Endurance Nation Florida 2012 Post Race Recap

Following closely on the heels of Hurricane Sandy, Florida was destined to be an epic event. From the travel challenges that the athletes faced . to the intimidating surf pounding the beach all week, the stage was set early for a big day.

By the time the finish line closed at midnight, a large percentage of the 3000 starters had reached their Ironman® finish line successfully, including more than 35 members of Endurance Nation. This is how the day played out.

The Swim

Without a doubt, the biggest fear that most athletes faced all week was the intimidating surf. There were more than a few abortive practice workouts. The yellow warning flags dominated the skyline all week, causing many of the first-timers to wonder what they have gotten themselves into.

Race day did not disappoint, bringing with it several early sets of swells. However, the talk of the day was more about the current than the chop. Moving from right to left, the current forced many summers well inside the buoy line, making for an extended swim. This was compounded by the large field of starters, as well as the chop. Put it all together and you have a pretty challenging swim.

Usually the 2nd lap at Florida is slower because of the quick run up on to the beach and increased  waves. This year those waves really stayed the same all day, leading to many consistent swims. The usual stories of crowding and physical abuse abounded, as you’ll see in this video  below, but overall times were very consistent with typical Florida performances.

The Bike

While the Florida bike course is known for being flat, nobody really talks about the consistent winds that build all day. Early on there was almost no wind. Standing at the bike and mountline, we watched hundreds if not thousands of athletes make their way out onto the course.

Without the typical headwind heading out onto the course, it was clear at the outset that it was going to be a fast day. The splits we were getting back on the computer only served to confirm this. And text updates from our friends on the course suggested that the lack of wind had created optimal conditions for fast riding and group drafting. Based on all accounts, almost every penalty tent was full and had run out of stopwatches to time the offenders.

With such a fast start I had fully expected to see a slowdown over the final 20 to 25 miles due to wind. That never happened, however, as evidenced by the first-place male finisher putting up a world record bike split of 4 hours and 4 min. – that’s an average of 27.5 miles an hour!!! As amazing as that time was, it was echoed in many other pro-men, pro-women, and top age group bike splits.

The Run

Standing outside the entrance to the state park at 2 PM, I could feel the full heat of the sun bearing down on me. While the temperature was in the low 80s, it certainly felt like anywhere between 86 and 89 degrees. Even though the humidity wasn’t significant, that kind of heat is enough to affect almost anyone.

Most of the athletes fell into two categories: the Smart and the Strong. The “strong” athletes powered their way to PR bike splits and set themselves up to have a great day…on paper. The “smart” athletes chose to ride within themselves, setting themselves up to  run personal bests. Listening to the reports of almost every Endurance Nation athlete, it was clear that many chose to ride at or under their target effort level, given the returns they were seeing in terms of sheer miles per hour on the bike course. It’s not surprising that many of them had personal bests — over an hour or more — earned mostly on the run.

Contrast this with the many reports from other athletes who rode well outside their abilities, destroying their chances for a good run. It’s no surprise then that Endurance Nation’s Four Keys of Race Executionwas first conceived and created at Ironman® Florida, as the temptation to ride the bike in Florida at a super human effort level is incredibly strong.

The Videos

Don’t take my word for it, take a look at the stats here in the Endurance Nation athlete tracker. Feel free to watch some of the videos below and hear how the race played out in their own words. Did you race Ironman® Florida? If so, please tell us how went in the comments below. Congrats to all the finishers!!!

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AUTHOR

Coach P

All stories by: Coach P
6 comments
  • Rebecca
    REPLY

    Dear Rich & Patrick –
    I set a PR at IMFL this year using your intermediate plan with a time of 12:09. This was my third IM (and likely my last for a while due to life commitments). My first IM was Florida in 09 and I used a borrowed plan from someone that was high on volume and low on intensity. I did okay and enjoyed my race. Considering I was new to biking and swimming, my 13:45-ish time was fine.

    I raced Lake Placid last year using your plan but my training was disrupted by a stress fracture in my heel. I did nearly all of my “runs” as deepwater running (boring!). Beautfiful venue, but my run suffered due to inability to run at all for the middle six weeks of the program. So IMFL last weekend was my true test of your plan. I see that you modified the brick workouts in the new plans – although my old plan didn’t call for it, toward the end I started doing my “bricks” in reverse like your new plans bc my weekend rides couldn’t start until 7 due to waning daylight hours as the months progressed. That worked out well.

    In any event, by race day my cycling skills were strong and I was not overly fatigued or injured. My longest run was 2:45 (about 17 miles for me – yes, I’m slow). My RR days were spot on – importantly my nutrition plan was as well, which was my undoing in Lake Placid along with my heel injury. I confess I came to dread Saturday rides because I am a weenie when it comes to speedwork. It obviously paid off despite my complaints.

    I had a great race last weekend. I broke a toe during the swim (kicked someone? :))and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to run. I debated blowing out the bike as hard as I could thinking my race was over but decided what the heck and stuck to my plan. Stayed conservative and much to my surprise started the run strong. Had to hold myself back. I ran the whole race. Yes, the toe and eventually my whole foot (altered my stride) hurt like hell but adrenaline and proper pacing got me through. You are absolutely correct about everything coming down to race execution.

    So I just wanted to say thanks. I have incorporated your philosophy into my training and will continue to do so for 70.3 and shorter. I’m not a member of your team but I just wanted to give you a pat on the back for putting out a (relatively) low cost, low BS plan that is good for AG’ers like me with full time family and demanding jobs.

    • patrick
      REPLY

      Rebecca, you are a ROCK star!!!! Wow I am so impressed with you getting it done despite your injury (Toes HURT when broken), and how you used our four keys philosophy to make the most of your day. We’d love to send you an EN tech tee for a job well done…please email us at support [at] endurancenation [dot] us and we’ll hook you up! Congrats again…

  • Rebecca
    REPLY

    Dear Rich & Patrick –
    I set a PR at IMFL this year using your intermediate plan with a time of 12:09. This was my third IM (and likely my last for a while due to life commitments). My first IM was Florida in 09 and I used a borrowed plan from someone that was high on volume and low on intensity. I did okay and enjoyed my race. Considering I was new to biking and swimming, my 13:45-ish time was fine.

    I raced Lake Placid last year using your plan but my training was disrupted by a stress fracture in my heel. I did nearly all of my “runs” as deepwater running (boring!). Beautfiful venue, but my run suffered due to inability to run at all for the middle six weeks of the program. So IMFL last weekend was my true test of your plan. I see that you modified the brick workouts in the new plans – although my old plan didn’t call for it, toward the end I started doing my “bricks” in reverse like your new plans bc my weekend rides couldn’t start until 7 due to waning daylight hours as the months progressed. That worked out well.

    In any event, by race day my cycling skills were strong and I was not overly fatigued or injured. My longest run was 2:45 (about 17 miles for me – yes, I’m slow). My RR days were spot on – importantly my nutrition plan was as well, which was my undoing in Lake Placid along with my heel injury. I confess I came to dread Saturday rides because I am a weenie when it comes to speedwork. It obviously paid off despite my complaints.

    I had a great race last weekend. I broke a toe during the swim (kicked someone? :))and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to run. I debated blowing out the bike as hard as I could thinking my race was over but decided what the heck and stuck to my plan. Stayed conservative and much to my surprise started the run strong. Had to hold myself back. I ran the whole race. Yes, the toe and eventually my whole foot (altered my stride) hurt like hell but adrenaline and proper pacing got me through. You are absolutely correct about everything coming down to race execution.

    So I just wanted to say thanks. I have incorporated your philosophy into my training and will continue to do so for 70.3 and shorter. I’m not a member of your team but I just wanted to give you a pat on the back for putting out a (relatively) low cost, low BS plan that is good for AG’ers like me with full time family and demanding jobs.

    • patrick
      REPLY

      Rebecca, you are a ROCK star!!!! Wow I am so impressed with you getting it done despite your injury (Toes HURT when broken), and how you used our four keys philosophy to make the most of your day. We’d love to send you an EN tech tee for a job well done…please email us at support [at] endurancenation [dot] us and we’ll hook you up! Congrats again…

  • Mary Repp
    REPLY

    Ironman Florida 2012 was my first full Ironman and it was awesome! My Tricoach Lora Lewis (Pinellas County, Fl) gives her athletes the EN Four Keys DVD to watch several times in the last few weeks of training and it was great information and gave me much confidence! Thanks so much ! Only dissappointing thing about the venue was the long, long lines to buy finisher merchandise. Finally gave up to spend time with family and start the recovery process! Thanks Endurance Nation, look forward to your trainng information for some more 70.3’s next season! Terry Repp, W55-59, Clearwater, Fl

  • Mary Repp
    REPLY

    Ironman Florida 2012 was my first full Ironman and it was awesome! My Tricoach Lora Lewis (Pinellas County, Fl) gives her athletes the EN Four Keys DVD to watch several times in the last few weeks of training and it was great information and gave me much confidence! Thanks so much ! Only dissappointing thing about the venue was the long, long lines to buy finisher merchandise. Finally gave up to spend time with family and start the recovery process! Thanks Endurance Nation, look forward to your trainng information for some more 70.3’s next season! Terry Repp, W55-59, Clearwater, Fl

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