Ironman 70.3 Jesolo-Venice (2022)
There are a lot of special points to make for this race.
1st, it was my 1st race back since finishing Kona in 2019. I did a virtual 70.3 in 2020 (during the pandemic lockdown) and an indoor mini tri in early 2022. How has it even been that long? Feel like a fraud much? So here is my explanation: after Kona I knew I wanted a little bit of a break. Little did I know the pandemic would hit and give us all that break. During this time we also decided to get serious about IVF so that became the priority. Hormones, weight gain, and then 5 months of pregnancy delayed me further. I signed up for Ironman 70.3 Jesolo-Venice after losing the baby. Training continued to prove to be difficult with an ankle injury then a knee injury then a month pause to Ohio for the death of my dad. Overcoming all this added to the push to toe this line...
2nd, we organized a team destination race. Obviously traveling to Italy isn't the easiest but we landed with 3 TOA athletes racing and a 4th onsite to support us. And that brings me to...
3rd, Michelle last minute booked travel from Florida and came for the race. We got her signed up last minute and what a heck of race she laid down only weeks after crushing Augusta 70.3.
4th, my in-laws, Zia Teresa, and Mavi and Sinjin made it to my race! Grouped with Gina's husband, Andrea, and Eva and her husband Alessandro, we had a huge support system on site. It was so fun!!
Luca couldn't make it due to being extending on a mission - which happened to be in Venice but he wasn't able to leave his position.
So let's go! I booked a beautiful condo overlooking the swim. This is always crucial for my swim/open water anxiety. I loved watching them anchor the buoys and considering I have more fulls under my belt than halfs, seeing the smaller course was JOYFUL. Oh yeah, baby, I can do that small circle ALL DAY.
We woke up to wind. Oh great. It's literally been calm everyday for a week leading up to this day. Wind means choppy water. I chose to enter the water at the very back of the pack. Gina and Michelle went in together way ahead of me. Part of me didn't want to fuss with other swimmers and part of me wanted to make sure I finished the race after the rest of the team (so I could see them all on the course and we could go straight to celebration when I finished). The swim was honestly tough. I forgot to put on glide so I chafed bad under my arms (wetsuit + salt water + my chub). Other swimmers weren't a bother and didn't have much anxiety... it was just rough water. Luckily the buoys were visible and I felt like there was plenty of support out there. So overall, my swim training was sufficient and despite only 1 open water practice, I felt successful in the water. I figured around 50 minutes. The best part was coming out to my family cheering and screaming with the announcers. Loved it!!
My Garmin: 2,105 yards | 53:33
Official Race Results: 2,000 yards | 52:53
T1 My Garmin = 7:23 (.72 miles total from swim exit to transition and out)
Official = 5:55
Wind also means headwinds and tailwinds on the bike...
I think they did this bike course all wrong. We went out and back over and over and over again - it was super annoying and honestly really slows your average pace! It should have been out for 28 and back. Or, a 56 mile loop. This area is so beautiful and we really could have gone inland a bit more for a big loop. I will give them, they had a ton of support out there and the roads were completely shut down for us. No vehicles at all! Considering all the support, this is also why I think they could have done one big loop.
My goal on the bike was catch the girls! Given the out and backs, I saw them multiple times within reach. I never did catch them but I bridged the gap and just missed them in T2.
It was super windy out there most of the time. Luckily it didn't bother me since I trained along the coast in the wind. But it was annoying. I felt strong and well trained out there! I wanted around 3 hours.
My Garmin = 55.79 miles | 3:12:42 (17.4mph avg)
Official = 56 miles | 3:14:57 (17.2mph avg)
T1 My Garmin = 4:20
T2 Official = 3:23
Given my ankle injury, knee injury, and gained weight, I was most worried about the run. I've been heavy and slow through training. My goal was 6mins run + 1min walk throughout - no matter what. I really kept up with this well until the last 5k. I wouldn't say I fell apart, but I definitely needed more walk breaks. I had fun though. I loved seeing all my people on the course and truly, the 13+ miles went by quick. I wanted under 3 hours.
The course was 3 loops + a tiny little 4th loop to the finish line. The first half of the loop was down a long road inside from the sea. The second half was down a long sidewalk along the sea. This section was the worst given the slabs/blocks of concrete that made up the sidewalk. I saw several athletes trip. It was also super super hot down through here. I think 2 loops would be a better setup. I do like loops though considering that's my run practice as well.
My only disappointment was knowing I wasn't going to hit my 7 hour goal. I blame it on the run - the 3rd loop and then the silly mini 4th loop got me. I still took the under 3 hours that I wanted on the run. My favorite part of the run was seeing my family over and over again and then the whole team at the end of loop 3.
My Garmin = 2:54:04
Official = 2:50:09
Overall Finish My Garmin = 7:12:03
Overall Finish Official = 7:07:17
Gina finished in 6:34 (training for an Ironman)
Michelle finished in 6:49 (just raced a 70.3)
Lisa finished in 7:07 (a little bit badass, a little bit broken)
A few more points:
- I believe the location of this race is a little misleading. Yes, it's in Jesolo. Which is NOT Venice. You are never in nor near Venice for this race. By boat, getting to Venice from Jesolo is quite complicated and by land, it's about 45mins drive or 60mins by bus.
- As mentioned, I would have setup the bike and run course differently.
- The race director was super awesome letting Michelle in the race at the last minute. I actually met him at the finish line.
- Great support on the course!!!!! Volunteers and local officials - fantastic.