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    Steve Larsen, Steve 'Degre' Katai and Wingnut at the pre race press conference.


    Eventual race winner Bella comerford, Raynard Tissink, and Dave Harju at the press conference.


    Raynard Tissink and Wingnut at the awards...both were very happy to see the end of another long season.

       
     

    IM Florida Race Report from Gail Lohman.

    The week leading to the race was frenzied with the business of packing and getting to the race site. We opted to drive even though it would take two days, we practiced it getting to your camp and it worked for us. We arrived early Wednesday afternoon without much trouble at all. All the way to Florida I was wanting to get into the open water and practice my swimming. I was really looking forward to having that opportunity. When we arrived, the red flag flying. Water was too rough and no one was allowed in. My heart was in my throat. I've never done a race in ocean type conditions and now this. I prayed a lot for things to get better.

    The next morning, Thursday, the blue flag was flying, and people were swimming. We donned our wetsuits and entered the water. There were waves, but Chuck assured me once past the waves the water was flat. I swam out and back a couple of times so I regained my confidence that I could actually swim in these conditions.

    Later on Thrusday we went out for a bike ride and short, easy run. Legs were feeling good and strong and we knew the taper had worked. Oh yeah, we also did some shopping...something I excel at. No practice needed for shopping.

    Friday morning we went to the swim clinic which we both found extremely helpful and then Chuck made me get off my feet. Well, he tried his best but more shopping had to be done. There's some pretty cute stuff to buy at Ironman expos, you know. While walking around, I bumped into you, Paula, and you gave me some words of wisdom and assurance which I appreciated.

    Next, on Friday afternoon, we got our bikes ready, and our transition bags, (I packed, unpacked, and repacked mine) and made our way back to the IM site to check everything in. With every official details taken care of, there was little to do but obssess about the race. Chuck made me listen to the Relaxation CD that Huddle gave me at the camp. You know what??? It worked. I was relaxed for once. Only thing left to do was try to get some rest on the night before our second IM race.

    Now it's Saturday morning, race day, really early. We took your advice and ate well. Took care of all necessary business and made our way down to the water's edge. My prayers were answered and we were blessed with perfect conditions. Little wind, little humidity, perfect temperature and best of all, flat water. We did a little practice swimming. It was awesome. I saw you, Paula, you hugged me and told me I would have a great race. I remember Heather once said "Paula's a smart lady and she knows". Heather was right, you did know.

    The gun went off, we entered the water. Even though I had to swim in a pack the entire time, it was a great swim. Sure I was kicked, punched and swim over top of, but I was prepared and expecting it. I had an awesome swim time: 1:21. I was thrilled. I ran to the transition area and had my usual slow transition (must work on that). I was off on the bike. At camp, I drafted you for some 90 miles of the bike course. I tried to pretend I was doing the same. I imagined you in front of me and it seemed to help in the head wind. I was truly prepared. At mile 70 - 75, I had a low point on the bike and I remembered you telling me to stay focused and saying to myself, what would Paula do?, the answer came...take another salt tablet and eat more. It worked, I had a second wind. Great. Before too long I was off the bike and onto the run.

    The run for me was awesome. My legs felt great. The nutrition plan you talked about in camp was working. It seemed like an easy training run but I had just ridden my bike 112 miles so I was amazed. The last four miles of the run I decided to try to pick up the pace and with two miles to go I picked it up even more. I think the last two miles were the fastest. The finish was there before I knew it and my time was faster that I ever dreamt it would be. I had a PR by 2 hours and 31 minutes. Every one of the three disciplines were faster than my last IM.

    In summary, I have to give credit to all the volunteers who did the most awesome job, my local coach, and to you at Mulitsports who shared your knowledge and wisdom with us and showed us the course and how to race it, and to God for answering my prayers and giving us the perfect day and kept us safe.

    Thanks for everything.

    Gail Fisher-Lohman (aka G Lo)
    12:36 IM Florida time
    4th place in the 50 - 54 age group