I was looking for a fast course to PR and break 5:30… the number is something that physically I can do. After 70.3 Miami I was devastated, I was so close to break that number. That race was the first time that I ended up in a medical tent, so hot, so destroyed and burned out. For me to do another 70.3 would need to be with a nice weather and a fast leg. Enter 70.3 Augusta.
So the hard work was done and finally my second Ironman 70.3 (third half) was in the horizon. I was sold that the course was fast, with a ridiculous super fast swim, where you swim along the current of the Savannah River, some little rolling hills on the bike and a flat run in the town. Sounds good, but it didn’t ended as I expected.
My team headed up to Georgia for the race. We trained harder than last year, and although there were times we were gonna break, we didn’t and finished all the workouts successfully. Our first night it was a mission to find somewhere to eat. The first place we entered, they didn’t have alcohol (how was that even possible), the second place they had alcohol but no food… until we ended up in an Irish Pup like tavern… where they had both. The hotel where we stayed was kinda old… at least the elevators were not breaking down. At night we were scared because a train will pass 2 to 3 times a night going CHOOOO-CHOOOOOO all the way in order to wake up the whole town. To our surprise the railtrack was next to the hotel. Why the train would pass making such an entrance around 2am or 4am? We were thinking, maybe nobody lives in this town… some parts of it really look from The Walking Dead… a ghosttown.
Anyways… next day we did some prerace workouts and notice a lot of false flats and windy conditions. At night we have a nice dinner with the team and we were looking forward to race already. Race morning I wake up, did my normal morning rituals, but I kept going to the restroom more than usual. Whatever, we reunite with the rest of the team on the lobby and headed out to transition to set up everything. Once back we chill a bit in our rooms until our waves started (mine was almost the last wave with a start time of 9:05am). While in the room my stomach was in pain… I tried to relax, went to the restroom and nothing. I had diarreah that it seems left me pretty empty. I went to Bernie’s room and chugged some Peptos… headed down to the race start.
Race start was really nice. You walked up to a board walk and from then to the water and start. Saw all my teammates start and then suited up in the wetsuit and headed out. Water was cold and nice. I was afraid I would suffocate in the wetsuit, but the water was cold enough to avoid any overheating issues. Super fast swim… right there with my predicted times.
Long transition run to T1, stripped out the wetsuit and head out. The bike at the beginning was flat, I heard the toughest part was around mile 26, so if anything I was saving legs for it. Like in training this time I hold back a lot so I would have legs to run afterwards. At least that was my analysis from 70.3 Miami. It was windy, the weather was really nice, but the were lots of hills…. Lots of them.
There were times that I would need to go to small ring… not that I didn’t mind, but still…. There were nice down hills, that I would go at suicidal speeds in order to get momentum for the next hills. But then again more, and more hills. I catched up to Carla on the bike, so was nice to see a familiar face, chat a bit, her partner Donna was a referee and caught us and snap some pics :) and then continued on. At the end I was telling to myself if I saw one more fucking hill I’ll kill someone!
Finally I got to T2. So far everything seemed good, no stomach issues, legs seemed ok. For the first time I put socks on T2, (I only do these in Ironman… the rest of the races have been sockless) and went out. I am slow runner but the plan was to go to at a decent pace and not to blow up like in Miami 70.3. Everything seemed fine… flat run, lots of crowds cheering, finally saw coach and some familiar faces all around. Around mile 5, I was feeling hungry… like starving hungry, I knew my nutrition was on point as practiced, but still my tummy was growling. Continued as practiced… had a gel in order to trick my belly, but after a while it didn’t work. Mile 8 I decided to take an orange to see if the hunger will ease. Mile 9 I was fading and an insanely runner’s itch below my right rib started to take the best of me. I decided to run walk to each mile… but the itch was so intense that felt like if someone was stabbing me… never felt a runner’s itch so strong. I felt like I wanted to throw up in order to ease the pain… but although I wanted... I couldn’t… not even putting my finger in my mouth worked.
I was thinking, just a 5k to go… is nothing! But everytime I started running the itch stopped me… it was so painful that I wanted to cry. I started walking the last 4 miles. So disappointed that I couldn’t do anything. Trained harder than last year, more intelligent than last year but I was failing in more epic proportions. On the last mile Carla catch up to me an encouraged me to run with her. I tried… painful but at least she distracted me from the pain, stopped… felt bad that she had to stopped because of me. Continued and finally saw the finishing chute and the ending to this horrible and really painful race. She started picking up the pace to the chute and told her to go… I just couldn’t keep up with the pace increase. I saw all my teammates & coach cheering in the chute, and I send them to hell with my finger. Tried to make my panda jump, but I couldn’t get off into the air, that ended in the most ridiculous finish photo in history.
106th place AG
It was nice to see a South FL local, Dave, volunteering and giving the medals to the athletes. I just wanted to lay down, take out my shoes and die. So much pain. I was not prepared for those hills. My morning issue carryout thru the day. My runner’s itch came back the day after the race after I had to run to my other airplane connection in order to get back home… and still continued for almost the whole week. I was so pissed with myself, but there was nothing I could do. Shit happens and it happened that day in the ghost town.
In a good note it is always fun to travel with my teammates. Everything is fun & light when I'm around them and that makes all this pain worth it. Like my friend Ricky said, “Scrap the page and move on to the next one!".... Live and die another day.