Yes, I know…I'm a bit late with this post, but I started working on my website from scratch just one week ago. I thought Miami 70.3 would be the perfect race to jumpstart my blog since nothing seemed to go right for me that weekend. Now that I look back at it, I just laugh at myself. You will be quite exhausted after reading about my weekend in Miami, but I promise, it's somewhat entertaining.
Race Prep: After having a great (I say great because Boulder is just plain awesome and I won $1500…more money for sushi) race in Boulder 70.3 earlier in August, my right patella wouldn't give for the life of me. I developed patella tendonitis; running was at its all-time low. Before Miami, I was averaging about 8-10 miles per week since Boulder. Just from the natural mental exhaustion when dealing with an injury, swimming wasn't a priority either. I just rode my bike because it's easier to think and reflect while on the bike than running or swimming. So, I was going into this race with a lot of concerns and doubts. I was still going to race my best and hardest.
Pre-Race Shenanigans: Let's just say that there was really bad planning on my part. I thought that if I booked a place .5 from the race site, I would be set to go. However, I neglected to look into the atmosphere of Miami, especially at night, and especially in Downtown Miami. Yea, I know. My flight to Miami was hassle-free until I got to my "condo hotel." I got there really late, around 11:30PM, and it was raining. I kind of got this weird vibe from this place...maybe because there were some people hanging outside of the entrance that didn't look like your "ordinary" people--perhaps due to Halloween shenanigans. When I first arrived, I was told by some guy standing outside that there was no on-site parking in their parking garage for non-residents. So, I went back to my car and drove around to find parking around this place. My goodness, I wasn't going to park blocks away due to construction and walk around alone. So, I went back to check in and asked the guy at the front desk the same question about parking. He was speaking with someone on the phone, in Spanish, so I couldn't really understand what he was saying. But, when I finally got his attention (after getting the "hand" a few times), he also said I couldn't park in their garage, and at this point I didn't know what to do. I was kind of creeped out by this place, to be honest. After the guy at the front desk gave me an envelope with my room key in it (he still had whoever he was talking to, on the phone), he asked me what room number I was. This was weird to me because this place didn't offer room service. So, why would he need to know? But, I told him my room number, and as I walked away to go back to my car to try and find parking, he got back on the phone with whoever, telling them my room number. I went with my gut feeling--get out of there! What sucked the most, there was no refund for this place. I drove around the block a couple times, thinking about what to do. I then decided to drive back towards the airport, about 20 mins away, in hopes of finding a better place to stay in. I found a Marriott, just 5 minutes away from the airport. It was past midnight and I was completely exhausted at this point, so I was praying that they had a room available. They did, but I had to wait a couple hours for their hours to roll over to the next day. Basically, so I wouldn't have to pay another $160…it clearly wasn't worth it. So, the receptionist said that at around 2:30AM, I'd be able to come back and check into a room. So, I went back to my car, declined the driver's seat, and snoozed until 2:30AM. I awoke and walked back into the Marriott, and a different desk receptionist said, "It's not time yet." I had to wait another hour. So, I go back into my car and snoozed until 3:30AM. I walk back in, yet again…still not time. This time, I plopped myself on the furniture inside the Marriott because I just didn't care at this point. I finally got a room around 4:00AM. All this time I was thinking to myself, "It's Friday…two days before race day…I'm screwed." All you athletes know the importance of quality rest two days before a big event. The next day, my planned agenda didn't go as smooth as one would hope. The unsteady weather and flatting on my disc tubular tire while trying to do my pre-race ride were just the icing on the cake.
Swim: It was hard to get motivated for the start of the race because it was dark, cold, and drizzling rain. The water however, wasn't cold enough for a wetsuit swim. I didn't feel like myself for the swim; in all honesty, it was one of those, "Am I done yet?" kind of swims. After I got out of the water, I was thankful and just wanted to get on the bike so I could try to make up time/places. I usually do, just not this time around.
Bike: Due to the rain, the ground was very wet and slippery. Even the transition area was all marble floor, but that's not where people were falling. I was lucky to be one of the first few victims of the wx conditions. After I grabbed my bike and started to make my way out to the mount/dismount area, I instantly fell hard on my knees. More so on my right one. Almost shocked and very frustrated, I just waited for the volunteers to pick up my bike and unclipped shoe. I took my time to get on the bike, as my knee was stinging uncomfortably. As I took my first few pedal strokes, I got really nervous because my legs felt like I had done a hilly 100-miler the day before. My legs never loosened up, and no one was in sight...mentally screwing up my game. I only managed to pass one other racer. To make it even worse for my mental state, the course was completely flat, on very long stretches of road...how boring. There were a few times during the race where I thought about calling it quits. It's amazing how your perspectives change when you transition from an age-grouper to a professional. But, I wasn't going to give in and let my pride get in the way. So, I thought to myself, "Ok, I can make up some ground on the run." I dismounted off my bike, safely, and realized how far back I was...man oh man...talk about mental strength.
Run: Knowing that I was sitting far back in the standings with the other pro women, I had to redirect my focus towards something else so that I could finish the race on a positive note. At the start of the run, my legs did feel a little heavy, but they loosened up a bit and I actually felt pretty decent. It's weird how your body works…night and day between the bike and run legs. My wound was stinging pretty good, but I figured it was going to bother me anyway, so I thought about something else…like trying to hunt down at least one other racer. My tendonitis wasn't a huge worry, given that I took 600mg of ibuprofen before/during the race. I managed to catch up to the 10th place woman, running with her for a couple miles. Then, after a long gradual hill, I kicked it up a notch because I knew she was tired. I opened up a big gap and just kept going. I didn't know how far back I was from the other ladies, so I just kept running as hard as I could. It was an out and back x2 kind of run course, so I did see who was in front, but I didn't let that bother me because you just never know. I kicked it in to the end, feeling a bit wobbly after I crossed the finish line. I managed to maintain a 7:08 mi/hr pace for the 13.1mi, which is pretty good if you ask me, with practically no run training. Ok, I pulled it out of my______(you fill in the blank). I immediately got brought to the med tent and walked out looking like a volleyball player.
Post-Race Shenanigans: So, I had to get to the airport by 2:30PM so I wouldn't miss my flight back home. I knew that by not getting the proper post-race nutrition and recovery, I was going to pay the price one way or another. It was about 1PM when I got back to my hotel, completely exhausted and just wanting to go to bed. I was feeling a little queasy, but not to the point of actually puking or passing out (not yet, at least). However, I had no appetite. So, I quickly took a shower and gathered my luggage and belongings. Since my bike and bike case were already in the car, I decided it was best to disassemble my bike in the Marriott parking lot. As soon I started to work on my bike, I started to feel really light-headed and was moving really slow. Really…slow. My stomach started to bother me, having a nagging pinch-like feeling in my intestines. I knew this was going to be a long trip back home. Anyway, after I managed to get the bike disassembled and securely in the bike case and car, I headed to the airport. This is where the fun begins. Walking through the airport feeling like I was was probably very entertaining to anyone watching me make my way to my destination(s). I don't think I've ever walked so slow in my life. It felt like I was dragging two bodies…when really it was just my one luggage and bike case. So, I managed to get through ticketing and security, feeling really sick to my stomach and MISERABLE at this point. As I was waiting for my plane to board, I looked for anything that looked half-appetizing…no cigar. Instead, I found myself just walking around while clutching my stomach. Trying to "go to the bathroom" wasn't working either. I finally boarded the plane with hopes of falling asleep for the duration of the flight, thinking it would make me feel better. Instead, for the first 45 minutes or so after take-off, I fidgeted in my seat due to "the pinch" in my stomach that only seemed to get worse...until I puked. Don't worry, I managed to get myself to the plane's bowl. Good thing it wasn't occupied at the time. While I was puking in the bowl, some obnoxious girl kept knocking on the door. What didn't she get? I wasn't done yet. So, as I was washing my hands and drying up, I opened the door and said, "What?!," then closed the door. She knocked obnoxiously again, and when I was done cleaning, I asked her if she'd prefer me puking on her than in the toilet...then I went back to my seat. Anyway, after all of this, I still had a 3-4 hr layover for my connecting flight, arrived back home around 1AM, and wasn't able to eat for 30+ hrs since my last gel pack during the race. Man, did that first bite of cheese pizza taste oh-so-good.