Florida Ironman 2010 – Why I’m Dropping Out

That’s right, I’m scrapping the plan I put in place almost a year ago to do the Florida Ironman this year. The Florida Ironman 2010 in Panama City would have been my first Ironman ever, and I’ve been pretty excited about it, since this was the goal I set when I started doing triathlons back in 2007. While there are personal reasons having to do with simply having too much on my plate and needing to focus, and those reasons may be more than enough by themselves, for the purposes of this blog the one reason I want to talk about is the uncertainty caused by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Training for an Ironman requires 15-20 hours per week of training (or if not actual training time, then training-related time), maybe more, if you’re slow at the gym like I am and you factor in drive time. It’s an incredible sacrifice not only for the individual, but that individual’s family. Then there is the money involved in getting to the event and back, which is a few grand if you’re taking the whole family as I’ve been planning on doing. For me, to spend upwards of 400 hours on training and a few thousand dollars on travel and lodging, only to end up with the event being postponed or the swim canceled isn’t an endeavor in which I want to participate.

It’s not that the time would be wasted, of course. I’d still have the health benefits of all that training. But I don’t like the uncertainty of not knowing whether the event I’m training for is going to happen. Of course there’s always the risk that an Ironman might be canceled, or that at least the swim portion might be canceled, but generally I’d say that risk is fairly low compared to the risk that Florida Ironman 2010 will be canceled or turned into a duathlon.

As for doing a duathlon, I’m not into it. For me, if I do an Ironman without the swim, it’s not really an Ironman. If I were on the spot and they announced the day of the race that the swim was canceled, I might still participate, even though I wouldn’t go around telling people afterward that I had “Finished an Ironman”. But if I were already there, and had already spent the money and had done the training, then why not at least get a good bike/run brick workout in? But I wouldn’t buy plane tickets to do an Ironman duathlon, even if I had already done the training.

If the folks who run Ironman had already announced a different swim venue, then that might have changed my mind. But with the time having approached for me to start my training in earnest, I feel I need to make a decision one way or the other, and given the uncertainty (and the other personal factors I mentioned at the beginning) I’m deciding to drop out. Perhaps the oil will never hit Panama City, and come November I’ll be thinking “Dang, I could be there right now.” But that really isn’t the point. The point is that right now, in June, I don’t know what’s going to happen, and that’s all I need to know.

Now the question is this–do I get my partial refund now? Do I wait and hope that perhaps they will give full refunds if oil hits the beaches and they cancel the event? Will they postpone the event and give us the option of doing the race in 2011? Does anybody know what they did for participants after the recent cancellation of the Japan Ironman?

What would be really nice would be if they would let me trade my Florida Ironman 2010 registration for the St. George Ironman 2011 in Utah.

  • http://www.pingjeffgreene.com/ Jeff


    I wrote IMFL an email and they responded back in my post below:

    Looks like they are doing everything they can to make this a full IM, whether the swim has to be moved or not. There is currently no talk about canceling.

    Hope you make it there.


  • http://IMFL Celeste Burr

    Josh – I got the same response Jeff got when I inquired. I’m right there with you on the Iron duathlon though. That’s not what I would want to do. Nor do I want to swim in the Gulf. Between the oil and the dispersants, I’m sure I’d inget enough of something to get sick. I hope that they will do the right thing. It seems that this far out, they should be able to be more flexible. I know things happen that are unforseen, but this is a major oops. And I paid a lot to do an Ironman, not a duathlon.


  • johnny come lately

    The oil flow has been stopped and there are no signs of oil in PCB. I believe it will be a full IM. IMFL is my first and I feel exactly the same about IM/duathlon. I paid a lot and my first IM must include a swim or else I can not say I did a ironman!

  • J McG

    I am not sure you could complete the IM St George. IM is all about raiing and commitment. I hear your thoughts about IM and duatlhon and not wanting to do it but you don’t train just for one IM, you train for life and then for IM specifically. You need more commitment – IM St George is the hardest one out there.

  • Joshua

    You could be right. Three years ago I had never run over a mile in my life, and I told my wife I never would. It wasn’t that I lacked desire, but I didn’t believe it was possible. This year I ran my first marathon and surprised a number of people, most of all myself. Now that I’ve done one, it doesn’t seem like nearly as big a deal as it did before.

    Having never done an Ironman, I don’t know exactly what it takes, so it would be presumptuous for me to say “I don’t care what you say, I’m going to do it.” That said, I have done a marathon and two half-Ironman events, and so I have at least something of an idea of what it takes, and I’m pretty sure my body/mind can handle doing a full Ironman, including all the training leading up to it.

    But this year isn’t the right time for me to do it. Regardless of the oil spill, there’s too much going on. I’m committed to doing an Ironman, but I’m more committed to my family, and this year saw a lot of conflicts between family responsibilities and training for an Ironman. I don’t think next year or the year after will include the same unique situations as this year. While I don’t believe I have time to train for St. George next year (2011), 2012 is a very real possibility. But who knows, 2011 may be more feasible than I think. Maybe I’ll surprise myself again.

  • J McG

    Impressive those accomplishments. Family is the main reason for most lack of training and even the most dedicated triathlete still should be slightly more dedicated to their family so I get your plight. It just seemed like the Oil reason for skipping IM FL seemed a bit light and not in concert with what is needed to finish any IM.

    But with your explanation and your accomplishments to date, I am sure you can finish any IM once you decide on it. IM St George has multiple cutoff times for Bike and Run as they are both double loops and seeing that they are BOTH very hard, you must be ready to paee yourself and be honest if you can make this tremendously tough IM called St George.