Saturday, November 23, 2013

2013 Ironman Miami 70.3 Race Report, Part 1

I did it.  I completed my first 70.3 distance triathlon.  After bowing out of the 2012 Miami 70.3 when worked demand squeezed my training hours to next to nothing, I felt like I had a bit of something to prove to myself this time around.

Finisher! 6:49:52

Training for the race
Consistency...or lack thereof
Finding time, energy, and will to train was an ongoing challenge.  My fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants nature goes against the grain of routine, and routine is critical when there are limited opportunities to train each day.  I missed lots of week day workouts and tried to make them up on weekends.  Not the best strategy (if a strategy at all), but in the end it got me to the finish line.

Splish splash
There were periods when I was consistent, even during the week.  Not surprisingly, this is when I saw the most fitness, skill, and endurance gains.  Notably, there was a period when I swam regularly and, for the first time, incorporated drills into my swim training.  This lead to marked swim improvement, demonstrated by a crazy good swim at my second sprint tri of the season.

After this race my swim training went downhill.  I swam less consistently, traveled more consistently (every week for approximately 14 weeks leading up to Miami 70.3), and got burned out on pool swimming.  In retrospect, it would have been beneficial to get out of the pool and over to Lucky's Lake to break up the monotony of lap swimming and to have joined a master's class for skill building and camaraderie.  I did make it to Lucky's the weekend before Miami and made two crossings, which equates to 2K and about 1.2 miles.  It wasn't a spectacular swim, but being in open water for the first time in months was cathartic and helped me to mentally prepare for Miami.

Sunrise at Lucky's Lake, Oct. 19, 2013

Taking the bike to new heights
I was very fortunate to complete about three weeks of training at altitude: a few days in CO in May, 10 days in CO in August, and 10 days in Tahoe in September.  This helped my bike, and my confidence, tremendously.  I hammered up inclines that I hadn't attempted since I was a kid exploring new roads and off-road trails in Fort Collins, CO.  As a result, I felt like a kid out on a bike, which means these were really good rides.  I rode up to and around Horsetooth Reservoir near FoCo; part of the Ironman Boulder course; from Breckenridge, CO to Copper Mountain, CO and back; up Swan Mountain, near Breckenridge, to spectate at the top of the mountain during the 2013 US Pro Challenge; most of one lap of the Ironman Lake Tahoe course (excluding the Northstar and mysterious-turned-treacherous Martis Camp gated neighborhood); and another bike or two on the IMLT course and nearby roads.  Pretty spectacular riding.  While home in Florida, I rode the Clermont hills numerous times and was introduced to a great new routes around Lake Monroe by Seminole County Triathletes.  Collectively, I completed several 50-mile rides and one 60 mile ride before Miami, leaving me feeling very good about the bike before the race.

Ride around Horsetooth Reservoir near Ft. Collins, CO, Aug. 18, 2013

Downtown Winter Garden, FL, July 7, 2013

Run n  n   n    n     n      n
Usually the run is what I focus most on because I started endurance sports with running and I can easily run when traveling.  This year my running, both in training and at races, stunk.  I just couldn't find my running mojo.  Contributing factors were lack of consistent running, being tired from amping up time on the bike, Florida summer/fall heat and humidity, laziness, and training burnout.  With a lackluster running experience throughout the season, I knew that the run at Miami would entail a lot of walking.

Despite my ho-hum running this year, I was able to run in some spectacular places through work and personal travel. From my usual central Florida haunts (Lake Minneola, Winter Garden, Wekiwa Springs State Park), to business trips to DC and NYC, to vacations in CO and CA, my feet and legs logged miles across the country.

Run across Brooklyn Bridge in NYC, Aug. 6, 2013
Post four-mile brick run, Carnelian Bay, CA, Sept. 21, 2013
Run through valley between Brockway Pass and Truckee near Tahoe, Sept. 26, 2013 (Day of Ironman Lake Tahoe)

One lap, one stroke, one step at a time, my piecemeal training got me through to race day.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Planning for 2013 and 2014

After a so-so 2012 triathlon experience, I decided to do things right this year.

First, I bought the tri bike I have been drooling over for the last year. My precious 2013 Trek Speed Concept 7.0 joined our family on May 4, 2013Finally the owner of a tri bike, I permanently parked my demoted 2006 Specialized Dolce on the stationary trainer to make my sweaty cave of pain sessions more convenient. Hubby +Mike and I now have nearly matching his and her Speed Concepts (his is a 2011), making us annoyingly cute when we go for rides together.  I am loving my new bike, and feel like a legit cyclist/triathlete when I take her out on local roads and to races. 

Looking for redemption after a DNS last year, in early June I registered for the 2013 edition of Ironman 70.3 Miamitaking place October 27. Miami is great because it's drivable, meaning I don't have to dismantle and ship my bike for my second attempt at my first entree to long distance triathlon (added bonus: we can drop off our five-year-old with grandma and grandpa on the way). Mike is considering doing Miami again this fall but is waiting until later in the season to see how his training is going and how well we are balancing both of us training with our wild and crazy life of kids and work.

After registering for Miami 70.3, I got brave and signed up for a couple of 2014 races. Big races. No joke, must ship bike, expensive, committed by blood races. 

First, my Iron "Aunt" (she's only 4 years older than me) Heather has had 2014 Ironman 70.3 Hawaii on her radar for a couple of years and planned to race it to celebrate her 40th birthday.  Perfectly, the 2014 race is ON her birthday!  Heather and I signed up the minute registration opened, and Mike signed up a few days later after applying some competitive pressure. We are looking forward to celebrating Heather's 40th with her to add some of our own sweat to the Queen K.

So, with Hawaii on the agenda, why not go bigger? Heather had her eye on the inaugural Ironman Boulder as part of her 2014 race schedule and I had planned to be there to cheer her on. However, with the opportunity to complete my first iron-distance race on home turf and to have Heather on the course with me, I wanted to be a part of the race, not spectate. I knew my coaches would be stoked as they are as amped up about a full iron-distance race in Colorado as I am, so after getting their approval, I committed myself to my first 14+ hour, boundary-testing, introspection-inducing swim-bike-run adventure. I am both freaked out and insanely excited to make this massive next step in my age-grouper endurance sport career.

Given my grandiose plans for the next 13 months, I suppose I should finish up my coffee and get out for a ride. Or maybe I'll take a Saturday nap, and then go for a ride.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Resurrecting TriMikovsky Blog

We (+Mike Mikovsky and I) are still alive. Regularly posting to a blog is easier said than done. Case in point: my last post was January 2012.

Nonetheless, if for no one but myself, it's helpful to have a record of performance, state of mind, and general ramblings to look back upon to remember the journey.

Here's to Take Two of TriMikovsky.