Florida Race Report: Nate Parady, 11:54, 1:34 PR, Passes 700+ on Run!

Rich Strauss

Quick Summary:

11:54 Total time. 1 Hour 34 min faster compared to Lake Placid 2011.  30 Min faster on the Run. 

1:20 Swim, 6:13 bike (18MPH Ave), 4:04 Run

Tough swim (got sea sick), Thought my day was over, Road easy on the bike, happy with my Run (If only for 4 minutes faster).

Arrived on Wed: Stayed at the Laketown Warf Condo.  I highly recommend this place to stay. 

My Stats: 2nd ironman (first Lake Placid 2011 in 13:28), Bike FTP=220, Run Vdot Out season High of 51, Trained at 49, Race weight was 147lbs W/KG=3.29.

Event Florida 2012 Lake Placid 2011
Swim 1:20 1:09
Bike 6:13 7:30
Run 4:04 4:34
Total 11:54 13:28


Pre Race

The two weeks leading up to the race was not relaxing for me at all.  In addition to going through the anxiety of Taper, my family had an unexpected funeral to attend in CT.  Getting back from the funeral my wife and I were both a little fried.  Surely this was the last thing standing in the way of me getting to my race feeling relaxed.  Then, Hurricane Sandy came roaring down on us.  We spent Monday night before the race sleeping in our basement.  In addition to worrying about the house and family I was worried about my flight that following Wed to Florida.  By the time we arrived in Florida, I was very happy to be there but feeling the effects of a stressful week. 

Race Week 

Compared to my first IM in lake Placid 2011, I thought Florida Admin was much easier.  The condo was an easy walk to transition/expo which made everything feel so much easier.

The only workouts I did in Florida for race week was an Easy 20 minute run and a swim.  The swim on Thursday was more like playing in the huge waves trying to not get hurt.  I was really wishing the water would settle down by Saturday.

Day before the race: Woke up and ate two bagels, three eggs, Banana, yogurt, Smoothie.  Lunch was a ham and Turkey sandwich with pretzels. Sipped Sports drink all day.  Zero Veggies all day.  Dinner was very light as a Half a chicken breast and a few white potatoes.  Was in bed by around 9:30.

Race Morning

I had practiced the newer apple sauce breakfast nutrition techniques 3 times during my Ironman® build up and never really nailed it down in term of timing.  It seemed to take longer for all that applesauce to settle.  For race morning I elected to move it up an hour.  This would prove to be a very good decision; more on that later.  Breakfast was at 2am and consisted of 2 cups of apple sauce, banana, 20oz of sports drink, 6oz of naked juice Protein smoothie.  Went back to bed and actually managed to go to sleep.  Back up at 3:15 put on a TON of aquaphor and body glide.  I was well lubed for sure.  This paid off as my after race shower was not that painful.  I then checked the contents of my Special Needs Bags one more time, placed everything I needed into a duffle bag to include a bike pump, my Joule, and Garmin and out the door I was by 4am.  Two steps out the door I turned around and came back inside to remove my wedding ring.  I’m pretty certain this saved my ring from getting lost during the swim.  Key point for the morning ritual was that I was operating off a check list.  I found myself a little obsessed with making sure my Garmin and Joule were fully charged and even more so on NOT forgetting them in the condo.  The check list helped ensure I had all these items to include making sure I had consumed everything I had planned on eating. 


Arrived at transition by 4:25am.  Just as planned.  Quickly got body marked and made my way into transition at 4:30.  Again, I was working off a check list.  Air in Tires, Joule on Bike (Delete Previous Ride), Athlete Tracker over aero Bars, Filled up my 20oz Torhans with Gatorade plus a NUN salt tab and one more 24oz bottle of Gatorade with NUN Tab on the down tube.  Placed my Garmin in my T2 bag , found my T1 bag to just make sure nothing had fallen out.  I then walked toward the Special Needs Drop.  On the return I placed my now mostly empty duffle bag and tire pump by the Tri Bike Transport tent hoping this would make Post Race Easier (worked like a charm).  I then realized I was done with my check list and still had a lot of time to kill.  Walked back to Transition and touched my bike one more time.  Then finally dropped my Dry Clothes bag off inside the building.  So now I was shirtless, arm coolers on, and tri shorts.  A pretty funny look and I felt strangely naked being shirtless.   Hit the porta Potties one more time and then found a place to sit and chill. Sipping on Gatorade.

So truth be told, I didn’t know how to get from Transition to the beach…turns out they hadn’t opened the door yet.  Finally they made the announcement that the door was opened and I still couldn’t find it. 

My one comment on the Florida transition area is I wish they had the racks of Lake Placid.  One spot for your T1, T2, and dry clothes bag. This would make everything easier. 

2,583 Athletes participated in Ironman® Florida

Swim Time 1:20       Div Rank 206 / Overall Rank 1295 / Gender Rank 1044

I had done nearly all of my swim training as Open Water Swims.  I think I swam in a pool 3 times the entire season.  I was very comfortable in the open water and really comfortable in my wetsuit.  I had also found enough technique improvement to really feel little effort while swimming at my Ironman® Pace.  I had high hopes for a strong swim and had even done mental exercises of seeing myself running up on the beach looking strong.  Queue the impending doom music. 

Finally found the door and made my way to the boardwalk.  Hung out for a bit on the boardwalk and could hear the waves crashing.  Thank you Hurricane Sandy!! It was still pretty dark out so I couldn’t see the water yet, but knew it wasn’t calm.  I however, was feeling pretty calm and just continued to stand there sipping on my Gatorade.  I took a Power Gel at 6:30, put on my wet suit and headed down to the beach.  It was clear that the water had not settled down as I had hoped.  The pro gun went off which then really helped give some scale to what we were in for.  Looked like little people swimming through the land of big swells.  The announcer was telling the age groupers to start to the right of the buoy line like many of the pros because the current was moving pretty fast.  I did get a chance to get wet and acclimate to the water which was a little cool but no big deal.  With about a minute till the gun went off seemed like people started walking into the water.  By the time the gun went off at 7am I was thigh high in the water, right of the buoy line a maybe 10 rows back.

Gun goes off and it was like everyone turned to the guy next to them and punched them in the face.  It was total chaos.  The waves were pushing us around; people were swimming all over me.  This was NOT swimming.  I had to remind myself to put my face in the water.  I was hoping this would settle down when we made the turn but it didn’t.  It actually seemed to get worse as we swam further away from the shore.  You couldn’t really see the buoys between the swells so people were constantly cutting you off because they didn’t know which way strait was.  People literally swimming across your path.  My goggles also kept filling up with water which really started to burn my eye.  Flipped on my back numerous times to dump the water out.  When we got to the turn everyone picked their heads up and seemed to freeze.  Someone finally yelled out, “keep swimming!”  It was crazy.  As I was swimming back on the first loop my stomach started to feel weird.  I then realized that I was fighting motion sickness.  I then became aware of each and every swell that passed through me.  Finally got my feet back on solid ground and that quickly settled me down.  I looked at my watch and it said 7:33.  Wow, how could that be, because it seemed like I had barely made one decent stroke the entire first lap. Walked for a bit and then started swimming as soon as I could for the second lap.  I still had some hope that things would open up so I could actually start swimming, but no luck.  This was NOT like lake Placid at all.  The second loop was just as bad.  I was kicked and punched numerous times at the start of the second lap and could taste blood in my mouth.  I was counting the buoys wishing for the next one to come faster.  Finally made the left turn and realized that “it” was gonna happen.  I was going to get sick.  I started side stroking and was amazed at how strong the current was because I was still moving pretty fast.  Out of nowhere a female athlete two rows over and in front of me stopped and yelled, “are you ok?” I have no idea how she spotted me.  I responded by puking for the first time.  She then yelled for a Kayak to come over.  A kayak was quickly next to me and I grabbed on.  The conversation went something like this;

                Kayaker: “are you ok?”

                Me: “Bwaaaa (Puking sound), I’ll be ok”

                Kayaker: “Just hang on as long as you need tp. Is this your first Ironman?”

                Me: “Bwaaa, no this is my second”

                Kayaker: “which one did you do before?”

                Me: “Bwaaa, Lake placid 2011”

                Kayaker: “I did lake placid that year also”

                Me: “Bwaaa, I thought you looked familiar”

I’m not even exaggerating.  That’s how the conversation went.  I then realized the Kayaker was talking to someone on a jet ski who was asking if I could hold on to the raft he had on the back.  There was another athlete who was being pulled out.  I quickly said that I wasn’t quitting but just needed a minute.  The Kayaker then said, “no he’s puking up Red and purple stuff, not sea water”.  My thought to this was, “yes, I wasn’t puking up my breakfast but only the gel and Gatorade I had that morning on the beach.” 

In that moment hanging onto the Kayak I was pretty pissed.  Why did the swim start have to be such a cluster of people?  Why couldn’t I just swim to my ability instead of getting beat up so much?  When would I stop puking? Would I be able to finish this race?  Coach Rich’s thought of “Don’t let your Race Day self let down your Training self” was in my thoughts.  I had put way too much work getting to this Ironman® to quit now.  I was going to at least get myself to the beach.  Finally, I stopped throwing up and found the Red buoy that I was aiming for and said, “thanks” to the Kayaker.  I then let go and started to swim to the red buoy.  I was totally exhausted at this point.  Not from the swimming effort but from throwing up.  The good news is that I never really got out of breath or felt like my heart was beating hard at any point.  I was in very good swimming shape, thank God.  I finally made it back to the beach tired and wondering if I could continue.  When my feet hit the ground it then triggered another round of dry heaving on the beach.  It also triggered a large calf cramp that took a few moments to pass.  So instead of running on the beach looking strong, I found myself in knee high water puking my guts out getting knocked around by the waves.  Of course there seemed like 500 people standing on the beach watching me do all this.  I finally pulled it together and got off the beach, feeling like total crap.

T1 8:56

Grabbed my bag, found a seat, and changed.  I elected to wear a bike Jersey to carry the 12 Power Gels I planned on taking, room for an extra bottle, and also to protect against the sun.  My thinking out of T1 was one of uncertainty.  If I couldn’t hold anything down by the first aid station I was going to pull myself from the race.  If you can’t drink and eat, you can’t do an ironman.

Bike Time  6:13  (205 people Passed me on the bike) Div Rank 245/Overall Rank 1500 / Gender Rank 1235

Once I got on my bike I felt immediately comfortable in that space.  Saw Rich and Patrick and off I went.  As I started down Front Beach Road I started taking sips of Gatorade out of my Torhans.  In the first 15 minutes on the bike I had taken down 20 oz of fluid, 5 minutes later I had a Gel.  I kept it all down.  My biggest issue was that I wasn’t feeling very good and felt like I was still in the water.  The sea sick feeling was still with me and was with me until I sat in the medical section over 10 hours later after the race.  There was still some doubt in my mind if I would be able to finish this race. 

The first half was a total draft fest.  The only way to avoid this was to probably get off your bike.  I found fellow ENer Attila and road with him for several miles talking about the swim and how we were going 20 MPH and only pushing 120watts.  I quickly settled into a good rhythm of drinking 40oz of perform and 2 power gels an hour.  Unfortunately after the first 50 miles I still hadn’t peed yet and still wasn’t feeling very good.  I also notice how hot it was getting…I was grabbing water at every aid station and spraying myself down.  Felt really good to do this.  Several times at an aid station they were passing out bottles of perform without a ready to drink top on it.  That sucked.  I didn’t take it and was glad I typically had an “extra” bottle either on my bike or in my jersey.  I was never without Perfrom to drink.

Second Half I had planned to get off my bike at some point to stretch my back.  The Crazy Bumpy road near the half way point rocked my world and provided a good opportunity to get off, hit the porta potty and stretch for a second.  There was literally a guy on the side of the road with a large rake cleaning up the road from bike debris caused by that bumpy road.  You name it and it was falling off the bike.  For me, my Joule came undone from the double sided tape and luckily it was zip tied.  Also, at some point my Torhans aero mast went flying into the air and I somehow managed to catch it between my top tube and leg.  1 in a million.  This road sucked in a major way. Florida should really consider paying to have this road paved or change the course.   Let’s just say, my under carriage was not happy at all and I felt this for the rest of the race.   In terms of the draft packs, things did open up a bit the second half of the bike.  I was way under my goal watts for the ride and still felt I was playing a little bit of Defense on the bike trying to hedge my bets for finishing the race.  I found myself constantly in a situation where I was only pushing 120 watts legally (most of the time) behind someone but if I tried to pass them I would have to push 170 watts because of the wind.  Goal watts for the race was around 150.  170 watts on the dial would also then remind me how I didn’t feel great, which quickly lead to me worried about the run.  I would settle back in, drink my perform, and eat my Gels.  The result of this was I felt strong at the end of the bike.

Post race I am of course now wondering if I should have pushed the bike harder.  I then go back and remember how I felt that day and then remember how lucky I am to have finished.  I’m curious to know what others think about this.  My stats below show a very easy ride.  A total IF of .57 is really low. 

Ride time 6:07

Total elapsed time 6:13

Work 2657

AV Power 119

Ave moving speed 18.25

Total IF .57

TSS 205

Pnorm 127

According to the joule the temp started in the low 70s and peeked in the low 90s


T2: 7:15.  Changed into an EN singlet

Run 4:04   (I Passed 754 people on the Run) Div Rank 134 / Overall Rank 746 / Gender Rank 622

According to the enhanced results from Slowtwitch my overall run placing based on time was 311

Ran out of Transition and immediately realized how hot it was. I saw my family which was very cool.  I also had to laugh that I was starting my marathon feeling Sick from the swim, tired from the bike, and what was especially “fun” I felt like a 200lbs gorilla had kicked me in the junk from that god awful bumpy road on the bike.  I also had a thought that this could be a 1 mile run and a really long walk.  Or worse, I would have to stop all together.  I thought about this goal of a sub 4 hour run that had been on my mind since walking on River Road in July 2011 during the lake placid Ironman® run.  Could I possibly still pull this sub 4 run off?  I felt like I was already on the line of running and wanting to lie down on the side of the road.  All I focused on was getting to the next aid station.

Seemed as if there was an aid station right out of transition, NICE.  I soaked myself with water and took my first cup of Perform.  I was also carrying a flask that held 5 power gels and a little bit of Gatorade.  I would sip this flask throughout the run.  Was it just me or was there an aid station every ½ mile on that run course.  By mile 3 I also managed to pull out a NUN tablet and put it in some water and drink that.  I tried this later in the race and then accidently dumped the NUN solution over my head.  OOPS… My mile 4 or 5 I also started to feel a little better and my run form was improving. Being efficient at the aid stations is so important.  Get what you want and get out.  That always seemed to take me at least 30 steps.   I wanted to run through the aid stations but knew I needed the calories.  A few times I took down some perform and it started to come right back up.  I was passing a ton of people the entire time on my run.  A few times I had to weave through the crowd. 

Saw Rich and Patrick as I entered the Park on the first lap.  Saw my family at the Special Needs half way point.  I kept reminding myself that there was really no good reason to stop running.  No leg cramps, no extreme stomach issues, just total exhaustion and that sea sick type of feeling…So on any other day those would be good reasons to stop but this was the Ironman® Run…No stopping.  According to the Ironman® results I started my run in 1500 place coming off the bike.  I finished in 746 place.  I was passing people from mile one and continued to pass people through the end of my run. At one point at the end of an aid station another athlete from behind me got my attention and said, “you got this, keep going”…Not sure if he was an ENer or just someone who saw that I was actually still running and was helping.  It was very cool.  At one point I ran past two female athletes who I then heard them say, “That’s Endurance Nation.”  As I made the turn in the park that last time, I knew my sub 4 hour goal was going to be close.  My entire body was buzzing and although I felt like I could keep running going much faster was a risk to totally blowing up.  My only hope to the sub 4 time was that my Garmin was wrong or somehow hugging the corners really helped me out on cutting out some of the distance.  With 3 miles to go someone yelled out, “11 min/mile will get you a sub 12 hour ironman”.  I ran it in with 3 other guys running well under the 11min/mile pace. Finishing was amazing. Just before I crossed the line I turned around and looked back down the finisher shoot.  There was no one behind me so I had it all to myself for a moment.  That space is so hard to get to I just wanted to look back on it and appreciate how far I had come to get there, amazing. Below are my mile split times.

Mile Time
14 9:48
15 9:28
16 9:56
17 9:32
18 9:37
19 9:52
20 9:08
21 9:51
22 9:36
23 9:57
24 9:57
25 8:56
26 8:31
Mile Time
1 9:59
2 8:44
3 9:28
4 9:06
5 9:00
6 8:55
7 8:35
8 9:36
9 9:43
10 9:12
11 9:32
12 8:45
13 9:04









I told my catcher that I needed to go to medical.  I skipped my finisher shot and went to the med tent.  Took down a bottle of perform, two cups of chicken broth and just sat and chilled. After getting sick during the swim my body finally had the chance to calm down and find its equilibrium.  I also quickly realized how banged up my feet were. 

Went back to the Condo with my mom and sister after having some chips and a piece of pizza.  My wife was amazing and got my bike and bags out of transition carrying it all over to the tri bike transport tent.  After some convincing they found my duffle bag. 

I managed to recover enough to make my other goal of the day which was to go back to the finish line and see other athletes become Ironman.  My wife and I were at the finish line at 11pm cheering people on.  Very cool.  What an amazing experience. 

Looking back

I’m still trying to gain some perspective on this race.  At times I feel incredibly humbled by it all.  What I thought would be an easier race compared to Lake Placid was in fact much harder.  At times I can see myself amongst the swells and it freaks me out.  During Lake Placid I never once had a thought of, “what if I can’t finish” but there I was 45 minutes into my race and I was asking that question.  If this had been a local race in my home town, I probably would have been eating breakfast with my family after the swim.  I’m proud that I let go of that Kayak and continued swimming even though I felt like garbage.  Through determination and not letting my “training self” down I kept moving forward.  Through some skill, the right tools, and knowing how to fix some of my issues I was able to finish.  I think if I had a bad nutrition plan on the bike my day would have been very different. I also think having a jersey on with arm coolers protecting myself from the sun helped me through.  As I write this my feet are banged up but I am NOT sunburn.  I am not sure my body could have taken being beaten up by the sun that day.  

I do have questions on my bike.  I’ll probably be asking myself if I should have road the bike harder or not.  Experience is my limiter here.  At the time I was trying to save my day by being conservative.  I guess it’s easy to forget that part.  The Plan was .68 IF the reality was .57.  It’s still such a monumental barrel to look down at mile 40 of a 112 mile bike followed by a marathon and say, “yah, let’s go harder” especially if you’re not feeling great and worried your body might stop cooperating.  Having the right tools of a Garmin and Joule made such a difference in the race compared to the first Ironman.  Knowing exactly where I was with my effort, pace, and mileage, made the day more manageable.  I also know I was exceptionally well trained for this event.  My last Race Rehearsal was really tough with it being cold but I managed to fight through.  Maybe that was the best thing for me and what I needed in preparation for IMFL. 

I’m signed up for Lake Tahoe, Sept 2013.  Right now, I’m only thinking about my down time and recovering. 


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