XTERRA Miami – Splits for the Top Twenty Finishers

I’ve been super busy since the race in Miami. These ideas have been rattling around for almost a month now, but I had to catch up at work and maintain, even step up, my training at the same time. So, it has taken me awhile to find the time and motivation to put the splits together.

My Receipt from the Race

For the race, they used ankle bands with chips in them to track all of the athletes. This was something new for me (this should provide some insight), but I guess it is standard practice these days. It was great to get the data immediately after the race and see my splits.

Overall, I felt good about my race and results, but it certainly did not go as what I would categorize as “smoothly.” It could have been worse, but it definitely could have been better. My best analysis is my performance suffered from some fatigue in my legs, nutrition mistakes, a minor bike issue, and, mainly, a lack of experience. I know that sounds kind of bad, but I like to dig into such matters with a critical lens in order to learn and improve.

My lack of experience is what hurt me during the swim. My arms were well-rested, and I felt really strong in the water. My problem was with trying to find some open water. With the mass start (though not that massive – about 50), I became trapped  in  a group that was slower but determined. They were trying to hold their ground, and I was trying to get around them and into open water. Two things happened here: I was making way too much contact with others, and my heart rate became elevated more than I wanted. It took me awhile to find some open water, but once I did, I was able to calm down, lower my heart rate, smooth out my stroke, and hammer it. I can’t tell you how many people I passed, but I came out of the water in sixth.

Kandefer, Ken – 0:12:54
Corredor, Diego – 0:13:05
Lee, Rafael – 0:13:11
Fernadez, Frank – 0:13:28
Perkinson, Jonathan – 0:13:29
Newell, Jim – 0:13:43
Garcia, Reinald – 0:13:50
Bernstein, Steven – 0:14:34
Meisberger, Adam – 0:14:35
Salazar, Sebastian – 0:15:04
Reinhardt, Mike – 0:15:15
Huntley, Scott – 0:15:33
Moos, Jenn – 0:15:42
Scott, Melissa – 0:15:55
Pedersen, Paul – 0:16:04
Wronska, Beata – 0:16:04
Drew, Chris – 0:16:08
Ross, Steven – 0:16:38
Navarro, Pedro – 0:17:39
Santis, Jonathan – 0:17:41

For the bike I was off to a solid start. I transitioned fairly well, grabbed a half of a bar, headed out and was munching on the food while on the bike path before entering the trails. I had a gel tapped on my top tube and a coconut water, yerba mate and chia energy drink in my bottle holder for later, and plenty of water and tools in my hydration pack. I hit the trails confident and at pace that I felt I could maintain for both laps. All went well until the second lap. Before this point, I was passed by a few people, as expected (I tend to do better in the water), but I didn’t let it bother me, even though I was dropped like a bag of rocks by who I now know was Jenn Moos. She was hammering, and it looks like she “chicked” about nine of us (I love it. Keep hammering Jen! Make the guys sweat and deal with their egos.). I just gave way, watched them go by, kept my mantra, “Jim – run your own race” in mind, and recited it as needed.

A few minutes before the swim start, I checked my tire pressure and found my back tire quite low; I didn’t have time to change my tube, so all I could do was inflate it and hope it held. By the second lap, I could tell it was getting softer, and about this time, I felt some fatigue beginning in my legs. I’d already used my gel at the end of the first lap (stupid me forgot I had another accessible in a side pocket of my pack), so I was low on nutrition with nothing to eat. The short and steep inclines started taking their toll on my legs (mainly quads), and my tire pressure was dropping more and more, so I had to really pay close attention and take it easy on the roots and rocks to avoid a pinch flat. My thought was that I would lose less time by pushing on rather than stopping to inflate my tire. I’ll never know if it was the right decision. Toward the end of the ride, there is a section where you have to ride on the road before a quick dip into the woods and back to transition. This is where I could tell I was hurting more than I wanted. There was a gnarly head wind, and this in combination with my low back tire made it feel like I’d found some Colorado-mountain grade in a weird Miami vortex; I hammered as hard as I could and rolled into transition on rubber rather than rim – a plus in my mind.

Here are the splits for the top twenty finishers. As you can see, my swim time was helping, but I was falling back in the mix.
Lee, Rafael – 1:17:39
Fernadez, Frank – 1:19:02
Corredor, Diego – 1:19:05
Moos, Jenn – 1:20:39
Garcia, Reinald – 1:21:16
Perkinson, Jonathan – 1:21:53
Kandefer, Ken – 1:24:08
Ross, Steven – 1:24:54
Drew, Chris – 1:25:05
Navarro, Pedro – 1:25:40
Meisberger, Adam – 1:25:50
Huntley, Scott – 1:27:35
Newell, Jim – 1:28:13
Wronska, Beata – 1:29:04
Bernstein, Steven – 1:29:35
Pedersen, Paul – 1:30:07
Santis, Jonathan – 1:31:36
Reinhardt, Mike – 1:32:07
Salazar, Sebastian – 1:34:18
Scott, Melissa – 1:35:19
*Note – These are NOT the top twenty splits; they are the splits for the top twenty finishers.

Transition went Ok, but for next time, I will make sure the bike rack is higher; for some reason, it was low, and I had some trouble getting my bike under it and hung properly – hard to predict everything (part of still being “green”). I also had to add some time because I was starving. Once I removed my bike gear and changed shoes, I grabbed the other half of the bar, took a big bite, grabbed a banana, a small bottle of my energy drink, tucked two gels into my liner, and hit the ground running and munching.

The run course is quite fun. It meanders all around the park with three water crossings. Two of these can’t be walked; they are too deep, and they come really early in the run. I was able to get the bar and banana down before the first water crossing, which was short, and the 73-degree water felt amazing. Not long after was the next water crossing. This one was much longer and required the use of a rope. The current was fairly swift, so the goal was to jump in, grab the rope and pull yourself across the channel. This dip was blissful. I just let my legs float and mimicked swimming with the rope pull. I got across super fast and was wishing it was about 100+ yards longer. I did not want to leave the water and how great it felt to let my legs float freely – resting and cooling me to the core. Oh well, onward…

After a bit of wandering in the woods, the food started kicking in, and the water stops helped a ton – one to drink, one to dump on my head (Yes. It was scorching hot in Miami in late March). The best part of the run was a trail called The Gates of Delirium. This section wasn’t too long but had lots of ups and downs and a long series of ladder bridges. It was good fun, but my hamstrings were feeling close to cramping, and at one point, I pushed off hard in a kind-of jump up a series of roots, which sent a shock through my right patella tendon. I thought, “Well. I’m certainly not going to do that again – just keep a solid pace – one foot in front of the other – no more jumping.” After The Gates, the terrain was mainly flat with lots of switchbacks until it came out of the woods, crossed what seemed to be an old pump track of sorts, led through one of the picnic areas, through a short canopy (where I caught and passed one guy), and to a short and shallow water crossing. Once out of the water, it was around a point of land and to the final leg on the beach where we swan and to the finish.

Here are the splits for the top twenty finishers. As you can see, it isn’t hard to analyze this data; I was falling back even more in the mix.
Corredor, Diego – 0:34:29
Garcia, Reinald – 0:35:08
Kandefer, Ken – 0:35:52
Pedersen, Paul – 0:36:34
Salazar, Sebastian – 0:36:35
Lee, Rafael – 0:37:32
Fernadez, Frank – 0:38:30
Perkinson, Jonathan – 0:39:26
Reinhardt, Mike – 0:40:13
Navarro, Pedro – 0:41:32
Moos, Jenn – 0:41:34
Meisberger, Adam – 0:41:34
Scott, Melissa – 0:42:29
Drew, Chris – 0:42:31
Santis, Jonathan – 0:43:01
Bernstein, Steven – 0:43:44
Newell, Jim – 0:43:52
Wronska, Beata – 0:44:58
Ross, Steven – 0:45:02
Huntley, Scott – 0:45:18
*Note – These are NOT the top twenty splits; they are the splits for the top twenty finishers.

By looking at my numbers and the splits, it certainly doesn’t take a high IQ to figure out my needs. As a life-long surfer and all-around lover of things water-based, my swim is my strength, but since it is the shortest split, that is not going to help much. It will give me a bit of a lead, but as I quickly found out, it provides a great view of other racers’ asses as they drop me in the dust (not such a bad thing when being “chicked”). Hopefully, if I can get away from my stubborn love of platform pedals and the freeride movement and focus on XC, I’ll make up some time. Yes. I am an idiot for at least two reasons: 1) I live in Florida. Freeride – duh. 2) I want to race but I ride like I don’t, and as the echoes of “Jim. You need to go clipless.” are now becoming louder, I may have to lose some skin and figure out this whole “eggbeater” thing I’ve been told a thousand times. I guess I’ll have to decide to move from all things enjoyment and put a leg into competition – another thing I’ve avoided since leaving competitive surfing in the early nineties to pursue a college education. Damn decisions…

Other Lessons and Focus for Oak Mountain in May and Tsali in June
Legs, Legs, Legs – enough said.
Nutrition – I need fuel before the swim. I need fuel after the swim. I need a ton more fuel on the bike. I can’t wait until I feel it – that will be too late. I need a ton more fuel at the beginning of the run. By the last few miles, it is too late. I guess I’m still a skinny, plant-fueled athlete in denial. I need to embrace what I know and ignore how others fuel. My fuel burns stupidly fast, I have no reserves, so I can no longer try to burn the fat I don’t have or that I don’t consume. Trends aside, carbs work, and they work fast. Who cares if I have to use 8-10 gels in 2 and a half hours and miss the awards while in the bathroom? These things are only temporary anyway. I should look at such discomfort in the same way as a blister. After all, it is a short race. Temporary suffering is just that – temporary, which is what I’ll be taking to the next race…

About Jim Newell

Associate Professor of English, Daytona State College / Thinker / Ponce Inlet Surfer / Improviser / Dad
This entry was posted in Miami X-terra, Race Report, Travel, XTERRA and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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