I Beat the Miami Heat!
by Susan G.
For those of you who know me, I have a ton of enthusiasm and excitement. So I don’t think that there was anyone else from Experience Triathlon that was more excited about racing ING Miami on that Sunday morning than me. I felt like it was finally here! I was also so excited to be a part of a large, international race. Further, having the support of my team was phenomenal. I knew they were there to support me before race start, on the course with the world famous cheerleaders and as I came across the finish. My excitement overflowed. But then some anxiety kicked in.
It was a very warm morning in Miami. At race start, it was about 70 degrees with high humidity; there was a thickness to the air. I became worried about this heat. Physically, it is extremely challenging for me to stay cool, especially when I am running. I expected warm temperatures but not like this. I didn’t let it stop me.
After meeting up with the ET crew, I, along with other ET’ers, tried to find my corral. Sorry, race officials, I never did get into the right corral. Oh well! It’s a chipped race and there were many others that got stuck like me. While waiting in the corral I reveled at the size of the race, the helicopters and blimps overhead and how there were people from all over the world and country surrounding me.
It was finally our turn to make it to the start line. We walked right up to the timing mats and we were off. It was really dark just after the start line and I made sure I had my footing underneath me as we went.
Before the race started, Coach Suzy made sure to lay out a race plan for me. Keep it slow and steady until mile 5, stay hydrated. Of course, the adrenaline kicked in as I started and I immediately slowed it down and allowed everyone to pass me. Suddenly, we were on the big causeway over the Biscayne Bay. The bay was filled with large cruise ships that were all lit up as well as a fire fighting ship that was spraying columns of water into the air. What a sight! I continued to pace myself up and over that long bridge still allowing people to pass.
After coming down the causeway we made our way past the ships and on to Miami Beach. The sun started to rise and I started to hear people snicker around me. They were now able to read my shirt and were laughing; it said, “Dear God, please let there be someone behind me to read this.” Throughout the race many people told me how my shirt made them laugh or smile and would congratulate me as they passed or would say, “Look back, there are thousands of people behind you.” It was a great motivator.
Onto Miami Beach, there was a large, loud crowd as we made the turn towards Ocean Drive. It excited me too much and I had to pull back my pace since we were only about 5K in. I was excited to see the first water station at this point. I walked through, getting water to douse myself in and to drink as well. Now it was time to head toward our first ET cheerleader, Flecky, at mile 6. I kept an even pace even as the crowds and drunks cheered along Ocean Drive. The sun was fully up at this point so staying cool was important. I just kept pouring water on myself at every aid station. Just past mile 5 I ran into an ET’er and we ran together but I pulled away as it was time to get out of the box a little. I gleefully ran past Flecky at mile 6 and was greeted later by another fellow ET racer. Wowser! I was halfway done. There was a band playing loudly to signal that point. The course got narrow at this point which made it seem warmer as all these hot bodies were compressed together running. I pulled out to the far left and created my own space. Now it was time to cross one bridge after another to get back to downtown Miami and the finish. The bridges weren’t bad and because we got an ocean breeze at this point I was staying cool. Suddenly we were in downtown Miami and there was a large cheer section; it truly motivated me and pushed me through. As I got to mile 12 the race officials were hanging caution signs. It was getting hot on the streets of Miami and I was excited to be done. I looked down at my watch and realized that I was poised to finish with another PR. I cranked my favorite running tune – Born to Run – and ran it in. I thought I was done at the marathon and ½ marathon separation but I wasn’t – more turns. I may have used a little too much energy but I still finished strong and lifted my arms as I crossed the finish line.
After receiving my medal and giving my medal placer my traditional hug, I found the ET team. I was so excited to see them and tell them about the PR that I was jumping around. At that moment, I realized that every ounce of training I had done made this a successful race. I listened to my coach, I followed my hydration plan and it was a success.
Knowing that I could get a PR on such a hot day gave me more confidence in myself and my abilities. I also realized that I have come so far and been able to accomplish so much. It has inspired me to continue to push myself and not let my conditions stop me.
Enjoy all the fun photos from race weekend at the ET Photo Gallery!