Miamian Half Iron Triathlon
The day started at 4 am with a 15 minute warm up run. I could feel my calves tired from Wednesday envelope run. I may have run too hard on that session, but I wasn’t pushing, the speed just came with ease. Since the long run after Austin 70.3 my calves got tight and I couldn’t get rid of the pain completely.
After the warm up, I had the usual breakfast. 10 slices of bread with jelly and a little cheese, a huge cup of coffee and some apple cider.
This time Isabella was racing too, so we both got going quickly around 5am. We were staying 20 minutes away from the race venue.
Once on the place it took us about 15 minutes to park the car and 10 more to get to transition area. It was already 6am. I had one hour to fix transition, pump tires, check bike for the last time, put on the wetsuit and warm up. It all went smoothly and I was in the water by 6:45 am, 15 minutes before the start.
On the start I placed myself on the right side in the front line. The rest of the elite athletes were kind of insecure of where to place themselves. When the gun went of I was the first into the water and it never changed after that. Then I figure out why they were so shy at the start. They weren’t good swimmers, so I took advantage of it, going hard and holding the pace for half of the first loop. I had only one person on my feet and I knew it was Heather Golnick, because she got next to me for to get the draft.
After the second buoy I took a glance at the next one and went straight to it. It end up being the wrong one and I had to go back. Luckily Heather didn’t follow me and she got into the right direction. I went back and got to the buoy just before the group. In that moment I pushed it again to drop them and take my advantage again. I lost about 90 seconds on that wrong maneuver, but whatever is lost, is lost, you can only focus on the present. There was no one showing the way. All the kayaks were just floating watching the swimmers and I lost a little more time trying to figure out how to get out of the lake.
On the second loop it went well. I end up coming out in 28:30. 15 for the first loop and 13:30 for the second one. I lost almost 2 minutes. I don’t know if the distance was right or if the pack got lost worse than I, but I was the first male out of the water.
On the transition area it was all smooth, I had scanned the transition area before, so I wouldn’t get lost finding my bike. The area from T1 to mount line had little rocks, so I went through the grass to protect my feet.
On the bike I was still first and started pushing it from the start. I had a car about 100 feet in front opening the route. It was perfect. I was pushing 320 watts like it was nothing. The temperature was around 60 degrees, so I could push it hard and keep my temperature low.
After the first loop I had checked on the course and the wind started to blow harder. I decided to push beyond 320 watts on head wind and below 300 watts on tail wind. It was the perfect strategy, because I did the second loop only 3 minutes slower than the first with a lot more head wind.
At T2 I was between the Olympic distance participants and no one realized that I was first until I was already running. I started running on 2:37:50, so my chances to go under 4h were still alive. I had to run 1h22 half marathon and it was done. I knew I was trained for that and that I could hold 6:10 for the entire run, maybe even faster, but I wasn’t counting with my calves being still a little sore. I went on the first mile under 6 minutes, then I hold it around 6. The course was very uncomfortable, being half dirt with little rocks and half asphalt or concrete, with a lot of turns. After 3 miles I saw the second place around 4:30 behind. In that moment I wasn’t feeling great, but I thought with some gel and water I could come back to the pace again. I started to suffer quickly and it all went down from there. I even stopped to walk through and aid station and got a lot of water, recover a little and went back to run.
I finished the first lap on 42:30. I knew my chances of going under 4h were gone a while ago, now I was only thinking about staying away from the second and winning the race. I tried to hold a pace around 6:45 per mile, but it went up to 7 and beyond. I was in so much pain and my legs were just not working well.
At mile 9 I was caught and the pain was still there. I dig really deep to stay close, but it was worthless. I focus then on proper form and to run those 4 miles and get done with the race. It took me almost half hour to finish and maybe it was the hardest 30 minutes I have ever suffered in a race.
At the end I didn’t go under 4h and didn’t win either, having had a big lead. If I would have run only 1h27 I would have won. I guess the fact that there was no price money meant less pressure and allowed me to risk a win in that way. I’ll never do that again. From now on I’ll pace myself in the first miles and then I’ll pick up the pace.
After the race I was so empty. I wasn’t hungry or anything, only wanted to sleep and recovered from that feeling. But you know what, I was very happy about being able to go under 4:10 and riding 2:06 for that course, where 5 years before I rode 2:20 and ran 1:39. Next year I know I’ll be able to put all the speed together and not even worry about the total time, but about the overall position.
Isabella end up doing a great race and going under 5h30’ for the first time. She ran with no pain on her foot and finished with a huge smile that made me really happy.