Tag Archives: South Beach Triathlon


Lucky’s lake swim #375 and #246 5K

I live a busy and blessed life on Saturdays.  After working all night from 11pm to 7am , I drive to Lucky’s Lake for my morning swim.  No matter how tired I am, or rough my night was, I always swim in the lake.  The only exceptions have been when I’m coaching my son’s basketball team.  Luckily, my son’s game was not until 4:30pm.

Today, my swim started late as I assisted in interviewing some of the esteemed lake swimmers for a project.  Although a beautiful sunny day, the air was quite chilly in the low 40’s.  It was actually warmer in the water at 68 degrees.

The weather was not a deterrent, as we had a good turnout for such a chilly day.

After spending about two hours interviewing people, it was my time to swim on the lake.  Due to my late start, I really only had time for one crossing.  The first crossing was a little shaky as it had been a week since I last swam.  The swim back across the lake was much better as my body adjusted to swimming again.  Only 25 more crossings before reaching 400!

I’m still not swimming with a wetsuit and I feel my body is acclimated to the cooler waters now.

A quick soak in the hot tub and it was onto make breakfast for the kiddies.  After making breakfast, I was in a dilemma about trying to run or getting a nap in before my son’s game?

I was very tired, but realized that if I didn’t get my run in before coaching my son’s basketball game,  I would be at great risk of not completing my 5K.  I knew after the game would be awards ceremony, then post game meal celebration, which would leave me extremely tired on no sleep the night before.

These days I feel thankful to just completing my runs. I somehow managed to get faster with every mile during my run today, when I wondered how I would even complete it. I felt much better than I imagined in my mind before my run.

I am extremely worried about my knees these days, as they ache and throb even when I’m not running.  At day 246, I feel there is no way I can just decided to stop.  I’ve come way too far now to quit.  I’m praying that my knees can hold up.  Hoping to find some time to run on some trails and softer surfaces.  I know softer surfaces are out there, I just don’t have the time to drive to them.

My son’s team lost their game, but played really hard.  I guess in the end that’s all a coach can ask for out of 4th and 5th graders.  All in all a great day to be alive.


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Messed around and did a Sprint Triathlon today

Today was a “throwback” kind of day.  A typical day for me a few years ago, when I was chasing my IRONMAN Arizona dream.  A day consisting of all three triathlon disciplines of swimming, biking and running.

The weather was an unusually windy day for this time of year.  I first noticed the windy conditions crossing back from my lake swim, when I thought someone had put me in the washing machine cycle.  The water was quite choppy, but I really enjoyed it.  I just imagined dancing with the lake instead of fighting with her.

After my swim, it was off to get the kiddos to school.  After my extended T1 transition, I hopped on Zapata and decided to go for a one hour bike ride.   Having set no goals other than to ride for an hour, I experienced a level of freedom and enjoyment that I haven’t experienced in awhile on the bike.  No cadence, no HR to monitor, no speed checks, just me and my sleigh rolling down the street.

I can’t believe it’s been almost three months since riding my bike.  All of this 5K run focus has left me time strapped for my other sports.  I quickly remembered how much fun it is to roll along versus pounding along the pavement.

With the exception of a little shoulder and tricep discomfort, I felt exceptionally spry and energetic during my first bike ride in eons.

I guess this is what they mean by end of the road.


Zapata was happy to be back on the road again!

My one hour bike ride flew by exceptionally fast and it was time for T2 and to get in my daily 5K run in.  Except this time my 5K was a brick, because I was running directly off my bike ride.  I had forgotten how tough it is to run off the bike.  My legs felt heavy for the first half of the run, but I was able to find a slow pace I could maintain.  I dare not push the pace due to risk of aggravating my hamstring and glute issues.

All in all a great day and a wonderful remembrance as to why I love triathlon so much.


I haven’t worn my trisuit in quite some time!


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South Beach Triathlon Race Report

Frank and I

Frank and I

This race weekend was all about my new friend Frank Ewing’s first triathlon.  I met Frank through this blog, and he was very gracious in his support of me and my Ironman Arizona adventure.  I made him a promise that I would come and support him for his first triathlon, when he was ready.  Well fast forward a few months and Frank hit me up and said “I want to do the South Beach Triathlon.”

I met Frank in person for the first time Saturday morning before the big race.  I connected with Frank instantly, as we had a lot in common from being around the same age, in the same fraternity to various likes and dislikes. Frank was in great shape with his six-pack on full display.  Frank certainly looked like a triathlete, someone who spends quite a bit of time swimming, biking and running.

Frank had the great idea of signing up for the pre-race swim clinic.  This turned out to be an awesome idea, because swimming in the ocean is really different from swimming in the Lake and 300X different from swimming in a chlorinated pool.

We both got some great tips on sighting, and entering/exiting the ocean. Frank’s major concern was swimming in the ocean and so he was more prepared after this swim clinic. Frank’s next decision was to wear a wetsuit or not?

If the water temperature is over 83 degrees no wetsuits are allowed for safety reasons. You can really overheat with the extra layer of insulation. Anything below 83 degrees you can wear a wetsuit, but you will not be considered for any race qualifications or benefits. Frank decided he would wear a wetsuit if allowed, for the comfort and extra buoyancy, since he was not planning on winning his first triathlon.

They wouldn’t announce the temperature until race morning, so this became a source of anxiety for my new friend.


After swimming for about 3/4 of a mile we went to get something to eat and chill.  I was feeling very confident in the distance of this race after an Ironman, it seemed quite doable.  I was actually hoping for a top 10 finish.  This would be my first triathlon in the 50-54 age bracket.  I thought after all, how many 50 plus year olds can do what I do? Boy was I about to find out. Lol  I also think that in sunny South Beach, most people are very active and have access to ocean swimming, biking and running year round. I’m just saying that this is not the place where your average 50 plus year old resides.

First race in the 50 year old bracket

First race in the 50 year old bracket


After getting  decent nights sleep, race morning was upon us.  I got up early enough and made a bowl of oatmeal and Generation UCAN/Protein powder mix.

Nothing heavy for me on race morning as my stomach is too tied up in knots to digest anything.  Frank on the other hand did eat anything of substance and was taking his sinus medication instead.

We had about a half mile walk to the transition area.  Upon arrival, we learned that wetsuits would be allowed but you had to start in the very last group. We also calculated that this would give you about 15-20 minutes less to make the swim cutoff.  Frank was ok with starting in the very last group as he was just not comfortable in the choppy ocean without a wetsuit for his first time.  I can’t say I blame him, the ocean conditions were not the best this weekend.

We began to set up our transition areas. I placed my running shoes first in front of my bike, socks due to the hot surface (a comfort decision), bike helmet, race belt, my hydration bottles, and nutrition.  So far so good, when I remembered I needed to put air in my tires due to these fancy new tubulars not holding air for more than a day.

I first of all needed to borrow a bike pump. This is when my day began to take a turn for the worst. I could not locate one in my close vicinity. So off I went in search of a bike pump. Tick-tock time starts ticking away. I begin to hear announcements about the transition area closing soon.

My heart begins to race as a major panic meltdown begins. I finally find a bike pump and begin hurriedly putting in air in my rear tire. Now onto the front tire. Without getting too technical, the valve to my front  tire broke! You’ve got to be freaking kidding me?! No matter how hard I tried, I could not get any air in my front tire. Picture me almost in tears trying to manually force air in my front tire all the while losing more and more precious air. I finally made a decision to just leave what little air I had left and how for the best. I estimated my front tire was about 50% inflated.

Lesson #1, there will always be a challenge to overcome on race day. You just can’t anticipate what it’s going to be. All you can do is try to remain calm and think fast.

By this time the transition area was closed and we were being told to make our way to the swim start which was about 3 blocks away. The only problem was I had to go to the bathroom really bad. As always the lines were ridiculously long. I could not afford to wait, so I rushed down the beach in search of a public restroom. Off in the distance just past the swim start, I spot a Starbucks. I dash in there, but both pottys were taken. Tick-tock I started getting visions of me missing the swim start. What could these people be in there doing, I screamed to myself? I thought of knocking on the door and shouting hurry up. My common sense side scoffed at such an act. After what seemed like hours, I finally was able to relieve myself. By this time my race was starting at any minute. Frank was doing the shorter distance, so I had parted with him out of bike transition.

I asked Frank if he wanted me to do the same race distance with him and he said no. Because it made him too nervous.

By the time I made it to the swim my race was starting in minutes. What sucked about my late arrival was that I had missed the swim warm-ups. My swim does so much better when I have a chance to warm-up. But I realized my swim would just be less than optimal.


No sooner than finding my age group we were going into the water in groups of four. The swim was in a rectangle shape parallel to the beach. Out, then a right turn, straight alongside the beach shore for about 1000 meters, and followed by one last right hand turn to shore.

Swimming out was into the waves, which made sighting tough. Then after making a right hand turn, the waves were crashing on your left side trying to push you back to shore for the major portion of the swim. I didn’t have to worry about my salt intake as I drank enough salty ocean water to last the entire race. Lol

The swim took me about 300 meters to warm up and settle into a decent swim stroke. But after warming up, I was enjoying my washing machine like swim. The view in the ocean was just breath-taking.

After making my final right hand turn towards the shore, my swim was coming to an end. I started kicking faster to get more blood flowing to my legs. Exciting the water onto the beach I felt great. I had about a 300 meter run to get to my bike Zoey.

I prayed to the triathlon gods for my front tire to have enough air to survive the 26 mile ride through the causeways. My prayers were answered as the bike portion of my race went relatively smooth as my front tire held enough air for me.  I also took the time on the bike to rehydrate myself with a mixture of lemons, water, maple syrup and cayenne pepper and I had enough hydration to energize myself.

Loving the view of the cruise ships

Loving the view of the cruise ships

The bike portion of the race was very well-organized traffic wise and the course was challenging enough to make it interesting.  Also the ocean views over the causeway were amazing.  After a smooth bike ride, it was time to transition to the run. I made a comfort decision to take the time to put socks on. I figured the ground would be hot causing a run with no socks to be potentially very uncomfortable. This socks decision cost me quite a bit of time.  I had to dry  to dry my feet, put my socks on the correct foot (as I have left and right socks) and then tie up my shoes. I definitely could have shaved some transition time, by opting for no socks but I think I made the right decision.

Once I had my socks and shoes on, my race belt with number, and sun visor were soon to follow and it was off to the run. By this time the heat and sun were in full force. I began to sweat immediately and wondered how my hydration and nutrition would hold up? I was concentrating on a run cadence of 90 spm and felt pretty strong the first 3/4 mile.

It was after this distance that I began to feel the slight beginnings of leg cramps. I took a hit of sea salt which worked petty well for me during Ironman Arizona. I began to start thinking about “embracing the suck”. This is where you basically welcome whatever pain enters your body and continue to push forward.

Heading to the finish line

Heading to the finish line

The run was basically 3 miles up the beach and 3 miles back. A lot of the run was on the boardwalk, which was made with wooden boards and very comfortable to run on. There were water stations every mile or so and I thought well spaced.

After passing the first water station, I began to cramp really bad and I had to stop and try to massage the cramp out. After being disappointed with having to walk after mile 1, I made a decision to not walk again no matter how much cramping or pain I was in.

I slowed down to take in hydration and salt, but other than that, I kept my promise and was able to maintain a steady pace to The finish line. The last 400 meters or so was on loose beach sand and really challenged my balance.

I maintained my smile and was elated to be finished. In my mind I had a well executed race, but still was towards the back of the pack in the final standings.

dreaming of a podium finish

dreaming of a podium finish

Once my race was over, the real drama began. I started looking for Frank with excited anticipation. Well I waited and waited and waited, but there was no sign of Frank.

I decided to check the bike area, no Frank. Then I got a phone call from Beau (Frank’s son) asking if I had seen his dad? We then decide to go to athlete services to see if they could give us a more accurate information on Frank’s whereabouts. According to the computer timing chip, Frank made it out of the water, but disappeared after that. Beau knew this was incorrect as he saw his dad make it out of the water and onto his bike. Did Frank crash? Why was there no bike time for him? A short while later we start to get conflicting reports that he had bike trouble and never made it to the run. Well if that was the case, where is he? We actually began to panic just a little.

Beau decided to see if his dad walked to the condo for some unknown reason? But Frank was nowhere to be found.  Race officials began to worry just a little too.  We had them make repeated calls to the course to see if they knew anything about what happen to Frank.  No one could answer the simple question as to where Frank was.  By this point the last triathletes had finished the race and they began to break down the event.  Signs, plants, fencing were all being torn down and the racing crew started to not believe us that there was still one more racer out on the course.  I begged the race officials to leave one more medal for my friend and that he had to be out there somewhere.

One lonely medal

One lonely medal

Now this race had a no DNF policy and stated that as long as you made it to the run portion of the race by the cutoff time you could take as long as you wanted to finish.  We finally got a report that a race official had found Frank!  He was on the run portion of the race.  They went on to explain that for some reason his race chip was malfunctioning and wasn’t recording his time and whereabouts after exiting the ocean.  His son and I were thrilled beyond belief that he wasn’t roadkill somewhere on the race course.  His son Beau decided to go out on the run course to see if could find him.  Beau called me 10 minutes later saying he was walking with his dad.  At this point I had talked the race team to chat “Frank the tank” when we see him coming down the race chute.  They even set me up with water and a shade tent to wait for him to come.  Keep in mind it was almost 2 hours after the previous racer had crossed the finish line.

Well Frank never made it to the finish line as a race official who didn’t know we had this swan song setup for Frank had rerouted him to a tent to get him hydrated.  I would later learn that Frank had a good swim (which was his “worry event”) followed by a bike ride from hell with lots of cramping and walking the bike.  After the bike Frank proceeded to walk the entire 4 miles of the run course.  Actually he missed the turn around point for the Classic distance and ended up walking two extra miles adding insult to injury.  There was no water left on the course as all the volunteers had left causing Frank to have to walk the 6 miles in the Miami Beach sun.

I must admit I was extremely proud of Frank’s determination to conquer his fears and finish his first triathlon race.  Frank is now more determined than ever to have a better showing and is excited about his next adventure which will be Escape to Miami.


Frank is bloody but unbowed

Frank is bloody but unbowed



The sand says it all


Race swag

Race swag

After the race, we collected our bikes and walked back to Frank’s condo.  It was here that some of Frank’s nice neighbors made us the freshest, most delicious coconut water known to mankind.  Simply the best liquid concoction I’ve ever drank.  I also learned how beneficial coconut water is for hydration and post race recovery.  nothing beats nature!

Best drink ever

Best drink ever



Posted by on April 19, 2015 in Daily Training Log


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Chlorine glory with a 10K

I had a good drills based swim at the Roper YMCA today.  My swim was cut short by the weird YMCA closing of the pool from noon to two.  So then I decided to go for a 10K run in the dessert heat.  I did find a little path of heaven out of the sun.  I felt pretty good, on my 10 K run and did remember to take in a little hydration unlike the last time.


Confident enough to run with my off.

Confident enough to run with my off.

A run path paved with flowers

A run path paved with flowers

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Posted by on April 9, 2015 in Daily Training Log


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Breaking in the new tires with a 40 miler and a 3 mile run brick

Cute little family of crane birds.

Cute little family of crane birds.

Post ride and run glow

Post ride and run glow

This is the first time I’ve been on my bike since the crash.  Having to spend $300 on new tires, just really seems wrong when I can get a new road bike for just a little more money.  Oh well, such is life in this sport of triahthlon.  I decided to go for a much longer ride to give the tires a good testing out.  The tires did well enough, but for some reason they are not holding air.

I felt a little exhusted on the run as I did not properly fuel myself.  Correction, I did not fuel myself at all.  Nor did I hydrate properly during my ride/run brick.  I’d say the perfect scenario for heat exhaustion or cramping. Like I said, I felt really underpowered on the bike ride, and even when I had the chance to stop and hydrate I didn’t.  For some strange reason, I just didn’t feel like stopping.

I really didn’t plan or running off the bike, but a last moment of inspiration told me to go for a three mile run after my 40 mile bike ride.  Going for a run, turned out to be a bad idea as there was little shade from the now blazing sun and I still hadn’t hydrated myself.   My poor training decisions finally caught up with me and I started cramping and getting light headed.  I survived the run, but I was really tired and weak.  Next time, I will make sure I have my nutrition and hydration in order before I go train, or I may have to skip the days training.

South Beach Triathlon is around the corner, and I’m excited to hang out with Frank for his first triathlon.

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Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Daily Training Log


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A very nice family easter swim

It is always nice when you can spend time with your family and train at the same time.  Every Easter Lucky’s lake gives you such an opportunity to invite family and loved ones out to the lake to experience the sunrising over the lake, take in a great easter breakfast and go for a lake swim.  All for free!  The best kept secret in Orlando.

A soak in the hot tube after my lake crossing

A soak in the hot tube after my lake crossing


My daughter Amaya


My son Amante


Easter Sunrise Service Incredible View!


My friend and fellow triathlete Renate G.

My friend and fellow triathlete Renate G.

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Posted by on April 5, 2015 in Daily Training Log


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A double lake crossing

An absoultely gorgeous day for a lake swim.  I need to get a couple of swims in my wetsuit in preparation for my next triathlon South Beach Triathlon on the 19th of this month.  But today, I just wanted to get a regular swim in.  My hope is that by swimming without my wetsuit, when I finally put it on, I will be gliding through the water as my balance muscles will not have to work as hard.


always nice to see lake support out

always nice to see lake support out

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Posted by on April 4, 2015 in Daily Training Log


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