On 09/29/13, I completed my first Ironman event. The triathlon was held in Augusta, GA. This was the first time I had been back to Augusta, since my Army training in 1995.
We arrived on Friday and went to the Expo and athlete briefing. I purchased a few last minute items for my bike. I was paranoid of not being able to complete the race because of some bike issue. I actually had three spare tires with me. Overkill, I know.
On Saturday, I woke up early and completed a short bike ride and run. The local YMCA let Ironman athletes use their facilities for free, so Aaron and I went for a quick swim at the Y. I walked around swim start and the transition area to get a feel for the race. The swim looked so much longer than I was expecting. I had swam 1.5 miles before. Just never straight out. To the left is me checking out the swim course.
A Sunday morning, we arrived at the transition area around 5:45. I didn’t start to the swim until 8:48, but I had to be out of transition by 7:15. After I setup my gear, there was a long wait. We were enjoying watching the swimmers though. Boy, there were some non-swimmers out there. There were people running into buoys and boats. The water temperature was 69. When I started the race the air temperature was about 60. I started the swim right on time. There was a stiff current. The race officials decided to not let us start from in the water. We jumped in from a dock. I expected the water to feel cooler than it did. I really enjoyed the swim. I found my rhythm and plucked along. I swam close to shore so I could see Susan and Aaron. I found them in the crowd and waved to them as I passed. It took me 30:13 to complete the swim. In the picture on the left, I am the one center, closest to the pier. I am creating a splash from kicking at that moment.
After the swim, I headed out on my 56 mile bike ride. The majority of the ride was through rural South Carolina. About mile 30 my thighs started to ache. I knew the run was going to be painful by this point. I finished the bike in 2:52. I was hoping to have an average pace of 20mph or better. I averaged 19.4. So I was pretty close.
Towards the end of the bike ride, I had to pee. I waited until I got to transition, because I didn’t want to stop my momentum. It was a good sign that I had to use the bathroom. I knew I wouldn’t cramp from dehydration during the run.
My goal on the run was run nine minute miles. I maintained my goal pace until mile eight. By this point my thighs hurt so bad I couldn’t maintain my pace. I fell back to a ten something pace. I ended the half marathon run (13.1 miles) at 2:07. My average pace was 9:43. I saw Susan and Aaron about three times on the course. That really lifted my spirits.
I finished the Ironman 70.3 in 5:39. My goal was 5:30. I was close. Guess I have something to work toward in the future.
Click on any of the photographs to view the entire album. Aaron used my GoPro and made a short video of the race. Watch it below.