MiamiMan 70.3 is the USAT Long Course National Championship and the only qualifier for Team USA Long Distance Triathlon 2018. And I really, really want to race on Team USA at the ITU Long Distance World Championship in Pontevedra, Spain. So I convinced April, Rocio and Joan to compete in Miami on November 11, 2017. The day prior the race we went to check the course, swim in the lake and drop the bikes in transition after picking up the race packets. It was sunny and the lake was pretty clear.
The pre-racing briefing was a joke and a total waste of time. There was no information about the course, only one speaker and the other providing novice coaching tips. Unbelievable!
Race Morning: Driving there was pretty quick and parking was well organized. We were given specific routing and parking lot instructions at packet pick up to disperse traffic and facilitate parking. When we arrived, it was dark and rather cool, maybe in the high 70’s. Transition opened at 4:30 and closed at 6:20. There was not a lot of room to place your gear. Much like a shorter-distance race, everything goes right by your bike. No transition bags or changing tents. After getting that all set up, it was time to wait until our waves start. Just 30 min before transition closed, it started pouring. We never saw the sun until the last 10-15 miles on the bike.
Swim: My wave, #6, started at 6:55. No wetsuit legal this year and it’s a beach start. I hung back a bit, conscious of some big guys who might knock me over. I ran in and started swimming. It was still raining a bit and it was dark. I had tinted goggles and I could not see a thing. The buoys were too far apart. The swim was congested because it was two loops, with lots of people in the water at the same time. As usual, the turn buoys were the worst spots. Approaching the beach exit at the end of the first lap was a slug. And trying to climb in and out of the water on rocks with no assistance sort of sucked. But, I threw myself back in for the second loop with feet that felt like they’d been all scratched up. I finally finished in around 47 minutes, one of the very slowest swims I’ve ever had. After reviewing my swim, I was devastated. I swam zig zag the entire time and an extra 250 meters.
Bike: This course is truly PANCAKE FLAT. It was windy, wet and still raining a bit. There were several 90 degree turns on this out-and-back with a 15 mile loop in the middle, but they did not impact my ability to build some speed. I was very concerned about slipping. Several athletes fell on the road on those turns and a couple were in ambulances. Also the open roads were concerning. I had to maneuver through cars a couple of times and hesitated at controlled intersections. There were also a lot of bikes on the road on a rather narrow, shoulder-less road, and some were aggressive competitors who didn’t like being passed by a woman. I followed my goal power and nutrition but the average speed was lower due to the turns, strong winds and the wet pavement. I finished in 2:37. Not bad, but I was expecting better.
Run: I ran out of T2 and of course the sun was shining. It was hot and humid. I wish it would have sprinkled a little longer. I was looking forward to the run because the race was advertised as running through the Miami Zoo. Sounded like fun and with plenty of distractions. And the running through the zoo part was nice. (I did see an elephant, turtles and an African antelope on the second lap!) But it was a very small portion of the race. Mostly, you’re on a rather ugly course, running on cracked up broken asphalt, gravel, dirt, parking lots, and grass in the blazing sun. Luckily, haha, you do the same loop twice. And even though the swim wasn’t in salt water, I had salt crusted on my body. The best part was spotting friends on the course. I saw Rocio and I yelled “ShutUpLegs”. Then I saw April and Joan at the end of the first loop.
My run was slow - 2:06:02. I wanted to finish at least under 2 hours... but again my back and gluteus were tight after mile 6. At the beginning I forced myself to slow down to save it for the second loop, but when the muscles tighten up there isn’t much to do....
Team USA: I needed to finish in the top 16 in my category to qualify for Team USA. I think Rocio, April, and I nailed it and we will go to Spain. We will receive a confirmation email in 2 weeks. I came in 6th in my AG with a tot time of 5:37:31 and the 4th and 5th beat me just for 20-25 seconds (if I new it I would have not stopped for ice on the last mile).
Would I recommend this race to you? Yes, if 1) you live in the area, or 2) you want to be on Team USA.
I want to send special thanks to my friends and athletes who shared this awesome experience with me. We had a blast during this weekend. Our cabins at the RV Everglades resort were very comfortable and the resort was very relaxing. We will be back for more “adult play”!
Rosa Laura Saggese Elbooz