Even though I would consider myself more of a country girl, there is something about Miami I love. Maybe it's the beautiful water and beaches or their awesome landscape/buildings. My dad was raised in Miami so as a kid I made my fair share of trips there to visit my grandma. Some of those trips involved watching my dad race in triathlons in the Miami area. Little did I know I would be back competing in races myself. I always feel like I'm in a different country when I'm there, everyone seems to speaks a different language!
At the Miami 70.3 there were over 3000 participants from 64 countries. It was a $50,000 purse prize for the pros, bringing in a lot of talent!
The weather was beautiful. I expected it to be really hot but it could have been much worse. The swim took place in Biscayne bay, one of the largest cruise ports. It was gorgeous on race morning. No wet suits were allowed since the water was too warm. I put on my Xterra speed suit and was ready to race. I felt very comfortable swimming in the bay since I do swim in the open water all the time at work. It wasn't the fastest swim for everyone since it was in a diagonal loop, there is a current in your face at some point. I came out of the water in 11th place.
For this race, I decided I was just going to use my power meter on the bike, not basing anything off of time or speed. It was a very windy ride so I just focused on my goal numbers and passed some cyclists as I went along. The bike course went through a part of downtown Miami then onto an interstate and to the highway. Being from Florida it was exactly the type of environment I am used to training in... flat, windy and warm. I had so much fun on the bike course. It was a strong headwind all the way out passed the 25 mile mark. I couldn't wait to turn around and get a tailwind! I was cruising down the highway around 30 mph. Since they closed down the left lane all the water stops were on the left, this made it a little harder to grab the bottles as you ride by. I needed more water and at the last water stop I decided to grab a bottle but forgot to throw out one of mine to make room for it. I was more focused on getting the bottle with my left hand. Once I got it I realized I had no place to put it. By then I was passing the last trash area and didn't want to get in trouble for throwing trash so I quickly drank what I could and tossed the water. Then I realized I had 10-12 more miles to ride with no water. :( It's the little things that make a difference and this was a small mistake that may have effected my run. I was so thirsty by the time I got back to transition.
I felt like I had a great ride, I got off the bike in 8th place. It was getting warm by the time I started running and I needed something to drink. I got some water at the aid station on the first mile of the run but it just wasn't enough. I felt dehydrated and I started to get a side ache... again. I stopped at the next aid station and drank whatever they were handing out. I had to stop a couple times to stretch because my side was hurting so bad. (Yes, I have to figure out what these come from and fix it!) It went on for about 4 miles. I was tired and really had to push myself through this run. We had to run over the bridge 4 times and it is much steeper than it looks! Around mile 7 or 8 I got stopped by a train. They had told us this may happen. They could not stop or delay the train and I guess it had not been running in 20 years but started up again recently. They did set up corrals for us to run in so they could time how long we were waiting and give our time back. After that it was hard to tell who was how far in front or behind you. I did get passed by two girls on the run but passed a girl as well. I couldn't have been happier for this run to be over. Running down to the finish line I saw someone coming up next to me, I thought it was a girl so I sprinted as fast as I could to the finish line. Come to find out it was a guy but after that I was pretty exhausted. I didn't even look up at the clock to check my time. I was completely zoned out! I finished in 9th place overall (4:37).
This was my last triathlon of the season. It has been a fun year. I have had some ups and downs but to keep moving forward is key. I have learned a lot this year and really didn't think I would say that. I know I have a lot more to learn and am looking forward to what next season will bring. I have plenty to work on this winter to make next year a success.
Thanks to Xterra wetsuits for keeping me in the best swimming gear, thanks to Flying fish bikes for helping me out with my bike this year and for the passed few years, thanks to my coach, Jon Noland, for guiding me in the right direction this year and being a great coach, not just by telling me what I need to do to get better but taking the time to explain to me why certain things are on my plan and how it will help me in the future. Sometimes I want to do things my way but this year I have started to be more open to what is going to work to make me a better athlete.
Thanks to my boyfriend, Paul Higgins who has been such an awesome supporter this season. He has been at most of my races this year, regardless if he was racing or not. It's always nice to see him at the finish line! He also doesn't seem to mind I spend most my free time swimming, biking and running! (Although, he does joins me on the weekends sometimes or he would never get to see me :))
Thanks to my family and friends who have been great supporters as well. Especially my sister, Bridget, who is usually one of the first people I hear from or talk to after a race.
Most importantly I have to Thank God for keeping me safe during all my training and races, uninjured throughout the season and has given me the ability to do what I do.
Until next year...