This was not my best race, but it definitely was my best effort. The start of the 2017 season has me on a new journey. A journey of growth, learning and discovery. It has me learning new things not just about the sport itself, but about myself physically and mentally. It has introduced me to individuals and new processes that are key to that growth that I can learn from as I discover new things about myself both mentally and physically after 40 years.

Ironman FL was a great benchmark for me to be able to apply everything that I have been learning and working on over the course of the last 2.5 months since the Miami 1/2 Marathon. It also served as a barometer to help me identify what I needed to do in order to continue along this path of growth, and discovery.

As an added bonus it gave me the opportunity to meet some of my fellow Maverick Multisport team mates. A solid group of individuals that was assembled by team director Chris Hutchinson. Chris is one of those individuals that has been a corner stone along this journey. I first met Chris two years ago during his online introduction of the 2016 Maverick Multisport squad. It was through that introduction that I also met several other individuals that have since become key to my foundation and growth of which now includes being a part of the 2017 Maverick Multisport Age Group squad and racing under the Maverick Multisport umbrella.

Ironman Fl 70.3 was my second 70.3 in two years after doing the St. Croix 70.3  in 2016. Long story short…that was the race that got me into Multisport at the age of 13. (You can read all about it here) Needless to say when I heard that 2016 might be the last year they run that race. I had to do everything in my power to get myself in shape and moving again after a 3 year hiatus from “Racing” and 30 lbs heavier. I had to check it off my bucket list! I am glad I did… because after almost 30 years, 2017 marked the final year of that iconic race. Now that I think about it, how cool would it have been to have been a part of the very first one as a volunteer at 13 and the last one as a athlete at the age of 41.

BIGGEST Lesson Learned
My 05:49:23 finish time may not show it paying huge dividends. But I can say that it paid handsomely in identifying areas in which I needed to work on! Congrats to all who toed the line this weekend and to all those PR’s. It was great to meet some fellow Mavericks as well and I am looking forward to meeting more of you in the future. I learned so much about myself and my process that it has made the last 3 months worth it’s weight in gold and has left me looking forward to what the future has in store.

Race Report
For a great honest review on the race, venue and experience here is one by: Stormin Norman Jr.

The Swim: The morning of the race they made it wet suit legal due to the temps being in the mid 50’s here in FL all week and 62 race day morning. Much to my surprise the swim was a bit choppy considering that it was taking place in a lake. Now I am not sure if it had to do more with that fact that you were swimming with 40+ individuals at all times or if it was the support crews and their boats or jet skis that were out there going back and forth making sure everyone was safe.

Nonetheless by the first turn buoy I was regretting having a wetsuit on. I started to overheat which in turn manifested itself into a sense and feeling of claustrophobia. By the second turn or 2nd buoy we were now swimming into the sun making it a bit of a challenge to site that 3rd turn buoy. Buoys 4,5 and 6 were pretty straight forward so long as you could keep them sighted and on point as they were away from the sun. It was buoy number 3 that I heard post race many people ended up missing by sighting in buoy 5 and swimming straight across missing 4 and 5. In my opinion that was easy to do as that 3rd buoy and its markers facing into the sun would have been a challenge to sight properly. Making it very easy to spot and sight that 5th buoy and its markers due to its proximity to buoy number two and the turn.

The Bike: Coming into T1 you have a 100 yard run from the beach into transition which consisted of a tiered transition area with a slight downhill as you enter and slight up hill as you exit were you’re met by hoards of spectators cheering you on. The bike ride was peppered with spectators for most of the first half as you road through some of the most picturesque settings with the Spanish moss hanging off the trees representative of Old Florida.

The Run: Coming into T2 you are now met with a sharp left as you enter the bike in. The run course they say is flat. I beg to differ! In the first mile you are met with a teaser of a hill that is nothing more than a warm up for the soul crushing hill on 10th street!

For a flat lander, this hill was Mt. Everest and NO Joke! It was just wrong on so many levels to make this part of the course so early on. And to top it off, you had to RUN this in humane monster 3 times since it was a 3 loop course. Great for spectating, but just AWFUL on all other fronts.

Room For Improvement
Goals for next 70.3 is to improve my run and be better in tune with putting it all together from the swim to the bike to the run.

I’d like to personally thank my wife and Miss Daisy for their support and Maverick Multisport for believing in this age-grouper by giving me the opportunity to represent and race for them in 2017. #BEaMaverick

Thank you to Infinit Nutrition a true game changer in sports nutrition and being my go-to all in one. (You can read my full review and experience here.) #TeamInfinit

Thank you to Altra Running and their Escalante that carried me effortlessly. #EmbraceTheSpace

Thank you Polar for keeping me on task and point with your V800 Multisport Watch #TeamPolar

Thank you Bollé Sunglasses and keeping me focused with your 6th Sense Eyewear #Bolle

Thank you Blueseventy and having me covered with your Full Helix Wetsuit #AllForTheSwim

Author: Van Nou Af

Team Infinit Performance Age Group Triathlete