With IM 70.3 Ohio being my first half, I would like to share my experience and lessons learned.
For anybody who doesn't know, I started my athletic journy as a runner and eventully entered the multisport world as a duathlete, competing in several short-course duathlons over the last few years. I never swam competitively, so the idea of open-water swimming was a little intimidating in the beginning. So, not only was this my first 70.3, but this was also my first triathlon! With that said, I would like to share my experience and some key takeaways from IM 70.3 Ohio.
Day before/Check-in: Be sure to thoroughly read the athlete guide and take note of check-in procedures for the day prior. I assumed they would have everything clearly marked and dummy-proof. To my surprise, there weren't many signs telling you where to go or pointing you in the right direction, leaving me quite confused and having to pull up the info last-minute on my phone. Check-in and setting up T1/T2 would have gone a lot smoother had I done my due diligence before arriving.
Swim: First, practice your sighting!!!! I barely practiced sighting and it showed. I was all over the place, and according to my watch, I swam close to 2 miles. Even if that is a little off, I still could have shaved quite a bit of time off had I practiced sighting. Second, if not wearing a wetsuit (swim was wetsuit optional due to water temp), there is no need to wear a tri top. I wore mine without really thinking about it and as I was swimming, I realized that it was acting like a parachute in the water and slowing me down.
Bike/Run: I didn't have too many takeaways from the bike or the run as I am pretty comfortable in these areas and had a pretty solid gameplan going in as far as strategy/nutrition. As always, I relied heavily on the aid stations which I believe to be paramount in any race. Even if you do not think you are thirsty or need that gel, take what you can get and load up!
Overall, it was a great experience. Seeing all of the fellow CTC members whether it be on the race course or cheering us on was rather inspiring. I definitely caught the bug, and have already started looking for my next HIM, which I have no doubt will lead to a full-distance IM race in the next year or two. I look forward to the many races to come!
Chip time: 6:32 - lots of room for improvement!