Welcome to the final triathlon of my 2011 season. This triathlon was a challenge to say the least; choppy waters, storm force winds, and a race that would never seem to end. This race took every bit of mental and physical fortitude that I possessed. This triathlon was also to be my redemption from last year's fiasco.

The morning started with bitter rain mixed with winds well over 20 MPH. Rumors were floating that the race may be canceled but not for us. As the start approached, the rain began to dissipate and the winds lessened. However, us 30-34 age groupers had to wait over an hour from the official start to being our waves. That's right, I was in the second to last wave. The swim ended up not being as bad as I feared, but was still more challenging than anyone wanted. I came out of the water ready for the bike...or so I thought.

When I reached my bike, the transition area was basically a mud pit and my bike was a wet mess. No time to think, it's time for this bike. As I made my way through downtown Miami, it was becoming evident that the bike was not going to be pleasant. The streets were extremely slippery and it was evident that the triathletes ahead of me had eaten more than their fair share of asphalt. We even had to cross train tracks and I personally saw more than one cyclist fall in front of me. As we left the protection of the buildings, the wind became almost unbearable. I struggled just to keep moving and the wind just kept getting work as the minutes passed. It took every ounce of energy in my body to get me back to transition, but back to transition I did make.  This of course left me spent for the run.

The run was brutal, but luckily not has brutal as the bike. The clouds were protecting us from the sun. It was evident this race was going to be the test for my stomach. Would I have the same issues on the run as I did in New Orleans? The first loop of the run course passed and I was still moving and all my liquids and food were still in my stomach. I made the 9 mile mark and I started to feel my body. The liquids were still in my body but my stomach began to feel uneasy. I only had a 5K to go, so mentally I just had to force my body to move. As I got to the arena, I knew I could make it; however, I saw a man who was clearly in a very bad place. My body was so weak I feared I would go to his place, but the man began to collapse and I was the closest person to him. The man fell into my arms as spectators rushed over. I was able to hold the man long enough for someone else to take him. The man clearly was not happy I got him and people were helping him. This man was clearly willing to force himself to complete this race even if it mean doing the Sian Welch & Wendy Ingraham Crawl. If this same can do it, I sure as hell can do it. With ever bit of fight left in me I forced myself to the finish. This truly was an achievement for me given all the issues I have had with the distance. This was my first full 70.3, no weather course changes or medical emergencies. That being said, I am definitely down with 70.3s for awhile.

I have decided to focus only on sprints and intermediates for awhile. This decision is partly the distance and partly the race organizers. I have not had great interactions with WTC and so I have decided it is time we part ways. Thanks for the memories and we shall see each other in a couple years.

This was to complete my Escape challenge for 2011, Escape from Alcatraz and Escape to Miami in the same year.  Both races require taking a boat to the start line, swims that can really play with your mind, challenging hilly bike course, and a run not to take lightly. Luckily for me, both races were great races for me this year.

My Escape to Miami for 2011 was about redemption for my 2009 performance. In 2009 my bike seat broke on mile 4, I did finish the race however. This year was different. I had an amazing swim given that there is no warm up for the race and we had moderate current on the way to shore. According to my team, I came out of the water pretty high up, which of course made me feel great.

As I headed out on my bike, a member of a rival team ran into me, knocking my bike and me to the ground. I got up and went on, of course a little pissed, but it's a race. As I got over the first hill I went for my water bottles and they were missing. Thankfully this race has a water bottle exchange half way through the bike. I finished the bike in a respectable time and felt ready for the run.

The run encompasses exactly no shade, luckily the sun was not out, and two brutal hills, for Miami that is.  In the rush get running, I forgot to put on socks, and given the upper lining of my shoes, that ended up not being the best idea.  At about the 2 mile I started to feel my shoes dig into my toe. I had no choice but to just put the pain out of my mind and get to the finish line as fast as my body would allow. At mile 4.5 my teammate Mickey was there to cheer me on and decided to run in with me. She pushed me so hard that as I finished the race I was puking. I was able to hold it in until the finishing chute. Nothing feel better than knowing you gave it your all and finished strong. Thanks Mickey!