Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Race Report: Miami Man

by Janice Biederman

The Miami Man Tri is actually 3 races: a half-iron distance, a sort-of ½-iron duathlon (2-56-13.1) and a sort-of international distance tri (.66-22-6.6), starting and ending in a large park with a run through the Miami Zoo.  This was my 3rd time doing this race and I surprised (shocked?) myself with a 10 minute PR!  I love this race.

The swim is held in a very clean lake and, for me, was uneventful.  Despite the smallish size of the lake, there was nearly zero body contact which was pretty darn refreshing after the mosh pit action at Lake Placid.  I exited the swim just 7 seconds off my best time for this course, ran up the short carpeted incline to the wetsuit strippers, and headed to my bike.

After a long run (with the bike) to the exit, there was a 300-or-so yard run over grass, tree roots and stones to the bike mount area.  Given the pathetic state of my running, I lost time here.  Once on the bike, it was smooth sailing, and I do mean sailing.  There were 20-25 mph sustained winds (with the occasional 35 mph gust thrown in for fun) which, with the exception of a 2-mile section, were either headwinds or cross winds the whole way.  My hands still ache from holding on to the aerobars for dear life.  Fortunately, this being south Florida, there were no hills.  I mean zero, zilch, none.  Not even a speed bump. And the roads were smooth.  The only challenge  was the cyclists who didn’t understand that passing on the right is a really bad idea, especially when the cyclist you are passing is only a foot from the edge of the road AND doing a right-hand turn.  Yes, there were a few crashes.  In any event, I rode a bike PR by exactly 1 minute in the windiest conditions I have encountered on the course.

After dismounting, there was the 300-yard grass/roots/stones trek to transition, then a 100-yrad run to my bike rack.  Mentally, I was ready to run but my legs voted not to participate.  The run starts out on a paved path in the park, then onto a crumbling stone and sand former service road in the zoo.   By former, I mean it hadn’t been used in years and was likely last paved during the Carter administration.  It was rough going keep-you-eyes-on-the-ground kind of running here.  About a mile in, a woman in front of me turned an ankle and went down.  While watching her, I proceeded to do the same thing-ouch!!  After uttering more than a few bad words, I got back to the business of running (OK, shuffling).  Mile 2 to 3 is an out and back section and this is where I saw a guy wearing a Purdue jersey. Now a Purdue jersey siting is extremely rare in Florida (or anywhere outside the Midwest, for that matter) and, as a loyal Purdue alumna, this immediately brought to mind the Purdue fight song which I could not get out of my mind for the next 4 miles.  

Unfortunately, the song only has 8 lines and those 8 lines were on a continuous loop in my mind.  By mile 6 I got pretty darn creative with the words…  Anyway, the run takes you past the large tortoises, zebras, antelopes, tigers, flamingos, and chimps - a welcome distraction.  When you run as slow as I do, distractions are good.  The real highlight of this run, for me, was that I actually passed 2 people!!  Holy Toledo! The run finishes back in the park and, much to my surprise, I had a 5-minute run PR. My shuffle has gotten faster.

I ended up placing 5th in my AG (awards go 5 deep so I got a stuffed monkey for my efforts) and a very positive state of mind going into the off season.  I highly recommend this race.  It is well run, has a good expo, and a better-than-average swag bag (T-shirt, hat, engraved beer glass, race belt, custom mouse pad, energy bars, etc).  And, it’s in sunny warm south Florida!

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