~By Dave Petkovsek, Dynoswimmer
2,300 athletes lined up on the beach in Panama City Beach. It was a picture perfect day on the 1st of November, the gulf was flat and clear water temp in the low 70's and air temp about the same. Records would fall today.
I edged twords the front of the swim start and as the cannon went off so did the 2300 swimmers at one time heading out on a 1.2 mile loop to be repeated. I was in the mix with 100's of swimmers and swam most of the 1st full lap in complete contact with other swimmers the whole time. It wasn't until about ½ way through the 2nd lap before I could stretch out and get into any kind of rhythm. The water was so clear that as I exited the water I started to stand thinking I was in two feet of water to find out it was six feet deep.
Out of the water I was into a mayhem of chaos in the changing tent. The IronMan volunteers are incredible. I have never done any other race that is so well organized. An army of volunteers is there to strip you wetsuit and take it away, find your biking gear and get it to you, help you dress and send you off with well wishes.
The bike was flat and fast. 112 miles; at 70 miles I was still averaging 22 mph and feeling good. I backed off a little for the rest and came in with a 21 mph average for a 5:20 bike split. I was thrilled going through transition 2 as I was 20 minutes ahead of goal time 12 hours.
My plan for the run was to run from aid station to aid station walking only to get fluids. I did this successfully for the 1st 13 miles. At the turnaround with 13 miles left I started to fade. This was as much a mental fade as physical. But nonetheless I walked over ½ of the next 6 miles. During this run/walk phase I kept checking the time of the day. My stopwatch had failed and I could only rely on the time of day to give me an indication of where I was. This was difficult because I was not sure exactly what time the race started and how accurate my time was. As I approached 16 miles I realized that the exactness of my time was soon to not matter because I was going too slow to reach that 12 hour goal. At 18 miles I gave up on the goal and decided to be happy with finishing.
As I approached 20 miles it occurred to me that I only had 6.2 miles left, if I were to run the rest of the way, without stopping not even for fluids I had a chance of breaking 12 hours. This seemed very unlikely since I was only able to run / walk the last 6 miles, and I thought, "Why disappoint myself?" Then I realized that if I didn't try I would never forgive myself. So at the 20 mile mark I started running. As I passed through the aid stations I did not stop - just grabbed a coke as I ran by. This was also a time of prayer; God, give me the legs, and if I have the guts not to stop bring me in under 12 hours. That prayer was repeated every mile I am sure.
As the miles passed I knew it would be close and kept pushing through the pain. The pain was really no more than I had experienced previously in races and that surprised me. With about 200 yards to go I still could not see the finish but I heard the announcer call out that it was 11:59 into the race 1 minute to finish under 12 hours. I was thrilled and nervous. I picked up the pace and rounded the curve, saw the finish and cruised in at 11:59:50!
Postscript: This was amazing for me, in fact over the past year I changed many of my passwords to IM 1159. This had been my goal for the last 12 months and I came from behind to do it!
A heartfelt congratulations to both Dave Petkovsek and Amy Britton upon completion of their IronMan!
Amy completed her 1st IronMan!
Dave completed his 3rd!
Amy was 1st out of the water!
Congratulations Amy and Dave! What an accomplishment! You are both truly I-R-O-N-M-E-N !
Fantastic job my fine finned friends! Congrats to Dave on the breaking 12 hours and congrats to Amy on her first!
Great job guys!
You guys are awesome! Most people cannot do even the individual pieces of this race and you did all three at once! You can do anything with planning, hard work, and prayer. You both had all three of these working for you and we are very proud of you!