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

Race Day

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.

Top 10 Takeaways from the Ironman Augusta 70.3

  • 1) Sometimes amazing things happen when you least expect it (this entire weekend).
  • 2) Good things happen outside of my comfort zone.
  • 3) Never ever pass up an opportunity to help someone. I wasn’t racing, I was participating in this event and there is no good reason for me not to have changed that lady’s tire. If it was a training ride I wouldn’t have had a second thought about stopping and changing her tire. I wasn’t in a hurry, I was a jerk and I’ve worried about her since then.
  • 4) Motivation and excitement can be found in the most unplanned ways. Coming off of this weekend I feel an excitement towards training and racing that I haven’t felt in a while.
  • 5) Watching someone else fulfill a dream is as good if not better than doing it yourself.
  • 6) Solid nutrition plan during this race, but need to tweak and plan for upcoming ultras.
  • 7) It was fun to ham it up for the race photographers!
  • 8) I looked forward to the timing mats on the run because it meant that I was letting someone know how my race was going.
  • 9) I am a member of the greatest team. I love this crazy group of TCGa misfits.
  • 10) I love the people who support me and appreciate everything thing that everyone who is reading this does or has done to support me, it doesn’t go unnoticed and I thank you.
  • What I’ve Learned and Applied from Coach Slayer – TriCoachGeorgia

    A Triathlon Coach Amongst Triathlon Coaches

    At TriCoachGeorgia.com, we are very honored to be the coach of coaches and great athletes. One of them is Coach Cube aka Fred Mehrer of TriCoachFlorida.com. Coach Cube is one of Coach Slayer’s star athletes and he wanted to explain why a coach needs a coach and what he learned from his coaches over the years. He has a great track record coaching his athletes too. Read below:

    Coaches and Coaching 

    I first met Coach Slayer at a race when I was still living and racing in Georgia. Friends said, “you’ve got to meet this guy, he’s nuts”! First, he was killing everyone in the heavy man’s Clydesdale division, and second, his podium antics were something to see. He would smash a water bottle and scare everyone around with a roar!

    Honestly, I didn’t know how to take him at first. I mean, he was a hell of an athlete and a great transformation success story. Finding the motivation to do what he has done in his athletic career is amazing. But, from a distance, he’s a little unorthodox and somewhat intimidating.  He’s big, he’s loud and he’s FAST!

    However, once we talked, we found we had a common thread. We’re both from the Philly area and both have an unstoppable internal drive.

    What Happened Next 

    I remember one of the first races we did together (Mistletoe Sprint Triathlon), we shared a room the night before. I was trying to be the perfect athlete, eating good and going to sleep early. He ate a sandwich from Arby’s, drank 4-5 Budweiser Light Limes, and talked til midnight! That was not on my race plan.

    On the run the next day, I could hear him coming up on me yelling, “Don’t get Slayed, Cube!”. He took me out in the last mile and finished about 1:30 ahead of me, all while out weighing me by a good 50 lbs!. What this told me was that maybe not everything you read is the best way to go about things. I have learned to appreciate the nuances and unorthodox nature of training and racing that have helped him to excel as well as helping me in my own right as an athlete and coach.

    Time for a Change

    Over the years Coach Slayer and I have become closer friends and when it was time for a coaching change in 2013, he was at the top of my list of coaches to interview. I saw his athletes’ positive results piling in and he kept improving. There was a culture of communication and social support developing and he was in the forefront.

    I wanted something totally different from my last coach. I wanted a coach with kids and someone who was more “hands on” and who is a good communicator. It was important for me to feel I was getting good value for the money I was paying. More than plans, I wanted a personal touch, I wanted a connection. I am not too needy but I like to feel recognized and valued. I understand how athletes’ minds operate.

    How it Impacted Me

    Right from starting with “Slay”, things took off. He renewed my passion for the sport, while at the same time, teaching me there is more to life then Triathlon and that family is a huge priority and should be highly valued. I was recently re-married and had moved to Palm Beach, started commuting to Atlanta for work and now had step kids. My single days (all about me) were over and at times I found, and still find, it hard to juggle everything on my plate.

    Coach Slayer knew how to make training fun again without the stress my previous plans put on me about completing a workout or taking time off for family. In return my results soared. I finished 2013 with four podiums and a PR at Ironman Miami 70.3 going 4:51.

    I went on to be a Coach

    Most coaches wouldn’t want you taking their secrets or methods and competing against them. In late 2013, Coach Slayer actually did the opposite. He encouraged me to become a coach and start TriCoachFlorida.com. This is a stand alone firm and I am growing my brand carefully and using the principles he has shared with me in terms of not just training but also managing time and prioritizing. I work hard to put my family first now. It’s not easy, but it’s right.


    I work everyday to apply the things I’ve learn from Coach Slayer, not only thru training, but in my coaching as well. I am a better man for working with him. I strive to do the same for my athletes.

    There’s nothing better then an open line of communication with your coach. You need a dynamic process that evolves daily or weekly if you have a challenging family and/or work life. No matter what level program you’ve signed up for. I know I can call Coach Slayer for any reason, triathlon related or not. These are the things I value as an athlete and provide to my athletes everyday.

    There are many great coaches out there. Find one that makes you a better athlete and person. Give me a call and let me discuss what I can offer you along these lines. Thanks Coach! Now let me go #FeelTheBurn!

    Five Tips for Thriving During Your Ironman or Ironman 70.3 Build‏ (Thanks Karl!) – TriCoachGeorgia


    We have some stellar, well experienced, and consistent athletes who strive hard to improve their performance. They also go out of their way to help others.

    Some of our athletes go on to be good coaches in their own right. Karl Langenbach aka LongMan and soon to be known as Coach LongMan is a great example of someone that has been a student of the game for a long time. He has helped many friends to achieve their goals and always seems to show up healthy and race well. He was kind enough to write a blog for us about some of his secrets to success.

    How and When

    It’s that time of the year: your “A” race is looming! For me, Augusta 70.3 is 2+ weeks away with Ironman Louisville close on its heels. CoachBigBad has been loading my wagon and I am exhausted physically and mentally. What am I doing to manage the stress? Here are my top five tips for coping and recovery:

    5 Tips To Help You Crush Your Race


    • 1. Get more sleep.

      If you aren’t getting 7+ hours sleep each night; why not? Whenever possible, slip in a 20-30 minute nap; like on Saturday and Sunday afternoon between workouts and on weekdays if you happen to make it home for lunch. It is amazing how much more alert and refreshed, mentally & physically, I feel after a good night’s rest or a quick doze.

    • 2. Avoid sick people.

      Your immune system is taking a pounding and can’t cope with the normal assault of germs. Even a mild head cold can put a serious damper on your race. Wash your hands a lot. Stay out of your kid’s classroom. Shun your sneezing co-workers.

    • 3. Get a massage.

      Your body is likely a knotted mess; and you need to change that in order for it to work at peak performance levels on race day. Schedule hour-long massages ($45) three and one week out from your big race plus another one the week after. Also spend ten minutes each night foam-rolling your back, thighs, IT bands, and calves. This stretching helps me calm down for better rest and less aches in the morning.

    • 4. Drink more water and eat more veggies.

      Your body needs the best nutrition possible during this high stress period. Save the cake and beer for the after-race celebration.

    • 5. Practice active recovery.

      Nothing gets rid of lingering soreness and speeds healing like easy movement. After you have done your icing and hydration, get off the couch and take the kids to the park or walk the dog. Don’t tempt yourself to do another workout. You are just try to get the blood and lymphatic fluids moving. This is also a great time to relax mentally, and pay some attention to your support team (aka your family!).

    Try out these tips and let me know how they work for you. Good luck in your race.