Jamie Ann Phillips: Journey from Recreational Swimmer to Ironman Florida 2014

1240378_10102436776687055_3464781787054576501_nI guess you can say I became a triathlete in 2009 when I “participated” in a few sprint triathlons.  I honestly never thought I’d do any longer distance of a race. Then I moved to Chattanooga in October of 2009…

Once moving to Chattanooga, I just fell in love with being active.  I started meeting people and trying new group activities (open water swimming, mountain biking, etc.).  I found myself signing up for more races and the passion grew from there.

I made friends with members of the Chattanooga Tri Club, and became inspired to attempt a half-Ironman. Once I completed it, I trained for Swim the Suck.  Both of these races in one year made me realize I enjoyed the endurance stuff. But I wasn’t completely sold on IRONMAN until I watched my friend finish her 2nd IRONMAN in Florida of 2013.  It wasn’t 24 hours before I signed up for one- IRONMAN Florida.

The inspiration is contagious.  You want to be a part of it.

1471741_10205155088545439_3805468483923446087_nAnd thus, my IRONMAN journey started. It was probably March before I was truly in IRONMAN training mode.  Two-a-day workouts, 3+ hour bike rides every weekend, hungry all of the time…you get the point. And the funny part? I started placing in races I was entering along the way.  I had stopped participating, and started racing.  Wow!

It was July when my journey really hit a roadblock.  I had developed a stress fracture in my right foot and was being booted for 8+ weeks.  This means more biking, a lot of swimming and water jogging.  Luckily I’m a member of the Vixens and could easily find people to bike with!  Thanks to those that joined me on the “Poop Loop” on Tuesdays (Monica, Karen, Lori…).

10665723_10102624132584335_5623329408791603428_nI ended up placing third at Swim the Suck in October.  This endurance stuff was really starting to click.

By October, my foot really started to feel healed, and I started running again.  Now, time to head to Panama City Beach for IRONMAN Florida! The forecast was looking perfect. Then, two days out, the winds picked up and the forecast turned horrid.  Meteorologists were forecasting highs in the 50s and winds of 20mph with 30+mph wind gusts.  I realized this was going to be tough.

Day of the race, I got up feeling great.  I headed to transition area where the temperature was in the low 40s and it was quite windy.

Twenty minutes before race and they cancelled the swim.
My IRONMAN dreams were crushed. 

0818_064434The result was a time trial bike start.  On the course, we never spread out; it was almost a constant draft zone (illegal in IRONMAN).  I finished the bike in 6:45 (about 30 minutes slower than my normal due to winds) and ran the marathon in 5:41.  My foot was never in pain- definitely a miracle. My overall time was 12:35.  What a day to remember.





10461619_10102677177975945_5782554404790961046_nLooking back, this is what Jamie has to say… 

Anyone can do an IRONMAN. It just takes the commitment through training.
Keep moving forward. You can overcome those obstacles.
You are stronger that your biggest excuse.

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