Ironman Augusta 70.3 is over. It was my 10th tri of the season and extremely important to my future in this sport. I enlisted Jim Christian as my coach and buckled down on the training. Unfortunately I had raced a bit too much in the early season and had some nagging foot pain that kept me from running too fast. When I started the focused approach in July I had 12 weeks to try to get myself under 4:20. A somewhat lofty goal considering I haven’t had a good race since 2009. I know the Augusta course well and knew what I could do. The swim is practically a free for all. I wanted to be the fastest overall. Anything sub 19:30 (yes, a very fast swim) would have pleased me. When I entered transition my watch was at 22:xx and I was feeling like I was behind. I had a lot more in me for the swim and should have used. I was caught up for a few seconds trying to get up the boat ramp. It was extremely crowded because of the crappy wave starts. Turns out I swam a 19:58 which brought me a 3rd overall. I was beat by 2 pro’s by 1 second and 6 seconds. I’ll take that as a wash. I ran pretty hard through T1 to try and get some blood in my legs. My heart rate was screaming at the dismount line but, I was trying to make up those 2 minutes from the swim.
The bike went pretty good. I was supposed to ride out towards the Aiken barricade with a 24.5 avg but, I just couldn’t do it. I was pushing and just couldn’t get above 23.5. I was very focused on getting my nutrition in. Before the first aid station at mile 17 I needed to have 200 calories of Gubrew and 200 ca Gu gel, and 20 oz of water in. I had no problems and was able to get my water refill. I knew the second half of the course was hillier and harder…so I thought. I was blowing by people at a demoralizing speed. My legs felt like I was holding off a cramp so I kept backing off but, it seemed like I was just moving faster. I hit 2 more bottles of water and 400 calories. I got it all in. When I came into T2 I felt like I was 3 minutes behind and was worried I pushed the bike but, I really held it when I needed to. I was on my feet at 2:50 with a bike of 2:21. My expected bike was 2:20.
The first mile of the felt like I was dragging my feet but, I was still under 7:00 pretty easy. Knowing that my run endurance was lacking I backed it off to 7:30. Hell, I haven’t been under 1:50 since 2009 so 7:30s sounded fine. At mile 3 I felt the same but, I began to slow down. I knew it was going to happen I was just hoping it would have been at mile 11… I decided a while back that if I could stay consistent on the run that it would have been a victory for me. After 3 years of awful racing I’m basically starting over. So at mile 3 I settled in to 8 min miles. No choice.
In the end I was 8th out 400 and something and 83rd overall. I executed perfectly with what I had which was huge. I missed my time goal but, still hit a 4:32, an average time with room to improve. That’s a good place to be in. It means I still have THAT day in me.