It been really a while since I had done a half Ironman distance. In fact I had only done ONE. Being the only “Ironman” branded race in Miami, in my backyard… I had to put it out of my checklist.
I think I placed a good training for this race. Felt pretty confident on my swim/bike/run. I knew I was capable of doing a 5:30 in the worst circumstances. I was very excited to race another Ironman branded race and my first Ironman branded "70.3".
I had a nice lunch with my teammates the day before the race and my regular prerace dinner, pizza ;) . I knew the race was going to be tough… really tough. I had the last wave in my age group, 9am, and thinking that I would hit the start of my half marathon at 12pm-1pm under Miami’s sun was going to be rough. Although I was on bed at 9pm, I couldn’t sleep until 12am… 4.5 hours of sleep.
Race day! I was planning to be in transition at 6am, no rush since I would have to wait 2 hours after the Pro start to start my race. Prepared the bike and head out to relax. Saw the Pro start, which started with a cannon boom like in Kona. For the rest of age group was just a pistol shot. Water seem pretty calm, which will help for a good swim in the bay. Meet my teammates/cheering squad from Tri2One and Team MaccaX, and hang in there… saw the pros coming out of the water and lots of the age groups. Finally decided to walk to my race start, together with my teammate Eddie.
Although we were technically the last wave, the race organizers open another wave after us, for people that wanted to swim with wetsuits, since the wetsuits were prohibited. Anyway we jump to the water from the deck and waited to start. BANG! and off we went! I was aiming to do at least 40 min in the swim. I really push in the swim. I can say that I finally have nailed the pace on my swim, with a “forever pace” that I can be decently fast and consistent. I passed a lot of people, even people from the waves that started before me. Great swim in calm waters. Better than expected with a 35 min swim.
Off to T1! Got to transition, and for a bit I lost AGAIN where my bike was racked. Finally founded it and got the hell out of there. I started in a way really fast. Passed lots of people and even some teammates. The first 25 miles I was averaging around 21.5 mph… even with some wind in the course. I started having a lot of pain in my groin (which has happened before in races, but never in training). I don’t know if is the pacing, the heart rate, fitting or what… but is something I still need to figure it out, cause is painful and sometimes I think it can be a hernia or something LOL. Anyway, the bike course as expected was windy, and there were lots of small pelotons drafting which sucked. On the turn around I had a nice tailwind that made me tops 28mph, but then for what was left of the course, we had a strong head wind, that made my beautiful avg of 21.5mph drop to 20.3 mph. Remember drafting? On the way back a guy stuck on my tail for a bit. I was trying to shake him off, and had to BLEW one of my matches in order to shake him off., URGG! I kept a cadence between 85 to 90 rpm, and the time I did was around the estimated time I was aiming for. Back to downtown Miami and off to T2!
Speedy transition, and off to the half marathon! Saw the cheering squad and that made me happy! My legs felt out of it, I think I pushed too hard on the bike and I could feel it. I felt my stomach bloated with liquids, and moving every step I made. I was aiming to do an 8:30 pace, but I was thinking it would be impossible to do that… I would have to be happy with a 9:00 pace to still aim to do a 2:00 half marathon. First miles I hold onto that, but the heat was too great for me to handle, plus running into the bridge 4 times was too much. I embraced the suck as much as I could, I could no longer hold a 9:00 mile pace… and became a 10:00 mile pace and then 10:30 mile pace. Walking the aid stations for water, ice and electrolytes.
My legs were shattered and my feet were in so much pain. My good friends Tamer pushed on me run and ran a bit with me in the first loop. The second loop was just hell, and running with my life on hand. My lower back started hurting on. My teammate Carlitos passed me on the run and encouraged him to continue! On the way back I just had to walk that damn bridge… so much PAIN! Suddenly my friend Mike comes along and starts literally pushing me to continue and not to stop. When I was feeling the worst, it was a blessing for him to appear from nowhere! So he start pacing me and a friend of his… after that my friend Tamer join us and start pacing me as well and push me to cross the finish line. Tamer and Mike I really thank you guys for pushing me to the finish line! Talking about teammates!!! I did my Panda Kick and collapsed (literally).
Tamer pick me up from the floor and helped me walk. I felt really bad, but tried my best to keep composure. Saw coach and my friends but I was completely out of it. Carlitos said that they were giving ice in medical so I went there. I couldn’t express what my needs where to the staff… just needed to sit and relax. I asked them if they could take my pressure since I felt completely out of it. Everything fine with my vitals. Stayed for a while in medical and later got back onto my feet and to pick up my stuff in transition. Afterwards headed to eat something and I saw part of the awards ceremony and got a sweet pic with winner Terenzo Bozzone and Leanda Cave. Headed home, died.
In this race I felt like Pete Jacobs. Let me explain. Defending World Champion and all eyes are on him, fells pretty confident, has a great swim, good bike and explodes in the run. Beto does Kona last year, people expect this would be a walk in the park for him, fells confident, had a great swim, good bike, explodes in the run. Lessons to learn.
Certainly feeling bloated in the run didn’t help. I felt like a balloon. I thought I nailed the nutrition… I guess not yet. This year I think finally I nailed the pace to do in short distance, but long distance still needs work. I am having the same problems I did in short distance when I didn’t have legs left for the run after the bike. After racing and tweaking my training, I finally nailed the short distance run. Long distance is a different ball game. In order to nail it, I will need to do more long distance racing.
Total: 5:41:35 (PR)
145th of 399th participants
Seems all bad but this after all is my second 70.3 race. Compared to the first one I did, this one went a lot better. I PRed with 64 mins… THAT’S A HOUR DIFFERENCE! I feel happy about that :). Now to look forward to train with Macca in the Team MaccaX Triathlon Camp and race MiamiMan International Distance!