70.3 Redemption – Augusta Ironman 70.3

October 3rd, 2013

Team Sterghos in front of the Savannah River

My last half ironman wasn’t too pleasant. But then again, half iron races are never pleasant.  The last time I raced the 70.3 distance was back in late April in Haines City, Florida. Due to some nutritional issues, I was just trying to finish the race instead of competing for overall honors.  Augusta in September was much cooler, and the course had more shade, which made for a much better race.  I was also fortunate to have my parents visiting from northern Georgia to cheer me on.

Staying warm before the swim

Since I had nutritional problems during my last half, I made extra sure that my nutrition was calculated out to my exact caloric and sodium/electrolyte needs.  This time, I made two concentrated sports bottles filled with gels, coconut powder, Nuun tabs, salt pills, and U-can sports drink. I also had two gels, an Amrita energy bar, and another bottle with plain water and I planned to take another water bottle from a water stop. It seemed like a lot of calories, but it worked out to be just right.

Oops...I'm late for swim warm up!

The swim was in the Savannah River with the current, so I knew it was going to be fast.  I swam a very easy 20:24 for the 1.2 miles and I was pleased to learn that I was only a minute behind the leader.  I know I could have swum faster but my positioning was a little off and so I couldn’t catch on the feet of the race leaders. I also wanted to keep the swim more conservative knowing I had over 69 miles left to race. I have been very confident in my swimming lately as I have been putting in a lot of quality and fast efforts in the pool, in the open water and on the Vasa Ergometer.  I will know for sure on October 13th when I race the San Juan ITU Pan American Cup if my swimming fitness has reached a new level.

Trying hard to make up for the bike

I exited the swim in a small group of 3 and wanted to do my best to stay with the other guys so I could have some others to push me to go faster.  Eventually they got away and I was soon passed by a few more people. The bike course was tough enough with the wind and the false flats. I rode the course in 2:20 and lost about 7 spots during the 56 miles.  The last 10 miles were especially hard and tested my patience since I had not done enough bike mileage leading up to the race to feel confident and composed during a longer bike race.

Running got a little harder with a pinched toe nerve

Even though I wasn’t feeling too hot when I jumped off the bike and headed into transition, I continued to execute my race plan. On the run course, I took the first mile very relaxed and then held a good tempo during the first half of the 13.1 miles.  The run course was a flat two lap route through downtown Augusta.  By the end of the first half of the run, I knew I had implemented a good nutrition plan during the bike and by taking two more gels on the run.  On the second loop I did my best to increase my effort each mile in order to hold my pace steady.  The only problem I had over the course of the run was a nagging foot pain that felt like a pinched nerve in my toe. Fortunately, I was able to tune out the pain and run a solid 1:16 half marathon. I passed the guys who passed me during the bike and finished in a respectable 10th overall in 4:00:45.

Go Army! Go Team RWB!

Thanks to my parents, Heather, and Nick Chase for all their support throughout the race.  Special thanks to Amrita Health Foods for their energy bars and Sable water optics for superior goggles. I was proud to Wear the Eagle and represent Team Red, White and Blue, the Army and GHLF.  I was also honored to ride one of Ben Serotta’s Time Trial bikes and I wish the best for him and the other guys of the original Serotta Cycles.  Next time I race this distance will be at the end of the month at the Austin Ironman 70.3.