2022 Ironman 70.3 World Championship Race Report
Updated: Jan 8
October 28, 2022 (Women’s Race)
Race day weather: 35 degree start temp, 60 degree finish temp. Clear, sunny skies with 5mph wind
Tuesday, October 25th We caught a direct flight to Vegas leaving at 8:30pm from Charlotte and made it there just after 11pm pacific time. Even though our bodies said it was 2am, we were happy to make it across the country and get a good night of sleep before heading to St. George.
Wednesday, October 26th My birthday! We got a nice 8 hours of sleep then took a little walk down the Vegas strip for some coffee. We checked out of our hotel around noon and headed to the pickup spot for our Turo car rental. Everything went smoothly and we grabbed some food at In N Out before beginning the 2 hour drive to St. George (but ended up taking 2.5 hours with road work).
We made it to Ironman Village around 5:15pm, which gave me just enough time to go through athlete check in as well as heading over to Tri Bike Transport and picking up my bike before both closed at 6pm!
I got my World coin too at check in!
The TBT guys made me laugh when they said they’d been excited to see who picked up the bike with the spinning disc wheel so they could give it a spin.
We checked into the Chalet Motel and walked across the street to a restaurant for a great dinner. I spent an hour before bed packing my gear bags for bag drop off the next day. It was a great birthday!
Thursday, October 27th
I got up around 9am to get in my shake out run and bike check ride. I wanted to check out the Merch tent for a world champs visor and coffee cup. The expo for World Champs is so much bigger and better than any other Ironman race, so it was fun going around to the different vendors and learning about equipment I’d been curious about.
We headed to Sand Hollow State Park around noon to drop my bike and bike bag. There would no access to bike bags before the race so I triple checked that everything was in there! I was so surprised how much cooler it was at Sand Hollow than in St. George. I was so glad to have my puffy coat!
After dropping my bike, I walked down to the water to dip my feet in and see just how cold it was.
We headed back to town to drop the run gear bag.
I wanted George to see Snow Canyon, so we took a little drive up through it. That place is so beautiful!
After our drive, we went to The Pasta Company in St. George and had an early dinner. We had a nice relaxing evening to rest up before race day.
Friday, October 28th – RACE DAY!
Pre-race: 5am til 8:15am My shuttle time to board the bus in St. George town square was 5:15am since my wave had an 8:15am start time. We left our hotel at 5am and George dropped me off just beside the shuttle area and parked the car since he couldn’t board the shuttle until spectators were allowed at 6am.
Staying in St. George made day before and race day logistics so much easier than last year when we stayed in LaVerkin – I’d highly recommend staying near the finish line rather than the start line for this race.
The shuttles were super organized this year. The line was moving super-fast, and I was able to basically walk right onto a bus to start the ride to Sand Hollow State Park. The ride took about 40 minutes, and I made it to transition with about 2 hours to spare!
With it being so cold, I prepared better than for chilly Ironman Florida last year and wore 2 pairs of pants and a fleece shirt and puffy coat over my tri suit, along with wool socks and my hiking shoes to keep warm. It worked pretty well and I stayed mostly comfortable while standing around for 2 hours before my wave started.
My first objective when I got to my bike was making sure all my gears were working and shifting smoothly (I learned my lesson at Augusta in 2019 to always check this in case my bike got bumped or fell overnight). Thankfully everything was working well!
Next stop was to air up my tires. After shipping my bike with TriBike Transport more than a week prior, plus the cold temps, I knew my tires would be moderately low on race morning. Unfortunately, it was really difficult to find a pump that actually worked correctly around the transition perimeter. Since athletes couldn’t bring normal pumps in morning clothes bags and particularly with most people flying to this race, that meant a huge demand for the few pumps that did work.
I probably spent 45 minutes trying 3 different pumps that all had some issue with them or didn’t even have a PSI gauge and finally took my bike to the bike technicians in transition to air up my tires for me. I plan on bringing my Airmoto Portable Air Pump to future races since this is the 2nd Ironman race I’ve done this year that doesn’t have “plenty of pumps” for athletes to use on race morning.
Once I got the tires aired up the only thing left was to make sure my power meter was connecting to my watch and put my Gatorade endurance mix in my hydration bottle on the bike. Surprise – I guess the cold temp overnight killed that battery on my power meter so I used one of the replacement batteries I brought to change it out before the race.
I left transition around 7:15am with right at an hour before my wave started. Plenty of time to take a needed bathroom break and top up on my morning calories and fluid. I decided to go ahead and put my wetsuit on (with clothes layered over the top) to stay warmer while we waited.
At 20 minutes prior to a wave starting, they announced for everyone in the wave to make their way into the start corral. This was great, except that meant shedding the shoes and standing on the cold wet ground for 20 minutes. Looking around, several people got creative and used plastic shopping bags as makeshift socks to keep their feet warmer – definitely going to remember this for future cold races!
The swim! Time: 41:26 (1:58/100yd) for 229th in age group and 1,433 female. Water temp: 62 degrees
Starting the swim, the water actually felt warm compared to the 35 degree air. I started out with a nice, smooth stroke. The water was super clear and I could see everyone around me which was a nice change from the last few races I’ve done.
About 5 minutes in though, I started noticing my breathing wasn’t as easy as it normally is. It almost felt like I was breathing through a straw when I tried to swim at “race pace” effort. Dialing the effort level down I could swim comfortably, thankfully, so I just kept on swimming at this effort and came out of the water feeling good. Was this altitude? Was it the cold air? Was it a mix of the two? I’m not totally sure, but I know there were plenty of other athletes who reported similar issues they’d never experienced until this race.
T1: Where I made poor decisions on clothing
I can’t believe I made such a ridiculous mistake when I decided that the comfortable temperature I felt coming out of the water would carry over to the bike without any extra layers. I knew the temp at the start of the bike was predicted to be upper 40s (in actuality it was 37!) so I used the reasoning that 50 degrees on the bike at Memphis a few weeks back felt comfortable with just my tri suit. 1 – this is the desert, it is windy. 2 – dry cold is much different than humid cold. 3 – once moving on the bike the blowing air at 20mph will make you feel much colder than when standing still.
I figured I’d be fine with just bike gloves so I left my fleece lined jersey in my bike bag – worst mistake of the day hands down! Also, I forgot to put on my bike gloves for a double whammy!
The bike! Time: 3:25:34 (16.3mph avg) for 236th in age group and 1,518 female
Onto the bike, I realized about 30 seconds in that I forgot to put on my bike gloves when I was ridiculously cold. Thankfully the sun was out, and I knew I would just have to keep my effort up to stay warm enough to keep going.
The breathing issue from the swim was still happening, so I managed to compromise between the two and survive. That first 1.5 hours was so cold, but halfway into the bike I finally got comfortable when it warmed up about 50 degrees. I had trouble getting my heart rate above 100 bpm even climbing the hills that first 1.5 hours too which is a reflection on the weirdness my body felt. I never felt lightheaded, mentally fogged, or other more concerning symptoms so I kept on going.
This course has several long climbs that keep the ride interesting. I was able to enjoy and appreciate the beautiful scenery this year. The road surface was so smooth and well-kept. I saw very few people with flats on the side of the road compared to most races I’ve done this year.
Thankfully I had no mechanical issues, no flat tires, and no close calls. I was able to appreciate the beauty of the Snow Canyon climb and enjoy the downhill coast back into town this year in the beautiful sunshine (last year was a torrential downpour on this part of the course!)
I climbed Snow Canyon about a minute faster than last year (per Strava segment), so I’ll take any improvements I can get!
I also managed to get scenic FinisherPix photos on the bike course this year too!
It was awesome to ride that last 1-2 miles down Diagonal and Main Street with all the crowds cheering along the side!
I slid my feet out of my bike shoes about a half mile before the finish for an easier dismount, but the dismount line was so crowded I ended up getting off about 15 feet early and running to hand off my bike to a volunteer.
T2: Smooth and uneventful After handing off my bike, I ran down the aisle to my bike bag, grabbed it, then ran on down to the open area with chairs to change into my run gear. Overall pretty smooth here, so off on the run I went!
The run! Time 2:15:31 (10:19 min/mile) for 238th in age group and 1,486 female
I started on the run with tons of cheering and support from the sidelines! I saw George when I started the uphill run on Main Street, which gave me a huge boost of motivation.
A bit before the 1 mile mark, I noticed I was feeling super fatigued, like I was running a sprint race and nearing the finish. I looked down to see my heart rate over 200 at only a 9:00/mi pace. I kept going for about 2 minutes to see if my Garmin was just off, but it stayed over 200.
By this point, I made it the first run aid station, so I began walking and taking in calories and fluid and chose to keep on walking until my heart rate felt regulated. My walk continued almost to mile 3 in the golf course when the downhill back to town started. I tried running again and felt like my normal self finally with a steady heart rate in the 160s.
The 3 miles downhill really helped me settle into my stride and when I started loop 2 going uphill again, I thankfully didn’t have any issues like I had on loop 1. I saw George again, and I reassured him everything was fine!
Loop 2 was so much more fun! I actually got to enjoy the course, trot up the hills, cruise down the hills, and try not to step wrong on the grass through the golf course.
I no doubt enjoyed the course last year way more. The climb up Red Hills Parkway last year
had such amazing views, and I feel like the run course lacked that this year.
The last few miles before the finish, I really started to soak in and appreciate everything it took to get to this point – the training for my qualifying race at Virginia Blue Ridge 70.3, to the training all summer to handle the hills of St. George, up to the perseverance of the tough conditions of race day to find that finish line!
Crossing the finish line for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship race was just as sweet and rewarding a second time around. Race days both years looked very different but equally challenging. Ironman tries to make the courses they choose for Worlds an “honest” course and I can confidently say they’ve succeeded with the St. George course both years here!
I made sure to enjoy those finish line feels and post-race “runners high” as I chowed down on the post race food.
I changed into my Oofos (one of the best feelings to put these on after a race!) and we headed to the bike and gear bag pickup. I checked over my tires to check for defects since my bike is heading straight to Cozumel with Tri Bike Transport after I drop it off here.
I found a small wire sticking in my front tire! It’s amazing I didn’t get a flat from this! I definitely will plan on bringing a spare tire to Cozumel to change it before that race.
After we dropped off my bike we headed to the car to start the vacation part of our “race-cation” with some time spent in Zion and Bryce Canyon!
We spent the next few days hiking Navajo Loop to Queens Garden in Bryce Canyon and Angels Landing in Zion!
It was awesome seeing so many other Ironman athletes with the same ideas for “active recovery!” We’re a special breed of people for sure!