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Ironman Miami 70.3: Finish

I asked for family and friends to pray for a safe race.  I asked for a little bubble of protection around me while I swam 1.2 miles in my first ocean race and biked 56 miles for the first time after my biking accident just 6 weeks before the race (You can read about my ambulance ride HERE.)  I was so afraid of being eaten by a shark {don’t laugh} or ending back on a stretcher that was all I asked for!  Maybe, I should have at least asked one person to pray for fast…

Let’s just say I finished.

Miami Ironman 70.3- Finish

Writing about a good race sure is easier and more exciting.  But the reality is that not every race can be a P.R.  {What’s a P.R. or Personal Record?  It’s the best finish time of all the races you’ve completed for that specific distance.}

Miami 70.3 was my second Half Ironman this year.  You can read about my first race, HERE, which is still my PR for this distance.

I should be very excited.  I completed TWO Ironman 70.3 races in one year!  I should feel a great sense of accomplishment.  I should feel like a bad ass really.

So why is there such a disappointed tone to this post?

Because I had my worst times for every, single, last leg of the race.  My worst swim, 1 hour and 20 minutes for 1.2 miles.  My worst bike, 3 hours and 22 minutes for 56 miles.  My worst run, 2 hours and 35 minutes for 13.1 miles.

Pre-Race:

pre-race miami

The day before the race my coach, Skye, and I did a shake out swim and bike {only a 10 min. swim and 30 min. bike}.  It felt great!  There were schools of jellyfish but we were the only ones to stay out there and get used to the water.  The bike was a little scary for me downtown but I got through it and made sure my new gears (that I had just replaced because of my biking accident) were working well.

I felt good.  I felt prepared.  I even felt like I could be fast.

Race Day:

I had never been so nervous.  I really don’t remember the last time I was that nervous.

Oh, by the way, my Garmin decided not to turn on the morning of race day.  Thanks Garmin.

Skye was also racing and was in my age group, which meant we started at the same time, almost an hour after the official race start.  We watched as the pros swam in and raced to the bikes.  We stood in line to jump off the dock into the water.

Swim:

miami swim

Yes, I jumped off a dock into the water.  I get nervous all over again just typing that.  It wasn’t far, just a few feet from the water but I had never done it before.  The last race I panicked in the beginning of the swim and I was determined that wouldn’t happen again.  I didn’t panic.  I just didn’t move.  I swam and swam and swam and looked up to see the #2 buoy of 10 was not moving.  It just kept sitting next to me.  I finally realized I was in some sort of rip current so I began to swim in a diagonal.  I saw the #2 buoy behind me when I felt a crazy rush of water push me back.  When I looked up  the #2 buoy was again in front of me!!!!!!

I got totally lost.  That might sound ridiculous but I wasn’t the only one!  I was swimming toward a buoy when a paddle boarder comes over to me to tell me to head toward the ship.  The ship?!  When I looked up tons of other swimmers were going the same way I was.  But it didn’t end there, I’m pretty sure I really swam 1.5 instead of 1.2 because of the herds of people all going in the wrong direction, including me!  Fighting the current on the way in to the Swim Finish was brutal and although I didn’t know my time it felt like I had been swimming forever.

Upside:  I did not have any shoulder pain from my bike accident during my very long swim.

There were two clues to how bad this leg of the race had gone (remember no Garmin).

1.  I ran into the Bike Transition and saw my husband Dave.  His face said it all.  “Good job” never sounded so pathetically sorry.

2.  The announcer said the race had been on for 2 and a half hours when I was running through the Bike Out.  I almost re-racked my bike and quit the race.

Bike:

I didn’t know this bike course but my coach had told me that the first few miles were through downtown and then it opened to a long, flat course.  There was a headwind but the conditions were similar to what I had trained in:  flat road with headwind but then a tailwind.  I was pretty nervous getting on the bike.  I didn’t take my hands off the brakes because I wasn’t sure how to navigate the downtown roads with all the turns and cars.

Around mile 2, I see a woman fly past me in aero (the center bars where there are no brakes).  I almost yelled at her to slow down (yes, I’m a scared mom) when I looked back to the road I saw there was a right turn in the course.  Once she realized it, she had no time to slow down and she slid out and then the bike rolled over her!  I was able to slow down enough to miss her head by only about 3 feet!!  (She was OK, and I later saw her running, go IronWoman!)  To say I was shaken is an understatement.  I was downright scared I was going to crash my bike.  Who knows how slow I did the rest of the downtown area for the next 3 miles.

Once I saw the open road I was determined to make it through the headwind because I knew once I turned around that tailwind would be amazing.  And it sure was, for all the people that caught it.  My slow ass only got about a mile of it on the way back before the wind shifted.  Really?

Upside:  I did not get into a bike accident!  My prayers were answered.  {Really should have prayed for fast, or at least tailwind}

Run:

At this point I really still didn’t know exactly how bad the race was going… until I asked someone what time it was.  It should have been about 12:30 pm based on my expected times.  It was 1:45 pm.  Let me just let that sink in, 1 hour and 15 minutes AFTER the time I had anticipated. I asked another person, just to be sure the man that spoke very little English actually told me the correct time.  By the third person I about gave up.  It took everything in me not to burst out into tears.

As I began down the first of four bridge repeats for the half marathon my coach, Skye, touched my shoulder to say “hi.”  I lost it right there on the bridge.  I just started crying and telling her I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t run 11 more miles knowing that I was going to finish so far off my previous race time.  She calmed me down, explained how the conditions were hard, this was a very different race, and what mattered was that I finished.  So, I changed my mindset from a PR to a finish.  I decided I needed to put it all out there.   I needed to finish knowing I had nothing left to give.

Upside:  I conquered a mental wall.  And the only injury I got was a bruised ego.

 Post-Race:

I could make a hundred excuses for why I didn’t PR.

– The current was horrible during the swim.

– I didn’t get to train for 3 weeks because of my biking accident.

– I didn’t push the bike because I was scared.

– I had a headwind but no tailwind.

But really all that matters is that I finished.

There are plenty of times that you do everything right but the outcome just isn’t what you expect.

Not every race is a PR, sometimes all that matters is that you didn’t give up.

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One Response to Ironman Miami 70.3: Finish

  1. Geoffrey at #

    Are you coming g down here to South Florida to race this October. If so drop me a line, maybe we can go for a practice swim or ride. My family and I like e down here close to Miami and I will be racing 70.3 this year for the first time.

    Geoff

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