By: Elaine Sipos
We were looking for a late season Half Ironman since I got my season started so late, and Jeremy had to bail out of a few races due to a calf injury that never fully healed. We have raced Miami Man in previous years and we like the race, but I wanted to do an Ironman 70.3 branded race. Options were limited, and timing was right for Miami…so we signed up and made plans for a extended weekend mini-vacation in South Beach.
We weren’t sure if the race would even happen with Hurricane Sandy moving in. The winds were up to 30-40 MPH on race week, and some intersections were completely flooded up to the top of the cars’ tires. It was so windy on Friday and Saturday that when we were walking with our bikes the day before the race, my bike was swept up off the ground flying into my legs (chain ring cutting up my legs, boohoo), and my bike computer flew off never to be found again (boohoo)!
Winds calmed down a bit by race morning, but it was still very windy.
Not being a strong swimmer, I take my wetsuit to every race no matter how warm the water is expected to be. Luckily, it turned out to be wetsuit legal. The swim started in the bay, right by the Bayfront Park. The bay was a bit protected from the chop, but there was a bit on the way back in. I tried to draft off a girl in my AG, but I’m no good at that. She was kicking me so hard, throwing off my rhythm, and I was getting too flustered…so I went back on my own.
After weaving through some intown streets and turns to get out of the city, the bike went straight out US-27N. It was flat, but we had pretty heavy headwinds and my legs just did not want to push hard for a while. I was happy to have been in one of the earlier swim waves, so I didn’t have the masses of people around that I saw on the other side of the highway when I was headed back for the second half of the bike leg.
The run went through the Bayside Marketplace and up over MacArthur Causeway. I had expected a pancake flat run, since I hadn’t done my research…but I found that we had to run up over the causeway 4 times. I normally think of wind affecting the swim and bike, but I don’t think about it making the run harder. It sure made the run much harder though. The wind gusts were so strong that many times a big wind would push me sideways and cause me to trip over myself. It felt like someone was pushing me backwards or sideways so much of the time. Between my lack of training, the heat, the heavy winds, and the 4 causeway climbs…it was a challenging run.
I was happy to see the finish line, and found a little energy to try to outsprint another girl (not in my AG) to the finish, and I ended up with the AG win. We had a fun time in South Beach afterwards, and I would recommend the race to others.