Let me clearly explain I actually went to Miami with no intention on racing. I was headed to Miami Thursday afternoon to support my boyfriend-Nigel who was racing his fifth 70.3. For those of you unfamiliar with the ironman distance, here’s the breakdown. Swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles=70.3. Double the distance and you have the grueling full ironman 140.6 miles to be completed in one day.
After flying a four day trip I swapped out some clothes thinking I would get some great workouts in sunny South Florida and cheer on Nigel on race day. Here’s where the monkey wrench got thrown into the plans-three of his friends were also racing, one had registered twice by accident and was able to pass on the second unneeded bib to me. Was this the best idea, probably not, but what did I have to lose? Nothing really.
So now I had a race bib. Time to mentally prep for this monster of a race I was taking on. But wait, I didn’t even have my bike, helmet, or biking shoes! Luckily there was a bike shop Miami Beach Bicycle Center, that legit got me in and out in a matter of 15 minutes. Rented a Scott road bike, they gave me a helmet to borrow and got some new shoes to wear.
Skipping all the other little details I was able to get nutrition together, I had sneakers with me, and lucky enough Savage Multisport supplied me with a sick kit to race in. Now lets talk about the actual race details.
My swim heat was set at 8:31am in the 30-34 female age bracket. The swim took place in Biscayne Bay. You might think to yourself, oh a bay swim, that would be pretty calm. The complete opposite! It was so choppy with current that did not work in our favor. I was getting slapped in the face by waves and pushed around, but I was determined not to give up. Once I made it about half way through the course I was mentally talking my way through it. Just make it to the next buoy. There’s no turning back now. Why would you give up and disappoint yourself, you are doing just fine. Miraculously, I made it to the end of the swim in 48:43. Whew! I was exhausted. Time to get to my bike and eat something! I needed to get my energy back up.
New bike, new shoes, but it was smooth. I rolled out of transition and was feeling pretty good. I watched my speed for some of the time and thought I am moving pretty well. I felt comfortable until we hit the turn around point, then got smashed with a head wind! It wasn’t pretty. My speed went down from 22 to probably 10. This was a super flat course so there was no getting a break, just keep pedaling. What I noticed and others did make comments about was the amount of drafting that was occurring. People that had friends to race with were drafting off one another to help get a break from the wind. Totally against the rules! I finished out the bike in 3:37. It wasn’t pretty, but I got it done.
Finally, the last piece of the puzzle and my comfort zone, running! I had to do 3 laps in order to get my 13.1 miles in. My plan of action was to take the first three miles slow, around a 11 min/mile pace and just try to ease into things. I felt good and happy. Being happy at that point in the game was key to me. I was having fun! By the second lap I was getting anxious to finish. The water/aid stations were a bit unorganized being worked by younger kids. They were doing their best, but just couldn’t keep up with the flow of people. I never even got a coke. I saw Red Bulls once and if you really needed something it was almost best if you grabbed it for yourself. I have to add it was nice to see two familiar faces on the course. As the laps passed I was able to see Nigel and others several others a few times. Just to see a familiar face really helps to amp you up after you have been racing for over 4 hours. I averaged a 10:20 min/mile finishing in 2:07:52.
Who was there to greet me and put my medal around my neck? Nigel! What a way to end my first half ironman. My finishing time was 6:39:34
My final thoughts on the ironman 70.3 Miami. It was tough. I broke it down piece by piece. Swim. Bike. Run. It’s not just about being physically able to do it, but also mentally tough enough to get through it. At the end of the day I can say I competed to the best of my ability and still felt strong at the end of the race. I used Miami 70.3 as a learning experience and since I wasn’t actually planning on racing there are obviously some things I would plan on doing a bit differently in the future. My family was supportive and encouraging from afar and that meant the world to me. Thanks Nigel for your words of wisdom pre race it helped to calm my nerves.