I’ve got a fun guest post to share with y’all today! I was able to convince Daniel that he would want to be able to look back and remember the details of his first 70.3 and he agreed. YAS! Score one for the blog! I’m in teal (pink clashes with my new color scheme) and Daniel is in navy.
We were both able to take off work Friday and Monday, so we had a good long weekend in Augusta. We headed up first thing Friday morning and got in town just in time to hit up the expo and pick up his bib, shirt, etc.
Our anniversary was the week before the race and I had decided that it would be fun to let Daniel pick out something at the expo for his gift. Y’all. Triathlon-ing is expensive and requires quite a lot of paraphernalia. Holy moly.
Saturday was a pretty laid back day. We found a beautiful place to run along the Savannah River. We did a few miles and otherwise Daniel wanted to stay off of his feet as much as possible, which always seems to be tricky when you travel for a race.
We dropped his bike off at the race mid-day and then we didn’t really have much else planned … thankfully there was plenty college football to be watched (just a tiny hint of sarcasm)! Daniel stayed with his typical pre-workout, pre-race meal of Marco’s pizza and they even delivered it to our hotel.
Without further ado, here is Daniel’s recap:
My original plan was to do an Ironman AFTER I had gotten a BQ (Boston Qualifying) marathon time (which basically means that I need a run under 3 hours). However after a few setbacks and ultimately discovering that I have a significant labral tear in my right hip, I decided that a marathon may not be in the cards right now. My friend talked with me about signing up for Augusta back in April and I decided to go for it. I signed up and bought a bike the following week.
Since I’m new to triathlons, I had no real training plan or set guide that I followed. I really just tried to focus attention on biking, and running after biking. I figured that since biking was my biggest weakness and also happens to take up the majority of the race, that was where I could gain the most ground over the course of my training. An average week during the course of my training consisted of about 30-40 miles of running (usually 4 or 5 days) and 50-100 miles of biking (usually 2 or 3 days) with sporadic swims thrown in here and there (less than 10 times over the course of the entire training).
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the distances, the race is a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike and then a 13.1 mile run.
SWIM: 29:05 (Goal: 30-35 minutes)
The pro men and women started at 7:30 and then waves proceeded from oldest to youngest. My wave finally got going just after 9:00. This late start will factor in later. We swam in the Savannah River which is known for typically providing fast swims.
I’m no fish in the water but I knew from my training that I could complete the swim. I did several pool swims with each being 2000 meters and my times averaged anywhere from 32-35 minutes. When I was training I also purposely never trained in speed-suits or a swim cap. I usually just wore regular baggy shorts and my goggles. I felt like this would allow me to have a better-than-anticipated time on race day.
We took off and I felt great. I was worried that I would be the slowest in my swim group (the 30-34 age group is a fast category in triathlons) and that had me nervous. I ended up being slightly faster than average for my group which made me feel really good and helped me start the race off on a positive note. I had read about “the washing machine effect” where basically you get run over or beaten up during the swim and so I was a bit nervous about that as well. Luckily I never experienced this and only brushed other swimmers a handful of times. I tried to focus on swimming the shortest distance possible and using my upper body as much as I could to save my legs.
Transition 1: 3:20 (Goal: 4-5 minutes)
There was a several hundred meter run out of the water to get to the bike. I figured since running is my strength I would waste no time jogging to my bike and make sure I pushed during the transition. I had a smooth transition onto the bike and was quickly headed out for my ride portion.
BIKE: 2:41:19 / 20.9 mph (Goal: 2:48-3:00/18.6-20 mph)
Going into the bike my plan was to ride based on heart rate. I wanted to keep my heart rate as low as possible while keeping a decent pace. I originally thought I could keep it around 120, but didn’t take into account the swim before. My heart rate was staying right around 150-155 at the start and I felt comfortable so I decided I would try to just keep it there. I tried not to focus on my speed as much because I thought this may make me push too hard and ruin my run later.
Nutrition wise, I planned to consume the majority of my calories during the bike. The plan was 1 bottle of water mixed with Carbo-Pro (a tasteless carbohydrate supplement with approximately 50 grams of carbs) and one Gu (a gel carbohydrate supplement with approximately 25 grams of carbs) per hour on the bike. I carried two pre-made bottles with me and planned to mix the third while riding to decrease the amount of bottles I had to carry (I knew there were aid stations with water at them and I didn’t want to carry extra weight when I could just fill up on the course). I finished my first gel and bottle around mile 18 with no problems, and the second around mile 40. Here is how the last bottle was supposed to go:
Step 1: Pick up a bottle of water from the aid station.
Step 2: Pour said bottle into my water bottle and discard the empty one.
Step 3: Open a Carbo-Pro packet, pour it into my bottle, shake it up and then pour this into my Aero bottle on the handlebars. Seems easy enough right?
Well, I wasn’t able to ride and unscrew my squirt bottle top while carrying the new water in the other hand. So I thought, I’ll just pour this into my Aero bottle then pour the Carbo-Pro directly into that and it’ll mix over the next 15 miles while I sip it. I successfully filled the Aero bottle with water then discarded the empty one, but when I attempted to pour my Carbo-Pro into the bottle, it was a disaster. Trying to pour a powdery substance while moving at ~15-20 mph proved to be very difficult. Just picture a cloud of flour going all over me, my bike and those around me. Once this powder touches water, it doesn’t dissolve like you would guess, but rather it turns into SUPER glue. I licked as much of it off my hands as I could, hoping this would help somewhat but ultimately I ended up getting less than 25% of the fuel into my bottle. I ended up just sipping the water and taking my third gel towards the end of the bike.
Another funny story, around mile 50 a guy passed me and said something to me. I assumed he was saying good job, or keep it up, so I said the same back to him. After he was ahead, he turned around, looked back and said it again, then gave me a smile like “you have no idea what I’m saying right now” and he was right, I had no idea (and actually didn’t figure it out until the next day). I knew that the last few miles of the bike were supposed to be fast, but I felt like I really had to work hard to keep my same steady pace that I had been doing the whole ride. I assumed this was just due to my legs getting tired and so I didn’t really think anything of it.
Fast forward to the next morning when I actually discovered that my back tire was flat. I was so mad. What kind of jerk goes through the parking lot deflating people’s tires for fun!? Sam later pointed out how ridiculous this line of thinking is. I don’t know why I assume someone is out to get me or pick on me, but I guess that is what my immediate reaction is. Haha. After looking at some race pictures (my back tire is completely flat), and thinking through it more, I’m pretty sure that guy was telling me I had a flat. I think this happened around mile 50, which would help to explain why my I felt like I had to work harder at the end of the ride … because I DID.
Transition 2: 1:55 (Goal: 2-3 minutes)
Anyway, back to the race, I came into the transition area again and got ready for the run. I transitioned seamlessly and made a dash for the exit to run. I saw Sam at this exchange and told her that it was hot and the run may not go as expected.
RUN: 2:03:21 / 9:25 pace (Goal: 1:35-1:40 / 7:15-7:37 pace)
Generally running is my strength and this is where I planned to make up some ground. Remember when I mentioned my start time was after 9? My run started around 12:30 in the afternoon and it was hot. Really hot! The temperature had reached 90 by the time I was running! I am not a strong runner in the heat in general because I sweat a ton and the heat can quickly get to me. I planned to combat the heat by getting cold water every aid station and by using the sponges that they passed out on the course to try to keep my body and core temperature down.
I knew immediately that I needed to adjust my time goal and start around an 8:00-8:30 pace. Well, that failed. It’s hard to tell what pace you are running right after biking and my first mile ended up being under 7:00. Whenever I saw this I thought, man I’m tired but this doesn’t seem that fast. My next mile was 7:19, and after this I quickly realized I was not going to keep this up. The nutrition plan for the run was to carry another bottle of Carbo-Pro and 2 gels with me. I would take the gels at miles 5 and 8 or 9 and refill my bottle with water along the course. By mile 3, my bottle was bone dry. To add to the problem, the water at the aid stations was not cool, but rather lukewarm, so my plan to use this as my cooling mechanism didn’t exactly go as planned.
At this point I changed my goals again and decided in order to be safe, I would walk a quarter of a mile whenever I got to mile 5 to slow my heart rate down some before running again. I tried to just focus on the moment and enjoy the fact that I had been racing well all day. I did not want to be negative about the fact that I had to walk or that my run was not going to be what I had hoped for. I knew the heat would be tough to overcome and it’s something I can’t control (I do wish I could’ve gotten those last bit of carbs in on the bike though).
At mile 5 I took my first gel and drank some warm water. UGH. Finally at mile 8 there was a trash can full of ice. I scooped as much up as I could, poured it into my shirt, under my hat, down my back, and then into my bottle. Within half a mile this was all melted and gone. I ended up doing a combination of running and walking to the finish over the next few miles and was able to see Sam at several spots throughout the run portion, which definitely was a huge boost.
FINISH TIME: 5:18:58 (Goal: 5:00-5:22)
I’m fully recovered now, other than normal soreness from a race, and already looking ahead to another 70.3. I am really pleased with how this one went and I think there are a few places I can still shave some time off.
I guess I’ll go ahead and tell you a little bit about the post-race as well. Sam may elaborate. After the race we had to walk a couple of miles back to the car. At this point, I started to feel BAD. Did I mention the heat really wipes me out? I made it to the car and Sam went and got my bike and other stuff out of the transition area. Once we got back to the hotel I laid in the tub for a bit and tried to sip water and eat crackers. Each time I tried this, a few minutes later a wave of nausea would come over me and I was unable to keep anything down.
After a few hours of this, I told Sam I wanted to go to Urgent Care to get some IV fluids. I didn’t want to be miserable all night and also, we were planning to get on the road early the next morning. There was an Urgent Care half a mile away from our hotel and they did a great job. I was evaluated and started on IV fluids quickly. In addition they gave me some nausea medicine though my IV. I felt so much better after this and was even able to eat dinner and successfully keep it down.
I know this was a long post but, it was a LONG race so … Haha. Thanks for reading along. Let me know any thoughts, tips or questions in the comments below!
Okay, Sam again. Whew! It was definitely a long race and I am so proud of Daniel. It was really cool to watch and I have a whole new level of respect for triathletes. I kind of used to think that triathlons were for the athletes who were just confused about what their niche was, but no … these guys are the real deal.
I hope you guys are having a good weekend! We’ll talk to you soon!