Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Local Ironman Knows the Ropes; Terranella Has Become an Expert on Preparing for the Grueling Race

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Local Ironman Knows the Ropes; Terranella Has Become an Expert on Preparing for the Grueling Race

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID JOHNSON

Kevin Terranella has learned a lot since competing in his first Ironman in 1999.

"Back then, I read you needed to take in 400 calories an hour. I was eating hamburgers, seriously," Terranella said of the Ironman Florida race in Panama City. "It was an eye-opener. I didn't know what I was doing."

The 55-year-old Fruit Cove resident has prepared himself much better for Saturday's Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Terranella knows a lot more about nutrition and training after having competed in four races at the Ironman distance -- 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run -- and about 15 Half Ironman races.

His nutritional intake is down to a science, from the 1,200 calories he'll carry on the bike to the 70 to 100 calories he'll try to take in hourly during the marathon run. He uses a concentrated energy drink to stay nourished.

Terranella, who competed in the Ironman World Championship in 2002, also knows what to expect from the grueling race. That begins with the swim, which he considers his weakest leg.

"It's full contact," he said. "They were passing around a joke. It's like Australian Rules [Football] in a washing machine."

Terranella said he could easily lose 2 pounds during the swim.

After he endures the water, he intends to do his hardest racing during the bike and the last 6 miles of the run. But he also knows the difficulty of the course and the conditions will push him to the limit.

The winds coming off the mountains can "literally throw racers off their bikes," he said.

"The 26-mile run starts in the hottest part of the day, usually in the mid-90s, and takes you across gray barren volcano lava fields," Terranella said. "It is like running in an oven."

Terranella, who has worked for the U.S. Department of Defense for 30 years, said the punishing race is worth it for the treatment that competitors receive before and after the event. …

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