I think I should start by saying ‘Wow’!
Just a week prior to the race I announced on this blog that I was doing the Miami 70.3 Ironman and that I wanted to raise $3,000 to honor what would have been my sister’s 30th birthday. I didn’t really expect to hit that goal and I certainly didn’t expect to blow past it with over $3800 raised. So, first and foremost, thank you to everyone who supported this effort, it really is still unbelievable!
So, about that race. Every triathlon starts with swimming, followed by biking, followed by running. The Ironman Triathlon comes to 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running. Yes, miles. Thankfully the Miami Ironman Triathlon was a 70.3 race, or exactly half a traditional Ironman. My race was 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of cycling and 13.1 miles of running. Because I did the half Ironman, I like to call the race the Aluminum Man, as aluminum is one half the atomic weight of iron.
I woke up Sunday morning and, as one does before a big race, set to coloring my hair pink and purple. As a result I forgot a few things: breakfast, the beet juice I planned to drink with breakfast, and my glittery bike helmet. Yeah. That was a problem. Especially because I took an Uber ride to Miami so Jill could get back to sleep after dying my hair. Upon arrival in Miami I had to call my wonderful wife to wake up my two sleeping daughters to drive down to Miami and deliver my multi-colored helmet to me before 7 a.m. Great start.
We met, I finished my setup before being moved to the start line and had some time to relax and take in the atmosphere with my lovely ladies and my friend Greg who showed up for sunrise. Before I knew it, my wave was called into the water and I was off. My training did me well here and I finished the swim in 51 minutes, not bad considering how much extra distance I swam on account of the current pushing me out to sea. (Also pretty good considering how awful my first long distance swim was!)
Next up, the bike. We started from Bayfront Park, right by the American Airlines arena and cycled up US-27 all the way to Stirling Road (practically home) and then back again. The wind was strong as I headed out but on the way back to transition, with the wind at my back I practically flew. I averaged 17.2 mph which was excellent for me and the fastest I’ve ever averaged at that distance. A better bike might have increased my speed a few more mph but I was happy.
Finally the run. I’ve been told for a triathlon you need to pace the swim, enjoy the ride and survive the run. I think I might have taken that advice a bit too literally. I survived the run but not much more. As I pulled in from the bike ride I relaxed, I was way ahead of schedule and had PLENTY of time to make my 7 hour goal. I found Jill on the edge of the transition area and she helped me re-color my hair, which was looking rough after hours of swimming and biking and set off on my run. For the first time all day I was aware of the heat and the sun and before I knew it, it was taking a toll.
As I ran I got more and more tired. The sun wore down on me. I took some walking breaks, then I was walking more and more. I think of running a mile in 10 minutes as my over/under. I can sustain 7 minute miles over shorter distances and earlier this year managed to run 13.1 miles with a 9 minute per mile average. My first few miles were around 10 minutes. After the swim and bike though, I would have been thrilled to have kept to a 10 minute pace but I figured I’d be closer to 11 or even 12 minutes per mile. I was over 12. Then there was the I-395 bridge and I had to cross it 4 times, walking more of the uphill each time. The amount of time it took me to complete a mile kept ticking up; 14 minutes, then 16 minutes. My stomach was cramping, I needed energy but anything other than water hurt more than helped. I walked more and more I couldn’t see the finish line but knew it was just around the corner, or the next corner, or the next corner, ack! I eventually found the finished line and managed to run through it and nearly collapsed on the other side.
My goal was to finish in 7 hours. My time was 7:09:47. Just 10 minutes shy of my goal.
Did I forget to mention that I missed my goal time at my first marathon by a mere 14 seconds? This seems to be a trend.
Oh well, I don’t care, I still finished and I survived!
Thank you again to everyone who supported me – your donations, texts and messages of support were appreciated more than you’ll ever know!