Yes, that was quite the stinker of a race. I had a really hard time getting my act together for this one. Combine that with a bit of bad luck and the race turned out poorly. And I'm pretty disappointed about it. I had big goals for this race. I had a great few weeks of training in Utah leading up to Florida. My fitness was as good as it has ever been, I had a few “warm-up” races under my belt and my body was recovered and feeling ready to go. As always though, these things never guarantee anything. I arrived down to Florida on Thursday and other than having to deal with a little mechanical issue with my bike on Saturday my pre-race routine went smoothly. It was surprised with how hot and humid it was. I've raced Florida 70.3 3times now and while it is always hot and humid, this was taking it up a notch. I wasn't too worried though, I like this weather but I knew I was going to have to stay on top of my hydration. A 6:35AM start time Sunday made for an extra early wake-up call. I arrived in transition, pumped up my tire and immediately flatted. My pre-race nerves were quickly replaced with my thoughts of how to deal with this as quickly as possible. I hurried over to the bike tech, got my wheel checked and tire changed and headed back to set up my transition. As I was getting my bike racked, I tried to shift into an appropriate gear for my transition and I realized my bike would not shift at all. Seriously?! Back to bike tech I went. They were able to fix the issue so that I would be able to ride but the shifting was not going to be 100%. That was the best I could do. I was annoyed but not stressed. I finally managed to get my transition set up, did a quick run warm-up and headed down to the swim start. My goal for this swim was to see if I could get on some faster feet. I had some great breakthrough swim sessions leading up to race day and I really wanted see if I could break that 30min barrier. The cannon sounded and off we all went. Worst. Start. Ever. I somehow ended up in the middle getting pummeled by women on both sides of me and unsuccessfully managed to find any space or clean water for a good 200m. In the meantime, I watched the main pack swim away. Just when my panic levels had just about reached their maximum and I was seriously considering stopping to catch my breath, I managed to find some clear water. Calm down, calm down, get air. It took until the first turn buoy (which was like 400m into the swim!) to finally get back into a rhythm. By then, most of the women were way off ahead. I tried to make the best of it and just continue pushing hard but I was annoyed. I had a women 25m in front of me and I just focused on keeping her in my sights. I came out of the water, ran to my bike, fumbled through my transition, which is very unlike me, and finally was off on the bike. Time to get after it. The swim is always a bit of a wild card for me and while I've made vast improvement I still have a lot of work to do. But, I've learned to not judge anything until after the race (especially when it comes to the swim). The bike is where I can make up a lot of ground. This race however, I was not patient. Sometimes it takes a while for the women to come back to me and at this race, there were no sections where I could judge my distance so I had no feedback on where I was. The shifting on my bike was still off although it was rideable but I once again had trouble finding my rhythm and settling in. The result was a terrible bike split. I knew this race was going down the drain really quickly as I rolled into transition. In the hopes of salvaging something from this race, I headed out on the run and talked myself into trying to put down a good run time. The run was a lot more challenging than I expected. It was starting to heat up quite a bit but wow, the hills. I ran out of transition and within about 400m started climbing. There was a nice 3/4mile hill to climb and the rest of the loop was up and down. I ran the first 2 loops pretty consistently and felt pretty good. I faded a bit on the 3rd loop but held it together enough. It was no PR run or anything but considering the conditions and the terrain it was decent. So there you have it. Not the day I was hoping to have and quite a let down. I will be licking my wounds for a few days as I return home. I am actually happy to be home for several weeks. No travel plans other than a few road trips to races. After I pout for a couple of days, I will figure out what needs to change and how I am going to get redemption. Next up, Eagleman!!!! One of my favs!
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