Race: ESI Ironman 70.3 Augusta
Location: Augusta, GA
Date: September 26, 2010
After almost a year of training, my A race was finally here. My first 70.3! Jarrett and I made this a family event. We rented a house just outside of Augusta that would allow us to bring our dogs and invite our family. Jarrett's mom and step-dad took us up on the offer and came to cheer me on. We left on Thursday and drove to Nashville, TN and stayed the night to break the trip into more manageable pieces. We've never traveled further then 3-hours to South Bend with the dogs before and I was a little concerned they would be difficult. Luckily, they were awesome the entire trip. They behaved like little angels and I would definitely take them on a road trip again. We headed the rest of the way to Augusta on Friday and got in to town about 2:00 pm. After dropping everything off at the house, Jarrett and I headed into town to get my packet. Check-in was fast. I was in and out of line in about 5 minutes flat. I guess it was pretty crazy on Saturday so I am very glad we made it in on Friday. I bought a new cycling jersey and tank top with the Augusta 70.3 logo and then we headed out to explore downtown. Honestly, I was disappointed. There really wasn't much to the town of Augusta. We did manage to find a cute cafe that served local produce and fresh made bread called New Moon.
Saturday we slept in and ate a nice breakfast. I headed out on a quick bike ride to make sure everything was working. Jarrett and I headed back into town with my bike and drove the bike course. I am VERY glad I drove the course. It was good to experience it from a vehicle and gave me a good idea what to expect. The course had tons of rolling hills and only one really difficult turn around mile 32. It was 95 degrees and the sun was brutal. I was beginning to re-calibrate my race expectations based on the heat. The weather for Sunday was calling for lower temps and a chance of rain. We dropped Lola off in transition without any issues and headed back to the house to relax. Dinner was lasagna, garlic bread, and salad. It was very tasty! I went to bed at 9:00 pm and set my alarm to wake-up at 4:00 am. I got a decent nights sleep (6 hours) and ate my Pop tarts and Gatorade for breakfast. Jarrett and I hit the road at 5:30 am.
The transition area was incredible. So many people and bikes! It was a lot to take in. I set-up my gear and covered everything I could with plastic bags. It was starting to drizzle. Jarrett had gone to park and I found him waiting outside of transition for me. I gave him a bag of extra water bottles to take back to the car. I'm not sure why I packed 5 bottles but I was only taking 3 on the bike. My aero bottle was filled with water, one bottle of Gatorade on the down tube and an extra bottle of water in the back. My bento box contained 800 calories, which was a tad more then I should have needed but I figured I better be safe. 600 from Chomps and Honey Stingers and 200 from Raspberry Newtons and Snickers. My plan was to consume 150-200 calories an hour on the bike. At some point I realized I wasn't wearing a watch. Jarrett and I hadn't gotten far from transition so I decided to go back and get my Polar watch. I opted not to wear the heart rate monitor. I decided I wanted to walk with Jarrett to the swim start so we hiked the 1.2 miles down river to the rowing club. I got my timing chip and watched the pros start. They announced they would be condensing the swim start because of the weather. It was a steady drizzle at this point.
Swim - 1.2 miles
I put my wetsuit on about 5 minutes before my wave started. We lined up in corrals and they released us every two minutes. You walked down a steep ramp to a floating boat dock in the river and jumped in for a deep water start. It was surreal. I wasn't nervous, I was ready. I jumped in off the center of the dock and lined up at the front of the pack. This is NOT my usual starting position! I am a back of the pack swimmer, but it never occurred to me to be anywhere else. In reality, there was only 131 of us in my wave and there was plenty of room between the start buoys. The next thing I knew, the air horn sounded and we were off. I was swimming as close to the left buoys as possible to take full advantage of the current. There were a few issues of people being grabby but nothing too bad. It was a point to point down river swim and it was FAST. Sighting wasn't particularly necessary because you could site off the shore line. I didn't pick my head up until I felt myself coming up on a large group of people. At that point I saw the big yellow buoy marking the swim exit. It was about 100 yards away. I could not believe the swim was already over. I stood up too soon and ended up slogging through the water and up the boat ramp. I was feeling great. I looked at my watch 31:10.
Swim Time: 31:10 (1:28/100 yds)
I used wetsuit strippers to get out of my wetsuit and ran to my bike. It was raining and it took me a bit to get all of my stuff out of the plastic bags I put it in. I took a small drink of Gatorade before taking off on the bike and ran out of transition. The bike mounting line was not crowded and it went very smoothly.
T1 Time: 5:40 - This was WAY longer then it should have taken but there was quiet a bit of distance from the swim exit to transition.
Bike: 56 Miles
I took off on the bike and looked down to see I was pushing a 23 mph pace. That's way too fast! I backed off to around 20 and was still flying for the first 15 miles. Mile 16 was were the hills started. They were not as bad as I thought they would be. I had totally psyched myself out after driving the course on Saturday. For some reason the hills seemed very big in the car. I passed a ton of people climbing and a ton of people passed me descending. I'm still not brave going down hill. The cool thing about the bike - I had fun. I really was enjoying the course and even though it was steadily raining and at some points down pouring, I wasn't nervous. It's been a rough year in this house for bike wrecks and even though I rode the race safe, I wouldn't say I rode like a total chicken. I descended all but two hills in aero and I never felt unsteady or anxious. The strange thing about the bike is I lost complete track of time. They had mile markers every 5 miles and that is the only reason I had any idea how far I'd gone. I never had a clue how much time had passed. The rain on my watch kept me from being able to see the time clearly and I had my bike computer set on the wrong screen so I could only really watch my speed and cadence. There were three aid stations on the bike and I decided since I practiced bottle grabs, I better actual do one! I grabbed Gatorade at around Mile 40 and drank a few sips before ditching it. At Mile 50 I noticed that I had not eaten nearly enough. It was too late to really do anything about the situation so I took a few more Chomps and hammered back to transition. When I home after the race I found that I had only eaten 180 calories during the bike.
Bike Time: 2:59:52
T2 Time: 4:13 - Bike dismount was uneventful and I ran my bike back to my rack space. It was a little muddy and my feet and bike shoes were soaking wet. I had put my running shoes and socks in plastic bags but forgot to put a dry towel in a bag to wipe off my wet feet. I got my socks on and headed out for the run. It was still drizzling at this point and it wouldn't be long before my feet were soaking.
Run: 13.1 miles
My run started strong and then I fell apart at mile 5. I hadn't eaten enough and I just could not get my legs to move any faster. I ran most of the race and walked at aid stations. I drank Gatorade and water at each stop and ate Chomps every two miles. It was really nice getting to see Jarrett and David and Michele multiple times during the run. Jarrett even bought a little cowbell :) I was running every time he saw me. The crowds and volunteers were great and the Richmond County Sheriffs Department officer at Mile 6/12 was a hoot. He was providing us with tips such as "Triathlon is swim, bike, run - not swim, bike, walk." Running through the finishers chute was awesome! I was very proud to have finished strong.
Mile 1: 9:16
Mile 2: 9:38
Mile 3: 10:12
Mile 4: 10:11
Mile 5: 11:38
Mile 6: 10:55
Mile 7: 11:13
Mile 8: 11:47
Mile 9: 11:07
Mile 10: 11:51
Mile 11: 11:36
Mile 12: 11:36
Mile 13.1: 11:47
Run Time: 2:22:51
Total Race Time: 6:03:45
Post race I ate some cookies and pizza and drank a ton of water. We picked up my morning gear bag and hitched a ride back to transition to pick-up my bike. Everything in transition was soaking wet and gross. We packed up and headed back to the house. I immediately took an ice bath and rolled my quads and hammies with "The Stick." I really didn't have any issues with being stiff or sore after the race. I wore my new CEP compression socks on the way back to IN and avoided swollen legs from sitting in the car. We drove straight home on Monday. I had Tuesday off from work so we relaxed and I ran with Andrea K and Jarrett down on the canal in the afternoon. We managed a 5 miler in 45 minutes and it felt really good.
Overall this was a very positive race experience. I crossed the finish line and immediately had the though "Wow - I want to do that again." Could I be faster? Probably, but overall I'm pleased with how the race went.
Next up - Monumental Marathon!