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2016 Key West Triatlon

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2016 Key West Triatlon

This was a bonus race but always a great way to end up the season. I did it last year and felt in love with it. Probably the best thing is that the race is Saturday morning instead of Sunday morning. This give the ability for travelers to enjoy Key West after the race is don on Saturday, meaning… PARTY!!!

I will keep it short this time. The swim was mostly against the current, the bike was a 2 loop course which was very windy on the first part of the bike. Luckily the run was a bit cloudy, if not it would have been very hot (and we are talking of a race taking place in December!).

This race is basically the definition of “race for fun”. Although coming back from an injury that kept me off for a month, I would have like to be in the shape that I was for Escape to Miami back in August. Maybe next year I can take this race seriously and increase my chances of podium. But still not bad for not being in shape and qualified for Nationals with my crappy performance!

The Numbers
Swim: 13:56
Bike: 37:06
Run: 24:42
Total: 1:18:08
4th place out 39

Back to off season mode, but I was owing this race report!

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2016 Escape to Miami

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2016 Escape to Miami

Considered the toughest Olympic race in Miami, Escape to Miami, is quite a challenging race. This was my first Olympic distance race I ever did and I have done it 4 times in total (3 Olympic and 1 Sprint). Is always good to test yourself with a race you have previously done to see your progress through the years. And with a race as hard as this one even better!

So after doing the “Trilogy Bonus” 2 weeks ago I dedicated my time to run and swim more. I just really needed to pick up the swim that I left off and I wanted to run at a really hard pace for as long as I could. I was feeling a little more confident in my abilities and I wanted to break 2:30 in the race (with a previous PR of 2:31.) A lot of friends did this race, and it was good to see most to the tri community of Miami in the race. 

The only bad thing about this race is that you REALLY need to wake up super early for this one. Getting to transition and then going to the ferry that will drop you closed to the island in the middle of Biscayne Bay, where you will wait promptly until the race start at 7 am. I was pretty lucky to start this race in the first wave and avoid the amount of people in the race course. This helps out to see how is your race compared to the rest of the field.

I hang out with Renato on the swim start. Until the signal went of. It was quite cloudy and the sun took a while to show up. I was pretty happy that my goggles worked properly this time. The swim went well, 2 weeks of swimming quite help feeling in the water better. Maybe 3 months ago I would have done an excellent swim but I was quite happy with it. I finished the swim and was very glad to hear lots of friends calling me out, although of course I was catching my breath while running to transition.

 Love giving hi5 :)

Love giving hi5 :)

In T1, I had a great spot inside, so I didn’t get lost for once :) . Grabbed Lightning, and started the ride. The ride is composed of a 2 loop that goes from Midtown Miami to Miami Beach and back, going through the Julia Tuttle Causeway with 8 bridges in total. I think I had a great ride, and pushed the limits of I could do. I was taking lots of considerations on hydration and had a gel.  The weather was still cloudy and it was helping a lot.

 Up one bridge, like 2000 to go

Up one bridge, like 2000 to go

Back to T2, had a speedy transition and launch on the run. My heart was on my throat but I knew I had to literally run my heart out. I heard people shouting my name but it was hard to recognize most of them. I try to always grab water on the aid station to cool down. The first bridge came up and I noticed I dropped my sunglasses on the first aid station, and of course I wouldn’t come back to pick them up, I lost them. Luckily enough, one kid came rushing to meet me and hand me my sunglasses, he was one of the volunteers at the aid station, so nice of them of going through that lengthy effort!!!

 Starting the run

Starting the run

I was doing my own race and some people started passing me on the run, even going on top of the bridge. On my way down my heart entered a good rhythm, I was feeling I was not dying anymore and took control of my breathing and posture.  The way out on the McArthur causeway was windy, you could feel that I was doing more effort on the run. Surprisingly I was catching up some people on the run, which were dying already. I was like “Whoa” I’m actually doing this. Most of the people collapsing were tall and big, here is were it comes to play that “small people handle heat better” aka ME lol.

On the turnaround I had a gel, and push everything I had. The run got a little easier since now I had a tailwind, and I started to pass some people. Getting back to the bridge was another story, I was hurting badly already and the bridge felt long. I was thinking of stopping but I told myself that even if you are jogging up, don’t stop to walk. Getting to the top of the bridge and I started giving everything away on the last mile of that run. The previous 2 weeks of work helped me a lot to keep pushing through pain in the run. It was so painful, but it was worth it. I caught up to a guy in the last stretch. He started to push and I followed him until the finish line. I almost blew his head up with my Panda Kick LOL !!!

 PANDA KICK DAT SHITZ!

PANDA KICK DAT SHITZ!

I collapsed to the floor and keep throwing water on top of me. My heart was going to explode. It took me a while to settle down, but at the end was worth it. I drop down my time and PR in the hardest Olympic race in Miami!!!!

Previous Years:
2010: 3:20 (First Olympic triathlon)
2011: 2:42
2013: 2:31
2016: 2:27 (Finally broke 2:30!!! YAY!!!)

The Numbers
Swim: 26:19
Bike: 1:08:39
Run 50:26
Total: 2:27:51
16th of 113

This officially ends up the season for me. It’s been a long season involving 2 half ironman and one Ironman. Each year I learn more about the sport, and I feel accomplished with the decisions I took early to change a little bit. Finally I achieved all the goals I wanted and of course, I want more now. But is good to have a break now :). Thank you for reading and until next time!

 Until next time!!!

Until next time!!!

 

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Key Biscayne Trilogy Bonus

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Key Biscayne Trilogy Bonus

After 70.3 Ecuador I took training a little bit more easy for some weeks. It has been a long season of loooong distance races so I was aiming to finish the season on September. But before that, and thanks to iRun Rice Triathlon Team, I was sponsored to race the Key Biscayne Trilogy Bonus as a preview for Escape to Miami Triathlon.

I knew I was not coming strong plus racing Olympic distance is a bit different than racing 70.3’s.  I have been investing more time to my weak run and left my swimming behind. First I had a cold, so I avoided water, and for some weeks it was just raining a lot, which it didn’t help. The pool which I usually go to, will usually close as soon they see a dark cloud on the sky (I went to the pool maybe like 3 time and they will always closed the pool, so it was not lack of trying!).

The week previous the race I finally put some swimming in and I was surprised that I will feel really uncomfortable in the water for 1500 to 2000 yards, which compared to the usual 4000 to 5000’s I did months before was quite shocking to see my lame state. Sad to see one of my most improves suites going to waste in such a short time frame.

Anyway, I didn’t expect much, basically I took it as a prep race for Escape to Miami, which is maybe the toughest Olympic race in Miami, and I would have 2 weeks to prepare my best for that race, which will conclude my triathlon season.

The race usually held on most of Miami’s triathletes training grounds encompassed a 0.75 mile swim, 20 mile bike and 6.2 run. Not quite a true Olympic distance but challenging enough. The swim was pancake flat, 2 loop bike course, and a shaded trail run.

I don’t know if it was my lack of confidence due to the shocking lost of fitness on my swim, but my swim was terrible. It was bad since the beginning. My goggles filled with water at the beginning of the race, and it was just hard to swim that way. Additionally I had to stop a bit to clear the water out, but after ward they got foggy and I couldn’t swim well, so I was drifting in every direction. Terrible, terrible swim!!!

The bike when quite well, keeping riding for long hours on the weekends have kept my bike fitness right on check. Two loops on Key Biscayne including bridges was quite good.  On the run I did whatever I could do. It was nice to run in a shaded trail, and the different terrain. The post results quite gave me the idea of where I was standing 2 weeks previous Escape to Miami. It has been a race I have done a lot of times and quite the real test to see if I’m improving or not. Not to mention is really hard!!!

The Numbers
Swim: 15:16
Bike: 53:27
Run: 51:45
Total: 2:03:09
5th Place

 

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2016 Ironman 70.3 Ecuador

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2016 Ironman 70.3 Ecuador

My so called “long distance” year continues. Basically there was a little rest after Ironman Texas, and started to train for another 70.3. This would be a special race for me for several reasons.

Prelude:

I landed in Ecuador a week before the race. I got to meet my family and friends and got to hang out with them. I got to celebrate my mom’s bday after several years of not doing so. So yeah, it was nice to cherish moments together, but even if most of the days were fun and relax, I still needed to stay put and control myself on the food, getting quality sleep and training. I had to promise my mom I would eat everything after the race haha.

My mom, uncle and aunt came with me to the race. Manta is a city almost 3 hours away from my hometown of Guayaquil. In Manta, we stayed at a nice 2 bedroom apartment we rented which had all the amenities for a good price. My cousin Pepe, lives in Manta together with his family and it was great to meet him after so many years. On the plus side and to my surprise, he was doing the race too. It was great to have someone from your family to actually understand triathlon as a sport and it’s lifestyle. He has done several 70.3’s and Ironmans, so we shared some war stories together. He hosted us like VIP’s and we did a little prerace ride together. It was great to have him around and showing us the city and telling us about the earthquake and how the city had come up together.

 Dining with the family in Manta

Dining with the family in Manta

Race Day

So the usual stuff on race morning. Woke up early in the morning, had breakfast; clean the pipes and my uncle drop me on transition. While walking to transition it was a nice surprise to find my friend Gohan. He went to check out the race and to cheer. Most of my friends and people in Ecuador don’t understand the concept of Ironman, Marathon, Triathlon, 5km or else. The common knowledge is that a marathon is the same thing as a 5km race, which of course it’s not. Inside transition I found another familiar face from Miami, Dr Leo, we chat a bit and he took a selfie lol. With transition ready, I started the walk to swim start. It was a looooong walk and you had to go on top of a hill. It was a bad idea to walk without flip flops, but there I was walking. Once you reach the top, you enter an area only for athletes, while people are watching over a cliff on top of you.  Gohan was already there watching, so it was nice to see a familiar face.

 Swim start. The cliff/hill in the back ground and you can appreciate a building hit by the earthquake. I'm in the front line waiting.

Swim start. The cliff/hill in the back ground and you can appreciate a building hit by the earthquake. I'm in the front line waiting.

On top of the hill, you come down the stairs that lead up to the beach. So each wave will walk down and be prepared to start. The announcer did a good job pumping people up, plus it seem the event was televised live and they even had a helicopter flying on top of everyone. The way down the stairs had a nice painting on it’s walls, reflecting triathlon and Ironman, which I thought it was a nice touch to the event feeling and how the city has embraced it. So once down on the beach I found my uncle there cheering. It was a nice feeling to have family there with you, something that probably had never happened before.

 My mom 5 seconds of fame, being interviewed by the local TV :)

My mom 5 seconds of fame, being interviewed by the local TV :)

So I stand there ready to run down the beach to the water in front line. The race starts and I start running with the front group to the water. I felt like a PRO. Getting into the water was a little difficult since there were little stones but once you where fully inside it was all good. It was not a wetsuit legal race, but I was equipped with my speedsuit. I did my own thing and I was having a great swim. I found my rhythm and started drafting from one guy.  Eventually we were 3 guys drafting from each other. I was noticing my swim cap was coming off, so I readjusted quickly as I didn’t want to lose the rhythm. Around half way, my head was fresher than usual. I touch my head and it was because I completely dropped my swim cap. I felt sad since I collect these from my Ironman races, but couldn’t stop to look for it. We had the helicopter flying on top of us, making the water more choppy, but felt so cool, you only see this happening to Pros haha. Got out of the water and had a long run on the beach to get to transition.

Transition went smooth, jumped onto the bike and while starting the ride I see my mom, uncle and aunt cheering. This was really special to me :) . Kick in the thrusters and started riding. Getting out of town went really relaxed. While hitting the highway, I noticed a lot of hills, the rolling type but these hills were big to climb. So while cranking on the bike I had to remember for the first part of the ride to save myself some energy. All of the sudden I was going up the hills really fast, so I knew that I had a tailwind and that I would have that wind in front of me coming back. 

 Getting out of town

Getting out of town

I caught up to my cousin on the bike and rode together for a bit, eventually he took off while I was trying to control the effort and not follow him. The small town of Crucita was the mark for the turn around. There were people cheering and felt good half way thru. While coming back I passed my cousin and started to speed up. I could feel the headwind and I was glad I saved energy for the way back. I had to stop really quick to pee and a second time to fix the visor of my helmet that came off while I was pouring water on my head. Through the bike course there was a lot of security, you could see cops around every certain amount of miles, which told that the race was a top priority event.

 Cruzin'

Cruzin'

Got to transition, I got lost inside (again) and I finally found my bike spot. Quickly changed and ran off. It was a cloudy day and I was glad it was. If the sun would have been out it would have been a different story. The run was composed of a 2 loop course along the beach, and there were people cheering through the whole course. It was great. Another funny anecdote is that for the first time people could pronounce my name correctly and more often, than the way they do in US races haha.

 Starting the run!

Starting the run!

So the plan here was to keep conservatively the first loop and raise the pace starting the second loop. On the way back it was an all out attempt. I ran together with a girl at the end and cheer her up to keep the pace. She had a huge crowd motivating her and  close to the finish she took off. Happy for her. For me I was trying to hit a good finish time and was running with all I had. Surprisingly enough on the finishing chute I saw a familiar face of my friend Kenshin that went to cheer alongside Gohan. As you expect I Panda Kicked the shit out of the finish line with a new PR of 10 minutes!!!

 Getting to the finish line

Getting to the finish line

At the finish line my mom was waiting for me and then we went to gather my uncle and aunt. I said hi to Kenshin and thanked him from coming to cheer. That day was a bit crazy as we headed back to Guayaquil after the race. So I got home really tired. My cousin Pepe finished 10 min after, but unfortunately I couldn’t see him afterwards, we were both pretty beat up haha.

The numbers:

Swim: 34:55
Bike: 2:52:06
Run: 2:01:56
Total: 5:33:58
48th of 285

After correcting my mistakes from Ironman 70.3 Florida and after learning the art of pacing on Ironman Texas, I finally can say I had a good race, properly fueled, paced and finishing with my objective... a faster time. I was happy I could share this race with my family and friends, and made the whole trip home worth it!!!

 PANDA KICK DAT SHIT!

PANDA KICK DAT SHIT!

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The Road 2 Home

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The Road 2 Home

Previously in the mid season finale of Road2Ironman.

Hey there! Such a long time. How are you? So with Ironman Texas done maybe you thought that triathlon training was done… but actually I haven’t stop since Texas.

After Texas I took one week off and afterwards I continued to train as nothing had happened. I was pretty impressed that I was still in one piece and not burned out as previous times. The months before had been full of long endurance training, so I thought it would be nice to get the feel again of doing something short and fast. So thanks to Darkside Miami, I did a small sprint triathlon race, FIU Triathlon, to get the feel again of short and fast racing.

Long vs short distance racing is so different. In one, you need to endure the longest time possible in a pace you can hold on for a while (think of a pace that you need to hold yourself for 5 to 10 plus hours). If you go too fast, you definitely won’t last until the end of the race. On short distance is different as you need to go all out for an hour (as in a sprint) or go really hard for 2.5 hours (think Olympic distance), so your heart is pumping 100% all the time and you think you will eventually die.

So jumping into a one-hour sprint, after doing something for 12 hours is quite the change. I knew I had to go at a suicidal pace on a sprint distance. So yeah, I felt like vomiting my heart the whole time but it was nice to feel the “feeling” of doing something at 100% effort.

 Floatin' FIU Biscayne Triathlon

Floatin' FIU Biscayne Triathlon

So I did FIU Biscayne Triathlon. A race that I did before, and that is super fast due to the short format course of 500m swim, 10 mile bike and 2.8 mile run.

The numbers:

Swim: 9:49
Bike: 26:57
Run: 18:54
Total: 57:45
Place: 6th of 24

After those long sessions I put into Ironman training, I was surprised that my swim and bike went to another level, which was completely unexpected. That long base was worth all the efforts!

But after Texas, short distance triathlons were not my next target. I needed to jump right back to endurance training as I had another 70.3 event coming, Ironman 70.3 Ecuador.

This race is holding a special place in my heart. Even thought I have never done it before!

First of all, is an Ironman race in my home country.  So it will be the first time ever I will do a triathlon in my land, which it feels is the first time I’m racing locally LOL. Ecuador became the 3rd South American country to host an Ironman event. Thanks to this, more countries have added races to their calendars, such as Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia.

Second, this is the second year the race is happening. I wanted it to do it last year, but it was conflicting with my trip to USAT Nationals, so I had to postpone to this year.

Third, the race almost didn’t happened. As some of you know my country was recently hit by a powerful earthquake, and the city hosting the event, Manta, was one of the cities most affected by the earthquake. So the event happening after such a terrible disaster shows the commitment and the strength of its inhabitants to raise up again. We as athletes and tourists, it was a time to cooperate with the economy of the affected area, since a lot of the tourist sector has gone down since the tragedy.

With Ecuador coming close, I really didn’t expect much performance wise, I know that it would be a hilly bike course, although I didn’t know for sure until I got there, but at least the run would be flat, unlike 70.3 Florida (hilly bike and run.) I won’t set any high expectations as I did in 70.3 FL (which I failed miserably to accomplish) but I would enjoy my family’s company in home soil and do my best for them :) .

 Preparing for 70.3 Ecuador

Preparing for 70.3 Ecuador

So yeah, I have been training for another 70.3. The heat in Miami has been on record high lately, so it has been tough to train for such long hours. One day on a long brick I completely melted on the run, due to the intense heat. This has driven to me to start training even earlier than before. Some days I had to arrange my long runs in the track, like the day I had to do 13 miles (21 km) and then after go to work. As the rest of my teammates have been training for Olympic distance at full speed, most of my training so far have been solo for long endurance. Me against the world (and the heat haha.)

So this was a quick update. Although it feels a little weird not to post weekly as I did in the Road2Texas saga, I felt that I needed to report my activities, I haven’t stop and either should you! 

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