Happy Floaty Racing at Augusta 70.3 2015: How to Not Stress and Truly Enjoy Your Race
Many of our athletes at TriCoachGeorgia.com are multi-year athletes. They are not “one and done.” They take a longer view to training and racing and realize that endurance is more of a slow cooker than a microwave. They also get a lot out of our sub-culture and community. Most importantly, they have perspective about what this all means in the context of their lives, which include demanding jobs and lovely and challenging family demands to juggle.
Taylor Lewis is a prime example of the aforementioned. She has been with Coach Slayer going on three years now. She manages her job in Nursing, her husband Duane and their lovely three children. She trains with the team but uses mostly the online aspects as she is many hours away from her teammates. Nonetheless, she keeps rising to the challenges she sets for herself, of which there are many and these are all pretty BIG, as in dangerous and long or hard, events.
More importantly, she “gets it.” Here in her Augusta 70.3 race report we see someone who takes on the challenge of racing her half ironman without pressuring herself or seeing her results as dictating her self-worth. She soaks up the community, the event, and the sport she loves most. We thought her race report might help someone who puts too much pressure on herself to perform or PR and let them see how it can be way more enjoyable. Well done Happy Floaty Taylor #HFT! Thanks for the share.
Ironman Augusta 70.3 Race Report
I got up at 4am and made a UCan smoothie in the blender bottle. It ended up being one of the weirder smoothies I’d ever made, but was okay. I got myself organized and spent a few quiet moments visualizing my race. When I left the hotel the temp was cool and there was a misty rain happening. I did run back up to the room to get a bag to put my running shoes in. The hotel I was staying in was just a little over a block from the swim start, so I walked to the shuttle stop there and caught a ride to transition. Once I had everything set up, I rode a shuttle back to swim start and walked back to the hotel. I actually had time to crawl back into bed and rest for an hour before going back for my swim wave! I was able to get my wetsuit on up to my waist at the hotel and grab only what I needed to take with me. I got back to the swim start shortly after 7. While chatting with friends at the race start I ate a banana and drank a bottle of Ucan, I also took 200mg of caffeine at 7:30. I exchanged good luck wishes with everyone and it was time to drop my morning clothes bag and get ready to go. My swim wave started at 7:58 which was super early. In years past I have started closer to 9. I really liked starting earlier! I got my wetsuit on and lined up with the other light blue swim caps in wave 8. Finally the nervous excitement of a race was in full effect, and I loved it! The misty rain stuff was still happening and the sun was nowhere to be found, but none the less it was a beautiful day. As we were filing down towards the swim start we passed Dave Ragsdale and he chatted with the group. I know that officially Mike Reilly is the “voice of IM”. But to me, the voice of IM is Dave Ragsdale. He has been at all 5 HIMs that I’ve done and he was at IMFL, so to me his voice is what I expect to hear at these events! The time had finally come and the ladies in my wave filed down onto the dock. There was 4 minutes between waves, and of course these 4 minutes felt like they lasted for 5 years. Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ was blasting and that felt kinda perfect! I got into the water and was hanging onto the dock when the horn sounded to indicate the swim start.
The race started and so did the mass of women in my wave. Why I thought starting at the end of the dock towards the middle of the river and in the river was a good idea I’ll never know. I was hit and kicked and swam over. Too many bodies. I did not enjoy this race start and wished I had waited just a couple of seconds to let the mass start before I started swimming. Too late for that now. I was hit in the goggles, but they were not knocked off. I just kept swimming and trying to calm down. Both the shock of the chilly water and the adrenaline from the race start and all the people really had me on edge and a little freaked out. It took several minutes and swim strokes for me to calm down. After the crowd had spaced out some I was fine and the remainder of the swim was uneventful. Swim time: 29:36
I felt good coming out of the water and ran to the wetsuit strippers. They did their job very efficiently and in no time I was running to my bike. And I was wet and cold. Still no sunshine and misty drizzle. I got on my bike shoes, sunglasses, and helmet and headed out. T1 time: 4:47
There were a lot of prayers sent up during this ride. I do the majority of my riding on the trainer and I haven’t replaced my rear tire since last summer (2014). I had not bothered with race wheels for this one and I just rode my training wheels. My rear tire is very worn from the trainer and I knew it was slippery. I was very concerned about the possibility of going down on the tire on slick roads. The misty rain fell for most of the bike. Only once or twice did it actually rain, but it was damp for the entire bike. I warmed up quickly, except for my head. The wet hair and the vents in my helmet make for a cold head until my hair dries. I’ve experienced this before, but never seem to get used to it. While it may seem odd to wear sunglasses in the rain, I hate the feeling of the wind in my eyes. It dries my contacts out and just is really annoying. I would periodically have to take the sunglasses off and try to wipe the rain drops off them. The bike was good and I never did push the speed or effort at all. At some point, someone rode past me and told me to make Harvey proud! I was very comfortable on the ‘hills’ and thought about Harvey’s instruction to play the climbs easier than usual. I did stop for the bathroom at the first aid station and that added a little bit of time. I started with only 1 bottle of water and grabbed a fresh bottle at each aid station. I took caffeine at 9:30 and again at 11:30 (every 2 hours). I took at Hammer gel at about 1:45 on the bike, this is a little sooner than I had planned, but I felt like I needed it. The temp was cooler than what I had been training in and I spaced out my electrolytes to every 45’ instead of every 30’ and that worked fine. After the final aid station, I made an effort to keep things under control and not push. Last year, I blew through the last 10 miles on the bike and paid for it on the run. At mile 49 I came upon a crash that had just happened. There were 2 bikes and riders on the ground. Everyone was slowing down and riding around them. I stopped and identified myself as a nurse and checked on both people. They both had some road rash and were clearly shaken up, but both assured me that they were okay. The woman showed me that she had a flat front tire and I offered her my spare tire tube. She said she had one but she didn’t know how to change the tire. I had some pretty rude thoughts run through my mind about her lack of preparation and why didn’t she know how to do that?!?! A police officer pulled up at time and asked if they needed medical assistance. Both people said they were okay, but the lady with the flat did ask for SAG to help her change the tire. I rode off at this point and for the next 10 miles I beat myself up for being a jerk and not doing it for her. I still feel bad about that. My prayers were answered in that I didn’t crash and I had a good ride. Bike time: 3:14:06 – 17.3avg speed. Lost time at bathroom stop and checking on crash, but not a bad ride at all.
Coming into T2 I was tired, but I was really looking forward to running. I got my bike racked and helmet off and changed shoes. Another little prefect touch was that Dave Matthews ‘Jimi Thing’ was playing (‘what I want is what I’ve not got, but what I need is all around me’) – not sure what I want that I don’t have, but what I need was definitely all around me! I took a bottle of Ucan with me to start the run, quick trip into the porto-potty and I was off and running. T2 time: 8:02 (okay, I really need to work on that).
The Augusta run is my favorite run that I’ve ever done in any race. There is so much crowd support that it is an amazing feeling. I had one of the best runs in any race ever. It looks slow to someone who doesn’t know me. But my pace was consistent, my splits even, and I did exactly what I had trained for. I felt good and strong the entire run and really had a blast! I continued with my electrolytes during the run. I had my other Hammer gel around mile 9. I grabbed water at every aid station and added in Coke at the station at mile 5 and had coke and water at aid stations after that. At that mile 5 aid station I was reaching out to grab a cup of water when I could hear someone coming yelling ‘water, water!’ this person zoomed through and cut me off to grab water and sped away. It was Taz!! I have NEVER seen someone run that fast or blast through an aid station like that and I was in awe. My run is typically surround by people running various paces, but as a middle to back of the packer, I don’t see the really fast people and I just couldn’t get over how fast he was moving! Around mile 7 my old right foot pain friend arrived. I noticed that my lower legs were pretty achy near 10 miles, but I was having a good run. I lost track of how many times someone commented about Harvey or Slayer or told me to Do My Job. It was like having little Harvey-spies everywhere! I LOVED running past the TCGA and Tri Augusta tents! Kevin Cheek was one of the most supportive people on the course and I’ve never even met him! I saw Gina at the tent and thought she must have had a spectacular race to already be finished and changed. Later I learned that she had been sick and didn’t race. I finished my race feeling really really good and loved the entire experience! Run time: 2:27:02
Overall Race Time: 6:23:33
This is my slowest time at Augusta, but one of my best races! I had an awesome solid great run that I am proud of! I did new things and met new people and to think that I came very close to not even going. I loved this weekend.
I got my gear bag pretty quickly to get my phone and check on everyone else racing in Augusta and Choo and touch base with my people. I talked to Duane, my mom and sis, Harvey, and Pat. My tribe! And really appreciated hearing from everyone and knowing that they were tracking me. I walked over to the TCGA tent to cheer on everyone else and met a lot more TCGA people. Taz was there and immediately apologized for cutting me off at the aid station. At this time I had no clue that he had finished 4th overall and just commented on how impressed I was with how fast he was! He said he saw I was a team member and figured I would understand being cut-off, which of course I did! He was so humble and kind asking me about my race and how it went, never mentioning how well he had done, Gina told me about his race! I checked and made sure she was okay and she got a little teary-eyed about the DNS. I tried to offer words of comfort but knew that nothing I could say would make it okay. I started following friends on the tracker and was able to cheer for them as they ran by! Holly came by and I trotted a long with her for a few minutes and told her I’d see her at the finish line! I got to see Kim, Darsh, and Bill run by. I met Ryan and Kim at the tent and Gina and Troy were there and overall I just had an amazing time! I made it back to the finish line in time to see Holly cross and I was so extremely proud of her! I made my way to her and teared up (where did this emotion come from??? That was totally unexpected!). I was by far more excited for her than for myself!
I am writing this on Tuesday following the Sunday race. I have to go back to work tomorrow and will be busy and it was write it now or never. I learned so many things at this race and had such a phenomenal weekend.