Monday, November 4, 2013

The Post Where Everything Completely Changes

So in the last post I talked about how we wanted to do Ironman Florida (or Arizona) but those sell out so fast (in minutes) that we had resigned ourselves to doing Ironman Kentucky.

The main problems with Ironman Kentucky were: 1) The heat/humidity in August in Louisville (regularly gets up into the 90s) and 2) The hilly bike course (considered one of the more difficult).

Here's the elevation map for the bike course of IM Louisville:

But as we were watching the live feed for IM Florida on Saturday, November 2, Princess, Hippie and I started texting back and forth: Should we try to get in to IM Florida? Would the other two be willing to do Charity spots if one of us got in and the others didn't?

IM Florida is considered to be one of the best races for first-timers. It's a flat course, it's in November, it's in a crowd-friendly city.  Here's the bike elevation for IM Florida (in Panama City Beach):

 Although both may look hilly in the pictures, the actual key is to look at the gain numbers. Kentucky is 3x more hilly than Florida on the bike.

And for someone like me, already not real confident on a bike, who lives in Virginia Beach, (aka: Least Hilliest Place on the Planet), the thought of eliminating some serious hills was thrilling.

So we decided to go for it. We'd try to register for IM FL and if none of us got in, then we could go back to Kentucky and if one or more of us got in the others would do Charity spots and we'd all help fundraise.

Ironman registration for the next year's race opens the day after the race is run in the current year. (So IM FL was Nov 2, 2013, and registration for 2014 was on Nov 3) Registration opens first to athletes who just finished the race.  If every single athlete who raced IM FL on Saturday had decided to sign up again on Sunday, there would be no spots open for anyone else. But since that's kind of like asking a mom who just went through labor 10 minutes ago if they're going to have another kid next year, a lot of athletes don't sign up.

Volunteers at the race have the next level of priority. If you want to make sure you get a spot in IM FL, volunteer for the race the year before. Volunteers can sign up for the race before registration opens on line.

Getting whatever advantage I can for registration.
Then, after athletes and volunteers sign up, IF there are still spots available, they open to the general public online. And for a flat, fast courses like IM FL and IM Arizona, there aren't many spots left by the time they're available online. That's why they sell out in minutes.

But we were determined to try. So at 1pm on Sunday we were all sitting at our computers, on the correct page, ready to hit refresh over and over. I personally was using: 3 iPads, 2 iPhones, and my laptop. I had my 9 year-old assisting.

Princess, Hippie and I were frantically texting each other through the whole process. First one of us got in -- hooray! Then another and finally another! ALL THREE OF US WERE IN (although one of us had to use an Ironman Foundation spot). It was stressful, but worth it in end.

So, so long Kentucky! We'll be doing Ironman Florida in Panama City Beach on November 1, 2014!

This does mean I will have to defer my guaranteed entry to the NYC Marathon (scheduled for Nov 2, 2014) to 2015, but I decided that was worth it. So Panama City Beach, here we come!

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