Last weekend I competed in the Miami 70.3 triathlon. I'm just getting to my race report because the weekend/weeks before and after have been a bit of a blur of exhaustion! I learned a lesson in race prep, for sure, but also felt like I did what I could with what I have. That's always been my mantra: use what I HAVE (not what I want or what I think is perfect) and do my best with it. And, I know, I'm very fortunate to have a lot. Thank you family, friends and sponsors! Focusing on this and not what others are doing is sometimes hard but is really the only way to succeed. And, it brought me another top 5 finish.
I wanted to race in Miami for Kona points, experience, money, and a good result. I worked hard on my running to get in the kind of shape where I thought a win was possible, and a podium very likely if I had good luck. Looking at the travel expense was a bit depressing however, and what if I had bad luck... After much searching I found a cheap airfare, a discounted hotel room (thank you Citibank!), a free ride to the airport and decided to do the best with what I had - one night in Miami, a few very, very early mornings and late nights, and the possibility of having a great race.
I geared myself up for it, made it to the race meeting (barely), and put my head down and raced as hard as I could. I felt good in the water and had a solid swim. I got on my bike and by 8 miles had caught the lead pack. However, I was at the end of the pack and when a pro guy cut in front of me I sat up to avoid a penalty and subsequently lost the train. I worked so hard to catch but by then we had turned onto a highway with a massive headwind. All I could do was watch them pull away. Instead of giving up, I focused on minimizing the gap and at the turnaround I was suprised to see the group wasn't too far ahead. Unfortunately, that was short lived as a massive tailwind didn't play into my favor. I just didn't have a big gear on my bike to push hard and get the speed of the bigger athletes. The guys I had passed on the way out came screaming by me. Mentally, this was a very challenging bike ride. I was very happy to get off the highway and back onto the streets. I even caught back up to a guy who passed me on the one tiny hill in the race!
Getting off the bike to start the run, I had no idea how far back I was but I knew I had my work cut out for me if I wanted a good place. I went out hard but soon realized my legs weren't responding. I was trying hard but not running the paces that usually come easily. I was looking at my watch every five seconds thinking maybe it was wrong, but nope, still said closer to 7 minute pace. Ironman pace! Not going to win a race when girls were running 6. I wasn't my usual smiling self. I got a bit of a boost coming back into the city on the last lap - thank you crowds! - and was able to finish strong but was still 2 or so minutes from Leanda (4th) at the end.
I think this was the most difficult race from a mental standpoint this year. And physically, in hindsight the travel probably tired me out, but I really did not let myself think about that one bit. I was more impressed with myself for staying focused on the bike and using what I had - my determination - to minimize the damage. In the end, that is probably what secured a 5th place finish. In the past, I have had bike splits balloon out of control when things get rough or the course doesn't suit my strengths.
If it's one thing to takeaway from this race is use what you have. If it's an amazing run, or an unwavering focus, or a really fast bike set up. Use it and and use it hard!
Congrats to Magali, Lauren, Amanda and Leanda for their strong races and thank you Miami for the crazy atmosphere. Next time I'll stay for some food other than gel or powder based products!!
Next up some international travel - Queen of Bermuda Tri and Challenge Bahrain.
Thanks for reading and thank you for the support.
Smile- it's so much better that frowning through a triathlon, believe me!