I first signed up for Augusta 70.3 because I figured it was my best chance to qualify for the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championships. I figured that if I didn't qualify in Muncie then I would have this race to fall back on. I did Augusta as my first Ironman brand event back in 2012. It was just my second half iron event. It was kind of my "coming out" race as everything fell into place for me and I finished in 4:13. I got on the age group podium, was in the top ten overall and got a spot to the 2013 Worlds 70.3 race in Vegas.
I took Friday off from work. I took both the kids to school. I finished packing everything into the car. Then I was able to have some breakfast out with my wife before I left. We hit the IHOP, then I hit the gas station, then I was off.
The drive to Augusta is only a little over 2 hours. Somehow I managed to get hungry and stopped at a Subway. When I got into Augusta, I went directly to the convention center to check in. I was too early for the Ramada check in.
I parked in a dirt lot on the river side of Reynolds and had to walk a couple of blocks to get to check in. There wasn't a line really at all, just 3-4 people ahead of me. I still went to the AWA check in. Yeah, I'm like that. I will still not wear that swim cap, though! #standards
So standard IM checkin. They didn't really follow the standard check in order. I signed my waivers, then got the packet. Then the lady tells me to go sign my waivers. I'm like, ok how about the timing chip line? She's like yeah you can do that too. I'm like cool. The swag line was actually kinda long.
As I got in that line I saw Kelly who I swim with all the time. I actually didn't really recognize her at first. She's looking at me like I should know her. I'm like, why is this woman looking at me? Oh, Kelly! You have makeup on. I never see you with makeup on at 5:30 in the morning in the dark.
|Actually had some nice stuff.|
Her and Sarah had checked in, but they were waiting on Beth. All Mecklenburg Swim Association Masters swimmers. She invited me to lunch with them and since they were still waiting on Beth, they waited for me as well. We all went over to Beamies for a late lunch.
|The MSA Swim Crew|
Probably true. Not sure if I blogged about this before or not. But after the Eagleman fiasco last year, I've been booking my hotels a year ahead of time. At Eagleman, I looked for a hotel about 8 months ahead of time, and all the ones close were booked. I had to stay like 40 minutes away. So now I book hotels for races the day it becomes available online. This is usually 50-52 weeks out.
I'll book before I even sign up for the race. I'll book if I'm even thinking about a race (like IM Hilton Head, that never happened). Yes, I have reservations for Chattanooga in May and September next year, as well as Boulder, and Hinson Lake. #beprepared
|View from my Hotel Room|
I decided to head back over to the convention center for the 5pm athlete briefing. I know, I know, Why? It's kinda become a tradition with me. I always go. I never learn anything. The guy who MC's it is the same guy who does awards at a lot of the races (including Muncie). He's been doing it like all 8 years. He's talking about the course one time, and he's explaining something and he goes, unless they changed it this year, but I don't think they did. I would think he would at least have a 5 min conversation with the RD sometime that week and say, has anything changed? No? good. Really I could have done the briefing, but I digress . . .
|One Person's Crap Carnage|
Slept in, shaved, the usual. I rode down to the Holiday Inn to meet up with Nathan for a short ride. We just rode out Broad onto Sandbar Ferry road. We went just past the Savannah River bridge and came back. That part of the route is pretty flat. We had an overall leisurely ride. I didn't feel too bad. Not as good as Chatt, but seemed better than Muncie.
Headed back to the hotel, and I did a quick change. I went out for a mile run there along Broad Street. I felt pretty good. There was a lot more activity today. Pretty much all down Broad and at the Commons there were people walking around. So I got some pics and headed back to the hotel.
|This is why I don't let people borrow my GoPro|
Hopped into the shower and met Nathan over at Hildebrandts for an early lunch. Really cool local place right across the street from the Ramada.
I had been trying to get in touch with some BSR people Friday and in the morning. Everything has to be a last minute decision. Like no one can make plans more than 2 hours ahead of time. Anyways, some of them were meeting at the Mellow Mushroom for a late lunch. I decided to join them. I just had a salad with Ben, Lisa, and Carolyn. All of whom I had not me before. I did get to see Colin and his wife, who I met in Chattanooga. All great people.
|Me and the GodFather|
|Big Sexy Crew|
|Ready to Unleash the Fury|
We strolled in with our bikes and checked out the rack situation. I again had a really sweet spot, just like Muncie. Seriously it was the rack right next to the women's pro rack. There wasn't much to setup. I racked my bike by my handlebars, so it was't teetering like in my races earlier this year.
Walked around for a while talking to people I recognized and finding BSR people as well. Then we took off. I got all my stuff setup back at the hotel. Going through the normal routine to make sure I had everything organized. Finally I was satisfied and chilled on the bed to watch some TV
|There were a few bikes|
Drove back to the hotel, and just crashed. Set that alarm to 4:30 and I fell asleep pretty easily.
Sunday Race Day
Popped out of bed a little nervous, but had plenty to do to get ready. Since I was checking out of the hotel, I had to get everything down to the car. I decided to leave my swim stuff in the car, since the hotel was only 2 blocks over from swim start. This also allowed me to bring my bike pump. I've gotten pretty adept at pumping up the disc with the crack pipe. The only downside is that my crack pipe is a Shrader valve. No big deal for my pump, but not sure about others.
I met Nathan outside the hotel shortly before 5am. We walked down to the busses near the convention center and hopped the ride over to transition. There weren't too many people there at that point. No lines for body marking at all.
Got into transition, and walked over to my rack. A few seconds later we hear "Official Water temp is 77 degrees, this will be a wetsuit optional race". I turn to the guy next to me and we're like Really? First time in the 8 year history of this race. Stupid Global Warming. We all kinda started laughing. I mean I was pretty relaxed, I knew with the heat and bike course change, I wouldn't beat my previous time, but now, it really wouldn't even be close. Honestly I thought, really glad I Q'd at Muncie.
Then I went to work on the wheels. Kinda nice not having to find a pump. I mean this isn't Kona where there are 5 extra pumps on the end of every row. A couple of other people borrowed my pump. I then went to find Nathan and give him the pump, but he had already found one.
So the usual setup. Left the bike mounted by the front bars. I put my helmet on the ground since there is no real great way to put it on the bike with it mounted like that. Put my shoes on the ground as well. Stuffed a pill bag in there, but had all the gels on Green Lightning. Stared at it. Went through my mental checklist many times. Finally satisfied, I left.
Walked back over to swim start and found Nathan and Matt at the top of the ramp. We hung there for a bit. I saw Brad and remarked how the water temp was in his favor. We eventually walked down to the port-o-lets and bag drop. There was a big line for the portos. Then I saw the most amazing thing to ever grace a big race morning: The Portable Urinal Bathroom. Hallelujah! No line. Just get in and go. I go back and tell Nathan. He doesn't even believe me. It was like I told him I saw a rainbow unicorn or something. Anyways, he thought it was cool.
Dropped the morning clothes bags off and it was getting time for me to head to the start. Saw my fellow Kona buddy Bill on the way back and some more BSR folks. Watched the sky divers come down along with the national anthem. I was in 5th wave, 3rd M40-44 (female pros, HC, then M40-44). I could have been in the 3rd wave if WTC wasn't so prejudice agains alphabetically challenged athletes. But I digress.
Got all suited up, with my cap and was waiting. Felt a tinge of nerves then, but not too bad. My goal was to get the W. Time didn't matter. The waves started going off. We started moving quickly. Went under the banner, and it was mostly a steady stream to the ramp. Got some water in my goggles, spit, then put them on. Hopped off the end of the dock and my first thought was "This feels wetsuit legal!!". I held onto the dock waiting for the countdown. In water starts with no wetsuits kinda stink. As the timer got close I swam out a little bit the start. Gun blast, Garmin Started, I was off.
29:47 Officially 90/283 AG, 452 / 1607 Male
Garmin had 29:39 for 2,029 yards (1:28 per hundred yards)
It was a little congested at the beginning, with 100 or so people in the wave. I got going relatively cleanly. I was able to stay on some feet for a little bit. I could definitely tell the effects of the current. It doesn't just push you along, it makes you feel like you have better body position and are more efficient with your stroke. Or maybe it's all in my head.
I tried to stay as far to the left, in the middle of the river as possible. The strongest current is there. I came right alongside some of the kayakers and support crew several times. One time I was headed right for the guy and couldn't get over because there were swimmers on my right. He graciously moved further over to the left.
I felt really smooth the whole way. No issues, really. I felt good. I tried not to get too bored, and stay focused. I think that's an issue for me every race. Especially one like this that there are no turns. You just swim straight and get out.
So I felt like I had a good swim. Unfortunately most times I feel like that even when my swim stinks. Still I was pretty pleased when I got to the end and saw the 29 on my watch. Only 2 minutes slower than 4 years ago without a wetsuit. But I actually did have a really good swim: only 3 minutes behind the leaders in my AG. If I'm even 5 min behind, I say that's a good swim.
3:05 Officially 60/283
Made the long run, passing people as I went. They had wetsuit strippers, but I passed on that and continued to my rack. No issues, grabbed GL and we were on our way.
|I really was close to Bike Out|
2:21:12 Officially 1/283 AG, 9 / 1607 Male
Garmin had 2:21:21 for 56.51 miles and a 24.0 average on 225 watts with a 90 cadence and 1,890 feet of gain.
Being in a very early wave definitely helps with the traffic. It really wasn't bad. I passed quite a few people early and settled in quickly. I felt pretty good. The detour around the bridge definitely slowed the course a lot. It added a long slow climb in the first 15 miles. Previously that first 15 mile stretch is really flat. Here I averaged 24.4 mph, but I had to crank 232 watts to get that.
|Let's add some hills|
I tried to get used to the pain. I basically told myself I needed to average 230 watts and worry about the consequences later. It was a go for broke kinda day: I already Q'd, the only think worth racing for was the W. I kept on pace and over the next 25 miles I averaged 23.1 mph on 231 watts. So 40M in, I was right where I wanted to be.
Then it got rough. Or I started going faster so I didn't worry about the watts. I didn't really feel hot. Nothing like Kona. But one time when I did look back, and pressed my face against my shoulder, it felt quite toasty. I passed a couple of female pros in the last 15 miles, not sure how that happened. I really didn't see much drafting. But being in front of the throng of people, like I was in Chatty, you typically don't see much.
So over those last 15 Miles or so after 40, I averaged 25.4 mph on only 213 watts. I'm starting to think that I do better on flat courses. Hopefully that will play out in Boulder 70.3 next year. I definitely struggled that last 10 miles or so. Basically counting the miles until I finished.
2:32 Officially 18/283
I was pretty happy to finally make it into transition. Very few bikes there. I was glad to have my AWA spot.
1:44:24 Officially 16/283 AG,
As soon as I got all the way out of transition, I knew it wasn't good. After that first hundred yards or so, I could really feel that my legs were hurting. The first mile split in 6:44 wasn't horrible, but usually I'll split that in 6:25 and not even think twice about it.
As I made it out onto the road and then onto Broadway, some guy told me I was the 4th male. With the wave start, I figured I was 2nd or 3rd. (Turns out I was second off the bike). I continued to just feel worse and worse. It quickly became about survival and not racing.
|That face pretty much sums it up|
I saw Nathan about 5 miles in and he yelled at me really meanly. He told me later "Man, you really looked like $#!& on that run". Hey, what are friends for? I did see my swim coach there (as a surprise) cheering me on. I felt bad that I was going so slow.
|How 'bout dem splits!|
By Mile 8 I was in the 8:30 min/mile pace range. Then around mile 10 my hamstrings starting cramping up. I had to walk a few times. They straightened out a little. My calves were a fight the whole last 30 minutes. They were cramping like crazy. A 9:30 mile 12 and I just wanted to be done.
|Pretty consistent slow death|
Almost every mile was progressively slower all the way through mile 12 (except mile 9 was 5 sec faster than 8). I put the jets on that last mile and split a 9:02. Wow. I was never happier to make that final turn and see the finish line.
4:41:00 Officially 4/283, 31 / 1607 Male
I got a across the line and took some water. I slammed one down and poured another one over my head. I staggered around a bit and found a place to sit. I saw Nathan come through just a few minutes after I did. I knew he was coming and I was surprised he didn't pass me while I was still out there. He beat me be over 7 minutes with the wave start.
I wasn't sure were I finished. I figured I was probably 6th or 7th. Definitely off the podium. I walked around with Nathan a bit and found his family. Saw Brad afterward as well and he wasn't too happy either. I grabbed a little something to eat. Sabrina looked up our places and said Nathan was 6th and I was 4th in the AG. Results Here. I was kinda surprised at that. After grabbing some soda and getting fully hydrated, I walked back to my car and changed.
|Kids giving High Fives|
Met back up with Nathan and the kids and walked down to the Whiskey Bar Kitchen to grab some beers and lunch. We hung out there for a while. Our friend Matt and his family met up with us as well so we had a pretty good crew. The kids were cheering people on as they were running down the street.
We walked back down to the commons area for the awards. I saw tons of people that I knew. I just kinda a walked around talking to everyone. Eventually they start the awards, and I get mine. They did the Tri Club awards after and we picked up Division I first place as well. Then it was time for rolldown. I had several friends that needed some help to try and qualify.
Unfortunately there was very very little rolldown. As they get to me, the MC calls my name. I didn't go up, someone yelled out "He's already got one!". MC is like where? Muncie. In hindsight I probably should have gone up there and told him myself. He seemed a little confused.
|Still made the Podium, Weak AG on this day|
|My biggest fan|
So none of my buddies snagged a rolldown, that was a bummer. So I said some goodbyes and headed back to the car. I drove on down to transition to gather my bike. I parked in the same spot that Nathan and I did the day before. I saw a few people in transition but didn't spend too much time.
|Tri Club Champs!|
I think what ultimately happened was that I was overtrained. I killed myself to be ready for Muncie. I accomplished my goal there, but I should have rested more after that race. I knew my season was in trouble at Lake Logan. I had a really good week of rest going into that race, but I just felt tired. Definitely overtrained.
It just bums me out. I really had a great swim and then did my thing on the bike to put myself in position for that first win. I only had to run 7 min miles to get it. I got dehydrated, but honestly I don't think it would have mattered what I did on that particular day. The die was already cast. Next year I age up to 45-49. It will be win or die at both Chattanooga and Boulder next year. Giddyup!
|3 for 3 Div I Tri Club Champs: Chattanooga, Muncie, Augusta|