Last time I was here I was by myself. This year, I had company and races are always more fun when you race with friends. It was extra special when you have multiple friends doing their first 70.3. I remember the first time I did mine, it was so never wrecking and I could see that in my friends as well. This time I was only sick.
The day before: I woke up early and head to Augusta with a fever. Yes, you read right: a fever, so I was really mad at myself. I was not feeling good for the past couple of days and maybe I could have prevented this if I went to the doctor earlier in the week. Well, too late for that. Besides the drive, riding for 30 minutes, running one mile and going to the athlete meeting, I didn’t do much, I rested tons. I hydrated a lot and I took tons of Advil to control my fever. It is very stupid, I know I should put my health above all of this but this was my first 70.3 since Chattanooga 2015 and I was really looking forward to do it. So this is judgment free zone, okay??? I did it anyway.
The day of: Well, let’s not pretend I slept. I was up every hour, soaked in sweat and cold. I get ready around 5 am, drove to the host hotel which is close to the finish and start lane. The swim is point-to-point, therefore transition is the middle of nowhere. There were buses running from the host hotel to transition quite often. I took one of them there and back. My time into transition was quick. I set everything up and I suddenly realized I have too much time to wait. All I wanted was to get 20 years older in a hour so I could start right away. Not a possibility so I popped another Advil and waited FOREVER!!!
Swim: I had really high hopes to be under 30 minute, my PR on this course, but it went out of the window once it was announced that the water temperature was just too high and if you wanted to be qualified for awards, you could not wear them. If you did not care about the awards and still wanted to wear a wetsuit, you would be allowed to do it so. The catch? You are now on the last start wave. Remember that I wanted to get 20 years older in a hour… so I was not waiting more that I had to. Two minutes before my start, I jump in and the water is a bit chilly. I guess that it is not too bad, I think. It was not that bad, I survived. The swim is uneventful, some weeds here and there, but overall I had an okay swim. I was only 37 seconds slower than my PR. Not too bad considering this was not wetsuit. Swim time: 30:37.
T1: This has to be the longest run ever. At least, it felt like that. Time: 03:36
Bike: I had a fever so the game plan was to take easy and that is exactly what I did. The course was a bit different than the previous years so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I found out about change on the course, and therefore elevation, too late and decided not to worry about things that were out of my control. I trained with some hills so I figured I would be okay and I was. I started getting passed by angry 20 year old (they started after me) and yelling at people to keep left was not fun. A lot of people were in the middle of the road when they are supposed to stay on the left. That was not only irritating but also DANGEROUS, especially on a 4,000+ people race. I really wish people respected more the rules. Everything was going as planned till I realized that I did not have one of my bottles. My nutrition was gone and I was on mile 13. Great. I had to improvise with gels and gatorade. The ride was good and it started to get really hot around mile 40. Oh boy. Time: 3:15:35
T2: I had to pee and find my advil. It was a very slow transition. Time: 06:20
Run: This is when I realize racing was a mistake. It was 96F and I had the chills, hard to know if it was from: heat exhaustion or fever. I decided to run to each aid station. That dream was soon over before reaching mile marker 3. I needed ice, water, anything to cool down and the aid station was over a mile away. I had to walk for a minute and then, the mental battle began. I walked for a minute and run again till the next station. I kept running, till I reached the same place again (it is a 2 loop course). The difference this time was I had to walk longer, like 5 minutes longer. Once I reached that turn around aid station I was on my game again: the one that I ran to the next aid station. Time: 2:16:53
Finished, sick and I promise never to do that again. I drove back to Atlanta after the race. The next morning I made a stop to the doctor’s office and it seemed that I had some kind of acute sinus on top of a strep, sore throat. What a combo! What a race! A race with no pictures. I must have been really sick and distracted.