Malone Coaching

Sobe Race Report by Heidi Ewing

Lifetime Fitness South beach International Distance Triathlon 2015 (Olympic) by Heidi Ewing 

First off, this is my first race report, so forgive me if it is lengthy. I really enjoy reading other people’s race reports, so hopefully someone will find this interesting.

The Location

South Beach is absolutely beautiful…and absolutely crazy. The water is Caribbean blue and clear with white sand beaches.  Upscale shopping and restaurants, more bars than you can count and outrageous cars (Ferraris, Bentleys, Lamborghinis, etc) are everywhere.  But, the really interesting thing to there is the people watching.  People visit from all over the world and it definitely seems to be a “see and be seen” kinda place.  Women wearing thong bikinis and heels walking down the street are a common sight any time of day or night!  Sitting and just watching people walk by was one of my favorite Sobe (South Beach) activities! But, I digress, back to the race report.  The venue was beautiful, but hot and humid.  Everything was fairly well organized and run. The Expo, finish line and after party were all on the beach (again, really hot) and there was not much shade available.

Saturday (1 day before the race)

There was an open water swim clinic (proceeds to St Jude’s Children) the day prior to the race and James and I opted to attend…I am so glad we did.  Just getting in and practicing sighting with the waves was a really good idea.  I discovered that ocean sighting is more challenging than lake sighting—the waves really messed me up.  I got a few tips from the coaches there—sight more often, pick your head up a bit (like an alligator), breathe away from the waves but the main thing I got out of the clinic was practice in the salt water.  The water was really clear—you could see the sandy bottom and warm-79 degrees.  A few people wore wetsuits, but it would have been way too hot for me to wear one. 

After the clinic, we walked over the Expo (5 minutes down the beach) to get our packets.  They opened early and there was already a line.  The line moved slowly, but the people around us were friendly and chatty.  Packet included tri-tats, tech t (ladies and men’s cut) a head sweats visor and some coupons and samples—decent swag.  The Expo was not huge, in fact, we couldn’t find Nuun tablets, Gatorade or Skratch packets—Gu packs were the primary nutrition option for sale.  From the expo, James and I went back to the hotel to change and eat.  We suited up for a quick bike ride to make sure the mechanics of our bikes were all functioning and a short run (coach’s orders to stretch everything out from the plane ride). When we picked up our bikes—(thanks Tribike transport!) we made a friend (Julia who was from the UK and lives in NY).  The three us attempted a 30 min ride.  This was a fail.  Traffic in South Beach is insane.  Technically, there is a bike lane, but between the delivery trucks, the people walking in them with coolers, the tourist riding the rental bikes and the stop lights or signs every block, it was a nightmare.  We tried to get off the main road (A1-A, Beach Front Avenue!) and head into the residential areas, but that didn’t really work either.  We still had stop signs at every corner and the drivers were distracted or unaccommodating.  We gave up and went back to turn them in for transition.  My hands were shaking by the time we got back to transition—I have never ridden in such heavy traffic and I was relieved not to have wrecked (I am not the fastest at unclipping and stopping).  Got our bikes racked (assigned racks and slots) and headed out for a run. By this time, it was mid afternoon, hot and crowded.  We did our 30 min run on the path behind the beach.  It was crowded and hot, but I figured it wouldn’t be THAT different on race day so this was good training.  Had a dog growl and lunge at me, a homeless man offer me weed and a drunk frat guy jump in my path and laugh—at least it was interesting.  And HOT—did I mention it was hot?  Back to the hotel to a soak in the pool for a bit.  We walked to Lincoln Ave later for a bit of shopping and dinner.  Our choice was Daku Sushi and it was fabulous.  You may question our choice, but easy to digest sticky rice, fish and some veggies and salty soy sauce made a great pre-race dinner and it agreed with me on race morning.  We caught an Uber back to the hotel (why did we walk so much today???). In our room, we prepped our water bottles, packed transition bags and applied tri-tats.  Oh, something else I learned—you need A LOT of sunscreen in SoBe and you need to reapply it often.  I got a little sun and was worried it would be painful on race day. So I gooped myself up with aloe…then tried to apply my race tats 15 minutes later.  Needless to say, they didn’t adhere properly (duh). Oh well, live and learn!  Sleep time! 

Race Day

The race starts at 6:45, transition opens at 4:30.  Alarm was set for 5am, leave at 5:45, be in transition by 6.  Hotel smoke alarm went off at 4:30 (arrgggg!) I didn’t really sleep after that.  Bagel with pb, a banana, and some coffee (thanks Starbucks for those Via packs—way better than the stuff you can make in your room) for breakfast and double checked that everything I needed was in my bag. We walked the 10 minutes or so to transition and enjoyed more people watching (this town is like Vegas—there are always people partying!)  James commented that the people that can party until 6am have more endurance than us triathletes!  A homeless woman asked us for cigarettes-nope fresh out of those!


Transition was tight (like a tiger) but everyone was friendly.  A volunteer did her best with a marker to fix my race numbers.  Transition was also HUGE—really long and narrow.  James and were racked near the bike and run out.  The racks were numbered, so I noted to myself to run until I see the Johnny Rocket across the street, then look for rack 12.   James was happy to have his headlamp, but there were was also some overhead lighting.  We got set up without incident and headed over to the swim start.  It was a long walk (about .9 miles!) We were getting close to the official start time so I was antsy.  The public restrooms were unlocked (ok, the women’s were unlocked) but James had to run across the street and find a hotel.  I didn’t find him for a while, so no pre-race picture together). 

The Swim

 The national anthem was sung and then the elites were off.  They did a self seeded wave start where 4 racers cross the line, run down to the water and start swimming; waves went off about every 10 seconds.  James started about 40 minutes ahead of me so I had a long time to watch, get nervous, look way down the beach at all the buoys, etc.  After a bit, I headed back to the corral and joined the other green capped women.  We chatted nervously—everyone was very friendly and all of a sudden it was our turn.  Seriously, I am not sure how that happened.  I planned to seed myself towards the front of my group and keep up with the fast swimmers and I somehow ended up in the very last group (crap!)  There was no way to jump to the front now.  Also, they want to take a photo while the wave in front of you takes off (sans goggles of course) so then you have like 2 seconds to get your goggles on before they say go.  Well, I was not prepared. No excuses either; I had 40 minutes to watch other waves go and still I was not ready.  What’s worse was I was running into the water before I remembered my handy dandy fancy Garmin 920 wasn’t in triathlon mode. (CRAP!!).  So, I ran into the water trying to simultaneously put on my goggles and get my watch to the right mode and started.  Not a great start.  I was flustered, but got it together pretty quickly.  Made it to the first buoy swimming hard, but had one eye full of water.  Rolled on my back and kicked a sec to get it cleared and re-suctioned. Thankfully, I didn’t have any more goggle issues.  What I did have were “me poorly seeding myself” issues.  I had to pass a lot of people.  While this is a great confidence booster, it’s not great for sighting and I think that I would have swam faster if I had fast swimmers around me to keep up with.  Live and learn.  In no time at all, I spotted the orange buoy (sweet—swim’s almost over! That was fast!) But alas, it was followed by a yellow buoy, and another, and another (crap).  It turns out, that orange buoy marked the beginning turn for the sprint (classic) racers.  The yellow buoys seemed never ending at this point.  The water was undulating, and the sun was just up and seriously messed with my sighting.  I wish wish wish that buoys were numbered—so you know exactly how much further you have (please race directors?!).  Although I felt great swimming, it seemed to drag on forever, with no end in sight (literally!)  It was the swim that wouldn’t end! Finally, an orange buoy! Hooray!  Turned right and sprinted in.  I kept swimming until I couldn’t anymore—body surfed a little too. Why walk/run until you have to and I was faster than the folks around me who were walking, getting pushed by the waves.  The run back up the beach to transition took forever.  It was crowded.  They actually had showers to rinse the salt and sand off, but I was past them before I noticed.  Oh well.  Did I mention it was a long run back to my bike; seriously, it was a third of a mile!  Got my bike gear on and was ready to roll.

The Bike

The bike is my weakest discipline—or, as I like to think of it-the area I have the most potential for growth!  This was a great bike course.  Flat flat flat.  Well, except for a few causeway crossings, but even these were not bad at all.  The course was well marked, with volunteers and police all over.  The Miami residents were not happy to have the roads closed however and the sound of car horns was a pretty constant background noise. The course was reasonably full of riders—I don’t love riding in big crowds and I was comfortable here so really not too crowded.  Enough people that official passing and drafting rules couldn’t be strictly adhered to, but never dangerous.  I only saw a couple people on the side of the road changing tires and they all seemed to have support.  There was one bike aid station, which I avoided.  I had I close call, where a truck attempted to cross the road in front of several of us riders (policeman was there—not sure how this happened).  I used my superior bike handling skills (sarcasm) and was able to swerve around him and not kill myself or anyone else.  The woman behind me rode up on the median and was able to keep upright and continue the race as well.  Lots of expletives and were yelled by the other racers to the driver as well as concerned “are you ok” comments.  Crisis avoided and I continued my race.  We had great cloud coverage and a good breeze so the temp was perfect.  Everyone was in a good mood and friendly (except the Miami drivers who couldn’t get where they wanted) and I have to say that I enjoyed the bike portion of this race (I don’t think I have ever said that before).  I developed a weird pain in my right hamstring after about 10 miles (this has never happened before) so my first half of the ride was faster than the second.  There were two U-turns on the course which I was anxious about (I have a lot of potential for growth in the bike handling department) but they were 4 and 3 lane turns, respectively and I rocked them!  I had one more car issue coming back over the causeway (a car tried to go around the police officers and cross the road) but the police officers were on it and stopped it before any accidents occurred (Big fat thank you Miami PD!). No other issues and there was a nice welcome from spectators back into T2.

The Run

I was super excited here.  I felt happy and confident after such a good ride and I could actually feel my legs and feet (they are usually numb for the first mile or so!)  Sat down to change shoes, grabbed my visor and water bottle and was out.  Started really strong and was happy…until I realized I wasn’t wearing my race belt with my number (CRAP!) I turned around, ran back to transition and talked to a volunteer.  He didn’t know what I should do (I didn’t want to cross the timing mat again and mess things up), but he grabbed another more experienced volunteer.  Her advice was run—I didn’t really need it since I had my chip and body marking.  So, I took off again.  I wish I knew exactly how much time this cost me, but it couldn’t be helped now.  (Another lesson learned).  I ran at pace I could maintain the whole 6 miles.  I never stopped to walk.  The run course was open, so people walking with their coolers to the beach, people walking dogs, small children, strollers, etc were all prominent.  It was a bit frustrating at time, but I wasn’t sprinting so I was able to maneuver around people pretty well.  They had aid stations every mile—1 with gels and the rest with Gatorade and water. Ice, sponges, and orange slices would have been nice and I was disappointed to not have them. I poured 2 cups of warm water over my head at each station and sometimes drank a cup of warm Gatorade—I was really glad I had my own bottle of warm Skratch to drink.  I paced with a couple different people—one was a woman from Spain who had done FL70.3 the week before.  We chatted in broken English and Spanish (her English was better than my Spanish) for a bit and she kept telling me how strong I was how hard it was her to keep up (me????)  We got separated at an aid station and soon I was chatting with the same older gentleman (65-70 age group) that I talked to on the beach before the start.  He raced this every year and he was a strong runner.  I kept up with him for a while, but couldn’t hang on more than ½ mile or so.  Later on the course I caught him again.  He ran through the public showers to cool off (genius!)  It was HOT, humid and incredibly sunny (a perfect beach day!) Soon though, I could hear the finish line.  The last .2 miles were on the beach…in deep soft hot sand.  I toughed it out, made it to the chute and actually slowed down a little to not be in the guy in front of me’s finish photo.  (I hear that is bad form).  I got my medal, 2 bottles of COLD water (I dumped one of my head to cool off) and set off to find James.  I couldn’t find him.  I had two different women approach me and tell that I inspired them and that they wished they were a strong runner like me (me???? Seriously????) I joined the long food line and after 5 minutes of not moving, I gave up and went to the beer tent.  Found him!  We drank a cold beer and decided to head out.  It was hot and there was nowhere shady to sit.  We got our gear, dropped our bikes back off with the Tribike Transport guys and headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up.  Race completed!


Breakfast in the hotel was a plain bagel, peanut butter and a banana with Via coffee from Starbucks.  Before the race, I drank a Gatorade bottle on the beach.  On the bike, I had a bottle of Gatorade that I drank most of, a water bottle with Nuun that I drank about half of, an applesauce pouch, and a raspberry chia gel.  On the run, I carried a bottle of pineapple Skratch and finished that, took Gatorade at every other aid station.  I took water too, took a sip and dumped the rest on my head.  I had another chia gel, but it was too hot to get it down.  Post race meal was an egg sandwich with bacon, avocado and tomato on a croissant with a Gin Blossom cocktail (yum) and of course awesome people watching (men in Speedos, a drag queen, etc).


This was an Olympic distance PR for me of 8 minutes overall (transitions were slow, but I mostly attribute that to the gigantic transition area and the fact that I haven’t rehearsed transitions at all this season).  I swam a 32:15 (down over 2 minutes from my previous time) and if you factor in the goggle, seeding, and watch issues, I believe I could have been faster here.  T1 was 4:54.  This is painfully slow, except that there was 1/3mile swim to bike run for me and I did take a sec to wipe sand off my feet.  I biked a 1:26 (down 2 minutes from my previous Olympic).  My first 12 ½ miles were faster than my second; I have lots of room for growth in my bike riding!  T2 was 2:58—not bad for this huge transition.  Run was 58:55 (down 5 minutes!) and seriously could have been several minutes faster if I hadn’t forgotten and gone back for the stupid race belt!!  I felt strong throughout this race (like I could have kept going—but not on the sand) so it was a successful confidence booster going into a big season for me.  I learned a lot and most importantly, I really enjoyed myself!  I was grateful to be in this beautiful location with perfect (albeit hot) weather and have the opportunity to race with people from all over the world.  I would definitely do this race again!


Lessons Learned

1.       Wear sunscreen the days before the race—put it on and keep putting it on.

2.       Bring your own nutrition to the venue—you may not be able to buy things at the expo

3.       Learn the course—I would have been more confident on the bike if I had known where the turnarounds were and that they were nice and wide. (I was familiar with the run

         course already)

4.       Practice the swim if at all possible—huge confidence boost.

5.       Focus before the race—I wasn’t ready and I cost me time!

6.       Body glide everywhere, even if you don’t usually have issues.  I have matching friction burns on my arms from seams on my tri suit. Ouch!

7.       Don’t forget important things in transition (DUH)

8.       Watch for traffic even if the roads are closed

9.       Take it easy the day before the race—we should have gotten a ride both to and from dinner

10.      If possible, don’t travel the same day as your race—having to rush to get out of the hotel and make a flight when all you want to do is eat and sit in the pool is no fun.

May 2nd Cycling Clinic- CANCELED!

Malone Coaching and Greenville Cycling & Multi-Sport are joining together to offer a great clinic on May 2nd from 8am-12:30pm


See Flyer below and this clickable link will take you to the newsletter with links to register.

Cool news and a picture to prove it!

EXCITING NEWS for Malone Coaching athletes Ben and Jennifer Atkins!


Baby Girl Poppy MaeLynn Atkins was born 4/13/15 in Spartanburg!

Congratulations to your family!

Photos from Parris Island and more!

Parris Island 2015


What a great shot of the pre-race pool! Thanks Manny Cintron for sharing this one (and others)



                                    Great group shot with some of the new MC Ts!                                                       The ladies!



                       Bubba Gillis- 2nd AG                  Carol Brunson- 1st Open 3rd OA            Kimberly2nd OA, 1st                  Mary Biebel- 2nd AG

                                                                                                                                  Masters and 5 seconds

                                                                                                                     off of first place who is 30 YEARS YOUNGER!!!




Manny Cintron shared some great shots of the event- here are 3 to highlight his day!



                                     Melissa- 1st AG & Josh- 1st Military Male           Nicole Ramsbey- 2nd AG                      Will Fowler- 3rd AG




At the Peyton's Wacky 5k Trail Race:

Rachel Crunk (running with her daughter) - 2nd OA (Yes, her daughter Chloe won!)

Apart from Triathlons, they climb mountains

It's often that athletes cross train and compete in a variety of activies along with their triathlon regimen. It's not often, however, that we can congratulate one of our athletes for climbing a mountain in Africa!

Tory Snyder shared this about her Mt. Kenya experience:


Malone Coaching Athlete Tory Snider was in Africa climbing Mt. Kenya last week. She shared a little story and a nice picture. Thanks, Tory!

"My guide Eddie is a humble quiet guy in late 30s. I pulled out the Malone jersey on the summit for the pic. Still in the package it was
mailed in. Eddie felt the material and looked it over. "This is bike
jersey?" The man who doesn't talk, starts in about how he loves to
mountain bike. After the picture he continues to look over the jersey and
asks me questions about the colors and what things mean like "super cuts"
(try explaining). He owns one jersey. Now he has two. He is about 130#- it
should fit him. Malone Coaching will now be seen around Kenya!"

Tory only has Mount Wilson left to climb in Uganda to complete top 5
peaks in Africa. But for now my focus is on getting in shape for this
summer and getting my second and last IM done!

You're an inspiration Troy! Thanks for sharing!

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