Race Report: Ironman 70.3 Austin 2016
Ironman 70.3 Austin 2016
Ironman 70.3 Austin was a redemption race, but it was also my ticket to the Worlds 70.3 Championship. I went in with 3 goals to accomplish:
- Have a strong run after the bike: I have consistently tanked on the run because I went to hard on the bike and I did not eat enough. I just wanted to feel fresh off the bike. My definition of a good run would be <8:00 minute/mile. Accomplished.
- Place in a Ironman event: I have compete in one other 70.3 Ironman (Buffalo Springs) and I placed 8th. I wanted a M-Dot trophy. Accomplished.
- Qualify for the World Championship: Triathlon is not a cheap sport, so when I heard the championship would be in the states this was my chance to go and not spend a fortune. Missed.
Finish Time: 4:23:24 (Swim Cancelled)
I would like to say I would have hit my goal with the swim for Austin 70.3, but I probably would have been off by 5+ minutes. My usual swim takes ~ 40 minutes, add in T2 of 3 minutes and an extra 10 minutes for bike and run since I would be more fatigued and it put me around 5:16.
The fog was dense and made it impossible to see more than 50 yards in front of you. It covered the lake, which delayed the start of the race and eventually led to a cancelled swim. I started the race at 10:25 a.m. (about 1.25 hours after I would have hoped to be on the bike) and there was some sun, but plenty of cloud coverage. It cleared up around noon and it was nothing but sunshine as the temperature rose to 81+ and humidity dropped <60%.
My race prep was completely different for this event. I decided it was time for a change based on historical knowledge, test results from Blueprint for Athletes (BPA) and excellent advice from coaches.
I won’t go too much into detail here but the highlights:
- Dropped 50% of training load, but kept the intensity in short burst.
- Used cryotherapy at Restore Cryotherapy to reduce inflammation and aches from the taper.
- Dry-needling and cupping on Monday and Massage on Wednesday before the race.
- Increased carbohydrates to 50% of macronutrients as I discovered through BPA.
- Took Friday before the race off, but did a 20 minute equipment check with some efforts on Saturday.
The morning of the race I woke up just after 4 am, had 1.5 cups of coffee, 2 pieces of Ezekiel bread smothered with banana and honey, sweet potatoes and 1/4 cup of greek yogurt. I drank about 16 oz of water in the morning and kept a water bottle with me to sip on the drive to Decker.
The cancelled swim and the delayed start made it difficult to judge what I needed for nutrition, so I took an educated guess. At 8:30 I took a shot of beet juice and as the race continued to be delayed I drank water to keep hydrated. I ate a honey stinger waffle and some bonk breakers to keep energy at the ready. I got on the bike 10:25 am.
After dropping my run bag off at T2, Edgar and I boarded a bus to take us to the start of the race. It was there I started to prepare myself for the day ahead. At 7:00 they announced the delay and extended transition setup period. My watch quickly passed the 8:30 mark (when I supposed to start) and not even the pros were in the water. At 8:35 they cancelled the swim. A brief wave of disappointment washed over me followed by a rush of excitement. The swim is by far my weakest and most stressful for me, so this was a great opportunity for me. The event turned into a time trial start for the bike at 9:00 am with the pros heading out first.
I sat in transition sipping on water, eating a handful of snacks waiting for my moment to come. I was a bottle of energy. I passed the time chatting with some wonderful women discussing and complaining about the conditions. I didn’t listen and even tried to turn their thoughts around into something positive. Finally, I saw the athletes in front of me grab their bikes and make their way to the exit. As I exited a Blueprint for Athletes camera crew started to follow me and ask me a few questions. I couldn’t help but smile. I felt so special, like a real athlete.
At 10:25 am, I took off like a rocket weaving between stars. The course was crowded, but I had energy to burn and I was focused on the road ahead. Do you remember when you were a kid on a swing, that moment of weightlessness you would feel at the top with no effort? That is how I felt the entire bike ride. I didn’t mash or push or hurt. I just floated. I kept my hear rate below 160 and tucked my hips to use hamstring. I finished one bottle (200 calories) after 15 miles and ate about 100 calories in Honey Stinger Waffle and Cliff Blocks. My goal was to eat about 800+ calories on the bike (.6 grams of carb/pound). Lastly, I dropped gears before I hit a hill and pushed cadence instead of power.
The last 5 miles I backed off and focused on high cadence to prepare for the run. As I rode in I saw my husband and awesome co-workers, Maggie and Juan, cheering me on.
I got to my shoes, threw them on and carried my hat and bib to the start of the run. My plan was to find my pace on the first loop, test my pace the second loop and push it with whatever I had left on the last. As my friend Taylor said, 3 loops are awesome, because there is a beginning, middle and end. Simple, but it worked. My legs felt fresh and my stomach was solid. I took in salt tablets every 30 minutes and 1 gu. As Todd, a talented triathlete, said “grab anything from the aid station, figure out what to do with it later”. Excellent advice that kept me busy and provided me with tons of ice to stick in my kit.
Before I knew it I was on my last lap. I was in my element – hills, heat and no humidity. This was doable for me and difficult for most. The last mile I got a side stitch and my gut was full of water (feels like sloshing). I pressed on as hard as I could until I saw the finish line. I crossed and Blueprint for Athletes camera crew was there to catch me in any my red-faced, snotty glory. I was done in 4:23:24.
At the beginning of this post I told you I had 3 goals. I am pleased to say I achieved 2 of those but fell short to qualify for Worlds 70.3 Chattanooga. It is what I wanted most. As I sobbed to my husband, he reminded me of my accomplishments and told me if I am who I have proven to be, I will get that spot. As my TriMom told me, Nancy, that when I do get it, it will make it that much sweeter.
I placed 4th in my age group and 27th overall including the pros out of 500+ women. I completed the bike in 2:42:09 and the Run in 1:39:25.
What To Do Better
My last 70.3 distance in Kerrville I had two takeaways (1) Find a way to tolerate eating more – around 1,500 calories and (2) Get a better bike fit to where I am spreading the load over all major muscle groups, not just my quads.
I accomplished both and they were spot on for improvements to race execution. I ate about 800 on the bike and 400 on the run. Jeff Raines at Austin Aquatics and Sports Academy, gave me a perfect fit. I would highly recommend him if you are looking to “become with your bike”.
For this race, my takeaways (1) push harder on the bike, knowing you had plenty in the tank to get to the run (2) decrease water intake on the last 6 miles of the run since it causes gastrointestinal stress.
Bike is checked in and I am ready to roll! Now home to eat and rest. I can’t wait to put all my training and insights from Blueprint to the test tomorrow! #DesignVictory #InsightsFTW #TeamBlueprint @angelanvega If you want some tips on how to prepare for your own @ironmantri Check this out: https://www.blueprintforathletes.com/blog/ironman-austin-703-athlete-prep-and-tips/
First, thank you for reading this. It makes me so happy to see people take an interest in what I do but also in hopes that you learn something from my successes and misses.
Second, thank you to everyone who supports me. As I say in my profession, I never want to the be the smartest person in the room. That goes for triathlon too, I never want to be the fastest or most experienced person in the room.
My coach, Jennifer Reinhart (a fellow Blueprint for Athlete) continues to inspire me everyday as she dominates her age group and does what she loves. To my TriZones teammates, I know I am the youngest of the group, but you continue to push me and support me every step of the way. Blueprint for Athletes has given me an excellent insights to have a good race, not to mention an awesome opportunity to share my race experience with their social media following (check it out here).
Lastly, and most importantly, thank you to my wonderful husband and family. My husband is my biggest cheerleader and best Sherpa in the world (not to mention cleans up my messes in the kitchen and does my laundry).
Triathlon is considered an individual sport, but with the hours of training it takes a huge number of people to be successful at it. Luckily I have so many wonderful caring people in my life to make it happen.
Official Race Results: Click Here