Tuesday, 4 November 2014

4 November 2014 - Miami

As I sat in the plane to Victoria, about to take off, I could feel the rhythm of the last 5 days was still with me. I was still living on the crescendo of emotion that had lead me to the raucous finish line in Miami. The music of my favorite Florida station still echoed as the soundtrack to the recent  events. I was recalling as I checked in for my flight, I was offered a sweet Cafe Cubano that had amped me up one last time. And so, a delicious last shooter had symbolicly concluded a very exhilarating 5 days.

So..here goes the story:

After a camp in San Diego……arrived in Miami on the Wednesday before the race.

Here I am arriving in Miami (Selfie...lol)
Walked a while through the airport,  got the rental car, drove to the same hotel I had been to 3 years ago, an apartment  in Miami beach 15mins away from race site. Loved it there.
The only problem with the place is that there is very limited parking. So when I arrived around 2am, I had to unload my car in a dark parking lot a few minutes walk from the hotel. Two strange men were hanging out  when I pulled in and I remember thinking I had to look TOUGH...just to be extra safe, you know ;)
So I, (some sort of overplayed trigeek / Miami thug) got out of the BLACK mid-sized rental car, emptied the twice as heavy s me bike box and proceeded to drag the multiple bags and boxes ungracefully to the hotel room. (I may have laughed at myself also).
The next morning, it was time to go pick up mom. I was excited as I hadn’t seen her in way too long. The morning started with a Miami hood gift that I truly enjoyed on the way to the airport (a random CD left in the door handle of my car).

Though ….on the way back, the volume went down. Mom did not enjoy it as much as I did. That was okay, just needed to give her a few hours in Miami and she would get into the beat.
After that it was all about getting ready for the race. It rained a lot, it poured actually, and around my hotel was not ideal for bike training. So, I found a place I could rent a bike trainer by the day and it worked out super well. As for the run, well…..running in the rain was fun.

I also found a pool 5mins from the hotel, that worked out great and leading up to the race, I started feeling like the taper was just perfect.
We were invited to the Fit2Run- store for a Press Conference on Saturday. It was good fun.

By Saturday I was SO ready to go! I just had so much energy! I don't remember ever feeling so charged up before a race. The build up and taper had been ideal.
So on SUNDAY I gave it what I just was CRAVING - getting on the race course!
Here’s how the day went: (Numbers are there to prevent too many words!)
#1 Setting up transition
#2 Walk to the swim start!  I made myself laugh with a cannon ball from the dock and then good swim warm-up in.

#3 Time to start: Good start, couldn’t believe it, at the front, swimming with Amanda Stevens, Lauren Goss, Leanda Cave and two other girls.
#4 EVENT: Getting pulled down under water by someone who grabbed my shoulder, swam over me and pushed me down. I don't think there is ANY advantage in racing that way and to stay polite, I will go on to point #5.
#5 Closing the gap back up to Leanda, swimming side by side, then fading again and swimming in her feet back to the finish and getting out of the water 38s from the front of a really strong swim group. Stoked, moment to remember.
#6 Happy with my transition.
#7 Felt good on the bike so hammered to the front. Once I was there, I kept on hammering against the wind all the way to the turnaround. I focused on staying as aero as I could in the wind. I tried and tried to get away but at the turnaround, I saw that Leanda, Lauren and Amanda were still close. I changed my strategy and was less aggressive on the way back with the tailwind as I was starting to see the race would happen on the run. I got up a few times to get my legs to loosen up. Towards the end, I had very good energy so I picked it up again into transition.
#8 Transition was good and smooth.
#9 I started running and it felt pretty light from the start. At about a mile, Lauren Goss passed me, she was flying. But I passed her back in the second mile and was leading again.

I loved running up and over that long bridge, my effort felt even smoother and I opened up some more. On the way back from the turnaround on the far side of the bridge, I was lead to the wrong side of the road and I was going to start running the opposite side on the highway!!!! Thankfully, I noticed soon enough and ran back to where I was supposed to be running. It was one of those scary –uh oh- race moments. Particularly because it was still early in the run and I had not built a solid enough gap to feel safe….at all.
#10 But after the second turnaround, I started feeling I had first place secured. But as you know, it’s never done until it’s done so I had to stay very focused and keep the rhythm going.

I didn't feel safe until the second half of the second loop. There was some tough competitors on that course and when I saw them, they looked strong!

In the last two miles, I let a smile hike it’s way up my cheeks and I let myself believe that this was going to happen….I was going to win in Miami!! I started taking it in, feeling all the cheering and smiles, absorbing as much as I could. Savouring every second of that moment I work so hard for. The Miami finishing stretch is a real treat, it was just great ambiance. I crossed the line under a rain of confetti and just lived that moment of pure happiness. Loved having mom there, smiling at the finish.

With race director Wilber Anderson. Great job to you too Wilber.

My lane mate and Paulo's athlete: Juanca Torres, Age group champion on the day! Smoking fast time and always a great smile!
The day after the race, mom and I drove to Wellington, Florida to go visit my sister (Ariane St-John). Ariane stays in Wellington part of the year where she pursues her own obsession: Horseback riding! She's quite a strong, dedicated rider, tough competitor, and  it was great to get to see the environment she thrives in.

Mom (left) and Ariane (right) at the barn.
My nephew, Alex with Ariane's horse (Fidel).

I got to see my nephew, little Alex and just relax with the family. Good times! I also got to celebrate my birthday with them. I turned 33 on October 27th.
After the few days in Florida, it was time to head to Canada for a few weeks of the off season! First, I would head back to Victoria and then  to Quebec to visit the rest of my family!
For the first time, I wish I could have kept on racing instead of calling it a season. But I am excited for 2015 and soon will be focusing on the season to come.
As the season ends of a wonderful note, I would like to thank all of those who were close to me and kept me strong during the long stretch dealing with the injury. We made it back! Thank you for having kept on believing with me. Thank you to my sponsors who kept on supporting me through the tougher times. ARGON 18, PEARL IZUMI, SHIMANO, AQUA SPHERE, POWERBAR, RUDY PROJECT, COMPUTRAINER.
I am also thinking of those who helped build things back in the last few months: Marie-Claude Bozek, Francois St-Onge, Gino Cinco and the coach who made me trust the work: Paulo Sousa. I got so much great energy training with the triathlon Squad in the last few months and am very grateful. Lastly, I would like to thank T and H for their help and ideas that changed so many things.

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