I am happy to report that my body has survived relatively unscathed from my second long course race of the year. Last weekend I raced the Rev3 Full at Cedar Point and shaved 23 minutes off my previous best time to finish in 9:37, which was clearly a surprise to me (and Matt, who thought something was wrong with the race clock, and his watch, and my brother's watch, and my new sister in law's watch.....).
My training and racing up through Rev3 had been going pretty well...and by "pretty well" I mean that is has been consistent and drama free. I'm learning that to get the work done, I really just need to focus on some key things in life - family, work, and training..while also throwing in some fun time with friends so I don't go completely crazy and get burned out. My friends probably think I'm a bit weird when I show up for dinner after a 7 hr training day and eat half the table, given that I spent the first half of my life only eating protein or only eating non fat foods or only drinking vodka, or some other random diet! :)
Anyway...back to the race report:
I rolled into Cedar Point alone on Friday morning, as Matt was taking the Friday night red eye (yeah he loved that one). After sneaking in a swim with Jacqui, locating food that was not from KFC or McDs, I spent the rest of the day sitting around and probably moved no more than 3 feet from that location the rest of the day/evening. Saturday was more of the same along with a trip to pick up Matt halfway to Cleveland, that included an impromptu visit with LJ and her Dad, who graciously picked Matt up from the airport and delivered him to our meeting point - Aladdin's Fine Dining -home of America's best rice bomber, no joke. The highlight of this trip was Purse's bday gift to me - an underwater pace clock! HOORAY! Granted, I'm doing fine in the pool these days...so perhaps I should return this gift for a GPS-driven Kayak that has the correct coordinates of the turn buoys on the swim and that shouts out to me anytime I start heading the wrong way.
For once in my life I was able to eat on race morning. Ensure is a fabulous product for nervous stomachs. After my Paulo-approved wake up/warm up routine, I headed to the beach. The water had been crazy rough the previous few days, but looked to be calmer on race morning. However, due to overcast skies,the RD postponed the race by at least 10 minutes as we could not even see the buoys. Finally we were off......and I was swimming decently....decent enough to keep the faster girls in sight at least. I felt strong and was okay with my position. I noticed the fast girls were swimming a bit wide of the first turn buoy so I was happy in the knowledge that I was smarter then that and would not be swimming extra. UNFORTUNATELY, I thought too soon and ended up swimming way off course to the turn buoy for the second loop. Lovely. Thankfully, a nice kayaker paddled over to tell me I was heading towards Cleveland rather than the correct buoy.
After dolphin diving for 200 miles to the beach finish, I finally made my way to T2...angry. I jumped on my bike and Matt told me that I better pick it up and bike down some girls. All I could think about was all the time I have spent in the pool swimming 400s with him and shaving time off each one....all of this for nothing?!
The bike course was great, aside from the first few miles of potholed pavement, and the intense wind. I think I only experienced maybe 3 miles of tailwind throughout the entire bike course. Other than having to ride on the center line of the road due to the evil stagger rule, I really enjoyed this course. The race organizers did an AMAZING job at marking the course, as I am the queen of missing turns and I had no problems with navigation on race day. The rolling hills and the wind kept it legit. Perhaps due to my frustration with the swim, I managed to bike my way into 4th place by around mile 35ish of the course and held that to the end of the bike. Going into this race I knew I was capable of having a good bike split, but was surprised by the number when I looked down at my SRM and saw 4:59 (official time was 5 hrs).
After gaining mobility in my back by doing my T2 stretching routine, I quickly headed out on the run (with an experimental gel flask in hand) and felt pretty good. Matt gave me some splits to 2-4 place and I noticed that I really wasn't hemorrhaging much time to them. I felt strong on the first loop of the course, but coming back over the hot and windy causeway for the second loop I was consumed with thirst. All I could think about was water: water fountains, water bottles, pools, lakes, sprinklers, bird-baths, and even shark-infested oceans. I finally got to an aid station and grabbed every cup of water available and then threw 2 cups of ice into the top my race suit (I highly recommend this). I learned later that this ice would be handy for quenching thirst in between aid stations...just grab an ice cube and instant (yet salty) hydration. For some reason, I couldn't handle the sports drink on course that day.
After my water park fun, I felt better and picked up the pace again, but not to match Jessica Jacobs blasting past me to a 3:03 run split! Around mile 20 Matt told me I was gaining ground on the 4th place girl. Later, he told me that he was just saying this to make me feel better, but apparently he has great foresight as the next time I saw him I was a minute closer to her...and then closer..and closer...Finally, with less than a mile to go I was within 30 seconds of her. Unfortunately she turned around and saw me, despite my best intentions of hiding behind some other racers, so she knew I was there. I tried with every last bit of energy and half-dissolved ice cubes to pick up the pace enough to pass her but ran out of real estate and ended up finishing 5th, 18 seconds behind 4th place.
Despite the first leg of this race, I am happy with the results. It's great to see the consistent training pay off in a PR. While I'd love to be an overnight success, I realize that this is not the way it is for most mere mortal triathletes. Every race is an opportunity to improve in some way. I've had some bad races and good races so far this year, but have noticed that despite the bad races, I really do love this sport and WANT to get faster. This goes back to the conversation I had with myself on the bike before the season even began and is something I have stuck with all year.
I HIGHLY recommend the Rev3 races. This first year race was fantastic and the group did a great job of organizing and thinking about what it is that racers (both pros and amateurs) really want. DO THESE RACES. Thanks to my awesome husbandsherpa Matt who survived a red eye, 5 hour delayed flight from DC, and numerous early morning wake up calls to come and support me last weekend, as well as countless hours in the Los Altos pool swimming 400s with me and not letting me cry like a baby. Someday I SWEAR this swimming will pay off in the open water as well. Also thanks to Scott and Katie, my brother and new sister in law, who drove down from Chicago to spectate. They were excellent motivation and encouragement, and did a great job of keeping Matt calm. Also thanks to smart Coach Paulo who knows what to do with me and never disappointed with his Saturday morning bike workout gifts, and Front of the Pack, for again, dealing with all manner of random bike issues.
Jacqui and I right before the swim start....yes, it was still pitch black outside.
Rev3 Full Age Group Start
Getting ready to ride..hiding my anger pretty well.
Clearly the camera is distorting my run form. :)
I do occasionally smile.