Race Report: Ironman 70.3 Augusta
Ironman 70.3 Augusta
I am constantly struggling with this word, “athlete”. This race was not to prove I was an athlete. I just wanted to feel good and be in the moment. As silly as mindfulness can seem, I wanted to practice mindfulness during this race.
I didn’t think about what place I was in or how fast I was going. Instead I listened to sound of my tires turning on the road. I felt my arms grab the water while chanting, “hook, pull, recover, hook, pull, recover”.
As an athlete we think of what we are capable of now and in the future. We define ourselves by numbers and trophies, wins and losses. Sometimes to be an athlete is just to feel like one, right there, in the moment. With no aspirations of a PR, winning your age group or avoiding a DNF.
Finish Time: 5:24:47
We arrived in Augusta Thursday evening after a layover in Atlanta. We rented a house in South Augusta for about $30/night so I could have access to kitchen (I know, super cheap). The only downside was a train that would come through early in the morning, but apparently that also happens downtown. Friday evening I went to the expo to pick up my packet and check out the race gear.
Augusta 70.3 Ironman Tip: I would highly recommend going to the Expo on Friday since on Saturday the line was 20 – 30 minutes of waiting.
Friday night we also made our way to the YMCA to do a quick workout for free (as promised in the athlete guide). I did a one mile swim to see if I remembered how to swim (luckily, I did).
Saturday morning I met up with the group for a 11 mile bike ride and a 1.5 mile run, dropped off my bike in transition, stopped by the expo one last time and grabbed lunch at Jason’s Deli. After lunch we drove the course and were pleasantly surprised on how tame it was in comparison to the elevation map. For every up there was a fast downhill and only a couple of false flats.
Saturday afternoon I took a nap and when I woke up things took a turn for the worse. I woke up feeling nauseous and bloated. I waited a few hours before trying to eat some dinner. At 9:00 I tried to go to bed, but my stomach started to turn, my head started to pound and I could not stop coughing. Edgar ran out to the CVS to some Tylenol P.M.(acetaminophen) to help the headache and at 10:30 my dinner and the Tylenol came back up. Luckily, I felt better after I yacked, but my stomach was still in knots.
The morning started just below 70 degrees but quickly warmed up to 85 degrees with 83% humidity. The bike ride weather was superb, with just enough wind to cool you down but not enough to feel like a headwind.
Morning came, and though my stomach wasn’t perfectly settled it was manageable. I grabbed some coffee, overnight oatmeal, raisin toast with bananas and some Cheerios for breakfast. Edgar dropped me off so I could set up transition and then drove me to the swim start. After a few trips to the bathroom, doing a quick warm-up and waiting 2 hours, my time to get in the water finally arrived (9:22 am).
The swim was phenomenal. I have NEVER swam that fast in my entire life, especially without a wetsuit. I usually swim a 2:00/100m in a race without a wetsuit and on race day I swam a 1:33/100m. Either I became a fish or the current was helping me along (it was the latter). I had plenty of space during the swim and stayed close to the buoys.
Augusta 70.3 Ironman Tip: Stay close to the buoys for the strongest current. Though it might seem like a better idea to keep to far to the left for space and go straight to the swim out, you will miss out on the current.
Out of the water my bike was in the very back (farthest from the bike in/out) so it was a short jog to my setup. We rode the first 5 miles of the bike on Saturday so I knew it was flat and fast. In fact the first 16 miles were really flat, despite the elevation map. Since my age group was the last to go the bike course was VERY crowded so I sounded like a broken record, “on your left” every 5 seconds. I played leap frog with 2-3 cyclist until I dropped them all on a climb around mile 18.
The hills were manageable and the roads were smooth. My goal was to maintain a heart rate between 150 – 160, with spikes for the climbs. At mile 54 one of the cyclist I had dropped caught up and there was no point trying to hang on. I needed my heart rate to be below 160 for when I started the run. Turns out that was easier said than done.
I stopped at every water stop and filled my clothes with ice. My gut was aching. Every step I took I felt my feet melting into the pavement. It was hotter than Satan’s butt-crack and my heart rate kept trying to break 170 every time I dipped into the sub-9 minute mile. The good news was this was not the worst I had ever felt on a run, but it was not the best.
After I finished I went straight to medical. I did not have any cramps, but my stomach was aching and my color was off. Fifteen minutes later I got up and walked to the athlete area to meet up with my friends. It did not last long. A volunteer found me on the ground grimacing and walked me back to medical. My heart rate was fine, but my blood pressure was 90/59 (hypotensive) so the gave me an IV and some salt tabs (those are horrible). Within 20 minutes I felt much better. My gut was still killing me but that was normal for me.
Another one for the books! I don’t do this for the trophies but it doesnt hurt 🏆I didnt break any PRs or execute the race perfectly. However I finally felt what it is like to be a fast swimmer, scream with glee on descents and felt the wrath of the sun god. It was a great end to the season. Also it is #nationalwomensfitnessday and no matter what you do to stay fit remember to have fun. As women it is easy to get caught up in “looking good” but it is all about feeling good. @blueprintforathletes @ironfitgirl #teamblueprint #girlpower #girlswholift
My husband was kind enough to go get my bike so it could be transported back home (best Sherpa ever). I waddled over to the awards. Yeah, I am just as surprised as you. I placed 4th out of 45 F25-29 and 68th out of 910 women and 347 out of 2,478 triathletes. I left before the slots for Worlds were allocated since going to South Africa was not at the top of my list for travel destinations.
I am more than ready to put my bike away for at least a month and get back to my roots, running and weight training. Why, you ask? Great question. My cortisol has been chronically high and my testosterone (yes, even ladies need it) has been chronically low. Why? You guessed it, endurance training! Here is a bit about how hormones impact your training and training impacts your hormones. I also found this article helpful is explaining on how elevated cortisol can be counter productive. I will have to get into testosterone on another post (did you know the gender in the Olympics is determined by your useable testosterone levels).
Official Race Results: Click Here