I guess in a lot of ways races are like any other part of your life. Some days are really good and everything goes perfectly. Other days nothing goes right and you wish you could start it all over. Then there are those really weird days were nothing seems to be going good or bad, but you are just in sort of a flat state of a funk all day. Nautica South Beach 2012 was just that, sort of flat with a good helping of blah.
The weekend began uneventfully with safe and on time travels from DIA straight into Ft Lauderdale. After arriving it was a quick trip to the hotel to drop of my stuff and put together the bike before heading out for a great evening with Milay and Kaitlyn from Fuji bikes and a few of the other Advanced Sports (Kestrel & Fuji) athletes doing the race. The ladies took us all out for a nice dinner and then Sara McLarty, Sarah Haskins and I headed to Swim, Bike, and Run for a lil Q&A. I gotta say I was thoroughly impressed with both the turn out and the passion of the people that came to the shop. Miami seems to have a very dedicated and passionate group of triathletes.
Saturday started with a little big of sleeping in and then heading over to South Beach to do some course recon and get in my workouts for the day. My pre race routine is very much the same every race and after a nice easy spin to check out the bike, a short run to loosen the legs, and a quick swim to cool off it was time to head back to the hotel and relax. However, that was short lived as I had to be back on the beach at 3:30 for the “mandatory” pro meeting. I gotta say these meetings are for the most part the same and uneventful yet all the pro’s have to make sure they are there to hear the same rules on drafting and any course changes that may have been made last minute. Its a good idea in theory but for the most part they are a giant waste of time, and this one was more the later. After spending 20 minutes driving around looking for parking I made it to the beach 5 or so minutes late and in time to catch the last 2 minutes of the meeting. Then to make things just a bit better the sky opened up and all hell rained down. I have never gotten that wet jumping in a pool. Getting back to the car was an adventure and then the drive off the island was a disaster. Sitting in traffic for an hour barely moving, and the whole time knowing I was going to be late to another Q&A at TriJungle. After battling the traffic to get there I had a nice chat with a handful of people and then got a good reco for Hawaiian pizza. If you are still reading this, then you know that is my pre race fuel of choice and a good reco goes a long way.
Sunday morning started at 2am. Technically it was 4am, but I woke up and felt every minute of the 2 hour time difference from home, and struggled to get breakfast down and on my way to the race. Luckily I had my First Endurance Pre Race to get me going a bit and after parking and the short ride to transition things were going well. I got in a ride and run warm up and then heading the mile up the beach to the swim start. Normally, the pro athletes have their own wave, but for whatever reason we were being combined with the elite amateurs on this day. Usually it wouldn’t matter but since the water was below 78 degrees the amateurs were allowed to wear wetsuits and we were not so the start was a giant pack and it made getting clear and in a good spot tough. The swim was longer than usual time wise and mostly just flat but after giving up some time to the race favorite Gomez, I knew I had some work on the bike.
Unfortunately my legs decided riding a bike was not what they wanted to do just then. After catching Gomez, I proceeded to watch Ben Collins just ride away from me. Now Ben is a great cyclist, but I can and should be riding with him and watching him head off down the road was not good for the brain. Since the race doesn’t end when you lose the lead I still hammered out what came out to be the second fastest split of the day but it was only enough to get 30 or so seconds on Gomez and lose a minute to Collins. Javier caught me in the first mile of the run and the legs just felt sluggish. They were moving ok but I didn’t feel like I was going very fast. This proved true later in the day when I saw my run split the problem was compounded by being caught by Bevan in the last 1k and falling off the rightful podium into 4th place.
When I came across the line I was glad it was over. I had been dealing with side stitches all run and my feet were killing me. The only good part about being fourth at this race is that they bring the top 5 on stage at awards, which meant I still got to shake the hand of the one and only Bob Saget who was presenting. Looking back there are a couple of things to take away from the race. Sometimes you just have an off day. I need more sleep in the week leading up to the race. I can doing much better in all three.
Most importantly though, if fourth place in that field is the worst day I have all year, its gonna be a good one!