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Ironman 70.3 Austin - Triathlon

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Austin, Texas
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
Hot!F / 0C
Total Time = 4h 31m 8s
Overall Rank = 209/2566
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 6/135
Pre-race routine:

I hadn't initially planned to race Austin 70.3, but after I swam and biked ultra conservatively at Santa Cruz 70.3, I wanted to experiment a little with being less conservative and seeing what happened with my run. So I signed up for Austin 70.3 because I had a friend who was also racing and it's only three hours from home.

Worked a half day on Friday, drove to Austin, hit up packet pick-up and the expo mid-afternoon, and then checked into our AirBnB and went out for a quick run. Had dinner and a couple drinks at Pinthouse Pizza -- the beer was awesome and the pizza was just as good! Need one of these in Houston :)

Saturday had a quick ride and run at T1, and bike check-in. It's a two transition race and they specifically said (but clearly did not enforce) that they would not transport bike pumps from T1 to T2, so I agonized over what to do -- donate a pump to IM or hope to find a pump in the morning or add some extra air to the tires and hope for the best (running latex tubes which tend to lose air fairly quickly). In the end, I added some extra air and then let some out in the morning, guesstimating by feel of the tires.

Dinner was another round at Pinthouse Pizza, but their other location, which has different food and beers on tap! This worked out really great....and since I like flights, I got to try like ten beers over two days and didn't have to deal with hangovers! If you find yourself in Austin and you like beer and food (who doesn't?!?!), give PHP a try. There are a bunch of other options that I'd like to explore on a non-race weekend, but this was perfect for race weekend!

After that, we watched some ITU racing and called it an early night. I slept pretty well (only up once to go to the bathroom, which is pretty typical for me on a normal night). Alarm went off at 4:30am, ate a bagel with peanut butter and a banana (with the plan to eat another banana before my 8:35am race start...), and left the house at 5:30 to get to T2, set up run gear, and then take the shuttle over to T1. Everything seemed fine when setting up in T2, but when we got into the shuttle, fog started rolling in.

Event warmup:

Once in T1, I got the transition area all set up, let some air out of my tires, and then they announced that the swim start would be delayed due to fog and transition would stay open an additional 15 minutes. I was all set up, so I found my friend and we exited and hit up the porta potties. They hadn't announced how long the delay was going to be, but I was starting to feel a little nervous about it because my start time was already so late....pros were supposed to start at 7:30am, and my wave wasn't scheduled to go off until 8:35am.

The period between finishing setting up transition and starting the swim is always the worst for me....I don't like the waiting game. I know as soon as I hit the water, all the nerves will be carried away, but up until then, I'll agonize over things. The longer we sat there, the more concerned I got that they were going to have cancel the swim altogether. At 8:30am (so five minutes shy of when I was initially scheduled to start!), they announced that the swim was canceled and that we would do a TT start (by bib number) starting at 9am.

This meant a few things....first, the AWA's in my AG were going to get to start with the 100/200/300 bib numbers and I'd have to sit around and wait until the 1900's went off -- I was more annoyed with this than I really should have been, and I acknowledged it at the time, but I was kinda hoping I had an outside chance of qualifying for 70.3 WC, so was irritated that we would be running very different races (with them hitting the run and hour earlier / cooler). Second, having eaten breakfast at 5am and not starting the race until 10:30am, I was concerned that this was going to be the first race where I'd completely blow my nutrition. And third, I figured I'd be starting the bike by 9:15 on the original schedule, and now starting over an hour later, I knew it was going to be HOT HOT HOT on the run....but everyone (except the AWA's....) would have to deal with it, so no big deal.

Anyways, I eventually changed my mindset and told myself to just make the best of it. This race was purely an experiment anyways, so let go of the things you can't control and take care of what you can -- your attitude and your plan.

All this extra time meant I had to hit the toilets a number of times. I was sipping on a bottle of Skratch, and then water when that ran between that and nervous energy, I had to pee about a billion times (always fun with a one piece tri suit in a porta potty). When the 1400 bib numbers were getting up, I figured I'd hit the bathroom one last time....turns out they zipped through to the 1900's faster than the line zipped through to the bathrooms and I actually missed my start! NBD, it's chipped timed anyways....even more opportunity for slingshotting my way through the course :)

  • 00m
  • 2112 yards
  • / 100 yards

No swim, canceled

Transition 1
  • 00m

No T1, swim was canceled

  • 2h 36m 58s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.41 mile/hr

Plan for the bike was to race by power only and ignore RPE altogether. Power goals were to stay in the 165-170W range and not worry about "burning matches". I got way into my head at Santa Cruz about burning matches, so in the time between then and Austin, I did a number of long rides that included VO2 work and then settling into tempo power and holding it. I was feeling confident about this plan.

I started about 100 bib numbers back from where I should have, due to my bathroom escapade, but once I got on the bike, I immediately started passing people. The first couple miles have a number of turns in them, so you can't just settle in at that point. Once we got onto a longer stretch of road, I continued to push the power when I needed to get through people legally, and settled into power when I could. There were a number of times when cars would get backed up behind slower riders. To be honest, I'm not sure what's legal here....I know you're not supposed to "pass on the right", but I think this applies to other riders....and I know you're not supposed to cross the double yellow. So when this happened, I would sit back until it was safe to pass the car on the shoulder and then get around the slower athletes (on the left) in front of me.

I played leap frog with a couple of guys, but ended up getting and staying in front of them by the end. There were a couple girls I passed who eventually passed me back on ascents, but I passed them both back for good on the later downhill/flat sections. One of these girls eventually ran faster than me, but by seven minutes (which on my best of days I would not be running that fast, not because I over biked....I'm just not there yet).

I was carrying two bottles of Skratch on the bike and three Honey Stinger Waffles, which I polished off by the end. I also grabbed a bottle of water at two of the aid stations and drank some and poured the rest on me to keep cool.

I felt GREAT the whole bike leg! HIM power actually felt like HIM power (i.e. RPE was actually in line with power and HR for once!). My power did drop off a little bit in the last 10 miles or so, but this was more because there was a decent amount of downhill and a decent number of turns that required slowing down for (especially when there were athletes I was passing, but didn't want to do so in the corner, as I have no idea what kind of bike handling skills they have!). I have to wonder if I felt this good on the bike because the swim was canceled, or if it had more to do with the mindset I had going in....which was to push the bike and not worry about if/when I was going to blow up on the run. This was an experimental race, purely for fun.

Also of note, the roads in Austin are not nearly as bad as everyone seems to make them out to be. This may be because I'm used to riding on rough chip seal (since I live in TX), but I read complaints about sections being "washed out" and having potholes and such....and I don't know what people saw that I didn't, but I didn't have any issues. I did see a number of bottles come out of cages when going over railroad tracks or other bumps, but they weren't that bad and mine didn't I think it's more an issue of the bottle/cage setup than the road. Also read a lot of complaints about the course not being scenic....for one, I'm really out there to push myself and not necessarily for a Sunday morning bike ride to check out the scenery, but for two, I actually thought the course was quite pretty. Needless to say, I would certainly do this bike course again :)

In the end, NP/AP came in at 167/164. HR was a bit higher than normal, but I attribute that to the fact that it was hot. I was very pleased that I was able to push the power and feel good at the same time!

What would you do differently?:

For the first time, I am actually very pleased with this effort and I don't think I'd change anything about it!

Transition 2
  • 02m 7s

Coming toward transition, I slipped my feet out of my shoes and prepared for the dismount. Once I got off the bike, I ran through a number of people, despite the fact that the asphalt was pokey and had the odd pebble in it that was hurting my feet....I may have cursed more than once, but I was pretty efficient through here.

Once I got to my rack, I put the bike on it, pulled the bike bag off of it, changed socks and slipped my feet into my shoes, and then pulled my helmet off and grabbed my hat, race belt, and Gu's to situate as I was exiting transition.

I looked through the top six in my AG and it was the fastest transition, so I'm pretty happy with it. I probably didn't need to change my socks, but I like starting with dry socks, so I did.

What would you do differently?:

Could probably be a little more efficient, but overall pretty happy with this
  • 1h 52m 3s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 33s  min/mile

Wow, this was tough! Plan was to run the first mile, ignoring all metrics, and settle in. After the first mile, I was supposed to build my pace throughout the next eight miles, and then give it all I had left for the last four. The first mile is net downhill, so even though the effort felt reasonable (and I thought I was running slowly), it came in fast. I dialed it back for the next mile to an 8:20 pace, which I thought I could hold throughout the rest of the run, and this was fine for a few miles, but then things started getting tough!

It was really hot and there is very little shade on the course. There's a bit of wind in a couple places, which felt amazing. I could see that my pace was falling off, but I couldn't push any harder. There were a couple points where I started noticing a bit of tunnel vision going on and knew I needed to dial it back a little and make sure I got water into me. I tried to think about what was causing me to not be able to push HR was under control (though there was more drift than normal, which does make sense for the heat we faced), but my legs just didn't have the turn over. My legs didn't particularly hurt, but the bottoms of my feet did....not like blisters, but just from the pounding. That's the only thing that I really noticed, but that shouldn't have held me back from running faster. I think I still haven't figured out the art of hurting sufficiently on the run.

The aid stations were in good locations and had tons of great volunteers, but all of us out on the run were suffering and trying to utilize each aid station to the max, so it was crowded and sometimes slow to get water. One time, the cup of water I grabbed was scalding hot (okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it was hot!), so after that, I decided to grab a cup of water and a cup of ice, dump the water into the ice, drink the water, and then grab ice to run with. This was the first race I've had to actually walk through aid stations, but I knew I needed to in order to ensure I got enough in me and kept cool as well as I could so I could finish the race.

Also another first -- for the first time ever, I understand what people mean when they say "I just couldn't choke down another Gu". I normally have no issues, and the first went down fine....second went down alright....and the third, well let's say I almost skipped it altogether because I couldn't stomach the idea of it! I talked some sense into myself and choked most of it down and chased it with some water at the aid station. Besides that, it was just water and ice on the run for me.

My M2 top was chafing my chest for some reason -- this has never happened before, but I eventually unzipped it partially. Nearly a week later, I have four scabs on my chest that look awfully funny....not sure what the deal was with that, but hopefully it won't happen again in the future!

As I was finishing up the third loop, I was grateful to get to hang right to go to the finish line. Making my way toward the stadium finish, I zipped up my top in an effort to have decent pictures. Turns out that ship sailed long face was about the color of a tomato by that point! It was sooooooo hot!

What would you do differently?:

Honestly, despite it not being as fast as I'd like, and having the pace drop off, there's not a lot I'd do differently. I think coming up with the plan to dump the water into the ice glass was pretty smart....and being smart enough to realize I needed to walk through the aid station instead of trying to do my normal run-through was a bit of a victory. Though, I'll be honest, I sorta wish I could channel some Johnny Brownlee and push until I collapsed ;)

Post race
Warm down:

After crossing the finish line, I drank a couple bottles of water and then tried to find the food area, which I was unsuccessful until later. I wanted to grab my morning clothes bag to find my phone and see how I did in relation to the other ladies in my AG, so I collected my gear and headed to the car to drop my bike off and change. I texted Marc and we chatted a bit about the race and whether or not I should go to roll down....decided I'd make an effort to do so, but wanted to check with the officials as to when it would be so I could either run back to our place and check out before roll down or after. Figured I had time to run back to the house first, but we found the food area and ate a bit....I had a banana and a sip of Coke; the pasta stuff smelled really bad and there wasn't much else.

Got back to the house, packed all my stuff up, took a quick shower (cursed like a MF'er when I discovered additional chafed areas!), and then headed back for roll down. There were three slots for my rolled to the 4th place finisher. So not quite for me....I'm not surprised; my run isn't there yet. Hopefully it will be in another year or two, but I'll keep plugging away at it in the meantime!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Late start and the heat on the run

Event comments:

WTC can't control the weather and made the right call to cancel the swim. I was disappointed that they didn't have us go in AG waves, rather than by bib number (when AWA's get lower bib numbers than the rest of the AG'ers), but I would do this race again.

Last updated: 2016-10-31 12:00 AM
00:00:00 | 2112 yards | / 100yards
Age Group: 0/135
Overall: 0/2566
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 00:00
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:36:58 | 56 miles | 21.41 mile/hr
Age Group: 4/135
Overall: 228/2566
Performance: Good
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:07
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:52:03 | 13.1 miles | 08m 33s  min/mile
Age Group: 13/135
Overall: 0/2566
Performance: Average
Course: Three loop run course with some rough roads through the park
Keeping cool Below average 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? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2016-11-03 11:25 PM

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Houston, Texas
Subject: Ironman 70.3 Austin

2016-11-04 1:05 AM
in reply to: #5203965

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Eugene, Oregon
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin
That is an awesome race! So impressed with the bike. I strongly suspect that it would take chemical aid or a bike motor to get me to 2:36 (I am quite a bit older than you, and nowhere near the cyclist!) I did a similar "B race, nail the power and let the run fall where it may" thing at Calgary and I understand how tough that can be mentally. That run was somewhat of a struggle for me as well. And I didn't have to deal with hot weather there as you did. Hope Worlds is in the cards for you soon, if not for 2017 then for 2018. (The latter's in South Africa--if you're willing to travel, I'm guessing it might roll down quite a bit at the North American races, not that you'd necessarily need that to happen in order to qualify.)
2016-11-04 7:31 AM
in reply to: #5203965


Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin
Wow, that is impressive! It would be a very good day indeed for me to come in with those numbers...and I am in your age group.
Congratulations on your time/place! I am sure you will find a race to qualify for World's.
2016-11-04 9:12 AM
in reply to: #5203965

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Aledo, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin

Great race report, and great race! I really appreciate how you channeled your attitude when you found out the swim was canceled. Truly rolling with the punches, and you punched back.

2016-11-04 11:27 AM
in reply to: #5203965

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin
Well done. Congrats.
2016-11-04 7:37 PM
in reply to: StevenC

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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin

Thanks, everyone!  I'm pretty happy with what I was able to do on Sunday.  It was definitely a 69.1 PR

Though my swim splits have sucked recently, I can't imagine this would have added on more than 45 minutes, which would include the swim, transition, and some amount of slow down on the bike/run due to have I think this would have been nearly a 10 minute PR, which is really exciting!  Looking forward to next season....after enjoying my off season first, of course!

2016-11-05 8:41 PM
in reply to: #5203965

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Whispering Pines, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin
nice race! killer bike split! i'm very impressed!
i bet you qual for worlds at your next race!
2016-11-05 9:00 PM
in reply to: #5203965

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ann arbor, michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin
Really great work. That is a stellar bike and backed up with a really solid run. Sixth in your AG is really great.

Have fun on the mountain bike....
2016-11-06 7:01 AM
in reply to: ligersandtions

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin
Originally posted by ligersandtions

Thanks, everyone!  I'm pretty happy with what I was able to do on Sunday.  It was definitely a 69.1 PR

Though my swim splits have sucked recently, I can't imagine this would have added on more than 45 minutes, which would include the swim, transition, and some amount of slow down on the bike/run due to have I think this would have been nearly a 10 minute PR, which is really exciting!  Looking forward to next season....after enjoying my off season first, of course!

Big congratulations to you, Nicole! You had a very excellent race. I believe you'd have PR'd by 10-15 minutes, easily. Your bike was stellar, as expected, and the running has been coming along quite nicely, thanks to you and your coach. The best is still to come with you. Keep up the great work.

I agree that the roads were not as bad as billed and you may want to try this again next year due to the proximity of the race and now knowing the course. It WOULD be nice to do the entire distance, no?

I share your frustration with the AWA advantage, but it is the price paid to sponsor the WTC. Just more so in this race since a TT bike got all the lower numers out onto the course much earlier and less into the heat and congestion on the course-both of which were significant problems.

Not having a bike pump in transition was a worry for me also, but I went the other way. I let air out of my tires at bike drop off, as I didn't want to have a blowout due to air expansion in the Texas heat. I just resigned myself to find a pump and there were many people who offered, so I will not worry about that one in future races at distances where I cannot take my pump travelling with me.

Solid, even bike effort! As expected, your VI was super low/efficient at <1.02, just amazing! And a very stellar transition time. You've got skills at triathlon!!

I did the water or ice into the cup of water trick too. That is so much more delicious on a hot day. (I learned that one in Syracuse this year). Works very well. Finishing the third loop and getting to go to the right was heaven. Hell was seeing that we did not go directly into the arena, but instead had to loop away from it outside for a hundred yards or so, but going into the cool air was bliss. I was less impressed with it as having any real 'bling' just by being inside though.

Glad it over and the 'off' or 'out' season is upon us. Sorry that we did not meet up yet-but I'm sure to one day. Congratulations again.
Rest and recover!
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