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Ironman 70.3 Austin - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Austin, Texas
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
45F / 7C
Total Time = 6h 11m 13s
Overall Rank = 947/2539
Age Group = F35-39
Age Group Rank = 42/115
Pre-race routine:

Five weeks ago I was training for this, my first HIM, with a goal to finish (and a secret goal of sub 6 hours). After a bike crash 4 weeks ago that left me with a concussion, and two weeks of rest, I changed my goal to finish (and a secret goal of sub 6:30). Three days before the event I developed a chest cold that I should have taken more seriously, and I changed my goal to finish (no secret goals).

I have horrible OWS panic issues, so the day before the race DH and I took our wetsuits to Lake Decker for a quick dip. Only, it was 44 degrees, horribly windy, and there were very few people daring to get into the water. If it wasn't for DH, I NEVER would have gotten in that water. I am so grateful to him that I did. I had a panic attack during that practice swim that taught me three essential things: 1)When I get panicky swimming, it is (partially) because I don't exhale completely, 2)If I have to tread water in a wetsuit I will gulp massive amounts of water if I lean forward and not backwards (if the water is choppy), and 3)I will overcome it if I have no other choice (panic will not cause me to sink).

We also went to get our rental wheels, Zipp 404s, put on our bikes, but they messed up our order and only brought one set. DH was insistent that they be put on my bike, but in the end he relented and we set his bike up, instead. I was already sick and had no plans of really utilizing those wheels, so it just made sense.
Event warmup:

There was no warmup. It was 45 degrees outside, and it took everything just to stay warm. My wave went off at 8:10, about 40-45 minutes after the pros. I watched Andy Potts and Macca come out of the water. Got a good picture of Andy, but Macca was too fast and my iphone missed him!
  • 46m 13s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 11s / 100 yards

My swim is still all about survival, so I am actually pretty happy with this performance. I had no panic issues at all, and there were a few moments that I thought "maybe I should try a little harder...this is a race". But I was able to talk myself down, thankfully, and I finished with exerting very little effort on that swim. I was overtaken by the orange cap group (you know who you are - M35-39) who were quite a bit more aggressive, so there was a bit of leg grabbing and such, but I was fine. I actually liked the contact from the other swimmers, because it meant that I wasn't too far off course. The few times I found myself alone, I would stop to look around pretty sure I had swum off into no-mans land.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I'm hopeful that in races to come I will have my panic issues worked out so I can actually start 'racing' the swim.
Transition 1
  • 05m 29s

This may seem slow, but I was pretty happy with this time. When I stood up in the water one of the volunteers took my hand, steadied me, and unzipped my wetsuit for me. He then pushed me up the hill where a wetsuit stripper just manhandled me to get my suit off. They were awesome!! I cannot thank all the volunteers enough! I must have looked like I was in a daze because the stripper took my hand, laid me on the ground and said "just lay there, I'll do everything else." That gave me the giggles, of course, and it took me a minute to get back up. When my suit came off, so did my timing chip (even with a safety pin), but it was easy to get back on.

A good portion of T1 was on grass, and there were so many thorns in my feet by the time I got to my bike, I had to pick them out before getting on my socks and shoes, and then it took some time to get all my cold weather gear on. I chatted with another age grouper while we got dressed, and just took my time. The hardest part was carrying my bike out of transition. There were so many thorns and so many flat tires on this course, just from the transition area, that the race officials strongly encouraged you to carry your bike to the mount line.
What would you do differently?:

  • 3h 12m 30s
  • 56 miles
  • 17.45 mile/hr

I really took it easy on the bike. My garmin was running, but I had it on the setting where I only saw the actually time, so I didn't know what my pace was. Being from Mississippi, I just don't train on hills, so I decided that with the chest cold and the lack of hill training, I would take it easy.

That meant I was able to really take in some great moments. At about mile 30 (I think) there was a mom with her two daughters feeding their horses. I'll never forget that image; it was really beautiful. The worst part of the course was between miles 50-56. There were times that it was impossible to pass the person in front of you, and also at that point there was a pretty brutal headwind.

Overall I was happy with the bike. The first hour was painful because of the cold, and my body was shivering pretty bad, but when the sun came out it warmed up nicely.
What would you do differently?:

Transition 2
  • 03m 57s

This was definitely the worst part of my race. I guess it's not too bad if the worst part of your race is transition, so I'm not complaining!!

So...I get off my bike, feeling pretty good, and I start trotting down my row toward my gear bag. I know DH is already gone, since he passed me on mile 10 of the bike, but I still want to see his bike, and in my mind his bike should come before my bag. Somehow I had this all wrong in my head!! I run a bit further than I think I should, past DH's bike, to the end of the row. Then I realize 'the numbers are going up, not down.' So I run back the other way. Now I'm a bit frantic and end up running to the other end of the row (still lugging my bike along). Then I realize I have passed my gear bag again! I stop for a couple seconds look around at the spectators who are watching me in awe, take a couple of deep breaths, and think to myself 'please don't let anyone be filming this!' Eventually I found my bag, and in my frantic state of mind, left my inhaler in my bike jersey.
What would you do differently?:

Not worry about DH. Ever since I became a mom, I feel like I have to keep tabs on everyone. I just wanted to see his bike to make sure that he was OK, and had gotten off the bike safely.
  • 2h 03m 4s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 23s  min/mile

I had a pretty good run, overall. I didn't even look at my watch until the last couple of miles. The first loop went very well, and I drank water, gatorade, or coke at the aid stations. I chewed two stinger chomps every half hour or so throughout the entire race.

The second lap went well, also, but I was starting to get tired making my second round. Just before I started my third lap I saw my kids and in-laws, gave some high fives, and smiled for the next couple of miles. I felt kind of silly, because I couldn't stop smiling and laughing...until about mile 10. My chest had been getting pretty tight, and I was very aware that I did not have my inhaler. At the water stop near mile 10 I stopped to walk a couple step to drink my water, and instantly felt like I was drowning. My chest was tightening up, and I knew that if I stopped I would likely suffer a pretty bad asthma attack. So, I decided that I would push through to the end, and deal with it there. The last 2 miles were tough, but I relished the finish with a big smile on my face. I gave high fives to anyone willing, and danced and cheered, I'm sure making a fool of myself. It was a beautiful finish for me!!
What would you do differently?:

Remember my inhaler
Post race
Warm down:

I was sad that I couldn't stay around the finish when I was done. DH had finished about 5 minutes before I crossed the line, and he whisked me to my gear bag, which was very close to the finish, to retrieve my inhaler. I spent about 10 minutes coughing, gagging, and wheezing (and spitting...which my father-in-law caught on video)!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Let me take a minute to talk about racing with a chest cold. I have heard, like most of you, if your illness is above the neck: race, if below the neck: don't race. I cannot stress this enough. I went in to this race knowing it was not a wise decision, but I didn't have the will power to just say no. I am now suffering from severe bronchitis with fevers/chills, etc, and am on antibiotics. I can barely speak, and I have suffered more in the three days since the race than I did during the race. DH asked me at 4am this morning as I coughed and gagged on the side of the bed "was it worth it?" I won't answer that...but think about this before racing with a chest cold.

Obviously the things mentioned in my race report limited my performace, but I would like to use this section to say what enhanced my performance, also!

My training was very solid going in to this race, and I believe that really helped carry me past any obstacles I had to deal with. I had rehearsed the race in my head, and I felt very comfortable with my race plan (DH joked that my plan was 'I don't have a plan' that was the genius of it). It was really nice going in without expectations.

My BT support group made this race so much better!! I thought about the Mys-tri Tour throughout the race, and others on BT that have been so encouraging to me. Their strenghts, their struggles, just everything. It's so nice to know in an individual sport like triathlon, that there are so many people with you along the way!

Event comments:

I was really impressed with this race. I hear people complain a bit about the road conditions, and, while they are not good, there is nothing the race director can do about that, and they are rideable. The volunteers were FANTASTIC, and I never felt like I was on my own without support anywhere on that course.

Last updated: 2012-07-25 12:00 AM
00:46:13 | 2112 yards | 02m 11s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/115
Overall: 0/2539
Performance: Good
Suit: Orca
Course: Almost a triangle. Buoys to the left.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:29
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
03:12:30 | 56 miles | 17.45 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/115
Overall: 0/2539
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: There isn't much I can say about this course that hasn't been said. The roads are rough, there are hills, and the wind can be brutal. If you can get past that there was really some beautiful scenery.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:57
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Bad
Shoe and helmet removal
02:03:04 | 13.1 miles | 09m 23s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/115
Overall: 0/2539
Performance: Good
Course: Three loops from the expo arena to the lake and back. Rolling hills.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2012-10-31 12:05 PM

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Ocean Springs, MS
Subject: Ironman 70.3 Austin

2012-10-31 12:16 PM
in reply to: #4476909

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Keller, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin

Way to hang in there Sarah.  I hear you about the panic attacks in the water.  Learned Sunday that mine is wetsuit driven and once I strippped it down to my waist I was able to keep going.

Great job

2012-10-31 7:37 PM
in reply to: #4476909

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin
Nice Goin' Sarah!  Chest cold and all; an impressive performance.
2012-10-31 7:58 PM
in reply to: #4476909

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Extreme Veteran
Tallahassee, Florida
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin
Girl, you overcame a bike wreck during a critical time, a cold, bad weather, ows issues, and asthma attack!  You are tough and you are showing your girls that there is nothing their mom can't overcome.  Rest and recover.
2012-11-01 9:07 AM
in reply to: #4476909

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Ocean Springs, MS
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin
Thanks, guys! I think, in hindsight, the chest cold and bike accident that I originally thought were limiters to my performance, actually may have helped me in the end. I think I paced the race properly for my level of training, and had I not had those 'barriers' I may have gone out too fast on the bike and bonked on the run. Either way, I'm just glad I got through it!!
2012-11-01 2:03 PM
in reply to: #4476909

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin
Wow!! What a way to battle through!  Great Job!

2012-11-01 8:35 PM
in reply to: #4476909

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Gurnee, IL
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin

Great race report!  And even better race!    with all you went through leading up to this,  it's just so nice to read your super success story.     I believe it's all of those things that attempt to De-rail you  that MAKES the whole thing.    Looking back of course you would not want to get sick or get hit by a truck again, but in a strange way  did it not make this whole thing all the more sweeter??

No worries,  I'm sure for the next iron distance race there will be more drama (please do not get hit by a truck again)   when the drama happens,  think "This is the fun part"  ;-)

The tour is super proud of you!

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