South Beach Triathlon Recap

I completed the 3rd annual Nautica South Beach Triathlon this past Sunday.  This is the first time that they had both a “classic” distance and an olympic distance.  I completed the latter in 3 hours 30 minutes.  Despite all of my training in the past year, I still came out slow.  The swim took about 40 minutes.  The bike leg took me 1 hour and 26 minutes.  And the run (walk) cost me 1 hour 17 minutes.  I should also point out that it was Natalie Morales’ idea to have an olympic distance tri.  That’s the same Natalie from NBC’s Today show.  BTW, she beat my time by about 38 minutes.

Having slept only about 2.5-3 hours, I was really tired when I got up at 4:15 a.m.  The race was to start at 7 a.m., but parking near the transition area is tough to find if you get there after 6.  I did manage to get a spot in a parking garage just a couple of blocks away.

The weather was nice.  With mostly cloudy skies, a temperature of 70F, and light winds, it looked like the rain would hold off.

The first near-tragic accident of the morning took place in transition.  I heard a commotion a few feet away and looked up to see a girl holding her head.  Apparently a coconut had fallen from the palm tree above her bicycle and hit her on the head.  It must have grazed her.  I looked up to find no palm trees or coconuts above our heads.

The water temperature was 76F – this made the event wetsuit-legal for those that wanted to wear them.  My wetsuit was in the car, and after much deliberation, I decided to go back and get it.

7:00 a.m. at the start.  The first wave went out.  My wave was next at 7:03 a.m.  The waves were at least 3-4 feet.  I ran into the surf and tried to swim, but kept getting pummeled by waves.  It didn’t take long to get to the first buoy, where we would take a right turn.  I thought the official said we had to swim past six more buoys, but I didn’t see six.  Swimming in a straight line South was very difficult.  I kept sliding down the back side of waves, or inhaling ocean water as I turned to the left.  Eventually, I started breathing only on my right side.  After what seemed like only 20 minutes to me, I could no longer see any more buoys.  Looking at shore, I saw what appeared to be a finish chute, but thought it was way too soon.  The more i looked at the beach, the more I realized that it was indeed the finish.  So, I turned right and swam to shore.

T1:  I spent less than one and a half minutes in transition, despite having to remove my wetsuit.   Although, now that I think about it, I removed the top half on the run to transition, nearly falling into the sand dunes while doing it.

Bike:  I exited T1 onto Ocean drive and got onto my bike.  I had practiced this at least, so it was nice and easy.  There was a lot of traffic on the streets.  The police were letting cars go through intersections, and I really had  to watch it here.  Going up and over the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways was easy in 1st or second gear.  I wanted to spin instead of muscle, my way up.  There seemed to be a lot of newbies on the course, or at least people that didn’t understand that they needed to stay in the lane.  Because of this, I was blocked a few times.  One guy even passed me on the right side.  I guess he’s a cycling guy, not a triathlon guy.

As I came down to the last half mile on the bike, I started to remove my feet from my shoes.  It was then that the Garmin Forerunner 305, which was around my handlebar, decided to come off and it hit the street with a loud smack!  Crap!  I can’t lost that $300 piece of equipment.  So I veered off the course and stopped.  I managed to get my left foot unclipped, but not the right, and wham!  I hit the pavement.  Now I was pissed because I’ve done this long enough to not be falling over.  Plus, I knew that several people saw me and that’s embarrassing.  I did manage to find the Garmin and get back on the bike, with my feet out of the shoes.  Coming to the dismount line, I hopped off the bike as I had practiced so many times before and it seemed quite effortless to me.  At least I got something right.

T2:  I really hate the long straws on my hydration system.  It makes racking and un-racking my bike difficult.  For the most part, T2 was okay, though it did take me four minutes.

Run:  My heart is pumping now – about 171 BPM.  I try to slow down so that I’m in a lower heart rate range.  I am also finding that I have gas or bloating or intestinal distress on the left side, so I start walking.  About half of the run was just walking.  Plus, I kept getting pissed watching the “classic” participants running by me like they were so quick.  They only swam half of what I did and biked just over half of what I did.  I kept reminding myself of this because it made me feel better to know that I wasn’t that far behind.

Overall it was a great day.  I need to find a way to get more sleep and have less intestinal problems.  At least I can say I had a nice race with Chris Lieto, Chris McCormack (they both did the classic distance, which I still don’t understand), Natalie Morales, and more.   The really nice thing is that Miami is just a three hour drive and has great weather, food, etc.


I live in Orlando, Florida and participate in marathons and triathlons.

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Posted in Reviews, Triathlon