An EPIC Relay Adventure at Ironman 70.3 Augusta

After months of training runs through the grueling, hot summer the day was finally here.  I was about to take one of the most epic road trips I have been on with three girls I barely know but who would become my friends for life. We started our estimated 665 mile trip from Baton Rouge and picked up our swimmer Larisa in Mobile on our way to Augusta on a beautiful morning with some fun along the way.

roadtrip

The next morning after Laura got her practice bike ride in, we did some sightseeing and headed to the expo at the Augusta Convention Center for check in. ( I was dying to get my blue band to feel like I was a part of the weekend event ) The expo was small in comparison to the ones we runners go too like the Rock ‘n’ Roll races but those can get overwhelming as well. We did get a couple shirts, try some jerky samples and got some relief with some Active Release Therapy. (Only a 10 minute wait) I needed this desperately since my IT Band was already throbbing from being on my feet so much.

swag

While waiting I met Kevin Swenson. At 53 years young he has done 13 Ironman’s including one Double (which he said was the hardest thing he has done yet). The locations he has done vary from New Zealand, France, Africa, Australia and this weekend would be his first 70.3 can you believe? (Of course he killed it on Sunday with a Finish time of  5:19:01)

Check out his tattoos:

kevin

Next up we went to go check out the transition area so we could strategize. Fortunately it was laid out very well and marked for those directionally challenged like myself!

transition

Then we went to the Finish area a couple miles away to check out the Finish line while there wasn’t anyone around. (OK yes it may have been bad luck but it wasn’t fully setup yet.) Speaking of I was surprised to so many people wearing there race shirts. Us runners don’t tend to wear them til after the race but TRI athletes seem to like to get there game face on early.

finish

4:45am came early the next morning but we wanted to get out there early to park and head to body marking. The sea of bikes and people out that early was incredible. The sun started to rise as well as the excitement level. It was amazing to watch the nerves and exhilaration in everyone’s faces. They had trained for this day for months. Before we knew it the Elites were out first at 7:30am.

race morning

We took a few pictures and even ended up on IM Augusta’s FB page:

augusta

I saw the cutest race support ever. These kids cracked me up!

race support

Since we were the Relayers we were the last wave which wasn’t until 9:20am. Waves were 4 minutes apart and went off like clock work. Spotters were on the bridge to look for anyone struggling. Kayakers and paddle boarders as water support were also prepared to help. I would make my way to the bridge to take pictures of Larisa for the swim while Laura headed to transition to prepare for her bike portion when Larisa came through. She was easy to spot with her tattoos and I scored some great pictures. She completed her 1.2 mile swim in 29:11 which was under her goal. She was pumped with excitement.

swim

Next up Laura headed out for her 56 mile bike ride.  She was going to get to bike through two states Georgia and South Carolina. How cool is that?!

bike

The weather was lenient to the race participants and spectators today with a temp of 80 for the high, 67% humidity and a good bit of cloud coverage through out the day which I hugely appreciated for the upcoming run portion. I made sure to snack on salted almonds, peanut butter crackers and Gatorade while I was waiting on Laura. I wanted just enough food for energy but not weigh me down. I applied some biofreeze and sunblock. Larisa helped me stretch out my hip flexors and IT band. Both she and Michelle (our race support for the weekend) kept me company while Laura was out for her ride. The plan originally was to go to the Finish area to go watch some of the Elites come in but unfortunately we discovered it was a 2 mile walk there and back. I just couldn’t do it. I was already sore and needed to save my legs. We could only check on Laura with the IM Tracker with the one split halfway through the course. We knew she was well prepared for the ride with adequate fluids and nutrition which would help her recover quickly after the race. About 45 minutes before she came in I headed to transition to prepare mentally for the run ahead. I had never ran a Half Marathon in the middle of the day on tired legs, without music and with the nutrition I had taken in so I was a bit concerned.

As it got closer to the time for Laura to come in and tag me I started to get anxious and was ready to head out and see what I could do. I knew today would not be a PR day but I wanted to do my team proud. Spotting Laura coming in to transition was awesome  I went out in force. The ride was more challenging for Laura then expected with all the steady inclines but she did a great job and came in at 4:14:38. The first loop of the two loop run course was easier than the first since there were more people but I knew most of the runners out there were actually on there second loop. Fluids and nutrition on the course were still found in abundance which was a relief since I didn’t start my run til about 2:30pm. The roads were flat as promised but many were at an angle as I fought to keep as straight of a path as possible for my cranky IT band. This weared on my pace badly. The 2nd loop was scarce with people as I expected. At that point I was anxious to get closer to that finish line. Soon I was at Mile 12 and spotted my crew who were there cheering for me and took a few pics.

ASICS sponsorship perhaps?

ASICS sponsorship perhaps?

That was the last push I needed to make it to that 13.1 finish line with a time of 2:12:37. Our total relay team time was 7:02:28. They announced relay team “Tag Your It” was in and I had did my job. I collected our three relay medals and hats, proudly gave them to Laura and Larisa. I thoroughly enjoyed being in the Ironman world for the weekend and the hospitality of Georgia. Sharing this experience with Laura and Larisa was awesome! They did amazing!

finsih

and what better way to end our journey but a dip in the cold Savannah river after the race!

Did I mention I cant swim? Fortunately Larisa stayed close!

epic

Laura and Larisa are already talking about coming back next year. 🙂

Check out  my teammate Larisa’s recap here Part 1 & Part 2

We also met Cynthia from “You Signed Up for WHAT?! during our weekend adventure. She did her first solo 70.3 in  a remarkable time of 6:18:48. Her thorough recap is up and can be found here.

I am thankful for the experience to come to a new place and partake in my first Relay with two amazing ladies. #IM703Augusta was incredible to see. Congratulations to all you inspiring athletes that have the courage to toe the line at the Start and the heart to carry you through the Finish.

#TeamTagYourIt

 

 

Countdown to Augusta! #IM703Augusta

11 days 22 hours

Tick Tock

Tick Tock

and currently the Savannah River (the 3rd most toxic river in the nation) is under a swimming ban plus our relay swimmer Larisa had her wet suit lifted during a practice swim recently that she had to scramble to replace. Oh, did I mention on my 12 mile training run a couple weeks ago I fell at mile 8 of my run and had to get 3 stitches afterwards due to a small hole in my knee? BUT I finished all 12! Can I get a fist pump?

I may get knocked down but I WILL get back up!!!

I may get knocked down (ok, fall down)  but I WILL get back up!!!

Then our Bib#’s came in and it started to become REAL!
teamtagyourit bib

So next Friday I will be going on an epic road trip with our biker Laura to a place I have never been, to do my 1st ever Relay. I have never seen an Ironman event so I am quite excited. Secretly I am hoping to see some of the Elites finish before I have to get to transition for my part of the race .  #IMARUNNER

map.2png

The Ironman motto is “Anything Is Possible” and  I am beyond excited to see it first hand at this event and be inspired by so many athletes whom have trained for months to cross this Finish line.

Good luck also to those doing Ironman Chattanooga which will be held on the same day. (Special shout out to my dear friend Susan Hayden who will be one of the Chattanooga IM Finishers) Do Greatness! 

Watch this video to see why I am in complete awe of those IRONMAN Finishers that do the training, step up to the start and cross the finish. Perhaps it will inspire you..

If you missed how this Relay idea started check it out here from my previous blog post in April. BTW: This race sold out a week after I registered our team! 

Wish us luck!!!!  

BIB#3456

BIB#3456

How relay team ‘Tag Your It’ was born #im703Augusta 172 days!

This past weekend I was checking out the posts from the Galveston,TX 70.3 race and I was truly inspired. So much so I put a post on Facebook and much to my surprise it got a ton of feedback quick!!!
question
When I put it out there I truly felt like the kid in baseball that would be picked for the team last. Would anyone want to be my partner for a relay? SCORE! Several people piped up. I was thrilled beyond words.

Quickly it was between Ironman 70.3 in Augusta, GA on 9-28-14 or Austin, TX on 10-26-14.
I pulled the elevation chart for both races to see how it was for the run and hands down Augusta was MUCH flatter than Austin. For Augusta the bike is rolling hills with views of both Georgia and South Carolina. The swim is down river (fast) and the run is flat with spectators everywhere. Austin is 7 hours away and Augusta is 10 hours away. Which one would we choose?

Larisa Dixon a blogger in Alabama from Zero to Twenty Six Point Two quickly said she would be our swimmer. She was already training for her first solo 70.3 for New Orleans in 2015 so this would be great training for her. She has never done a Triathlon relay but has done a couple running ones and has 9 years experience on a national swim team. Laura Melder from Baton Rouge a runner that I have seen at a few local races quickly chimed in to be our biker. She has a specialized Dolce road bike. Laura has never done a bike race before but she said she would train like a mad woman during the summer so I was sold on her. I am not looking to place at this race since I believe on the IM 70.3 Relays there are no age group awards it is just Top 3 overall. I am just looking for a great experience. A relay has been on my “list” for a while now and what better one to do than at a 70.3 event! Plus I think it would be fun to be part of a team and make some new friends in the process.

After getting a bit more feedback and checking with hubby Augusta was the better fit.
Next, in order to register we had to pick a team captain which Larisa said I could take on so the next task was to pick a team name.
Suggestions I came up with: Scrambled Legs, Tag You’re It, Wind Kickers, Apple Bottomed Dreamers, You had me at Medal, Life is one big transition, Liquid Awesome, Wind at our backs, Team Awesome, Team, Hi my name is,

Everyone liked “Tag Your It” so within minutes it was done. (I like these girls)
The Active website only gave you 15 minutes to register so I had to quickly collect everyones info and on the second attempt our team was created and we were registered!
registered
Next is to research and get tips like crazy (which hello, have you met me I LOVE that part!)
I found information on each leg of the race for Augusta as well as the FAQ for which had info on the Relay.

I have several friends that have done 70.3 events and full Ironmans but none that has done a Relay as of yet so if YOU have any tips please post under comments on this post. Until then I will look online to find race recaps. I find those helpful but of course they all vary based on their own personal experience, location, weather conditions etc.

Coincidentally my friend Jennifer Zenuch posted on her blog Monday (the same day this idea was born) “Do Something that Scares you”. Well I think this qualifies!! Training through the heat of the summer for a race that you have to travel 10 hours for, to a place you have never been, with people you barely know. um yeah!

What have you done lately that was a bit out of your element?

Ironman 70.3 Augusta 172 days! Let the countdown begin! 9-28-14

Let the countdown begin! My 1st Relay Event in 172 days !! Ironman 70.3 Augusta, GA 9-28-14

Next up: FORGE Racing’s Faint of Heart Unicorn 4-miler trail run this Saturday morning in Woodville, MS. It will have an elevation gain and loss of 1700 feet!!! Can you say YIKES!! I am bringing a couple of the kids to this one. They will like the change in scenery (4 waterfalls, creeks, hills) It is going to be scenic and challenging. You can guarantee a recap next week on the blog 🙂