Monday, August 30, 2010

After the Deluge: Miami Nice Race Report

As mentioned in a previous post, in preparing for the Miami Nice Sprint Triathlon, I was coming off a cold that came with a bout of laryngitis. I'd managed only a 13 mile bike ride on Thursday, a 5K run on Friday and a 20 minute swim Saturday morning. On each of these workouts, I felt like I was pushing the envelope and possibly coming back too soon. In addition, my mother-law-law, Kiki, kept harping in my ear that I wasn't resting enough and jumping back into exercise too soon. However, this was my wife Salome's only other schedule triathlon for this season and I wanted to support her. My plan was to start the event, take it easy, and if I felt overtaxed, to drop out.

Preparation Sunday morning went fine, until just before the race. There were some ominous dark clouds coming in from the east. As the announcer started the first couple of waves, it started lightly raining. As the rain was chilling, Salome, buddy Tony & I got into the water near the start as Tony had indicted the water was quite warm. It felt good to be submerged to our necks and in fact it was warmer in the water than being exposed to the rain. The rained picked up and soon visibility was about 3 feet. The winds picked up and waves started forming on the bay waters. It felt like I was getting a message from God to cease this foolish venture and go home.

I turned to Salome & Tony and said: "If this keep up, I'm not racing. This could be dangerous not only on the ride, but if anyone got into trouble on the swim, the guys in the rescue canoes may not see the troubled swimmer." That's about the time, lightening struck. OK, I'm outta here. The 30 or so of us warming ourselves in the water quickly exited the bay. The swimmers already swimming were called back. As we headed for the expo tent, I turned to Salome and said: "Let's get our bikes and go home." To give you an idea of the scene, here is a picture of a friend's daughters before it got too sever. Note the 3 inches of ground water and the swimmer trying to shield her eyes in the background.

The race officials let racers into the transition area to check on their gear, but held off in letting anyone take their bikes out of transition. The transition area looked like Minnesota, a land of a thousand lakes. Helmets was floating in giant puddles here and there, and everything was completely soaked. But like a lot of rains in South Florida, this storm passed in about 40 minutes.

While the ground was still covered with many large puddles, the race organizers decided to restart the race. The race contained both an Olympic and a Sprint division. In order to keep within allotted traffic closure times, the organizers shortened the swim and bike portions of the Olympic event to the sprint distances; only the run would be different. We decided to stay and do the event.

My race report is pretty simple. With each leg, I was fine for the first half of the swim, bike and run, but felt tried for the second half of each leg. I was clearly returning to the fold about a week too early, but never felt that I couldn't complete any of the legs of the event. If only they had a half sprint event, I would have felt great. As far as my times, they weren't too far off what I'd have done fully recovered. All in all, I felt good about participating.

After finishing, I circled back a few hundred yards from the finish to watch Salome come through the finish line. She looked in good form. After clearing our gear out of the transition area and getting some post race food, we headed toward the results postings. As we approached the results board, a couple of friends congratulated Salome on her first place age group finish. Salome thought they were pulling her leg, but sure enough, there her name was atop the listings for her age group. Needless to say, she was thrilled.

Another buddy, Andy Wiener placed in my age division (I came in 5th), so we had much to cheer about in the awards presentations. We sure are glad we stuck around for the race. As Salome said: "It's important to finish what you start." Here are our victors at the awards ceremony.

On the Ironman front, buddies Miranda and Michael did fantastic in Ironman Canada on Sunday. Miranda's race went as follows: Swim- 1:15:26; T1- 7:30; Bike-6:29:10; T2- 5:26; Run- 3:50:38, for an overall finish of 11:48:10. Micheal's results were as follows: Swim- 1:11:26; T1- 7:30; Bike-6:45:16; T2- 7:59; Run- 4:18:37, for an overall finish of 12:32:54. Just spectacular results in my book. Congratulations to both Miranda and Michael on great races.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Miami Nice Indeed!

The short version: Salome won 1st place in her age division in the Sprint division of the Miami Nice Triathlon today. As I always say: "Any day you get an age division award is a good day." I guess I have to add: "Any day you get 1st place in your age division is a very special day." A full report to follow soon.

Now I've got to start tracking my friends Miranda and Michael as they compete in Ironman Canada today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ready or Not....

Before I left on our family vacation, I signed up for the Miami Nice Sprint Triathlon. My wife Salome was signed up for the Olympic distance event as part of a "two-fer" registration for the early June race put on by the same folks. Salome subsequently downgraded to the sprint for this late August triathlon after I explained how the June Olympic event almost put me in heat stroke by the end of the run. Thus, as we left South Florida for the Northeast and Canada a couple of weeks ago, we were both signed up for this weekend's sprint tri.

Little did I know I'd come back from that trip with a head cold that would also give me laryngitis. This cold has hung around a little longer than I'd hoped or expected. I do try to follow doctor's orders and so I've been resting the last week trying to get over this bug. Fortunately, it stayed out of the chest, so I should be good to go once this is over. The bad thing is, I've only got a few more days to train for Sunday's event. So, ready or not, here it comes.

At least it's only a sprint. Buddies Miranda and Michael leave tomorrow for Ironman Canada. The climbs on the bike course look tough, but M & M have trained for the hills. I wish them well on their races. In comparison, my sprint should be a cake walk. If only my voice fully returns and I get in a couple of workouts.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Been Travelling

I got back from a family trip to the Northeast US and Canada on Monday. Our college aged son, John, was out of summer session with a week to spare before getting back to Gainesville to prepare for his fraternity's fall rush. Prior to leaving, I got in one last run with buddy John, a 10 miler, while attending a Florida Bar conference in Palm Beach.

The trip started with the Newport Jazz Festival on Sunday. Our flight had gotten delayed and we only made the last two performances, but they were good ones. Herbie Hancock played from his new album. The set contained jazz versions of John Lennon's "Imagine" and Bob Marley's "Exodus." Chris Botti closed the evening with several special performers. All in all, a great afternoon of jazz. I'd like to do more of these live jazz festivals. I think you never appreciate jazz more than hearing it live and watching the musicians play their instruments. Not sure why that is, but it seems to be the case.

We traveled up to Maine, staying with some friends who have had a place up there for decades. The views of the water during the day and the skies at night were spectacular. You know you're away from light pollution when you can actually see the Milky Way. I love just gazing into the night sky's when you can see countless stars in the night sky. We toured Acadia National Park, as our son John wanted to do this for years. We did some hiking and rock climbing. At one point, the Bob Marley's "Exodus" came up on my iPod and young son, Alex, sang along to the music. I guess he got something out of Newport Jazz too.

Next up, we drove through Maine and up to Quebec City, Quebec, an unexpected pleasure in several ways. As we checked into our hotel, we were informed that Cirque de Soleil had a free performance at a nearby open air performance center at 9 PM. We grabbed a quick bite and then caught the show. Like most Cirque shows, the story line was somewhat vague and in French, but was marvelous. The next day we caught the changing of the guard and toured the Citadel, ate lunch at a sidewalk cafe, hiked a nearby waterfall park, and ended the evening in the Port area. All we unexpected pleasures in that we originally didn't plan to visit Quebec City. However, it was also in Quebec City that I came down with a pretty bad head cold.

The next couple of days were spent in Montreal. Our hotel was newly renovated in a modern style. Very luxurious. We visited the Montreal Art Museum, toured Old Town, and walked the gardens next to the Olympic Stadium. Meanwhile, my cold got worse. By Sunday morning, I developed laryngitis, which I'm just getting over now. Salome & the boys kept joking that they liked me better this way.

Sunday afternoon, we drove to visit our friends Guy and Noami, who have a summer home in Vermont. Their home has a lovely view of seven mountain ranges going from Vermont into New Hampshire. Guy & Naomi had some neighbors and friends over for an evening barbecue. We ended the evening watching an open pit fire burn. It was nice getting together with a couple we really enjoy, but don't see often enough. Our sons also connected nicely with their two boys.

As we were making our plans for the drive back to Providence for our flight back home on Monday, I noted that we could drive through Springfield, Massachusetts, home of the Basketball Hall of Fame. I'd been floating the idea of a trip to several of the sports halls of fame, but the family has never signed onto that idea. When I mentioned that we could knock off one of the halls of fame, they eagerly agreed to add this new stop to our travels. I'm not sure whether they were trying to please me, or were just eager to knock one of these things off the list. In any event, all of us enjoyed touring the Basketball Hall of Fame and learned a lot about the early history of the game in addition to seeing our favorites. To top it off, Scottie Pippen was recently inducted. Scottie's son was on my son Alex's team this last year and Scottie occasionally coached the kids. Thus, it was nice that Alex had a personal connection to one of the hall of famers.

Other than the 10 mile run with John, the only workout I got in was a 30 minute run up Mount Real in Montreal. Otherwise, I've been off the grid workout wise. This cold had me down, but I'm just about over it. I'll try to get some workouts in this weekend and next week in preparation for next weekend's Miami Nice Sprint Triathlon. It will probably be more for completion and getting back on the horse, than for time. Besides, I don't know if you've noticed, it's pretty hot out there in these dog days of August.