Four years ago, Escape to Miami was my first Olympic distance triathlon and my second triathlon ever. Since then I have done it 2 times. I consider this race the toughest Olympic distance race in Miami. You can check the past race reports (and see the progress in years time, I think I'm thinner now LOL) here 2010 and 2011
Last year unfortunately I couldn’t do the race since I was injured and had a bigger monster to tackle called Kona. I remember I had a long 18 mile run scheduled that day and I bandit the race in the middle of my run haha. It was fun! For more about what happened last year’s Escape to Miami go here
After my St. Anthony’s Triathlon debacle, I have learned a lot and placed a lot of time tweaking my training plan. The ultimate objective is to qualify in St Anthony’s for Nationals next year. Escape to Miami is a harder race than St Anthony’s so it would be a good test to see where I am now after 6 months from this year’s St. Anthony’s. Plus it will be good to compare the times from my past races. Putting numbers together I was positive that I could not only PR but I could break the 2:30 barrier.
I was happy that some of my Team MaccaX teammates were coming to town to compete. We had a nice prerace dinner with them, got the chance to meet them and talk about triathlon and the upcoming Triathlon Camp with Chris Macca McCormack here in Miami. Evelyn is the Miami organizer of the camp, plus a badass triathlete and Ironman 70.3 World Championship qualifier, something that stayed with me that night was that she mentioned this: "Most people race for racing, but I race to WIN!". Hopefully one day I can have the ability to race to win... I'm sure my dad would be proud if I can for once win a race. :)
Race day: I got into transition to prepare my bike. I had a very good spot in the transition area, which was really nice. Meet my teammates from Tri2One, Carlitos, Orlando and Michelle and we headed of to the ferry. We were on the last ferry to the so called “Escape Island”, met more teammates in the ferry, (Lisa, Ludo, Pablo, Maria, Jill and Renata) and meet my Instafriend Arlene. Jumped to the water and had an easy swim that served as a little warm up to Escape Island. The years I did the race, there was always a guy with an acoustic guitar playing songs that give the ambience of a nice camp fire. Now they had a DJ playing music. What amaze me this time was that there were some guys and gals in a boat, parked next in the island, blasting music… it seems it was a fight off between the people on the boat and the island DJ to see who had the loudest music. Now the people in the boat were completely trashed… and the girls… THE GIRLS. Let’s say that it was stuff taken out from a music video, or a movie… and let’s say that at a moment I wanted to leave the race, jump on that boat, grab a beer and PARTY!. I guess for the people out of town, they were expecting something like this… is Miami after all.
Anyway, back to the race. A final countdown and we went. Obviously rough the first meters, with a couple of kicking, punching and all that good stuff. My swim has gotten pretty good lately so I was confident. Like never before I kept track of the bouys the whole time. Some people were drafting off me and freaking touching my feet… so much that actually I wanted to KICK one of those bastards off!. After a while I was by myself and passing people. The last meters I felt some swells, but not for so long. I felt good overall in the swim portion.
Off the water and ran to T1, heard a lot of people shouting my name and I was trying to recognize the voices (Thanks as always for the support!). To my surprise there were a lot of bikes still in transition. I had a bit of a trouble trying to take Lightning out of the rack. It was stuck with another bike and my bike pump that I left in transition. The spacing overall was really tight. Anyway… took her out and ran off T1. Mounted and off I went!
Weather analysis: so far cloudy… and that was good. Easy spinning to calm down my heart rate, and after wards it was go time. I wanted to have the same effort as I had been having on the sprints, the bike is my strongest so I needed to take advantage of it. From downtown Miami to Miami Beach and back a total of 2 times. The road was thru the causeway (which is actually my daily commute to work!) I-195, that has 2 bridges, making a total of 8 for the bike course, since you have to do 2 loops. Tried to play as much with the gear while climbing in order to keep the cadence up. As soon as I would get on top I would hammer down in Lightning’s heaviest gear to get speed. Some people will get on top and go down cruising…NO! Is a race! Don’t you know that if you stop pedaling, lactic acid will start to build up! Keep those legs moving!!! Felt really strong on the bike, and whatever loss of speed I would get on the bridges, I would gain it back while coming down and hammering… so I would compensate. Big chunk of the bike course I was between a guy in my same age group... I will call him “30” since that’s the number he had in his calf. I would pass him, he will pass me and vice versa. We catch a group and we were trying to pass each other. Started raining for a bit and for me was great… I do better on rain. On the second loop and coming back to downtown Miami, fatigue started hitting me and I lost them. Crap! Now I just needed to keep my cadence/speed in check. Still felt strong, but these guys were out of my league.
Got to T2. Bike racked, shoes on and visor on and off. More shouting, cheering and people calling my name. I was basically sprinting out of transition, felt great but I was marking 6:30/mile pace… Sweet Baby Jesus! I needed to calm the fuck up! The bridge was coming and a long way on the MacArthur Causeway ahead. Lately I’ve been trying to focus a lot in my form, so I concentrated on that. CRAP! The bridge, keep a good pace but don’t overdo. I was going at my estimated race pace and a bit faster on the bridge, still had good energy… so what the hell, keep going…
Coming down the bridge and saw the first pros coming in for the finish. I was concentrating on keeping my estimated pace that was 7:30’s/mile. Good keep going. I started passing people on the run… felt GREAT! Started seeing the elites and top age group taken it home, so many friendly faces. Turn around, still having the good form and pace. Some people pass me but that was ok, since they were not on my age group. Then my trauma started unfolding… people of my age group passing me, 4 miles in. I was already in the pain cave trying to keep the pace. Mile 5 I was losing my pace and slowing down, plus the bridge ahead of the beginning. Now it was a mental game of not stopping. I was checking my watch to see if I could actually break the 2:30… it was a achievable… just needed to go faster and not break.
The bridge came and I slowed down, I saw a guy walking the bridge and told him to "keep going!, last stretch!", and he said, "I’m coming!" And he did! He pass me and continued ahead… I was happy for the stranger. Another guy in my age group passed me. I was like FUUUUCK!, I can’t do anything about it! Down the bridge and it was time to put everything I had left (if any). Passed by the water station, had some sips and there was like a broken hose with water coming out. I thought “nice!” but unfortunately...
As I enjoyed the water coming from the hose, the street was filled with water and became a little pond… I ran into it, but my shoes got soaking wet and felt the heaviness in my feet of running with soaked shoes (plus the squisinging sounds). GREAT!, even more weight to carry, and none the less from my SHOES! Got to the park almost to the finish line and I was thinking that hopefully nobody in my age group will pass me so I can do my Panda Kick in peace, so I won't force a sprint finish. As I was thinking about that 2 guys passed me, and one was from my age group and I was like: FUCK NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
At that time, I just wanted him to go… I didn’t care. I wanted to do my Panda Kick and have a nice pic for my collection of Flying Kick finishes. Then a friend, Hector from iRun Store, starts shouting “Go get him Beto! He’s already tired... YOU GOT THIS!”. My ki raised up one last time and the Ironman became active! I started thinking, "How much you want this?, LET'S GO FOR BROKE!!!" Started sprinting to catch these 2 guys and the crowd went NUTS! Even the announcer from way back saw the sprint coming and was going BALLISTIC! As I started catching the guy in my age group he started sprinting, and the guy in front of him as he saw us coming he started sprinting too! OH MY GOD I ALMOST DIED!
I couldn’t catch any of them, steps from the finish and died. No Panda Kick either. Did my best with tired legs already. X_X Beto dies... RIP. :(
I was afraid of checking my time, but I did. 2:31. For a minute I didn’t break the 2:30’s. For a tough race like Escape to Miami, I guess it wasn’t bad. I guess in “flatter conditions” I would have made the number that I was looking for. Still 2:31 is my new PR for Olympic Distance now. Ended up in the top 20 of 130+ participants in my age group. Happy with the progress. My teammates did great too and some of them were even first timers... so PROUD of you guys!
18th of 136th participants
A lot of people said that the conditions were tough, but I gotta admit that at least for me the conditions were perfect. It was cloudy almost until the end. It rain a bit which cools you down. The current on the swim was not bad. Who knows... maybe the conditions were actually bad, but after what I have been thru… maybe I’m tougher now! ;)
"DESIRE AND LETTING GO...TWO PARADOXICALLY ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS FOR VICTORY".
Don’t forget I have a contest going on and a chance to win a cool limited edition “Embrace the Suck” t-shirt from Team MaccaX (which many of the people in Escape to Miami saw in the race.). Go here to participate!