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Ironman 70.3 Augusta - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Augusta, Georgia
United States
Premier Event Management
Total Time = 5h 02m 59s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at o'dark:30 despite being in the second to last wave of 27upteenbillion AG waves. While my swim start may not have been until 8:47 am, transition closed at 7:00 am ... and getting there required taking a shuttle - and then back to the swim start.

Did my thing, taking a minimalist approach. The funny thing is that the longer I do these things the less I have in my transition area (which I think is a key reason as to why my t-times have finally come down!).

The one curve call is that my Salt Stick dispenser that fits inside the arm of one of my aerobars got wet during the surprise rain storm the night before. This caused the salt tabs that were already in there to dissolve and therefore gum up the mechanism that allows you to twist to have it dispense like a Pez dispensor.

As Salt Stick tabs have become a huge part of my race nutrition I knew that I had to figure out something fast. I found an old sandwich bag I keep for a spare portion of Gu2O and CarboPro tucked away in the pocket of my transition bag. I emptied it out and put the Salt Stick tabs in there.
Event warmup:

Since there was plenty of time between transition closing and my swim start, I just walked back the couple blocks to the Marriot ... and then played a game of cards, washed the car, watched the entire set of The Godfather ;)
  • 25m 28s
  • 2143 yards
  • 01m 11s / 100 yards

In water start from a floating dock they had built out across the river/perpendicular to the shore. As the water is bottom feed from a dam up the river, it is always wetsuit legal.

Seeded myself in the middle and when the horn sounded I was certain to take it slow for the first hunder meters ... so I just put my head down and went to work.

I did not find any feet to follow but that was okay as I settled into a rhythm and kept it there. There were patches of salad to swim through - at one point I lifted my arm and it was covered in riverweed - a la The Creature from the Black Lagoon. I just laughed and moved on ... there was nothing you could do about it and all the hungry critters would have eaten/bitten someone long before me :)

While I did not feel the current it was definitely there ... I couldn't swim that fast if piranhas were chasing me.
What would you do differently?:

Towards the end of the ride swim I came across a bottleneck of people swim each way and that way. Instead of swimming right over them I was a little too polite in swimming around them ... that probably cost me 30 or so seconds - but good for karma points.

Transition 1
  • 03m 57s

Despite thinking/talking it through to myself of what exactly I had to do in T1, I still feel like I fumbled around a bit and lost time.

Granted that the transition area is a loooooong way off the swim exit there were some mental mistakes that cost time and/or aggravation, including:

1) wet suit stripper were great ... but not worth the mud bath it took to get the suit off. Since I was in one of the last waves, the area was already pretty chewed up by the time I laid down to have them pull the suit off of me. Consequently I to stop to wipe the mud off/dry my feet prior to getting my cycling shoes on.
2) Took Salt Stick tab + Gu in transition (should have been in first 2 miles while on the bike but was concerned about getting it out of the plastic bag).
3) Forgot to open the velcro straps on the cycling shoes (duh!)
3) Tough time getting past the wall of people taking their time at the mount line instead of rolling while they clip in. To that point, I did a flying mount on the bike without even thinking ... had I stopped to contemplate the action I am pretty certain that I would have fallen in front of everybody. ;)
What would you do differently?:

A) Wait to take nutrition until on the bike course;
B) Dwindle down the steps taken in transition even more ... I felt like I was fumbling for things/thinking too much when at the bike rack when it really should be a brainless "pick it up and go" effort;
C) Make sure shoes are ready, helmet straps are laying to each side, etc.
D) Practice transitions more ... shorter transitions = free speed.
  • 2h 37m 14s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.37 mile/hr

The course was super-crowded, especially getting out of town, so I spun as I made adjustments while watching out for other riders. Per race plan, I spun in the lower chain ring for the first ~20-25 minutes to allow my HR to settle and to avoid unnecessary burning of matches.

Given the start time of my wave some 85% of participants were already on the bike course. There were times when it was impossible to pass but for the most part I used the crowded course to my advantage throughout the ride by pulling up behind a rider before passing.

I saw at one point that I was pulling a train of riders behind me. I varied my speed and otherwise did the things one should not do in a paceline as it wreacks havoc on those behind you. The crowded course, however, brought it to a point where I was actually nervous about passing others as one of these guys might "squeeze the box" when passing two riders at once .. so I started pointing to the space that I was going to take when passing + took it.

The course recon done during the Endurance Concepts training camp was critical in knowing how to pace the bike. I knew where the false flats were, knew which hills were coming up and how steep, knew when to hammer and when to hold back. Most importantly, I knew about that sharp curve and to back off + out of traffic when navigating.

Pacing and gear selection throughout the ride was spot-on. Not only did I spin into the relatively strong headwinds but also through the grinders and false flats. I conscienously held back on the ride in order to preserve my legs for the run - which perrenially is where my race gets exceedingly difficult.

Nutrition throughout the course was "okay". Quads started off a bit tight with some lactic acid build up early (not sure why as I certainly do not do a lot of kicking when I swim). I dealth with it by ensuring that my cadence remained relatively high and to be vigilent with my sodium intake ... which, coincidently, is where the wheels came off later in the day.

As mentioned, my Salt Stick dispenser got wet and therefore jammed. As such I had to use a plastic bag. When riding I dumped water on my head to keep cool under the aerohelmet .. which then got in the bag and dissolved the tablets. In the end I do not know how much sodium/how many tablets I took as I got to the point where I was just licking the bag.

For hydrations I did 3 bottle over the 2:37 on the course. First bottle was loaded with Gu2O and CarboPro for a total of ~220 cal. Add 1 Gu and the total caloric intake was 320/hr or roughly 2 calories per pound of body weight. Second bottle was just plain water, complemented with 1 full pacl/2 servings of Gu Chomps + 1 Gu. The third bottle was the same as the first.

What would you do differently?:

I might dial back the calories a bit - perhaps drop it down to 250/hour to see if that works better on the run.

The Salt Stick dispenser thing was a one-teim learning lesson; won't do that again.
Transition 2
  • 01m 54s

I opted against the flying dismount as I wanted to run in my cycling shoes and not bare feet through the rocks in transition. Found my rack quickly thanks to the flags posted along the transition fence and got my shoes on quickly. I also grabbed my visor, nutrition and race belt to put on while on the move instead of in transition ... that said, it still took me a long time to get out (even factoring in the relatively long run to get to the timing mat).
What would you do differently?:

Practice transition more
  • 1h 54m 28s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 44s  min/mile

Back was tight from the get-go; stopped to stretch out the lower back, glutes and hamstrings at the water stop right outside of transition ... and that was a time sponge - but time well spent.

Pacing was "okay" as I strived to stay in Zone 3 while keeping my hips forward/hip flexors engaged and a relaxed upper body. I walked to aid stations to ensure I took in hydration and to allow the HR to settle down.

On the first loop I saw Steph and the kids camped out with some friends when I was on the other side of the street. I yelled so that they would have a sense of timing as to when I'd come by (it's hard to keep looking down the street, hoping to pick out the person your are looking for among a mass of people) but they did not hear me ... but them not hearing me was okay insomuchas I knew where they were - and that provided motivation.

When I finally got to them, I stopped to kiss the kids and to plant a big one on Steph. It cost me time ... but it was time well spent.

The run was like letting air out of a balloon; I knew I only had so much left in the legs before it became a sheer death march towards the finish line. I tried to be strategic about it by sectioning off the course, taking advantage of the grade (yes, there was a difference running down towards transition as opposed to away from it as it showed in the HR).

The goal was to be disciplined until Mile 8 and then 'gut out' the remaining 10k - with the understanding that the last 5k would be physically and mentally challenging.

With 1.1 miles to go, according to Garmin, I was spent. I had already passed Steph and the kids for the second loop with no more than a smile, wave and blown kiss ... I was ready to get off the course and was afraid to break my stride. The quads were on fire and my feet were sore and heavy. It was a huge mental effort to 'will' each leg to move forward towards each foot strike. Even though it was sooooo close to the finish line, I had to talk myself out of stopping to walk ... even for that "10 seconds" I was bargaining myself for.

I came up to the All3Sports tent and got a much needed dose of encouragement from friends .... as well as a kick-in-the-rear from Coach Dan. I knew then that I was not going to walk and was going to push through to run on the edge of fitness and bodily failure over the course of the last 3/4 of a mile.

The course was laid out as a long "Z" whereby you ran down parallel blocks, turned right for one block and then ran down that street lengthways. Dan snuck down one block and got me with the last 1/4 mile to go - and "encouraged" me to pick up the pace ... "C'mom! Just one more lap around the track and you are done for the season! Pick it up ... rest tomorrow!"

I dug even deeper and started to race a guy in front of me for a couple of blocks to the finish line. He was smiling, I was panting and I forced my knees up with each stride and elongated my kick. He stuck with me like glue ... and we crossed the finish line together.
Post race
Warm down:

I was a bit wobbly as they took off the timing chip and was "encourage" (read: semi-carried) over to the med-tent. Doc came over, gave the goosebumps,trembles and nausea a look-over and prescribed 2 bags of saliene via an IV.

Despite how bad I felt, I did not protest as I knew it would aid my recovery. Sure enough, 30 minutes later I was walking again and felt toooons better ... even ate 5 slices of pizza. Amazing how well those things work.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

There needed to be more air in the balloon ... and that comes from more base training, which I missed a good portion due to ITBS issues last April + May. "Life" also got in the way of training during the 45 days leading up to the race as the family all came down with H1N1 flu and travel for work knocked my training off as well. I carried some vestigages of the flu around in my lungs during that time before going in to the Doc's the week before the race to find out that I had bronchitis/lung infection (which a Z-pack + inhaler helped clear up lickety-split).

That said, no excuses ... and it was a great race as it was aPR despite the difficulties - by over 40 minutes, despite training a heckuvalot less. I attribute that success to awesome coaching and only wish I could have followed his training plan ever more as I could have shaved additional time off the clock.

Event comments:

I would rate it a "5" but the course was too crowded and the transition area strewn with rocks and debris.

The City of Augusta was awesome in this race - what a great way to showcase a great town.

Last updated: 2009-08-06 12:00 AM
00:25:28 | 2143 yards | 01m 11s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 03:57
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
02:37:14 | 56 miles | 21.37 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: Mostly flat but with some grinders ... and leg sucking false flats. There is one corner that is borderline dangerous as it is < 90*; heard an athlete crashed pretty hard there and had to be Life Flighted out of there.
Road:   Cadence: 96
Turns: Good Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:54
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:54:28 | 13.1 miles | 08m 44s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-10-08 4:00 PM

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Vestavia Hills
Subject: Ironman 70.3 Augusta

2009-10-12 1:02 PM
in reply to: #2450424

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Augusta
great race report, except the leaving out of the part where we chatted on the bike haha!
2009-10-27 7:36 AM
in reply to: #2450424

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Augusta
thanks for the comments and congrats on your solid race in GA. sorry to hear about the flu setting you back a bit. keep working on that run and you will continue to see your times get faster and faster.
2009-10-27 8:05 AM
in reply to: #2481168

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Cycling Guru
Fulton, MD
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Augusta
Well done Brian!  Almost under 5!!

And don't even worry about the salt crap.  You don't need it .......
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