The Great Floridian 1/3 IM Triathlon: Carol Walker’s Race Report

November 08,2017

Here is a little recap on the Great Floridian 1/3 Triathlon. The race motto is “Are you tough enough?” I had to wonder if I was tough enough.

The race started with the full IM and then the 2/3 IM, followed by the 1/3 IM and finally a sprint tri. Kathleen Richardson, my teammate, was there to cheer me on and take pictures. It really lifted my spirits to have her there. I had a lot of anxiety waiting to start.

The swim course was shaped like a very large ice cream cone. I stood on the beach and tried to see the last buoy which seemed very far away. The swim started off great, a little crowded but I got in a rhythm, and found my path. When I made the third turn and headed toward shore, we headed into the chop. Why isn’t the current ever on your side? I finished the swim and exited the water headed to the bike.

The bike course follows the toughest hills in Clermont. Hills like Buckhill, the Wall and Sugarloaf. There is nothing sweet about Sugarloaf. I passed several riders walking up the steep hills of Sugarloaf. I just kept pushing and pedaling. My legs were screaming. On part of the hill it seemed as if the wind was either in our face or somehow all of the oxygen had been completely sucked out of the world.

I thought about the patients and Team PHenomenal Hope. Just keep going. Don’t give up. DIG DEEPER. I felt exhilarated as I reached the top and finished the ride back to transition. All that was left was the run. It was long and hot with the sun beating down on us. The water stops were plentiful and fully of energetic support staff, which I was glad to see. I just thought, “Push through this. You can do it.”

I am tough enough!

I was so happy to cross the finish line. I was really surprised to see I placed first in my age group. I was very proud to represent Team PH and raise awareness for PAH patients. I realized that I am tough enough!

Carol Walker


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