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Race Review: Miami Man Half Iron 2012

November 19, 2012

Last weekend Dan and I participated in our last race of the 2012 season at the Miami Man Half Iron taking place at the Larry and Penny Thompson Park and Zoo Miami, a race voted “Best in Florida” from Competitor magazine.This was a sold out event with 595 athletes doing the half IM and 611 doing the international Olympic.

We had a great group down in Miami. Dan and I were joined by my sister-in-law Victoria (doing her first Oly, woot!), friends Marc Munago and Drew Cown (also doing the half) and his girlfriend Kaitlyn Smith (also first Oly…wahoo!).

Miami was really great to see. We were extremely fortunate enough to stay in a prime location down in South Beach for the long weekend, and it felt like we were living like the pros do. We arrived a couple of days ahead of the race and spent one night in Key Largo eating Key Lime pie and snorkeling. Snorkeling was our workout for the day, just the way that swimming the lazy river was our workout prior to IM Haines City 70.3 was. This is tradition and a way to remind ourselves that this is all suppose to be fun.

This was my first race on a TT bike. Holy smooooooooooooooookes! What a difference! I was super fortunate enough to ride a Trek Speed Concept 9 for the race that was for sale from Dan’s friend who owns Open Road Bicycles in Jacksonville, FL. I had no excuse for being slow this time. My awesome bro totally hooked me up (oh, by the way, I bought it…because you ride a bike like this there is no going back.) Here is a pic of me snuggling with the bike prior to…inside joke, but still appropriate. About two weeks before the race my Garmin 205 stopped charging and I hadn’t taken the time to get a new battery or get it checked out. Also, with the bike I was borrowing there wasn’t a cateye to monitor my speed. Therefore, I was almost completely relying on my internal computer for the whole race, except for my overall time on my dinky Timex.

Snuggling with the Speed Concept.

Preparing for these races are tough. We have logged many hours training and kept to a pretty tough schedule making sure that we were ready for this race and ready set a new PR! I definitely had my days where I wanted to quit, had my nightmares, felt out of shape, and sometimes just cried about it all.  Sometimes I felt my weeks were just eat, work, train, eat, sleep and that is all. I even sort of gave up on blogging about it all because I felt a little overloaded by it all.

I can’t not encourage the mental preparation enough for race day. For about a month prior to the race I have been adding visualization time sporadically throughout my weeks. This time around, I printed out my goal split time and overall time and taped it up right about my computer at work. I would stare at those numbers during the day and help imagine myself actually pulling it off (5:19:00 s39:00 b2:50:00 r1:48:00). Somedays I thought this number was really a reach and somedays I knew I could do it, but either way I started to just see myself do it.


This was a beach start swim with the announcer doing his own rendition of a countdown then yelling “go.” This year was a wetsuit legal swim- I was fine with long sleeves, but most had sleeveless. This was the first swim I have done with good visibility and where I could actually see if there was a swimmer right in front of me helping me avoid some kicks to the face. It was a two loop swim for the half iron. Swimmers had to do a full water exit and run up a small slippery path of grass and around the timing mat before entering back in the water. Miami Man provided the best swim caps I have ever seen by a race. Continuing with the zoo and animal theme, each cap was adorned with a  different style fish face.

Sweet swim caps!


This course was flat. Flat. Flat. Flat. The biggest elevation I think came from a small itsy bridge over a stream, 4 feet in elevation maybe? Ha. Oly athletes did an out and course while half iron athletes did that same course with a two loop lollipop added on.  The course was mostly through farmland. Traffic was fairly minimal but I heard that some areas were a little tricky with cars piling up. I think the volunteers for the traffic did a great job making sure that all the athletes were safe and had the right of way. A week out from the race Dan and I have been watching the weather and keeping our eye on the forecasted 20mph. We both kept saying/hoping that come race day that number would start to drop, and it did. Down to about 16mph. I hate wind. Dan at one point prior to the race told me, “you like hills, well consider the wind your hills.” Somehow that mental approach helped. Each time I hit the wall of wind, in my mind I was just climbing another hill.


Miami Man does a really good job at enticing athletes with the great zoo run. I think this is more hype than anything. You are in the zoo less than half the race which was a bummer to us all.  I saw a bird of some sort and a turtle. Someone said there was monkeys, but I didn’t see any. A rhino would have been nice to see, or a giraffe, but I didn’t see them either. There were a couple tough stretches being open and exposed to the hot sun or running directly into the wind. The path was not all paved with some sections of sand or small rocks, which left my feet extra blistery. I thought the aid stations were adequate and full of energy. Can I just say I love when a volunteer runs with you to give you water!! Best!

The race swag was ok. Miami Man really runs (pun not intended) with the zoo theme. In our bags we received a tech t-shirt with our names on the back (oops! someone sorted the race names by first, not last name, which made me bummed to see myself listed next to other Julie’s and not Dan and Victoria), a mousepad, racebelt, pint glass (by far the best item), and some nutrition. To me, the zoo theme was a little childlike. Cute, but maybe overdone (I wasn’t a big fan of receiving a stuffed animal as a prize…made me feel like I was 6 years old). Dan was too much of a poop to go pick up his 3rd place finish in the Clydesdale. Drew never even showed up for his 3rd place AG finish either! These guys are too awesome for stuffed animals.

This was a long real first season for me. I am very relieved to end on a high note or else I might have doubts about next season.  Dan and I are already in talks about what will be on our schedule next year. We are already signed up for IM NOLA 70.3 in April and tomorrow we will know whether or not we are in IM AZ. It could be a long season. Nonetheless it will be fun! Big goals for 2013!

Here are the RESULTS

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 19, 2012 4:45 am

    Great post Julie, but your modest little self left out your results. Are you going to post them or are you going to make me post them here in the comments? You totally kicked that race’s ass and deserve some props for it!

  2. November 19, 2012 4:50 am

    Look, I posted a pic of me on the podium, thought that would be adequate props to myself.

  3. Andrew Cown permalink
    November 27, 2012 7:31 pm

    I finished 2nd in my AG…I want my stuffed animal!

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