Race Report: Ironman Augusta 70.3 Part I

This was by far my worst race experience ever. The biggest thing I learned yesterday is no matter how you train, how well you stick to your race plan, things can happen that you dont plan for. Yesterday was one of those days where the unplanned completely ruined my race. I finished the race, in 8:12. I walked almost the entire 13.1 miles due to bad nausea every time I started to run. I am still trying to figure out why I got nauseous and now I may be completely rethinking my nutrition strategy going into B2B

Pre Race
On Friday morning, I dropped Cathy off at work and headed to the gym to get in one last swim. I wanted to do a short, sub-max 500M TT. I havent swam much in the past few months and I wanted to get a quick feel for my capabilities at this point and to remind myself how to pace. I did the 500 in about 10 min which is about what I though I had in me. I knew that the race was downstream with current so I felt good about the swim. Stupid me left my race-day goggles in the locker room. Lucky for me, one of the guys from the tri club who was also racing Augusta was there and noticed I left them. Unfortunately, I ended up not getting them until I ran into him when I was going to pick up my bike after the race. Went home and cleaned up my bike and put the good tires on and had it all ready to race. I picked up Cathy and we got on the road to Augusta about 4:30. We got in about 7ish and checked into the hotel. We drove into downtown to find something good to eat. We setlled on Nacho Mamas which had been mentioned by several folks on BT. It was really good food, though I dont know if it was a good idea eating it two days before the race.

I slept in Saturday morning and headed to the Expo about noon-ish. As soon as I walked into the expo area, I was unimpressed. Every athlete was required to attend a useless 30 minute race briefing. Most of the info covered was already on the website, and the new info could have easily been disseminated through the race packet. I attended the 1PM meeting and it was standing room only. From what I understand from others, those that attended the later briefings had to wait for hours before they could get into the briefing. Once you sat through the briefing, you went to pick up your packet. This too was a mess. They had this set up in a side hallway. They had about 6 lines set up alphabetically, but you couldnt tell which line you needed to be in until you got close. Once you signed the waiver, you had to go wait in yet another line in a conference room. As I walked into the room, there was a line out the door. I found out after waiting in this line for about five to ten minutes that this was actually the line to buy race merchandise. After finally getting my number, I started to browse the expo. There werent too many exhibitors, which based on my triathon expo experiences doesnt really surprise me. It seems like the running expos always have more exhibitors. I found out that the Chiropractor I have been wanting to go see who also does ART had a both and was doing five minute sessions. I signed up and had to wait about 30 minutes, but was glad I did. I have had tight hips for as long as I can remember. Based on my readings, it could be due to structural issues, or tight muscles. Based on his observations, he believes I do have muscular issues. He was able to loosen them up some then and I plan on making an appointment with him soon to seek further treatment.

We drove to transition which was about 1.5 miles from the host hotel right near the finish. Everything for this race was spread out and parking was in a shortage. I ended up having Cathy drop me off at a Chevron about half a mile from transition and walked my bike in. I was happy with my position in transition, even though there were nine bikes per rack. I was about three racks from bike in/out and it was carpeted the whole way. It was a long walk for the swim in and run out, but at least I didnt have to run my bike too far.

After running a few errands, we headed back to the hotel and waited to meet Wes and his wife Dee Dee, Danni, and Molly for dinner. We made a 6:30 reservation at Carabbas and Wes had actually gotten there at 6:15 and told them we were there. We checked several times and about 90 minutes later, we found out they thought we werent here even though we had a buzzer and Wes's cell phone number. The service wasnt great, she was slow and messed a few things up, but the food was decent and the company was great. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel room and called it a night. We packed up the car because of a problem with our reservation, we were going to have to switch rooms on Sunday.

Pre Race
I set the alarm in the room for 5AM (actually 4:50 because the clock was 10 min fast), or so I thought so. Apparently I set it, but never turned it on. I had set my Ipod alarm as a back up, but Cathy has this uncanny ability to wake up at the right time without the alarm, so she got me up right before 5AM. I had PBJ on a blueberry bagel from the hotel and a small bottle of Gatorade. We left the hotel at 6AM and headed to transition. The parking lot close to transition was already full so Cathy dropped me off at the same Chevron from the day before. She headed off to the parking lot that she bought a pass for that was close to transition.

I set up my transition area and tried to find the guy with my goggles. After about five or ten minutes, I knew I didnt have more time so I headed to catch the bus to the swim start. While waiting on line, I ran into Wes. We caught the bus to the swim start and parted ways at the chip pickup. In order to be able to tell who actually made it to the race, they had the bright idea to have chip pickup at the swim start instead of in the packet. The biggest pain was the fact that you couldnt see the signs for how they broke out the lines. Luckily, since I was 241, it was easy to find out I was in the first line. Once I got my chip, I found my way to the staging area for my Age group and met up with Cathy. I had about 30 minutes till my swim start.

The swim started off  a dock that was temporarily added. The pros got to dive off and the rest of us started in the water. I was in the fourth heat which was the first A/G heat. When I jumped into the water, it was a little cool, but not too bad. I planned to go out fast enough to find some space and then try to settle into a groove until about 20 minutes in and then pick it up again. I had my Garmin 310 set in Multisport mode and for the swim I had it only displaying the time. I couldnt see it under water because visibility was very poor, but when I wanted to see it, I could if I looked up when I was stroking. because it was a straight river swim, I knew sighting wouldnt be much of an issue, but at one point coming under a bridge I did have to swim towards shore because I was a little far out. One issue I did have is that my wetsuit zipper came undone at least four times. I suspect the extra weight on me may have contributed to it. Each time I would have to turn on my back and rezip it.

I finished the swim in 31:15. This is 6 minutes faster then my SC half which was 37:15. I was very happy with my time, though based on how I felt during the swim, I could have done much faster if I had been in the pool more often. The current was definitely strong. Hopefully the current at B2B will be as good.

I got out of the water and was completely out of breath. I decided to walk to my bike. According to my garmin, it was a quarter mile from the mat out of the swim to my bike. Once I got to my bike, it didnt take me too long to get my helmet, shades, and shoes on and head out of transition. My T1 time was 5:08

Unfortunately, the rest of my race did not go as well as the swim...



Wes said…
Awesome swim bro! The company at dinner far out weighed the difficulties, I say!
Anonymous said…
Strong swim Kevin. Maybe we can all help figure out what went wrong later on in the race. You'll be ready for B2B.
J~Mom said…
Super speedy swim!!! Sorry it was such a bad experience overall though. Do you think water in your ear could have lead to nausea?
Wes said…
p.s. I agree with D10. I think I would stick to what I've been doing rather than switch up my nutrition plan. You are basically forcing your body to adapt to what you are doing. Changing it up might mean starting all over again.
ShirleyPerly said…
One thing I definitely don't miss about big races is all the parking and packet p/u hassles. Fabulous swim time, though!
Kim said…
im with D10 as well - let's hear about the rest of your race and figure out what went wrong and how to fix it... i definitely would suggest contacting a nutritionist if you think your race day nutrition is off.

BUT awesome swim kevin!!! seriously, way to go!
Sherry said…
Kevin, no matter what Part 2 reads... I am so proud of you! Awesome swim time and great practice before B2B as far as the current goes (maybe you can figure our something to help with the wetsuit zipper).

I'm sooo jealous that you had din-din with Wes & Molly. Molly is my bud from tri camp and I didn't get to see her until swim start. I wish we all could have had dinner together... next time!

Looking forward to part II... I'm with the others; maybe we can all figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. :o)
Great swim, and way to get it done out there (details i'm sure will be in part 2). Chalk it all up as a learning experience
come on.... we are ready for the next part.....

Rentless Forward Motion! No matter how the outcome YOU FINISHED!!!
teacherwoman said…
Way to go, Kevin. Great Race Report, Part I. Sounds like you had a good strong swim, something to be very happy about. :)
lindsay said…
nice race report so far! excellent job on the swim - 6mins definitely sounds like a lot. looking forward to hearing about the rest of the race, and hopefully you can straighten out the nausea issue quickly!
Sarah said…
nice job on the swim! sounds like lots of first time race difficulties, but can't wait to hear the rest!
sRod said…
Great job on the swim--far better than anythign I could do.