70.3 Austin…. What can I say?! This race holds a special place in my heart. I have raced there three times throughout my 5 years as a professional and I took my first ever 70.3 win there last year. I was excited about coming back to Austin but was well aware that defending my title would present it’s fair share of challenges. I even flirted with the idea of racing 70.3 Los Cabos because Justin was heading there and I was somewhat intrigued by a new and different race. But the low travel cost and the direct flight to Austin made for easy logistics. Not to mention that I have cousins from South Africa who live in Austin making the decision to go back to Texas a no brainer.
I flew in on Thursday and before I knew it, I was up early and ready to tackle the race on Sunday morning. I try to eat my pre race breakfast 3 hours before the gun goes. For those interested, check out my hydration and nutrition plan that has revolutionized my 70.3 racing here: http://firstendurance.com/sports/triathlon/jeanni-seymour/
With uncharacteristic cold and rainy temps in 2015, nutrition and hydration played less of a factor. But it is typically very hot and humid in Texas and I was well prepared for a warm one this time around. One of the biggest lessons that I have learned this year is the importance of adequate hydration. I found out early in the year that I have quite a high sweat rate and I tend to lose a lot of salt. I use EFS (lemon lime flavor is my favorite flavor) in training and racing to make sure all of my bases are covered. It not only tastes great but has a high sodium content which helps prevent cramping and makes sure I am topped off on fluid and carbohydrate. I have 4-5x 26oz. bottles of EFS on my bike for every 70.3 race.
Photo: Mario Cantu
After setting up my bike in transition, I headed down to the swim start. It was still dark and I was surprised by how much fog was out there. I could not even see the water! By 7am the fog still wasn’t lifting and the race organization decided to delay the start 1 hour. 60 minutes had clicked by and we were still unable to see beyond the waters edge. At that point, the disappointing call was made to cancel the swim.
Photo: Mario Cantu
This meant that it would be a time trial bike start. We would be sent off 30 seconds apart in numerical order. I had to quickly adapt to this change as the entire dynamic of the race would be different. I was able to keep calm and take this as an opportunity to ride and run as strong as I could.
As the defending champ, I was the first to be sent off. Having had a similar experience with a cancelled swim at 70.3 Racine in July, I was mentally prepared and knew that putting together my most even, well paced bike-run combo would put me right at the front of the race. I also knew with the temperature rising it was going to be a tough, hot run. So I made sure to ride conservatively and set myself up for my best run possible by drinking 4 full bottles of EFS.
Photo: Scott Flathouse
I came into T2 in second behind uber-biker Melanie McQuaid. With the time trial start I had no idea how any of the other girls rode or how they would run. All I knew was that I would have to have a very fast run if I wanted a shot at the best time and overall win. My legs came around quickly off the bike and my focus was to keep drinking at every aid station and push as hard as I could from start to finish.
Once again, I was able to have the fastest run split of the day and take the overall win by 10:31.
To win the race, defend my title and fight through some adversity felt absolutely incredible.
It was great to have my cousin Jono at the finish who greeted me with a big hug and handed me my Ultragen recovery drink. I was able to enjoy the win but recovery was on the top of my mind with another race in just 14 days time in China.