The Intimidator

I’m in Tampa!

Actually, that's a lie, I’m back in Virginia Beach right now till Saturday wrapping up previous job and then I’m back to Tampa to start the new one on Monday!  The past week was full of driving and moving- Cincinnati to DC, DC to Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Norfolk to Tampa! With some fun time driving around North Carolina at 2 in the morning trying to find a hotel.  But I made it alive, and my stuff finally arrived yesterday so everything is in the apartment.  Maybe sometime in the next 6 months I’ll actually unpack everything... anyone want to come interior decorate for me??

After spending 1 night in my apartment, I woke up the next morning and head to Clermont Florida to race the Florida Challenge Half Ironman Triathlon!  This race had like 3 names and was also called the Intimidator!  Going into it you can imagine my expectations- it’s Florida right?  It should be flat and the only hazards should be some Gators right?  Not so.

The race was Sunday and even though I’m used to racing, I woke up what seemed like every hour in the hotel.  Finally I got up and grabbed my breakfast (love the Coffee HoneyMilk pre-race for my first caffeine jolt) and headed to the course.  I think there were about 250-300 racers but I don’t actually know for sure.

The race began at 7:30 and it was already too hot.  It was a lake swim and the water was gorgeous! I’ve found I like swimming with out a wet suit better and also spent a lot of time warming my shoulders up so they wouldn’t tighten up like they have in the past.  I tried my best to keep on the heels of another swimmer right off the bat and was actually able to do until I think I passed them.  After that, while I was clearly in the bottom 1/3 of the pack, I felt much better than in the water than I have in a long time.    I Tweeted a couple guys before the race and Ben Greenfieldtold me, “Go balls out, you’ll forget about it 5 minutes into the bike.”  So true for you triathletes out there. Honestly, you use such different muscles swimming that except for energy exertion, the bike is so different.  So I did this, and while my time was still way slower than I’d like, I took 6 minutes off my time from Wildflower. Coming out the water, I misjudged the depth, and while doing a dolphin move used in shallower water, scraped my chest up... I had to laugh at myself.  Transition went smoothly enough, although it was but wasn’t very fast.  I leapt on the bike and started locking it down.  The first few miles felt great!  I was cruising in aero, the roads were smooth, and it was in a wind protected area..  Plus, I was adamant to catch 2 guys in font of me who were literally riding side by side... But then I found out they weren’t in the race.  As I aforementioned this course was NOT a flat course.  The first half was relatively smooth with some rollers that kept it fun and mild wind.  I was averaging around 20-21mph at this point I would say, but in the second half, we made Sugarloaf Mountain and the rest of the hills.  This was no Wildflower, but they were substantial hills.  The hardest part was trying to eat amidst constantly getting in and out of aero and the saddle to tackle the hills. These hills took my pace down a fair bit and the heat didn’t help, and I wound up finishing the bike in 3:01:30, at an 18.5 mph pace.  Had I kept my first half pace, I would have been around 2:45, just to put it in perspective- gotta do more hill work!

I came into T2 and had a quick transition till it came to my shoes- first time transitioning in my new Nike Lunar Elites and I had my zip laces to tight, making the shoes hard to get on.  It was still not too bad though.  But at this point it was 96 degrees easily.  The run course was 2 loops of an out and back- the 10k course twice- plus an additional .7 miles at the beginning.  The first half was flat, but the second had a couple rolling hills.  My pace started at about 6:38, but after about 3 miles, as hard a pushed, it gradually fluctuated a bit higher and higher.  This really bothered me as I know I have really been cranking on my run work lately.  I also realized at nearly the end of the run that my feet were totally soaked from a combination of sweat and water.  As much water as there was on the course, you can never get enough when trying to maintain a fast split.  I could have probably done with eating more than I did too. If you have any questions about how I fuel during my races, let me know! There were 4 guys that I really wanted to mow down on this run and I got them all.  2 were one age group below me, but were decked out in their K-Swiss gear, and while they were good, I wanted to be better.  Another was a really skinny guy also looking like he was wearing sponsored gear so I wanted to rep my new team of Apex Endurance and beat all 3 of these guys.  Finally, was a guy in my age group who looked really strong. My final time on the run was a 1:34:20, (excepting Wildflower) the slowest half I’ve ever ran at a pace of 7:12 min/mil.  However, as smoked as I felt from this, I can to find out this was the 3rd fast run split on the day! The heat was brutal, and I’ve never been so happy to see the finish line!  My final time on the day was a 5:25:23. At first, I was pretty upset by this, as my PR is a 4:54.  However, I came realize that the winner only did like a 4:50:00 and the whole entire field of racers was slow due to hills and heat.  Thus, when I found out that I took 2nd in my age group and 15th overall, I was actually pretty happy!

When it comes down to it, I have a lot of chance to improve: to put this in perspective, I was in 74th place coming out of the water, 53 coming off the bike, and finished 15th overall.  If I can step up that swim and bike ... : )  My run was 3rd fastest on the day which made me feel better about it even though it was way slower than I wanted.  I did, however, prove to myself that I can push through a lot of pain for a long time and I’m really looking forward to racing again.

For you triathletes out there, Heather Gollnick (5-time Ironman champion) but it looks like she bailed before the run... I beat her bike time though : ).  I didn’t get to talk to her but it was cool to see her. Overall I am now more pleased with the results than I was previously. I can’t wait to get back to Tampa and really start my training again!  If you’re from that area, I am definitely looking to meet people/training partners so let me know! Thank guys- remember to follow me on Twitter @Chuckfeeerick and ask any nutrition/fitness questions to me via this blog or through Twitter, or by emailing me at!

  1. What was the highlight of your weekend?
  2. What positive affirmation do you have to share?