3 sleeps. That’s all the time left until I finally race Augusta 70.3. I am excited, anxious, nervous and just ready.
This week has been absolutely the busiest week of work I have had as far back as I can remember. I have spent my week cooped up in a conference room in all day meetings that started at 7 a.m. and didn’t end until 6 p.m. and were followed by long dinners. Wednesday night after dinner I also had the good fortune to drive to the Charlotte airport to pick up Brad at 10:30 p.m. Needless to say I haven’t spent much time swimming, biking or running (or sleeping, for that matter). Maybe this is a good thing (except the sleep part). Maybe this is the forced taper that I needed. I don’t know, but I want to sweat and I am going CRAZY. I will finally get a ride in for the first time this afternoon and plan to FINALLY test out the wetsuit tomorrow morning for a quick 1200 m at the pool. So workouts are (almost) done, most of the “to do’s” have been addressed and the bike will be at the shop getting all tuned up tomorrow.
So it’s about the right time that I put all these numbers, thoughts and goals that have been floating around in my head down on paper and make myself accountable. Obviously since this is my first 70.3, the primary goal it to FINISH. And ENJOY IT.
When people ask, I keep making references back to my first marathon, where yes, I finished and yes, it was a respectable time (4:20ish), but I did not enjoy it. I bonked, I hurt and I walked across the finish line. I don’t want it to be like that! I want to have fun and enjoy the other racers and seeing Brad, Char and Jesse along the course and I want to SMILE and FINISH STRONG.
But of course, what everyone really wants to know is the numbers. What is my goal time, pace, etc.? Ok. Here you go:
Swim: 1.2 miles (2000 m)
The swim at Augusta is in the Savannah River. It is downstream and (from what I hear), it is fast. Fun fact: I heard you could float the whole distance and make it under and hour. True? I don’t know. I am a strong swimmer and I have felt really good in the pool lately. I hope that the combination of the wetsuit, along with the current behind me will carry me to a sub-26 min. swim time.
Goal: 25:XX, 1:15 – 1:17/100 m
T1: Swim to Bike
My T1 transition times are typically pretty quick, well under 2:00, but I will plan for a little longer T1 at this race. I will have my wetsuit stripped by the volunteers, which will be quick, but I plan to take the time to make sure my helmet/headband/sunglasses are comfortably in place and I will wear riding gloves, and putting those on will also add some time.
Bike: 56 miles
Oh boy, the bike. This is where the most time is spent in triathlons and unfortunately for me, this is my weakest of the three elements. The course has roughly 2600 ft. of climbing, which is not dramatic. In fact, the profile should be very similar to what I am accustomed to riding on all my training rides in Upstate South Carolina. I don’t want to kill myself, because I want to go into the run feeling strong, but I want to push myself so I don’t feel like I could’ve ridden harder. My plan is to settle in at a comfortable, but strong pace and not freak out too much about what the Garmin tells me. I am a little nervous about the bottle switching and refill situation, but I will slow down and take my time getting through the water stops and make sure that I don’t lose any bottles. I hope that all of this sets me up for a 17+ mph pace.
Goal: 3:15:00, 17.2 mph
T2: Bike to Run
Again, this is usually a pretty quick transition for me and is usually under 1:00, but I am planning to change my socks to have dry feet for the run and to get the Garmin started, so it may be a little longer than usual.
Run: 13.1 miles
The biggest uncertainty and probably my biggest desire for this race is that I get off of the bike and feel strong. I have run 7 half-marathon races and have completed countless 13-mile runs and while I don’t typically consider this distance that difficult, I know I must respect the distance, especially after nearly 4 hours of swimming and biking. If I feel strong for the first 8 miles, I know I will be able to gut out the rest. I also know that most likely, last 5 miles of the run is going to be an exercise in heart and sheer will. My plan is to start out “easy”. I am anticipating that a 9:00/mile pace will feel pretty slow off the bike, but I want to be conservative for at least the first 6-8 miles and see how I feel. If things feel good around 6 or 7, I may drop the pace by 15 seconds and if I feel good at 10, I will push as hard as I can!
Goal: 1:55:00 – 1:58:00, 8:46 – 9:00/mile
If everything goes according to plan (which I am sure it won’t!) my overall goal time for Augusta 70.3, give and take a minute or so here and there is to be under 5 hours and 45 minutes. If things don’t go as planned, my secondary goal is to be under 6 hours. And finally, if things fall apart, I absolutely have to beat my brother’s 70.3 time of 6:18 🙂