The Taper and Road to Augusta

So I’m actually post-Ironman Augusta 70.3, but I had wanted to capture my thoughts the final days before I left for Georgia so I’m doing a backdated blog. Because it’s my blog and I can do what I want 🙂

I had heard from several friends about the magical and mysterious taper. It was supposed to be a time when training drastically slowed down, things in your mind went crazy, and you would likely get sick. Well I was looking forward to training slowing down, but I wasn’t about to let those last two things to happen.

My schedule had me running 11 miles two weeks before Ironman Augusta 70.3. Ugh. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. It was mid-September and still hot as all get out in Dallas. I decided I would loop White Rock Lake which is 9 miles, and then tack on an extra out 1 mile, back 1 mile to reach my leave-me-alone11 miles. I strapped on my Hydrapak and headed out for the lake around 9 am. I made my way around the lake listening to my music, saying hello to a few folks, stopping at the dog park for a stretch, and generally just not thinking about running or Augusta. I reached my starting point and knew I had only 2 more miles to go. I ran out exactly 1.00 miles and abruptly turned around to run back 1.00 miles to reach 11.00 miles total. I sat down on the curb next to my car…and started crying. I didn’t realize at the time exactly why the tears where coming out of my eyes. Sure, I was tired after running 11 miles. I haven’t run over 10 miles since I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland half marathon in May. But I think I was also tired in general from the months of training. I was physically tired, and maybe a little emotionally tired. And then I realized – I think I’m crying because it actually just hit me that I am going to do this. I can do a 70.3 race. I WILL do a 70.3 race in two weeks. And that happy thought made me smile while I still had tears running down my cheeks.

I had a few short workouts the rest of the week, and then I thought I was home free to entering magical taper time with one week until my race. WOO HOO!! Well I was quite surprised when my coach sent me my schedule, and it still had workouts listed. WHAT. I thought taper meant no more workouts. Well, apparently I was wrong. So I listened to coach and still did my workouts the week before the race. My body wanted to eat everything in sight…twice.

I also had grand plans about how smoothly work was going to be the week before the race. I had set out a coverage plan and everything was set in place. Well unfortunately my best laid plans didn’t take into account the unpredictability that can occur in any work environment, and things at work became very hectic the last days before I took off for Georgia. I did my best to manage my stressors as best as I could, while admittedly having Georgia on my mind. Sara told me I had to throw my well controlled plans out the window, and just roll with what came my way. Thank you, Sara.

I revisited my logistics plan for getting to and from Georgia. And this is where my mind went crazy. The boyfriend and I were driving from Dallas to Augusta, which is about 950 miles each way. The weekend before we were leaving, I decided that leaving Thursday morning wouldn’t give us enough time to get to Augusta by Friday at noon (I wanted to be at expo and packet pickup as soon as it opened). So I decided that we would leave Wednesday night. Sure, it cost one more night in a hotel than originally planned, but I needed to get to Augusta as soon as possible.


Novia was driving from Dallas to Augusta all on Friday, and my parents were driving from Tampa to Augusta on Friday so we would all meet at our rental house Friday. Logistics felt set. Then I started to actually panic about fitting the amount of stuff we were bringing in the car. And I started panicking about transporting my bike. I originally planned on using my hitch bike rack and transporting Snoop outside of the vehicle. I started researching covers to help keep him safe while he hung on for dear life back there. But then I kept replaying all of the horror stories I’ve heard about bikes getting damaged – or worse, falling off – external bike racks. So then I decided I would get an interior stand, pop off the front wheel, and transport my bike upright inside the trunk. But I had about 4 days (2 weekend days) to figure this system out. Online shopping wasn’t yielding anything I could get fast enough. I messaged my friend Rob who I knew had one to ask if he purchased it locally. Rob didn’t get back to me within 5 minutes, so I spiraled and started calling every local bike shop in the area. I found a store that had one – 20 miles away – and I hopped in the car and drove there immediately with my bike so we could test this out. Price (almost) be damned, I NEEDED this solution for my sanity.

The local bike shop employee was kind of enough to listen to my panic, and then set up the rack inside of my vehicle for me. Phew, it fit. I think took off my front wheel and slide my bike in upright to practice attaching it to the rack. But my bike wouldn’t fit. My seat post was too tall. I profusely thanked the employee for his assistance, but the bike rack wasn’t going to work for me. I drove back home reeling about another solution.

Luckily, Novia had been privy to my panic about this and texted me when I was driving home.

Just take the front wheel off and lay your bike on top of your stuff. If Britney can survive 2009, you can survive this.

Thank you, Novia. I hadn’t wanted to do this because I thought it gave opportunity for my bike to get damaged, while being tossed around in the back, but it became my only option so I headed home to practice packing. Yes, practice packing. I schlepped all of the  crap really important stuff I planned on taking out to the garage, and practiced packing for the road trip.  Rob called me while I was being a nut a practice packing, and he helped talked me down off the ledge. Thank you, Rob. I was able to see that all of my stuff was going to fit, and it was all going to be okay.

Practice packing

Practice packing the car for the drive to Augusta.

I got through my last few days of work, finished packing (and repacking and checking, and repacking again…checked the weather and saw forecast of rain so I repacked again…), had a massage, a last visit to cryotherapy (thank you, Kelly), one last tune up with the chiropractor (thank you, Dr. Adam), and memorized my hydration and nutrition plan. I reread all of the notes and postcards my mom had mailed me the month leading up to Augusta (thank you, mom). I read all of the good luck texts and messages from friends, family and teammates (thank you Katy, Tarina, Hayley, Jeff, Julia and my Bib Rave Pro friends, Coach Chris, Liz, Emily, Chuck, my DFW Tri Club friends, Jody, Jesse, Jen, and everybody that commented on Novia’s daily social media diaries in the days leading up the race.)

Thank you to everyone who sent me words of encouragement. I read each one and was very touched by your words.  I quietly retreated to myself and we set off Wednesday evening for Georgia. I was finally on the road and heading towards my first 70.3. Maybe I had suffered a case of the taper crazies, but I took and deep breathe and we began the long drive.