Matt Hanson | Professional Triathlete
3x Ironman Champion/ 2x 70.3 Champion

Ironman 70.3 Miami Race Report

img_0641This has definitely been a long year for me. My first race was an early season one, Panama 70.3 in January. There have been a lot of ups and downs and a number of changes for me this season. I crossed the finish line in Chattanooga fairly disappointed about the way I executed the race but happy with my fitness. My body recovered quickly. I feel great physically and mentally, so despite the early start to the season I made the decision to race a series of 70.3s this fall before shutting things down for a short break. I am going to each of these races to focus on just 1 or 2 things that I need to work on. Obviously, I want to do well in each race, but the focus for the fall is about addressing some of the things that are consistently keeping me from the pointy end of races. The first of these was Miami 70.3 and the plan was to swim hard, bike with whatever group that I come out of the water with, and run hard.

Race Morning
I woke up at 3:30 A.M. and had my typical 2 servings of First Endurance Ultragen for breakfast. Went back to bed for about an hour then headed down to transition. My host family was volunteering so I was able to get a ride and get there with plenty of time to spare. I got my area set up quickly and had plenty of quiet time to get my head ready. Then, ran a bit to warm up before they let us in the water. Was able to get in about 500 yards warm up before the start and found my spot on the line and got ready to go.

Swim – 29:46 
I got off to a solid start on the swim and was able to stick with the first pack through the 3rd turn around 1k into the swim. I was swimming at right around my redline and we turned into the current. The boys up front stayed the same speed and I slowed down just a bit. The break between the first and second pack unfortunately started with me. I was able to keep swimming well and didn’t panic. I ended up coming out of the water right at the front of the second group.

T1 – 1:15
Pretty flawless T1, ran through transition and got my Kask Helmet and glasses on and was on my way to the bike course.

Bike – 2:09:25
The biggest thing I was in Miami to work on was riding IN the pack. This is not something that I am comfortable with, I typically prefer to ride at the pace that I am comfortable with and try to bridge any gap that formed during the swim. The plan here was to ride with whoever I came out of the water with. Maybe I was going to have to over bike, maybe I would under ride, but that was the plan and I was sticking to it! For most of the ride, I was pretty comfortable. Any time I fell more than 4 spots behind the front, I would push up to the front of the group and sit until someone else would take control again. Overall, I had a slower ride than I had wanted, but executed my pre-race plan very well.

T2 – 1:21 
Aside from stepping on a rock as I was running to my rack with the bike and getting a pretty nasty bruise on my heel, T2 was pretty much as expected. I threw on my Cloud Racers and grabbed the Garmin and race belt and was out to the run course.

Run – 1:11:29 
The first few miles of the run were actually quite painful. Because of the bruised heel, I couldn’t strike the ground with the flat foot like I normally do. But I figured out right away that if I pushed the pace up about 15-20 seconds, I was running more on my toes and without pain. I figured the bruise would go numb after a few miles, so I settled into a 5:15 pace for the first 1/4 of the run. I got a pretty good picture of what I was going to have to do in order to crack into the top 8. I was pretty far back and knew I was going to have to run well, especially being Miami brewed up some perfect weather for the day so I couldn’t count on anyone else bonking. I slowed down to about 5:30s the second trip across the bridge and thankfully my heel stopped hurting so was able to run relaxed and comfortable there. That’s the pace I was able to hold for the rest of the run. Slowly I made my way up to 8th around the 11 mile mark which is where I ended up at the finish.

Overall – 3:53:16

Overall, I think this was one of the best executed races that I have put together. Certainly not the best result, but I stuck to the plan that I set up with Coach Julie going into the race. I worked on the things that I went to Miami to work on and got 1 race better. Taking all positives out of this race despite an 8th place finish. Off to Austin 70.3 next weekend!

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