Augusta 70.3 was my first 70.3 Ironman four years ago. Walking down to the river I remembered how I felt at this same place. I was excited to finish a 70 mile race and was not sure how I would do. It is interesting to look back and see the changes you have made and experience you have gained over the years.
Augusta is another one of my favorite races. It is a very spectator friendly course, especially on the run since we run up and down the streets of downtown about four times and we do that loop twice. There are so many people lined up on the streets cheering for everyone, lots of signs and I noticed a lot of kids. It really is a great energy. Something that always makes me smile is seeing the kids out cheering, with their hands reached out for high fives, they always are yelling out the cutest things. :)
Yesterday my main goal was to be in the top 5. After a short swim warm up we were all lined up on the floating dock. The pro men were starting 3 min ahead of us. As the cannon went off and they dived off the dock it was pushed back and us girls lost our balance. It must have looked pretty funny. I fell onto the dock... It made me laugh! We weren't expecting the whole dock to move, I guess. 3 min later it was our turn to start. As the swim started, arms were hitting me from every side, it was a rough swim start. I got hit in the head pretty hard and dunked. I ended up swallowing a bunch of water and was coughing and couldn't breathe. I felt like I was drowning. I stopped swimming, tried to catch my breathe and just watched the girls swim away from me. :( The lifeguards asked if I needed help. After a few seconds which felt like minutes, I started swimming again. I wasn't going to let this ruin my race. I caught up to the girls in the back and passed them. I was the 5th girl out of the water but didn't know my place at the time. I saw some girls running out of transition when I was getting out of the water so I knew they weren't too far ahead.
I started out on the bike with a couple cyclists in sight. Within the first 10 miles I passed them. My legs were feeling pretty sluggish and I felt like I couldn't get going. I was hoping my legs would warm up. Around 20 miles I started to feel a sharp pain in my side. Every time I took a deal breathe it hurt worse. I was beginning to worry I wouldn't be able to run if it didn't go away . I was feeling a little frustrated with how I felt. A girl who had been behind me in the swim caught me on the bike and passed me. That made me a little more frustrated. Normally that doesn't happen to me on the bike. A referee came by and pointed at me and held up 4 fingers...I was confused at first (thought I did something wrong!) then he said "you are #4. Go get em!" At that point I realized I was doing better then I thought and I tried to just ignore the way I felt and go as hard as I could. Another 10 miles and 2 more girls caught me on the bike. I kept them in sight until the end of the ride.
The pain in my side continued for the first 4-5 miles of the run then it started to subside and I started feeling a lot better towards the 2nd half of the run. I really wanted to catch up to the girls ahead of me but I was a bit behind at that point and they had already put some time on me in the run. I finished in 6th place (4:35). I wouldn't consider this a great race for me, the top 5 girls smoked me in the run...my best races are yet to come.
After the race I took a quick shower and went back to the run course and watched everyone else finish the race. My sister, boyfriend and some teammates were also racing. I became a spectator for the next couple hours. Sometimes it is fun watching the race from the other side of the fence! (When you are finished, of course) :)