Welcome to a new series: Event Reports! FN is partnering with local athletes in all areas to bring our readers accurate and honest reports of races and events that may be of interest to you, our fitness enthusiasts. Up first- Maura Granger, who is currently training for IM Florida, and giving us her view of this race from 2012. Ironman 70.3 Augusta is coming up September 29, 2013 and is sold out.

FN: What is an IRONMAN 70.3 race? 
MG: It is a 1.2 mile swim, followed by a 56 mile bike ride, then a 13.1 mile run.  If you add all the miles up, it equals 70.3 total miles in a single race.

FN: How is this race different for you?
MG: This one comes with a lot more anticipation than any other race that I have done before. Mainly because of the distance, but also because of the amount of time and training that I have put specifically into this race. It comes with a new bike, a new race kit (my race outfit) and a personal goal of 6 hours. When I started this triathlon journey 4 years and 30 pounds ago, it was just going to be a single race with my sister Beth.  It turned into a passion and love for me.

FN: What was your pre-race routine, or how did you start your day? 
MG: I set up my “station” the night before with everything I need as part of the mental prep needed for the next day. I finally rolled out of bed about 5:20am, slowing getting ready.  I ate a Greek yogurt with my beloved Mila (chia) seeds in it, and a Lara bar.  I lubed up all my “tender spots” with Body Glide (you can never over lube the areas that are important to you), and said, “Oh, I love this new Endurance Sisterhood kit”.  My goal was to get out of our room at 6-6:15 to catch the shuttle bus.  I arrived at the race site, find my bike, put on my head flashlight (yup – I have one, super geek!) and set up my transition area. I have my hot pink towel with all my gear. This race calls for more gear and food and setting it up for me to remember. Takes me no time at all to meet the girls around me. Some are nervous and have questions. I give away an extra GU and loan one my flashlight. Make a few jokes about how this is the “hot girl” bike rack. Anything to keep the pressure down and the focus on the fun!

FN: Thoughts before the start?

MG: As I am getting the top part of my wetsuit on and zipped, I adjust the goggle straps and realize “This is the FIRST race EVER where I am NOT racing to try to win.  All these girls around me, they mean nothing to me and my race!” What an amazing feeling that was to me.  I needed to get there and be at the start to finally be able to say that. It is all about me and my 6 hour personal goal.

Event Breakdown
MG: Swim– Finally they call our group to walk the plank and hop in the water.  I did, got to the middle of the river, like I was told (for the strongest current).  Was not half as cold as I thought 74 would be (with a full wetsuit). 4 minutes later, the horn blew, I started my watch and we were off.  Did I say started my watch, I meant to say hit a bunch of buttons for about 5 second figuring out how to start it… and I am OFF!  I decided early on that I am a decent enough swimmer for a down river stream to use as little energy as I could swimming, so that is exactly what I did. My goal was 30 minutes. I did 31, but with limited effort, focusing on sighting of the buoys, every 1/4 mile or so. As much as I loved the down river stream, I was not a fan of the bottom growing water plants that were in my face and I could touch. All I could think of the entire swim was “please let there NOT be any plants on me when I get out of the swim for the photo”… haha!  I light jogged into transition and yelled out “I want the best stripper” and one college age girl yelled out “me, I am a great stripper”  Her friends hysterically laughed at that, as did I.  I so set her up for that one, but all in good fun and laughs!

MG: T1 (Transition 1)– Wetsuit off, jog the one rack down for my bike.  I sat (something I have NEVER done) for this, putting on sock set #1, grabbing all my nutrition, etc. My T1 time is normally under 2 minutes, but here was over 5… I was ready for the bike, no sun to be seen yet with overcast skies. LOVING the weather so far.

MG: BikeI started out fast and strong for my first 30 miles, pulling almost a 22 mph average, trying to get settled into the ride. Of course with so many people on the course and with everyone’s names on their numbers (on the back of their jerseys), I am making friends along the way… yelling out “Passing on your left Mike”, “Thanks honey”, “coming up on your left Melissa”, “Thanks”, “On your left Jason, nice bike”… this is me the whole time on the bike.  I was passed only by 4 males, up until about mile 40 where then I started to see a few girls pass me by.  But Erin (my bike) and I had a nice, strong ride for quite a while. The feeding station was a bit tricky on the bike, slowly riding to the right to grab and transfer (into my bike bottle) and grab grub (banana & Bonk Breaker). I missed at least 1 bottle at each stop, OOPS! But managed to do it all on the bike without crashing. FUN! So many nice rolling hills on this ride and even a few good downhills.  After checking the odometer on my bike, my high speed for the day was 40.2 mph, a personal best for me.

MG: T2 (Transition 2)Rolling into transition area, there is a decent size, but quiet crowd, I yell out “We need to hear you cheering, it motivates us to move on, COME ON PEOPLE!” Into T2 for the next change.  This time, into my dry toe socks, after a good rub down on both feet of body glide (this would later save my feet, as this is the first long run where I got NO blisters. Body Glide on the toes is my new best friend! T2 was much the same as T1, butt on the ground, gather myself before I take off. Hat on, sunglasses (although I have seen no sun yet – YIPPIE), food, coconut water and I am OFF!

MG: Run– I started out within the first mile seeing Janet Congero Andersen (who I was so happy to see multiple times on the run course) and picking up a guy named Scott who was clearly not doing well, I talked to him for 4 miles giving him salt tablets, coconut water, talking him through that he could finish without issue.  This was also his first. After about 4 miles, he needed to walk and I did not, so I told him to “keep moving forward” and took off… at this point in time, all I wanted to see was my parents (who I knew were going to be at the race cheering me on).. mile 5 there they were.  Mom with her IRONMAN Support Crew t-shirt and Dad in his IRONDAD t-shirt (both gifts from me), cowbells in hand, cheering me on.  I knew that if I kept running, I’d see them again in a few miles, so off I went. Along the way I was not sure what I wanted to eat/drink, but I had my favorite coaches Adrian Goode, Mark Amato and Tasha Wallace in my head talking me through it. Coke and water this time, Perform and water next time, banana, Bonk Bar, coke, sponge… Lucky for me it was not hot and that was one less thing for me to worry about.  About mile 6, you pass by the finish area, so close, but yet so far still. Another lap to go, I can totally do this. The second lap was not as packed and as the miles wore on, I had to dig deep to keep the motivation up. I sang in my head, cheered for me (yes, I yell woot-woot randomly throughout my bike ride and run), cheered for others, made comments to other athletes “great pace”, “way to go girl”, “go get em” and “thanks for volunteering” to all that I see working the course. The first 11 miles were awesome, last 2.1 were a good reminder of why I was here. “This is about me, not anyone else, just me.”  I had been checking my watch the whole time and by mile 8 had been fighting back tears, knowing that I was going to exceed my goal of 6:00 hours. I finally get to the cones where I can pull off toward the finish line.  I was so close, I could see it. There were a few guys in front of me, so I slow up, as I don’t want to share my moment with them when I hear “And here comes Maureen Granger from Fort Myers, Florida.  Great job!” and with that I am through the chute and done with my race… Now the tears are flowing, but all happy ones. Finisher medal on and ready to celebrate! I see my mom and dad and go over and give them both big hugs (so happy they are there to see me finish).

Race Recap
FN: What is one awkward/interesting/humbling moment from this event?
MG: It seems within 5 minutes of finishing a 70.3, your legs give out, like you just filled them with Jello (FUN!!).  Took at least 30-45 minutes (and a massage) to be able to walk with confidence again and with that, pretty much every step was painful.

Division F 40-44 Rank: 82 of 243
Overall Rank: 1492 of 3335
1.2 mile Swim: 31:15 – T1: 6:16 – 56 Mile Bike: 2:44:19 – T2: 4:40 – 13.1 Mile Run: 2:21:03
= Overall: 5:48:33

Calories burned: 3144
Elevation Gained: 1916ft

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