If You Never Tri, You'll Never Know!

Ironman Ohio 70.3 (2019)

I remember when they announced an Ironman 70.3 in Ohio; I jumped out of my skin and signed up for the inaugural event in 2016 (here's that race report if you want to rewind for a minute). Over the last years, they've made some improvements and this year was SO much better!!!

My Girls!

As you know, I'm already in Ohio and I knew I would be back when I signed up. Momma signed up too and Steph (a Team TOA athlete and good friend). Saturday was all things and I could kick myself for not planning a Friday arrival. I hate being rushed through race prep!! We did packet pick-up, race brief, run bag check in at the stadium then bike and bike bag check in at the lake, a mini swim, an emergency lunch, and hotel check in. Way too much stress for a 4 hour period! I felt like a chaotic mess trying to fill the gear bags from the trunk of the car. The good news is, it all happened. Nothing was forgotten nor lost. And we still got to dinner by 6pm!

Race morning was early and of course, anxiety. Why do I do this every single darn time? It doesn't seem to matter how many are on my resume, how long or short the swim, the body of water, wetsuit or not...it's always the same butterflies trying to kill me from the inside out!
Steph was super calm and mom was singing and dancing.

Practice Your Sighting!! And always swim buoy to buoy.
Swimming in the Delaware State Park lake: the water was just under 80 (wetsuit optional). I opted OUT. Can you believe it!? No wetsuit for this girl, in preparation for no wetsuit in Kona. We all started at the back of the 45-50min self seeded swim but guys, the self seeding was FUBAR (which we learn once we start swimming). I went out expecting a 45min swim finish. That was before entering the war zone that was the 1.2 mile swim...

I was swimming over, under, and through a mess of people for 55mins. I'm not kidding! If I had to guess, I was swimming with all brand new swimmers! They were flipping and flopping, punching, kicking, they were vertical, grasping on kayaks - just all over the place! I have a SCRATCH on my back from one girl who scratched the shit out of me. And that was after I got PUNCHED with a closed fist in my ribs. A closed fist! Aren't we swimming!?

You know me, I'm buoy to buoy so "inside" was my only way out. I had free water here and there but was mostly swarmed by people who didn't seem to know how to swim. The final 500 meters I was confronted by a Bermuda triangle of people. They were in every direction, complete chaos and they weren't swimming. They were vertical! WT for real F!? I couldn't get around them and suddenly felt like I was sinking. I scanned the horizon for a kayak and nothing. OMG - panic. Keep it together Lisa, just swim away hard and fast. I barely escaped!! And probably swam my fastest those last few hundred. Later I learned that many experienced swimmers had a similar experience and a really long/slow swim. We also noticed a current - in a lake!? And the boats were creating a nasty wake. I have no idea what was going on, but it was a super ODD swim!! I'm lucky to have made it out alive in 55mins! Whatever though, I feel like I podium EVERY time I finish a swim!

Quick T1 at 4:13 <--- at least I'm fast at something ;) and was actually even faster last year. I took my time ;)

A very happy bike!
Biking Delaware County: My bike kinda rocked too. Especially those first 20 miles. They disappeared quicker than a chicken on a junebug! I struck one hour at 20 miles; something I haven't seen in a very long time! We had a sic tailwind and flat, newly paved roads. Even in the headwind (which got more serious towards the end) I held a great pace and felt strong. The hills were minimum with only 750 feet of elevation gain. My nutrition was on point w/half a honey stinger waffle or half a Belvita cracker every 30mins. I drank at least 3 bottles of water (probably a bit more) and licked Base Salt every 10 miles - I knew the run would be killer hot. I crossed the timing mat at 3 hours and 8 minutes. Woo!

T2 with speed at 3:51 <--- I could have been quicker, my safety pin busted open. Ahh!

Gosh I look miserable running!
Running H's: And then the run. All H's. Hard. Hot. Hilly. Hot as Hell. I fell a part a little bit but at least stayed pretty consistent and as Luca pointed out, had negative splits through the final miles. I've had a few really bad runs leading up to this race; it's something I'm working on big time from here forward! Part of it was delayed run training due to some medical issues when I first arrived in Ohio. The other part of it is I haven't found my right shoes yet. I've worn Zoot TT for years and had a stockpile of them. And I'm out. And they don't make them anymore. So I've been trying out different ones and I just can't get comfy in any! I ran this race in Brooks Levitate. I'm not in love. I ended up with blisters on the bottom of my toes. I know, right!?

My favorite part of the run course was catching up with Steph. She was circling her first loop while I was on my second. She was happy, had a great bike, and I was proud. We looked so sexy in our Team TOA kits. I tried to catch up on mom too but never did. The woman walks faster than we run!!

My run ended up being, just get it done however you can! And by the end I was counting cones just sweating my way to the finish line. 2:49 for 13.1 miles.

I crossed the finish line at 7:01. Ahhh!! I could have broke 7 hours. I wasn't even paying attention - silly girl. But it sure beats that 8+ finish in Barcelona, right!?

2016 compared to 2019 
Swim 47:40 Swim 54:55
Bike 3:02Bike 3:08
Run 2:34Run 2:49
Finish: 6:30Finish: 7:01

Clearly I had a better race in 2016 (6 hour 30 mins). I guess I was in better shape 3 years ago. And 3 years younger!! And potentially at the peak of my abilities. But I'm still happy with my 7 hour and 1 minute finish. It was a fun day with my team and we got SO  many compliments on our kits. #teamTOA - we TRI the World <3
But a strong finish! 
Race Course Details:
The swim is a clockwise triangle. Buoy's mark almost every 100 yards, over 70 kayaks in the water + boat support + two floating safety rafts. Lots and lots of support. It's self-seeded but I have a feeling since it's a beginner friendly course, it's very not seeded appropriately. Water temp was just under 80 making it wetsuit optional. Most years are no wetsuit - warm warm water!

T1 is at Delaware State Park. Big. Fast. Well organized.

The bike course is a flat and fast loop w/just a tiny section of rollers at the end. Website claims 450 feet of elevation gain, my Garmin claims 750 feet. Always a headwind somewhere out there. This year we had a strong 15mph+ tailwind going out (first 20 miles) and faced the wind for the next 36. The hilly section provides some relief.

Despite losing an athlete this year who was struck by a truck, the course was safe, well marked, and manned with a lot of police support. Cones separate the north and south bound lanes on busier roads and the country roads were mostly closed or minimal traffic. Police or medical vehicles manned every intersection.

T2 is at Selby Stadium downtown Delaware. Big. Fast. Well organized. Awesome turf!!

The run course is hilly and hot but includes a few shady sections. Lots of support at nearly every mile, ice and tons of spectators and volunteers w/water sprinklers.
It's a lollipop course with two loops around the lolli. Or the pop. What's the circle/candy end called!?
I forgot how hilly this course is. Be prepared! The run finishes at the stadium w/burgers and pasta cooking.

The race is well managed in my *professional* opinion and brings great attention to rural Ohio. Cornfields, beans, and country roads; charming and resilient!!

And a proud Coach!