Ironman Augusta 70.3
|Up and out!|
Kicking off the race in wave 23, a full 90 minutes after the race started, I had plenty of time to make my way from transition to the hill overlooking the swim course. I tried to level my rising anxiety by running through the race in my mind but it wasn't until I was heading down to the dock that I was able to quiet my mind to focus on the task at hand. Jumping into the 76 degree water I barely got my head under when my Blueseventy Helix wetsuit popped me back up to the surface. Something about the "pop" lit a little fire in me and I knew without doubts I was ready to give this a go. When the airhorn blew I ducked underwater, took off kicking, and let the wetsuit propel me to the surface. Three strokes in I breathed to the left, no one. I breathed immediately to the right, no one. Alone I aimed toward the buoys and the middle of the river hoping to take full advantage of the current. Before I knew it I was closing in on the exit ramp and the only thought on my mind was, "wow that was a fun!"
|Wait, what did you call me?|
Bike 2:33:30 (1st AG):
So I made few mistakes with my bike this go around. I am usually much more attentive to detail but some oversights on my part meant I put my wheel cover on wrong so I could not pump up my back tire race day. I had plenty of time to notice and correct this mistake before race day but I just wasn't paying enough attention to notice. Once I realized the mistake I tried not to stress about. The mistake may mean some time lost on the course and maybe even a flat tire but it certainly wasn't going to ruin my race. No race is absolutely perfect. Accepting this would be just a part of my bike ride so I took off on the bike bound to catch any of the remaining 30-34 ladies that started in the wave before me. The bike course was slightly rolling with a hint of wind and misting rain. Passing people from the 22 waves before me was both fun and treacherous. Luckily I did not run into any large groups blocking the road. Most people stayed to the right and as long I clearly announced I was passing on the left I had no significant problems.
|Big beautiful smile thanks to Dr. Sarah!|
Run 1:37:36 (1st AG):
Coming into T2 was a huge relief. I felt good on my bike and I was actually a little excited to start the run. Most of the people I knew from Charlotte started well before me so I was excited to see them out on the course. My coach (Brian Stover) gave me very detailed instructions on how to handle the run and for the first four miles I kept my pace in check and enjoyed the course. I was still passing people so I felt like I was flying but I also felt fairly comfortable. I was excited to see Sarah and Katie cheering on the side less than a mile in and the closer I got to downtown the more energy and excitement I picked up. About 1/2 way into the run and in a quieter section of the course I ran into Kim Eagens who informed me I had one of the top swims and I was currently the top female. This became a turning point for me as I realized I was in a position to not only finish the run but I actually could race the run. I continued to follow my coach's plan but descending those last 6 miles took pretty much everything I had left in the tank.
Augusta 70.3 turned into in a breakthrough race. The moment after signing up for this race I regretted it. I always said I would boycott this race because of the swim but the course and timing before IMCZ really made it ideal. Eventually I came to terms with the fact that I could not completely rely on my swim to carry me through this one. I still gave the swim everything I could give it but holding back on the bike a bit I was able to run off the bike and run myself into a 70.3 1/2 marathon PR by at least 5 minutes! There were times I wondered if my performance at Muncie was a bit of a fluke. I mean the swim was shorted a mere 0.2 miles while the run was cut in half. When does a swimmer get that lucky in a triathlon? But turn the tables around and here is Augusta, a wetsuit and current aided swim, which is anything but swimmer biased and I did it again, winning my age group as well as finishing first amateur female! As an added bonus I grabbed my slot to return to Vegas in 2013 for the 70.3 World Championships.
|Quick pic between downpours|