2019 Ironman Augusta 70.3 Race Report!
Updated: Aug 16
After enjoying my first Ironman experience in Augusta last year so much, I just HAD to sign up to do this fun race again! Thankfully my #1 fan was right beside me supporting my crazy idea :)
How beautiful is this place?!? You just can't beat this race atmosphere!
As race day got closer, the predicted race weather kept getting hotter and hotter. The day before the race, the prediction was for 96 degrees with 100 degree heat index. Whew! Even hotter than last year!
Pre-Race: We made it to downtown Augusta around 1:45pm on Saturday and made it to the expo just in time for one of the athlete briefing sessions. Even though I've sat through Ironman briefing sessions several times now, I always take away something helpful.
Checking in at this race was a breeze, and it was inside an air conditioned convention center! In less than 15 minutes I was checked in, had my race packet, and bought an event visor (I couldn’t resist!).
We drove the 1.2 miles down to transition to find a parallel parking spot in the chaos and placed my race numbers on my bike before walking the half mile to bike check in.
Bike check in was also super easy. I only had my tires pumped to about 70psi due to the heat and planned on pumping them on up to 100 on race morning.
The rack spots were super tight, and it was impossible to prevent my derailleur from touching the handlebars of my rackmates. I didn’t think it would be a big deal at the time, but… lesson learned.
Race morning!!! The alarm went off at 4:30. I started my pre-race routine of covering myself in a ridiculous amount of sunscreen & body glide, braiding my hair, and eating my Oreos. I squeezed into my Catfish Designs trisuit (matchy-matchy with Kaitlin!) and off we went!
We parked in the large parking garage right next to the finish line for $7 for the whole day... well worth it if you're considering this for the future! We hopped on the shuttle and headed down to the transition area.
I laid out my gear in transition, aired my tires up to 100psi, then headed to the long line to ride the shuttle back to the swim start. After waiting in the slow-moving line, we decided to walk the 1.2 miles back to the swim start to stretch our legs. Seeing everyone lining up and hearing the music blasting got equally excited and nervous for the race to start!
Perfect water with 76.6 water temp! This race seriously has the best swim ever... no turns, downstream, wide area to swim. The current felt a little slower than last year so swim time was a few seconds slower. I really enjoyed this part of the race though! Time: 33:09 Age group place: 31/103
Started out with a jog from swim exit to transition but quickly changed to a walk with the sharp gravel surface. The 0.25 distance in T1 seemed pretty average for a half iron race. I stuck to my nutrition plan and downed a full 20oz bottle of water before heading out on the bike. Time: 5:05
It started out pretty crowded for the first 5 miles but that thinned out a little once people got in their groove. As soon as I started pedaling, I knew there was something wrong with my gears. My shifting was totally jacked up. I ended up having 3 usable gears - the easiest, the hardest, and one in the middle that I could only get to by upshifting twice then downshifting once. When I racked my bike the night before, I cycled through all gears and everything was perfect. My guess is that it got bumped by another bike on Saturday night or race morning. The bike was not my best performance for sure, but I survived it. I made my nutrition plan a huge priority in this race and stuck to my plan even when I didn't feel that I needed the extra fluid or electrolytes.
I really enjoyed the updated bike course they debuted for 2019. There were only a few railroad tracks to cross this year, and a little more climbing was added (my Garmin measured 1,585 ft of elevation gain).
The aid stations every 15ish miles were well stocked at the volunteers were amazing with handing off bottles quickly and efficiently. I didn't even have to stop to grab a bottle at each!
Huge thanks to Aaron Whitley for recommending pouring water down my front, back, and top of head at every aid station! The last 10 miles of the bike course really started heating up, so that cooling effect helped more than I even imagined! I couldn't wait to finish up the ride and tackle the run! Bike time: 3:07 Age group place: 31/103
Everything went pretty smoothly here! I switched out my bike shoes and helmet for running shoes and a visor, and off I went! Time: 3:12
This is my favorite part of the race! Running is tough, but the crowd support and seeing your friends along the course makes it so much better! I love the nice flat run that Augusta offers. I started the run at 12:38pm, so the sun was high and the heat index of 100 in humidity was no joke!
The aid station volunteers were wonderful! I probably poured 3 cups of ice down my trisuit at every stop, poured water on my head, and downed as much gatorade, coke, Gu and Base salt that I could. As hot as it was, I knew going into the race that we'd likely see crazy hot temps, so I spent the last month pushing myself to do my long runs in the hottest part of the day and doing sauna sessions a few times a week.
As I started the run, my plan was to hold the same pace I did for my long runs as long as I could. I knew heat and fatigue would likely start affecting my pace,and sure enough around mile 9, I really had to start digging deep. That sub-6 hour finish was just within fingertip's reach with 2 miles to go, but not without speeding up that pace a bit.
That extra push was worth it! Those red carpet feels never get old! The cheers, the happiness, the feeling of accomplishment (and feeling of finally being able to stop haha) just can't be described in words.
Official race time: 5:58 Run place: 20/103
Overall age group place: 24/103
AND... a new PR for a 70.3!
I'm also so proud of my friends who took on their first half Ironman. Embarking on this journey is no joke and you learn so much about yourself! Not every race ends in hitting your goal time or the finish line, but the important thing is to enjoy yourself and learn from your experience!
One thing I look forward to the most is getting my finish line kiss from George! When I needed a little extra motivation in those last few miles, I channeled my thoughts to him. He's probably going to roll his eyes when he sees this hahaha!
Also, this was my first time doing a big race after joining the E3 Tri team. Even though triathlon is an individual sport, it's so much more fun having friends out on the course with you! Congrats to all my teammates for toughing it out on a hot day and finishing the race!
This was my last triathlon for the season, and I couldn't be happier with how this season has gone. I can't wait to see where next year takes us!