As I mentioned previously, our very own BRA triathlete extraordinaire, Navy Steve, completed his FIRST Ironman distance tri on Saturday. It was the Great Floridian Triathlon. The race was held in Clermont, Florida and consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run. (To this I say – bananas.) Part II will be posted tomorrow.

Steve’s Report:
I got to the chip issue place on the morning (instead of giving it out the night before as most have done – not a bad idea though so you have less “lost” chips) and my chip #908 is not on the rack. It is gone. No problems – we’ll fix it. Come back a little later, “Here take this one – #1002, you will have no issues.” Right! Overall – the volunteer support and logistics of the race were excellent, and I was not too concerned about the chip, but I knew that it would cause problems down the road. Can’t worry about it now. As long as this one works it can be fixed later on. As I was righting this, still no official splits on the site – but at least my overall time is there.

Mass start at 7:30 AM.

I swim much better in a wetsuit. The wetsuit is very good in 74 degree water and the water was pretty smooth in the lake. It was two loops. When I got back in after the first loop, I waded out a little longer (as opposed to swimming on the jog back out to the water) to take a quick pee. That was about 8:15. That was my last pee for 14 hours…Seriously.

My folks and wife, Kris, were at transition and cheering like crazy. Looking strong! I was slow to get off my wetsuit so I had to get help to get it unclasped. The “stripper” stripped it off quick and I put my wetsuit in the bag, and put on my helmet and put all my PureFit Bars, ECaps, and Hammer Gels into my pockets in the back of my Tri-Shirt. Everyone went through a changing tent – a number of butt naked folks in there. Nobody cared. I personally did not get butt naked until after the bike.

Hilly. Immediately go up a short little hill. I was warned and was in the correct gear – apparently people have fallen down right there. I got into gear and got into a little rhythm around the lake, and then got ready for the hills. Hilly. Chain came off on first major hill, not a great start, but I got it back on quickly. Now my hands will have grease on them for the next 10+ hours, yeah, ECaps with grease coating on them taste great! Hilly.

Actually I passed a fair amount of people on the bike. I was heading around a corner when I heard this metal piece hit the ground. I was thinking, “What was that? Was it important? Should I go back and get it? Is my bike gearing and brakes still working?” I coasted for a few seconds to take stock and my bike seemed fine. Then, I looked at my Garmin. It was now just a watch band with a place where the Garmin electronics used to be. I figured that’s ok as I knew I had my other watch and could calculate approximate pace and distance at the aid station. The Garmin was over two years old and the way I sweat [B.o.B. Note: Steve sweats more than ANYONE I have ever seen.], it was about time for a new one. I will get a heart rate one next time and see how long the electronics can last on that with my sweating!! Merry Christmas to me!!


Ok, the fun part is over. I now struggle to get off the bike. A friend commented that I looked like I was cramping a bit, and I was. Someone came and got my bike from me as I jogged – no wait – I was not jogging – only walking at this point! I then went into the transition tent and now I got butt naked. I put on my shorts and wondered about the cramping. I seemed to be taking too long thinking about my darn bag (the string broke shoving my gear in). I did not think about the butt naked ladies in the other side of the tent. Actually, I think there were only 1 or 2 ahead of me at this point so they probably weren’t even there. I finally get out of transition. How long was I in there? I am still not sure since I have no splits. I will call it five minutes.


There are 3 loops of approximately 8.7 miles or so to go. I am thinking all I need to do is go 4:25 to go under 12 hours or even 4:00 and get close to 11:30. Little did I know!

At mile 6 MAJOR cramp in the right thigh – my foot was pointed out at a greater than 45 degree angle! I am thinking, “Am I having a stroke? This is not good.” I physically could not dig deep and run. It was not a willpower or effort issue, it was just plain over. Every time I tried to run for the next 8 miles it would cramp up and send shooting pain. I figured walking was better than falling down and getting booted off the course. I have never walked in a race before (except for a 45 second stretch once toward the end of a marathon).

I am not sure when another racer named David came up, but I think it was right after my friend Larry (spectator) ran ahead. When I started to walk David came up behind me and he also started to walk. He was having major cramping in his hamstring. He said that it was better to walk with someone than walk alone. I told him that he would be walking a long time with me. It was his first Ironman as well. He ran a sub 3:00 Boston Marathon this year. I think he walked nearly two miles with me but before the end of the first loop he started to run again and he was gone.

This was probably the toughest part of the race for me. I can see the finish line but it is not the finish line that is the problem. It is the fact that I know I have a great cheering crowd there and I am going to reward them with a relatively SLOW WALK pace as I go by. And there is nothing I can do about it! There were balloons and signs and cowbells and cheering… And there was walking and more walking. If I had not already set in my mind to walk those last 20.2 miles I don’t think I would have kept going. This was the true decision point.

*Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion! Great story so far no???