Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Gulf Coast Triathlon as Told by the Wife

It was a lucky circumstance that while Jason and I were down in Florida for his work, the Gulf Coast Triathlon would be taking place on the Saturday we were there.  Jason wanted to sign up so I said go for it, knowing he's been wanting to do this one and I am always up for a little spectator action.  I have no idea what it is, but I love watching him do these things.

The race was about an hour and a half from where we were staying so we drove his bike over there Friday evening after he got done working and then got up at 3:40 a.m. to get there in time Saturday morning.  It was an early morning but since this pregnant lady wakes up around that time anyway, it wasn't hard to get going (although after the event, I felt every second of that 3:40 wake-up).

Jason put the rest of his gear in the transition area, got his wetsuit, and we made our way down to the ocean.  The ocean!  This was going to be Jason's first ocean swim in an event of this sort and as we looked out on the buoys that marked the 1.2 mile course, I think we were both a little nervous.  The waves were definitely looking rough.  Jason's swim started around 6:20 I think, so as his turn to enter the water drew near, I gave him his 3 good luck kisses and he walked to the starting point.  I have to admit I had a bit of a lump in my throat.  Chalk it up to pregnancy hormones, being proud of my husband, or really hoping my baby's daddy came out of that water (as all of the scenes from Discovery Channel's Shark Week came to mind).  I said a prayer as I always do for God to please keep that man safe!

There they go!  Jason's age group wore the orange caps.

And, as always, God answered my prayer.  Not only did Jason make his way out of the water, but he looked great and his swim time was right on target for what he'd predicted (not taking into account the ocean, which was now red-flagged).

Jason exits the water, catching up to age groups who started before he did.

Next was the 56 mile bike ride and while I always pray for his safety, I was not as nervous about this part.  Jason enjoys the bike ride and is comfortable on his bike, so I had no doubt if all went well, he'd do just fine.  Of course, while he was riding a rain shower blew up and when I say blew up, I mean came in on some serious wind!  Wind is NOT what you want when on a bike ride.  It is worse than a windy run.  And the direction of this wind meant as soon as Jason turned around, he faced it all the way back to the transition area. During his ride I ran 3 miles, changed clothes and bought a bowl of fruit, some frosted mini wheats and a small coffee to snack on while I waited for Jason to finish.  I found a window looking directly out onto the bike finish and when I thought he'd be coming through, I went back outside.  Just in time too!

Jason finishes his 56 mile bike ride, just as the rain subsides.
And of course, after the bike ride, Jason laced up those running shoes and ran like the wind.  As he started his run, I came across a dear friend from Panama City and her daughter, so we chatted for a good while, which made the short time he ran the 13.1 miles even shorter.  I did not have long to wait as I picked out my perfect spot to photograph him as he ran in.  He came through looking strong, smiling, and giving me a high five as he passed.

I was so proud!  He completed each event as fast or faster than he'd predicted, and he looked and felt great at the end!  To me this was a very good sign for the upcoming Ironman in June and I know it built up his confidence in it as well.

Jason and his two biggest fans after the triathlon.
Proof of the red-flag warning to beach goers suggesting that they NOT swim in the ocean.
Jason's splits and places in the male category were as follows:

1.2 mile swim finish: 40:54, 169th place
56 mile bike finish: 2:40:24, 141st place
13.1 mile run finish 1:29:19, 2nd place

Overall finish time (taking into account transitions) 4:56:54, 48th male, 5th in his age group.  For complete results, go here

The places after each finish reflect how he rated in each event.  When he got off the bike, he was 139th place.  After his run, he was 48th.  I find that part pretty amazing. 

Jason showered off by the beach, changed into some dry clothes and then we hung around until 1:00 p.m. when he could remove his bike from the transition area.  By the time we headed back to our condo in Destin, we were both starting to feel a lot like zombies.  We stopped by Moe's for some tacos to-go, and drove back in a stupor of sleepiness.  I know for a fact I have never had a more delicious taco or had a more luxurious shower in my life.  We enjoyed our tacos, watched a little TV, and I know we were both asleep before 9:00 pm because when I turned out the lamp by 8:30, Jason was already asleep.

It was a wonderful day.  I love watching these events, I love being inspired by my husband and I love that feeling of watching him cross the finish line triumphantly.  And that feeling at the end of it all when we fall into bed, pleasantly exhausted after such a great day and sleep the sleep of the dead, that is nice too.

Now, stay tuned because the athlete himself has said he will write a bit about his experience for my blog.  While I can share some as a spectator, I cannot share what he experienced and that, I think, is another interesting point of view to read.


  1. Wow he had a great race!! Those waves look huge and I would of been praying too!! Just think how fast he would of been if it had been calm water and no wind or rain. I bet both of you were super tired after that day! I remember going on a road trip like that when I was prego and I was soo tired when we got back and on the way there I got car sick since it was a winding road (which I usually never have motion sickness!) It will be interesting to hear he's recap.

  2. Looks like an awesome race for your hubby, especially given the wind and weather! I am SURE he loved having his two biggest fans at the finish line. It will be fun to read what he has to say :)

  3. i love reading about both of your adventures! way to go, jason! i can't wait to hear how the ironman goes!