Ironman 70.3 Miami


The 2017 Ironman 70.3 Miami is my first triathlon of this length in about 5 years. It is my first triathlon of this distance without a wetsuit. Oh, and I have been swimming for about 2 weeks – prior to that, it was 2 years. So, needless to say, I’m a little doubtful about the successful completion of the swim portion – which is 1.2 miles. Fortunately, I was able to do 2 open water swims that my watch said was 1 mile in about 1 hour.. so it will be close by that measure.

The Expo

This is my first experience with an Ironman-Branded triathlon. From what I’ve seen, they’re usually very well run and organized and getting 3,500 triathletes to all the right places can be a challenge. That challenge, however, isn’t helped by the typical inhabitants of the City of Miami. Miami isn’t known for its polite culture, and the last time I visited New York City, I actually thought, “Wow, the people here are so nice!” 

We encountered a typical example in the Ironman Store – two sets of parents had decided to block the one aisle into and out of the store with four kids (who were building sand castles out of the dust on the floor) and a couple of strollers, completely oblivious (and offended when people tried to push past) to the large throng of people trying to move in, around, and about the floor. Bad parenting is nothing new here.

But if you live in Miami, you get used to the lack of manner and consideration. The question will be: Will it continue on Race Day?

Yes. Yes it will.

The Morning Of

Naturally I couldn’t sleep well the night before. After going to bed at 9pm, I awoke at 2am and couldn’t go back to sleep. So, after fidgeting for an hour and a half, I got up, did 10-minute Yoga-Stretch, got my gear on, and decided to take my bike to transition early. By the time my Hunny Bunny was out of bed and ready, we arrived at transition at 6am. During the walk, we noticed the winds were quite high and the water really choppy. In the dark, I pondered if the swim would be safe and if Ironman would cancel the swim portion. Of course, they didn’t.

Swim – It looked Scary as F#^!

,,, And it was. With winds the highest I’ve ever competed in, my feet cramping twice during the swim, having men and women play with my feet (fortunately nobody actually swam over the top of me), having a difficult time sighting because the waves were so high I couldn’t see the buoys, drinking several gulps of seawater (but thanks to some tips from TI swimming and over rotating to breath, I didn’t drink  half the ocean), I consider just finishing a win. Due to the high winds at the start (a rare thing for Miami – sure the winds pick up in the afternoon, but the morning winds are rarely over 5mph), several swimmers gave up early. A few more I passed got into trouble and had to be returned to the start by jetski. I’ll be honest – my swim form pretty much sucked the entire time. It was nearly impossible to get into a rhythm when I spent most of my time concentrating on the waves, sighting, and not drowning.  I’m not sure how many had a DNS, but I’m sure it was a few. And a few DNF’s from the swim, too, as the conditions were anything but ideal.

Bike – Winds Sucked

They say Miami is flat, and compared to many races, it may be. But you know what has the same effect on your watts as a hill? Wind. Lots of wind. I stuck to my gameplan, however, and tried to maintain 120 watts (80% FTP) for the entire bike. This meant outbound was a nice 22mph, but the last 20 miles was directly into 20mph winds – and since I was riding between 13-15 mph, that means the overall wind against me was 35mph. The Trek Speed Concept (Thanks to the Timex Factory Teammate who sold me his awesome machine!) handled the wind well, and I passed a few riders. With such strong winds, a good aero position really helps.

Run – 3 Laps of Dodging Trains and Baby Carriages

Miami Culture is just something you have to “roll with.” However, when an entire group of runners is forced to come to a complete stop on the course, bunch up behind a mother with four kids in a four-kid stroller walking down the middle of the run path during the race and she doesn’t care, get the hint, or move out of the way in any fashion, you begin to realize why Miami’s culture is, as was so politely said by a British couple (and the Brits are known as masters of understatement), “Miami Culture is a bit … different.” The racers kept to their lanes and were generally pleasant. But several “civilians” were nearly run over from lack of awareness of where they were, numerous “walkers” along the run path blocking runners, and the coup de grace… The Military, knowing full well there was a race this weekend, decided to send a train across the running path. The Race Organizers  can’t close the tracks for the military (but did for civilian trains).  I’m sure whatever mission critical items on that train couldn’t wait another hour. so a lot of us had to stand around and watch our time slowly go by while the train chugged along. I have to admit: That was a first.

Rules Violations Galore

If I were a referee during this race, I would have issued about 100 citations for breaking the rules (And that’s just what I noticed). Apparently, racers in Miami are either ignorant of the rules of Triathlon, or just don’t care. The most common violations I saw:

  • Drafting on the bike: I’m not talking about “accidental” drafting (you get stuck in a pack), or being slightly closer than 6 bike lengths, I’m talking full-on, obvious, hanging on the rear tire of person in front of you drafting. It was the worst I have ever seen in any triathlon. There were at least 50 people doing this into the strong headwinds on the bike. And that’s just what I saw as they passed me.
  • Riding on the left of the lane. This isn’t England. In fact, you get a penalty for passing on the right, but narrowly squeezing by on the left or having no space whatsoever to pass left of the person just isn’t cool. Okay, there was only two dozen people doing this, but again it was the worst of any triathlon I’ve seen.
  • Outside AssistanceYou’re not allowed to have outside assistance of any kind. Racers can help each other, but your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, brother/sister/whatever is not allowed to help you in any way. Again, I’m not talking about “Here, take my extra gu I don’t need it” or stealing a kiss (well maybe that one is legal), I’m talking full-on running with the person, giving them gels/water, etc. Not as blatant as the other two, but it did happen.

Electronics Issues

So I raced with two watches: The Timex GPS Ironman watch, and my Garmin Fenix 5. Sadly, both had issues.

  •  Timex: Before the swim start, I turned it to Multi-Sport, and waited for it to acquire a GPS signal. It did. All was well, until I jumped into the water. We had to tread water before the start, and I hit start on both watches when I started. When I got to transition, I saw it displaying “Start without GPS?”. Seriously? It already had a GPS and lost it in the swim because I was in the water. Frustrated, I hit yes, and this caused the entire race to be without GPS. Essentially, all the information was useless. I’ll be sending Timex some feedback on that one (it was my first time using it on the swim, so you might call it operator error, but who has time for that at the start of a swim?).
  • Garmin. Because the Fenix 5 ANT+ antennae is really crappy, I had to wear the watch on the inside of my arm so that it could read my power meter. While trying to change data screens, I accidentaly hit the lap button, putting it into “T2”. As far as I know, there is no way to go “Go back! Go back!”… So I had to save the activity, and restart a Bike. And then manually end the bike, and manually start a run. Not all data was lost, but T2 and the entire bike split was missed because the watch froze and took about 5 minutes to restart. You can lock the buttons, but then what? Additionally, the Fenix 5 completely lost track where it was in in the run among the buildings, giving me a 4 minute mile. It did good up to that point. You can see it in the tracks below.


I almost did this well. Other than twice on the swim, I had no cramping issues. My “Power UP” formula? Honey Stinger Waffles and TWO tablets of Nuun in one water bottle on the bike followed by honey stinger gels and chews on the run. The only problem? I underestimated the number of items I needed. Consequently, I had to use a little but of race nutrition near the end of the run, and I could feel the difference in my stomach. I normally plan for extra “Just in case” I lose one or take longer than expected. Carrying only the estimated number needed was a rookie mistake.


Overall Rank: 1457
Div Rank: 186
Gender Rank: 1204
General Info
BIB 1490
Division 45-49
Age 45
State FL
Country USA
Points 700


Race Summary
Swim 01:07:04
Bike 03:24:28
Run 02:37:39
Overall 07:17:00


SWIM DETAILS | Division Rank: 196

Total 1.2 mi 01:07:04 01:07:04 03:28/100m 196 1304 1616


BIKE DETAILS | Division Rank: 177

Total 56 mi 03:24:28 04:35:45 16.43 mph 177 1141 1343


RUN DETAILS | Division Rank: 167

Total 13.1 mi 02:37:39 07:17:00 12:02/mi 167 1087 1333


Transition Details

T1: Swim-to-bike 00:04:13
T2: Bike-to-run 00:03:36

Originally from:

Garmin Tracks


Will I do this race again? Probably, but only because it takes place practically next door to where I live. However, would this be a “Destination” race? Hell, no. Would I ever do it again if I didn’t live here? Well, the volunteers are great, the race well organized, and it is an Ironman race. But the Miami culture taints the race too much. Would I recommend it to those who don’t live in Miami?

Hard to say.


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