! I’m usually over 60 mins for 1.2 mile swim.
After leaving T1, I realized that I forgot my sunglasses on the bike rack. That pissed me off because there were plenty of bugs in the area, but in the end, it worked out okay. I also left my bunion toe pad in transition. By the time I finished the bike, my toe was at an angle I’ve never seen before and it looked really bad, but it’s okay. Lost my left armrest pad after leaving T1. The damn “loop” material on the pad had separated from the pad, so it stuck to the “hook” side on the armrest, but the pad was gone. That really sucked!
All told, the bike course was really nice. Very flat I guess compared to some courses, but we did hit some Florida hills for nice change. The volunteers and aid stations were well represented. Quite a plus over Miami last year!
Back to T2 and out to run. Lots of spectators everywhere! I really don’t like having that many people I don’t know yelling, but it makes for a fun race I guess. The race bibs had first names too, so spectators could cheer you on. We had to do three loops (approx 4.333 miles each) through Ft. Wilderness, so that got a bit old after the second loop, but at least part of it was shaded by trees. Again, lots of great volunteers, cookies, gels, bananas, water, etc. They even had two sprinkler stations that you could run through to get a cool down from for at least a second.
I only managed to run one mile straight, then after that I started doing 3 mins running/3 miles walking. I had side stitches really bad and every step walking or running hurt.
On the third loop, I heard a guy ask someone if “that’s a worry”. It took me a few seconds to realize that he was talking about the smoke and crackling of trees and brush on the other side of some water. Yes, the forest was on fire. Probably sparked in the a.m. by lightning. Disney was on it quickly, but I thought that if I had to run for my life, I might be in trouble here! 🙂
Finally finished! 7 hours 14 minutes and some seconds. They had hats, drinks, medals, and even pizza at the end.
Overall, this is one of the best race experiences I’ve ever had. Great job well done! Thanks to Disney, the volunteers, and everyone that made it a success.