My amazing mom brought me to the airport Friday to start out my adventure
|My Chauffeur 😉|
Who wouldn’t want to go to paradise?! Talk about two-birds-one-stone 😉 But how did this come about? I need to say a huge THANK YOU to my friends Jake and Sally. We were on the same team for Ragnar Florida Keys in Jan 2012 and have stayed in contact. Jake planted the seed in my head about this event in mid-July. I had just completed my first Olympic/international/quarter distance triathlon, Life Time Tri Minneapolis, and was on such a high and thinking what’s next?! Needless to say he totally talked me in to registering with 3 months to go. And so very happy he did.
As soon as I saw a glimpse of Miami I was a giggly, happy camper. That Vitamin D I tell ya!!
|“Welcome to Miami!”|
I had some time to kill before Jake, Sally, and baby Jewell were arriving (they live 5 hours north in Gainesville) so I explored the area. Bayside Marketplace is a super fun area filled with shops, restaurants, bars, and lots and lots of supersized yachts (I gotta get me one the them).
|Not a bad setting!|
|View of the InterContinental!|
|Mich Ultra After-Party!|
When they were close I headed over to the hotel where we were staying – InterContinental Miami, which was the main athlete hotel. Such a incredibly beautiful hotel and unbelievably convenient as the start/finish was right across the street at Bayfront Park.
|Hotel View. Swim was in the Bay on the right|
That eve we ate dinner at Tradewinds Waterfront Bar & Grill. I enjoyed a macadamia crusted mahi-mahi with mashed potatoes and passion fruit puree…aaaand a mango and passion fruit marg – hey – when in paradise!
|Macadamia Crusted Mahi-Mahi|
We work up early Saturday to start our big day of prep!
|Rise n Shine!|
We got to the expo early and registration was a BREEZE! They were super organized and efficient with the whole process. With a sold-out event with 3,500 people you never know!
|Signing our lives away…|
The only thing I was disappointed with was the lack of swag. We were given a large triathlon bag to hold all of our race essentials but that was about it. No free nutrition?? C’mon Ironman step it UP!
|Team AXIS at the Expo!|
|70.3 Miles of Swim~Bike~Run!|
There were a ton of different shops and vendors at the event but one that stood out to me was BASE Performance. I had a 2.5 hour medical scare after my first full marathon, Grandma’s Marathon, in June. My potassium was super high and the doc said I had stroke-like symptoms. They really wanted me to get in the ambulance to the hospital but I felt much better after a few IVs. And I’m stubborn ha. Sooo needless to say proper nutrition has been a focus of mine ever since. I knew I needed plenty of salt throughout the race and BASE has the sweetest invention. If you are an endurance athlete I HIGHLY recommend you checking this out. An essential.
|Nutrition = essential!|
|Pumped for the next day!|
Practicing with the new shoes and unfamiliar clips got really frustrating. Not only was this my first time trying road clips but this was going to be my first race with any sort of clips. It did not help that it was the hottest time of day. I definitely had a freak out moment that I wasn’t going to get it before the race the next day. I believe I even said “do I just go buy another bike?!” yeah I was not being very rational. I took a deep breath and just kept practicing. And I got better
|Swag all set!|
Ok ok ok…let’s get to the goods 😉
Not gonna lie it was tough to sleep the night before the race. Yes we had a darling 6 month year old in the room with us (love ya baby girl!) but the pre-race jitters were getting the best of me. SO many emotions going on. You know how the night before the first day of school always went? Felt like that but on steroids ha. So as soon as that alarm went off I was up and at em!
|Heading to the big day!|
Got to the transition area with plenty of time to spare. Love getting to races early and taking my time setting up. Adds way too much anxiety to be running late – not for me!
|Got there nice and early|
|All racked and set up!|
|It was Fiona from UK’s 1st 70.3 too!|
|Emotional National Anthem|
Swim: 1.2 Miles
The jitters are at an all-time high as I line up with my wave of 30-34 year old women!
|Sexiest look alive…|
Things were going swimingly (ha) until I glanced up to see a jellyfish two inches from my face!! The sucker zapped my nose and left side of my mouth. I was obviously thrown off my game and kinda freaking out. I gathered my spilled marbles and kept going. It was a mental struggle to remain relaxed and keep great form. A part of me wanted to just keep a lookout straight ahead and the other wanted to start screaming during each of the next four zaps all over my body. Yes, five lovely jellyfish stings. Go big or go home right?
Now they did warn us that there were sightings of jellyfish in the water and we had the option to forgo the swim. I did not realize the extent of how bad the water was or I would’ve considered it. Who am I kidding? I came that far and trained my ass off I think the only thing that would have made me question my sanity would’ve been a shark attack.
|Apparently this is the water we swam through…|
|“A Jelly got my nose!”|
Overall, I was very proud of my swim considering the cray conditions. I’m pretty sure it made me go much faster too as I wanted to get outta there! 😉
I remember being very disoriented when I got out of the water but was so moved by the huge crowd of people cheering on. I made sure to tell them, “The first one got my nose!”
Apparently everyone seemed to get stung about 4-7 times and they had people spraying vinegar on your wounds during T1. Not sure how I missed the vinegar but I did not NOT to pee on myself. Apparently that does not really work and thank goodness bc I wasn’t trying to let someone pee all up on my face!!
The rest of T1 went pretty smoothly. Tore of my Roka Viper Swim Skin, cap, and googles. Quickly dried feet, threw on the socks and shoes. Snapped up the helmet and slipped on my sunglasses. Filled my back pockets with various nutrition. Go time!
Bike: 56 Miles
Turns out I had no reason to freak out the day before as clipping-in went quite smoothly. Left foot in on the first try and the right foot only took a few. Ok not super smooth but I’ll take it for a newbie!
The bike out was amazing. Having the wind at our back felt incredible. It was tough that my borrowed bike did not have a bike computer on it so I wasn’t sure how fast I was going but I felt as though I was flying! #zoooom
I was having too much fun that I started signing in Italian! I am taking Italian language classes right now as I’d like to be able to understand and speak a bit whenever I finally visit. We have relatives in Northern Italy that I would absolutely love to meet.
What weird things do you do or tell yourself during endurance events? Love hearing about all of them
This was the first bike event I have participated in that had water stations. I didn’t plan this out right as I had two bottles already on my bike (one filled with just water and the other OSMO Active). When they handed me a bottle of ice cold fresh water I knew I had to toss the bottle with now warm water. Thing is they really don’t give you a whole lot of time to toss garbage “legally”. I knew it was a penalty to liter or toss anything outside of certain zones but I really didn’t have an option. I couldn’t bike while holding on to a water bottle! And my body needed that fresh, new liquid gold. I tossed a bottle…and I still feel bad! Ah well. No other option really.
The bike back was a completely different story. It did not help that we had to stay FIVE bike paces behind the rider in front of us. Absolutely NO drafting. But it was the conditions that started to wear me down. Not only were the head winds ridic rough but the sun and heat were absolute torture. With six measly miles to go my legs started freaking out. The cramps were visibly pulsing my quads and it was absolute torture to complete the bike. But I did…somehow.
|Startin out strong! Tribute to Ohana!|
|Loving the headwinds!|
|So much pain. Put on a smile.|
Overall, I was VERY happy with my bike out and not so much my bike in. But this is the one sport I was dreading and simply happy I made it back to T2 without having to get off and stretch those legs.
After what felt like HOURS I finally got to T2. And I pretty much collapsed. The pain and cramping in my legs completely took me over. Not even sure how I clipped out but I could barely stand let alone walk. Two amazing women athletes pretty much scooped me up and helped bring me over to my transition area. They offered to stretch me out encouraged me to listen to my body. This was the first of many occurrences of athletes offering to help me. I was so overcame with gratitude that they would go out of their way to stop their race to help someone else. The triathlon community is truly amazing.
Run: 13.1 Miles
Oh the run. The one sport I felt pretty confident about. The one I have trained the most for and have the most experience in. I have ran 9 half marathons, 2 Ragnars, a full marathon, as well as numerous smaller runs. But this run was a completely different ballgame. My legs have never hurt so bad. I felt completely shattered at first. I really was not sure if I was going to be able to reach the finish line – at multiple points.
I literally picked up each of my legs with my hands to start the run. It took me awhile to attempt a jog and I only made it about 30 seconds. Once I stopped my legs seized up and I couldn’t bend them. I woman came over to me and bent my leg to stretch it. Oh the pain yet necessary relief! I continued on!
The very most I could give was a minute and a half job so I decided to channel the ol soccer days and put myself through an interval workout. 1:30 on, 30 second speed walk (with intermittent stretching). At this point I KNEW I was not going to have a pretty time but ALL I was focused on was the finish line. I told myself there was NO way I was going home without crossing it. Amazing what mental games you need to play with yourself to make it happen.
The course was mostly flat except for one huge obstacle – the causeway. Running up and over this bridge TWICE meant battling 4 inclines without any shade what-so-ever. The heat alone was killer and there was no way to offer water over what felt like a 5 mile bridge.
Near mile 10 my legs seized up again and I really wasn’t sure if I could continue. A man came over to me and offered to walk with me to help me keep going. I was so grateful for his encouragement that I couldn’t give up. It was also super inspiring to see individuals with disabilities on the course. One man I saw had a prosthetic leg. I seriously had NO excuses to stop.
The volunteers unfortunately ran out of ice too. This made me very sad. I was highly enjoying stuffing my whole tri kit with freezing water! Near the end a few volunteers asked if I wanted a “rain shower” – oh hell why not! Felt so good getting dumped on with water. My shoes weren’t very happy though. Ooops.
When I knew how close I was to the finish line I have it the hardest kick of my life. Could not WAIT to cross and celebrate such a well-earned achievement
|Hot. Hurting. But actually moving.|
|Saying “This is freakin crazy!!”|
|Eye on that finish line. So close.|
|This photo screams emotion of how I felt|
|Unbelievably happy to cross that finish line|
|1st HIM in the books!!|
Overall, I knew immediately that my run was not going to be pretty. Even though this was my slowest half marathon BY FAR – I am SO proud of myself for overcoming every obstacle and never giving up.
After crossing that amazing finish line I pretty much collapsed (I tend to do that). A group of youngin angels scooped me up and brought me to the comfiest recliner I’ve ever been in! The med folks immediately covered me with ice bags all over my body. Gosh that felt amaaaze! They took my vitals and obviously my heart-rate was skyrocketing but overall I was A-OK and just needed to spend about 10 min “chillin” out. No major scare for me – ooofta!
I truly believe a major aspect that saved my race was my salt intake. THANK GOODNESS I was introduced to BASE at the Expo the day before. Every time I had to stop throughout my race someone would ask me if I needed salt. They knew how essential this was and I was grateful for their support. But I was covered! Can’t imagine what would’ve happened to my body without the salt intake I did have. Let’s not go there
|1st one is always a PR…|
Sunday, October 25th 2015 was definitely the toughest day of my life both physically and mentally. But I would not change it for the world. I am beyond proud of myself for overcoming every obstacle and I am SO in-love and appreciate of the triathlon community. Earned that damn medal!!
|Now that is a metal well-earned. So Miami!|
So many people have asked me if I’ll do another. My immediate reaction was “think I’m nuts?!” But I’m clearly insane and hooked as pretty sure I signed up for THIS crazy one! Healthy addictions at their finest 😉
HUGE humble thanks to my amazingly supportive family and friends for all your encouragement! Jake and Sally for making it happen. And Team Coeur for the perfect tri kit and supportive community of strong women. I could never have gotten through this without you. Love you all!!!