Monday, September 29, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Augusta Race Report - Race morning and the Swim

This is part 3 of a series of posts about the 2014 Augusta Half Ironman. Click here to start with the first post!

Surprisingly, I slept quite well on Saturday night! I was shocked! I usually toss and turn, so I spend that time praying, going over my race plan, and meditating on being calm. I didn't even have time to do that because I only woke up twice, and fell right back to sleep each time! I did wake up about 5 minutes before the alarm so I turned it off so as not to wake up Mom and Dad too early. I went into the bathroom to spread peanut butter on my bagel so I could start trying to eat it while I rolled out my muscles and did some light yoga. My left knee was feeling much better, as was my shoulder, but the outer part of my right foot was bugging me from wearing flip flops so long on Friday afternoon. Also, the toe that had gotten stubbed was giving me a little bit of trouble. Nothing I could do about that now, though.

I rolled, ate, and got dressed rather quickly so I decided to leave a bit early knowing that I could walk slowly. It was dark at 5 AM, of course, but I had remembered to bring my visor head lamp to provide some light. My friend, BJ, had showed me that little secret at our Oly Tri back in April! As I neared transition, I crossed the street and walked down a side street - right past Sher and Sam sitting in their car! It was so nice to see them before the race! I got to transition and set up my stuff. The bike next to me was racked incorrectly and I wasn't sure what to do. I asked the official and he said to see if a volunteer would move it, or just wait for the person to arrive and tell them. I opted for the latter. In fact, I introduced myself to everyone on my rack. I figured that we were more likely to look out for each others space if we all knew each other at least by name. Turns out that most of us were first-timers! My neighbor showed up shortly before I was ready to leave to take the shuttle to the start. Whew! She was friendly and moved her bike around with no issues. I found Lisa so we could go to the start together, and we waited for Felicia. While I was over there I saw a friend, Cathy, from the Witness Through Fitness group and said hi to her.

I had decided to take the shuttle to the start instead of walking, and I'm glad I did. It was nice to sit down. Once we arrived at the start, we decided to go over to St. Paul's church. They had opened a room to triathletes. They were so incredibly nice! They had tables and chairs set up and coffee and cookies and other snacks. They allowed us to use their nice, clean bathrooms - and they allowed us to go into the sanctuary to pray. This church is historic and it's absolutely incredible! I was so glad to have some time to get on my knees and thank God for His many blessings. I prayed for my safety and the safety of all participants. And I prayed that if I did have problems, that He would give me the grace to handle them in a calm manner.

We got out to the start right as the first wave of pros was taking off. I hadn't realized that there would be pre-race festivities going on at the river! When I saw my mom's pictures, I saw there were parachutists bringing a flag to the bridge and everything! Missed all of that! :( It was also much more crowded and much further away than we realized since the most direct way to the water was blocked off. Lisa passed off her Morning Clothes Bag to me and took off for her start. I dropped off both of our bags, drank my UCAN while waiting for Lisa's wave to take off, and then hopped in the porta potty line once her group had passed me. After that, I ran into Jennifer from Witness Through Fitness and we did a quick picture!

Then I headed to the start and got in the line with my wave! I saw Felicia who was in the wave behind mine, and I also saw Shawna who was in my wave! The atmosphere was so exciting! I was focused and did my best to control my breathing and relax! No sense in getting worked up. I had been in this river a bunch of times! I knew what to do!

I wore my flip flops right up until the docks - the rocky pavement at the start is hard on my feet. I left them at the start and I hope someone who needs them took them home. Once we were allowed on the dock I walked to the far end and got in the water right away. I wanted to hang onto the dock so I wouldn't waste my energy treading water. We weren't there long before it was time to start!
Look over to the far right - I'm in the white goggles pushing Start on my Garmin!

I had gotten far over to the left in an attempt to take advantage of the current, but it didn't dawn on me until I was actually caught up in a traffic jam that the left side was where all of the buoys and floating pads were stationed for folks to hold on to. I kept getting stopped up by people who were hanging on to stuff. That was not good planning on my part. Other than that, the swim went by uneventfully! I didn't have any trouble with the river grass that tried to cover me like Swamp Thing, and I didn't see any signs of the gator from the day before! :D I only had a few issues with people swimming over me and that was mostly when the speedy folks from the previous wave caught up to me!

My official Swim Time was 34:18. I have to admit to being a bit disappointed because that was 10 minutes slower than my fastest river swim. But it's still amazing for 1.2 miles! :)

I approached the boat ramp carefully and was pleasantly surprised to see the carpet was in place. I walked up the big hill but then started to run the very long way back to transition from the water. Felicia past me coming out of the water and back to transition! So great to see her!

I dried off my feet, put on my socks, and got myself ready for the bike! I didn't rush but I didn't dawdle, either. My official T1 time was 7:51 but that includes the long walk/run from the river!

It looks like the bike and the run will have to be another post! I will have to work on it when I get home from picking up my daughter from dance!

Click here to read about the bike portion of my Half Ironman!

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