Ironman 70.3 Miami Race Report

Ever since I began working with Bjoern Ossenbrink and Lifesport Coaching last December, my training load has been rather high, and to train and race like I have this year has really taken a toll on my body. Suffice to say, coming into Miami 70.3 I was ready to bring this season to a close. My training leading up to Miami has been incredible, pushing myself in workouts harder than I have before, especially when it came to long hard running sessions, and my favourite workouts of all, the weekly brick sessions at the track with Bjoern and the rest of his athletes. Pushing some really positive times, I was confident Miami would be a fast race for me, maybe even a breakthrough. Hell, even my confidence in my swim was high, with some great consistency in the pool. Yup, Miami would be my race.

Days before the race, beautiful weather!
Unfortunately, bad luck decided to rear its ugly little head, and rain down on my parade. About 2 weeks out from the race, I contracted a lovely bacterial infection, which caused me to need a full 10 day course of antibiotics. Out of pure good luck, I managed to also contract some delightful virus that had some pretty uncomfortable symptoms, and the two wreaked havoc on my body for about a week. The antibiotics were the worst, leaving me with practically zero energy or motivation to get out and train. I didn’t want to do much, I ached all day, I felt my recovery was null, and I hated my coach for making me come out to training sessions , (my favourite was when he said, and I quote, “You can stay at home and cry, or come to the pool and do something about it.” Classic Bjoern! For those of you who know him, you know what I’m talking about.)  I have the best coach, but boy did I despise him for making me come to some of those sessions. I had my doubts about the upcoming race, even though we both stayed positive, and I kept my confidence high, there was a realization early on that I might not even be able to race.
At the Expo with Jonna
Anyways, the morning I left for Miami was the end of my antibiotics, and within a few days I could feel my energy returning. I was staying at an apartment near the race site, in downtown Miami, owned by a really upstanding gentleman named Ricardo. A triathlete himself, he opened his home to me, which I am grateful for.  The place was amazing, equipped with an outdoor pool (although only being about 18m’s long, I still managed to get a swim workout done in it!) The place was brilliant; walking distance to everything you could need (except the beach to swim at, although I managed to get a few open water swims in pre-race.)
Me swimming, photo from the apartment patio, 34 floors above!
 You may recall that I happened to meet a few fantastic people in Pennsylvania during the Pocono Mountains race, members of the Endurance Multisport tribe of athletes. Well, I was really excited to have Jonna Trexler join me in Miami, to assist with race support. Brand new to the sport this year, she is excelling at an amazing pace, dominating the amateur and elite amateur race scene. I’ve never really had someone like that as race support for a race I’ve travelled to, and what a difference it makes! I found myself much more relaxed, and was kept in check when I started to get a little too excited and carried away (I know, I know, doesn’t sound like me AT ALL 😀 Haha!) The days leading up to the race I had some good confidence building sessions in training. I tested out the Nineteen Frequency Speed Suit Prototype that, up until this race, I hadn’t trained in too much as I haven’t had to race with it yet. It was an amazing suit, and I was feeling very strong in the open water, even when it was choppy (note to self: the water in the Florida Keys is VERY VERY SALTY!!!) I’ve never experienced water as salty as that, it felt like I had such great buoyancy in the water (either that or I’ve enjoyed a few too many treats lately…..) My new Aquasphere Cayenne goggles worked really great for the open water, they never fogged and my visibility was unbelievable! I’ve never had that much peripheral vision in the water; it made sighting a whole lot easier.  After a few rides on the P3C, the legs were feeling fluid and strong (not that I didn’t have quite the boost from a wicked wheel-set, 1080 rear/808 front, graciously lent to me by my great friend Andrew Powell.) The winds in Miami could get quite intense, but I found I didn’t have too much problems getting thrown around on the wheels.
Waiting to go to the dock, race morning. Lovely weather huh?
One of the reasons I signed up for Miami was because I KNEW it would be warm there this time of year. What I didn’t really take in to consideration was that it was ALSO hurricane season. As luck would have it, there was a tropical storm warning for race day. The weather had been really gorgeous leading up to the race, but the day before it started to turn. I was sure I could ‘will’ it to be nice on race day, if I just hoped hard enough maybe it would turn out sunny. Lucky for us, we at least didn’t get rained on for the Pro meeting the day before the race (as it was outside.) Leading into this race, I had briefly checked out the starting list, but didn’t really see any big names. I thought the pro field was going to be small.
on the dock, waiting for swim start
WRONG!!!!  Walking up the bleachers for the meeting, I started to notice some fast guys who I’ve seen in the past, and then a few of the sports superstars, such as Matty Reed and Michael Raelart. I was so excited to be able to toe the line with some of the sports best athletes, and I got a bit of a confidence booster by Bjoern and Jonna (I guess that’s what the ‘support’ team is for!) Needless to say, it was going to be a bit of a star studded affair on Sunday.

Coming out of the water in the Nineteen Speed Suit
Race morning started out as it typically does, not much sleep and a bit groggy. I woke up excited, but that started to sink a bit when I looked outside. It was raining sideways, and I don’t mean that in a metaphorical way either. It was windy as hell with hard, driving rain. After my usual race morning breakfast of toast with almond butter, honey and a banana, I was off to the race site. It was a little cooler than I had expected, the downpour probably wasn’t really helping with that fact. After setting up my transition, and doing my routine warm-up, it was time to get to the dock for the swim start. The race was delayed 15mins, which was a good thing, as it was still really dark. All the pros stood around shivering, waiting to get in the water (which was actually a relief, as it was a warm 77 degrees!) I lined myself up in a good position, and with a horn blast the race was on!!!! Sprinting off the line, I held a good position for the first few hundred meters. I felt my form was really great, and settled into a good rhythm. I started to fall back from the big packs, and ended up swimming more than half the swim alone. The currents were pretty crazy out there, and the return into the dock was upstream. I was caught by Leanda Cave and a few other pro women right before the end of the swim, and managed to get punched in the eye. It felt like my goggle was going to suck my eyeball out of my head!!! At least you know those goggles have a good seal.

Fighting the wind, feeling strong
Even when it’s tough, still all smiles 🙂
Onto the bike I was feeling good. My energy was soaring, the cheers from the crowds were getting me pumped up, and I started to push like a freight train right off the bat. The course was difficult in the sense that it was so flat, with VERY few turns, and that made it a bit of a mental trip to try and keep myself in check. It’s important to continually assess while on a course like that, and I rode practically the whole bike along, so it was even more important for me to stay aggressive, so as not to let myself slow down without realizing it. The first ¾’s of the bike I felt really aggressive and strong, and my speed was really awesome. One of the things that made this course extra hard was the wind; it NEVER let up! I was riding into a headwind on the way out, and it felt like an even stronger headwind coming back. It was exhausting, and I was feeling the effects for the last 10-15 miles. Flying into T2, my transition was sped up by Jonna’s loud yelling to hurry up and go faster! It caught me off guard, but got me moving a little quicker. I was using my new compressport socks, and they went on really quickly.
Hard right to the line
The final kick, leaving it all out there.
Hitting out on the run course, I was getting blown around pretty badly. The winds had picked up even more, and I felt like a leaf getting knocked about. I ran like a warrior, digging deep the whole run, but sometimes you know right off the bat when you’re not running to your full potential, and I was hurting right from the get go. I slogged it out, starting out with a really great pace, and the encouragement from the crowds kept me going, especially from Jonna and Jill Allen, a good friend of Rachel McBride’s (who was also racing today.) There was a causeway out to South Beach, and the general consensus among EVERYONE was the same: the winds were effin’ CRAZY!!! The first loop, the rain felt like needles, and the wind was gusting so hard it was like running into a wall!  Seeing Rachel with her devil horns on her head gave me a laugh, and helped me to keep pushing through (as I also knew she had a broken foot, that made me suck-it-up and go harder!!) Leanda Cave caught me at about the 11.5mile mark, as she had been gaining on me the whole race. Just at the 12 mile marker, I found the last little bit of power I had left and started to kick. I don’t know what my pace was, but it must’ve been fast! I quickly pulled away from Leanda, and just ran as hard as I could to the finish. Completely spent, in a time of 4:15:08, I crossed the finish line.
Finish line with Rachel….and FOOD
Takes someone special to hug you after a half-ironman!
The race was fun, as they always are (whether or not they go right or wrong, I always take away the positives.) Finally glad to be finished with this LONG LONG season, it was time to take advantage of being in Miami with some amazing people. After the awards ceremony, where Rachel collected her 7th place trophy, we headed off to South Beach for some post-race celebrations, with happy hour at their resort, and some of the best Mexican food I’ve had, at Rosie’s Mexican. The night was full of laughs and good times, and I couldn’t have been in better company than Jonna, Rachel, and Jill.
Happy Hour post-race:)
I have to thank everyone who has supported me this year, my family and friends have been the most amazing support network I could ever imagine!! My Super-Coach Bjoern Ossenbrink of Lifesport has made me strong, and I couldn’t have gotten to the level I’m at without him. Thanks to Eload, Compressport, New Balance Vancouver, Nineteen wetsuits, Popeye’s Supplements, and most recently, Jeremy Wilson and the crew at Speed Theory Vancouver. Without your support I wouldn’t have made it this far.
Rosie’s Mexican!!
The season is finally done, it’s time to recover, decompress, and rebuild for the 2012 season, where I know there is going to be some big work, with even bigger results! Stay tuned for all the fun things I get up to in the next few weeks, lots of excitement I promise! Stay healthy everyone, and enjoy the off-season.

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