Thursday, September 15, 2011
Rev3 Cedar Point - HALF
What an amazing weekend! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Rev3 and this was my first time being out on the course instead of working/volunteering and let me tell you it did not disappoint.
Tom and I headed out for our 10 hour drive right after putting the kids on the bus and rolled into registration right as they were closing. No worries I got all checked in and got my race packet w/ my visor, tshirt, goodies, number, cap, timing chip etc etc.
Things were winding down and my team members had a long day of coastering so we decided to take advantage of a kid free night and go have a nice dinner just the two of us.
As an aside Tom said his burger in SANDUSKY, OH was better than any burger he has had in Connecticut. (I can confirm this... I had the same burger Sunday post race.)
The next morning I was all set to go to the practice swim and help the team do a trislide pit. Basically we accosted people with cans of trislide and sprayed them down. (we were nice about it) And I think it worked. From what I heard All3Sports (hook yourself up: for 15% off go to www.all3sports.com and use GOTRAKKERS at checkout)sold out of trislide by the following morning! YEAH!
Mark needed to stay off his feet so Kelly graciously offered to carry him around!
Upon arriving at the beach we saw that there was a good 2 feet worth of sludgy sediment leading into the water. Apparently the huge storms they were having while trying to set up the expo area had stirred the water up pretty good and when the ocean calmed it deposited this loveliness for us to walk through. Along with making the water BLACK as NIGHT. I kid you not it was like someone turned the lights out when you put your face in the water. Weirdest swimming experience to date. I wish I had gotten a photo of us coming out of the water with the brown gunk up to our knees.
The good news is that later that day they were out there with a bull dozer cleaning as much of it out as they could so it was much better (you could actually run into the water) in the morning for the race.
My swim was short, but it confirmed that I can indeed swim. Okay I knew that, but it's always a nice little reminder the day before the race.
Then we met up with some team mates and bloggers at the expo.
And we got to chat with Kacie and her hubs George (who WON his AG at his first 70.3). They stayed at our house for Quassy, but I was so busy I didn't get to hang too much. Below you will see why I just LOVE them! These might be my favorite photos from the weekend. Seriously!
Turned out that we were able to score some park tickets for the afternoon (yes, the DAY BEFORE the race) so Tom and I hit the coasters for about 4 hours. All the while I'm looking around wondering why I see no other Rev3 racers. Thinking, "Am I preparing for a 'what not to do' blog post?"
If you ever find yourself at Cedar Point you MUST hit the Millennium Force and the Top Thrill Dragster. The Millennium Force is super fast with many HUGE ups and downs. The Top Thrill Dragster sits you on a straight away like a drag race. Thrusts you forward at about 120 miles per hour shoots you straight up into the sky and then straight back down. It was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!
Time to get off my feet and get some GRUB! Might not be your 'typical' prerace grub, but it works for me! Dark beer is LOADED with carbs. I love this beer and couldn't resist! I normally would not have a beer... also wondering if I was setting myself up for the 'what not to do' post.
On race morning I was a bit nervous, but surprisingly calm. I really didn't know what to expect from this race. It's been two years since I road my bike anywhere remotely flat, my running has sucked hugely with battling injuries all season and I have never completed this distance before. I suspected that I could complete the distance (even if I had to walk a lot on the run), but was unsure of my performance. As I've stated before one of the differences between racing with kids vs without is that I don't have weeks and weeks to think and ponder my race day. I save all of that for right before the race. I do my work and I'm set up fairly well mentally, but the details of how I'm going to attack the race. They wait. It's less stressful for me this way. Coach had sent me an email saying and I quote:
"Here is my thoughts: 1) swim hard. Start near the front too the side
and swim hard the first 300m and see if you can find fast feet. Your a
tuff chick so don't get pushed around. You push people around in the
water. And your a strong enough swimmer to race the swim. Be tactical.
If you find some good feet save your energy and draft.
Bike: controlled rage. Go hard but one step below drilling it. Fuel
according to your death brix. Last mile on the causeway spin a higher
rpm and do a few standing intervals to get the run legs warmed up.
Take the first half of the run chill. All-day pace. Don't despair if a
person or two passes you. Run hard the second half."
I almost laughed out loud at the swim advice. Maybe he sent that to the wrong athlete? No, he clarified for me saying, "I didn't say you were a GOOD swimmer. I said you were a tough chick." Okay then. Thanks.. I think?
Anyway. I thought a lot about what he said. I'm kind of internal about this part of my racing. I don't talk to a lot of people about my 'race plan'. I'm not sure if it's my fear of failing in others eyes... that if I put it out there that I'm going to try to 'kill it' and then can't. Okay, let's face reality. When I race I'm always trying to kill it. Anyway. I don't talk a lot pre race... I'm all in my head. I like to be there.
I told Tom that I thought the swim would take me 45 mins, not sure about the bike maybe 3.5 to 4 hours, and the run - IF the leg held up - I suspected maybe 2 hours.
Swim: 43:39 (2:16min/hm) AG: 21/34 OA: 110/220
I decided that coach was right about the swim in that I would start toward the front but on the outside to try to avoid contact. It worked pretty well. I was able to avoid the thrashing around that occurs at the beginning of every race. SCORE! I went hard to the first buoy then tried to find my pace. Worked to the first turn then I went in and out of 'got my groove' and 'what the fuck' through the back side. Hit the turn and was doing okay, but kept finding myself further out on the left than I wanted to be... thus not taking advantage of whatever current might be created by all the swimmers so I fought to get back in there, but never got as close as I wanted to be. The last two buoys were just okay. Lot's of siting to make sure I was on track and that slows me down and frustrates me. I'm happy with my swim in that I swam the whole thing. I swam fairly straight and didn't get involved in any skirmishes. I know I pushed as hard as I could and came out at 43:39
Everything was all good. I was all set to run out with my bike when a lady crashed and burned. I stopped to see if she needed some help then stood there like a dolt waiting for her to get up to make sure she was okay. She was... we were off.
Bike: 2:48:26 (19.95mph) AG: 9/34 OA: 45/220
As I'm heading out on the bike I see Bill from CREW! He says, "Hey maybe we can hang out!" I looked over my shoulder as I got in the saddle and said, "Only if you can keep up!" Guess I was feeling good about the bike now! (I did see Bill a number of times out on the course!)
I stuck with this plan, but I gotta say the first 20 miles my belly was NOT loving it. I'm not sure if it was the half a banana I stuffed in my banana hole IMMEDIATELY on the bike or what, but I was worried. Thank God it subsided after mile 20.
I had decided that I was going to race the bike since I wasn't sure how my run would turn out. Who cares if my legs are cooked if they weren't going to work anyway right? Prior to this race I wasn't sure I had what it takes to RACE that long. It's one thing to go out and complete the race (and that is an awesome accomplishment in and of itself. I am NOT downplaying that approach at all!!! I have done it many times myself.) and going out to RACE it. Meaning try to damn near red line it the whole time. I've always said that the thing I like about endurance stuff is that you don't have to red line it. I've only done it one other time and it didn't work out as I had hoped! I chose this route and I stuck to it through the entire ride. I'm not going to lie. It hurt!
I had chosen to bring my road bike instead of my tri bike and I did second guess it once or twice when I wracked my bike and when I was in transition the morning of the race, but that thing was AWESOME. I couldn't get aero, but would just ride the drops when I was going down hill or in a nice open space. It was fine. That bike fits me like a glove and it's what I've been riding. I passed PLENTY of people on their tricked out tri bikes. I would say that the one and only bummer was that I only had two water bottle cages. I had double strength First Endurance EFS in one cage and water in the other. I was planning to stop 1 hour in (planning to get an entire bottle of water down by then) at a water stop to get a new bottle. I wasn't sure how this was going to go down because I've never done a race with a bike water stop. SERIOUSLY! Do I grab a bottle while in motion and risk taking out one of the lovely volunteers? Do I stop and throw my bottle away and take another? I didn't want to put my feet on the ground, but I opted to take a few minutes to refill my water bottle (didn't want a disposable bottle rattling around in my cage). This is when Bill caught me and we leap frog much of the rest of the course. I also saw my team mate Jeff go by at this point. I tried with all my might to catch him, but couldn't. I kept him in my sites, but couldn't quite get to him. Another woman came up beside Bill and I and said, "hey, think we can catch those men up there?" HELL YES we can and off we went! :)
I continued to switch between the EFS and the LS (Liquid Shot) I also snagged a GU Roctane that had 2x the caffeine on the course. Did I mention that I had somehow managed to give up caffeine over the weekend ('what not to do' post still creating itself). I never did touch the rest of that banana... or any other solid food for a solid 5.5 hours!
I surprised myself with that ride. I knew I could hold a decent pace (aka 20ish miles per hour) for an Olympic, but wasn't sure I could maintain it for a half. I got to the Olympic distance and thought... "Here goes nothin!"
In and out!
Run: 2:02:00 (9:19 min/mi) AG: 6/34 OA: 39/220
The run started... my plan was to follow coaches advice to basically negative split the thing. In the first mile every time I looked at my watch the pace was between 8:05 and 8:30. Come on Laura.. this is NOT your I could do this all day pace. Why is it so easy to run fast right off the bike? Guess it was that quick turnover spin out I did at the end of the bike (per coaches direction). Side note: My heart rate monitor must need a new battery because my heart rate never got over about 85. Pretty sure that's not accurate. So I hadn't been using heart rate at all.
I kept trying to get myself to slow to more like a 9 to 9:30 min/mile. Though my ego really wanted to see a nice solid 8:45 min/mile. At about 1 mile my stomach started to act up again. I had to pee at the start, but didn't get it done in my wetsuit for whatever reason. I HAD TO GO NOW! And I had to do other things? WHAT? I NEVER have this problem ... not ever. So as I'm heading to the second water stop I see that there is ONE port-a-potty. I'm HOPING against hope that it is empty. I wouldn't have stood there waiting.. I would have tried to get to the next one and that might have gotten ugly! I see someone come running out so I look to my left and right and see some people there. I picked up the pace as much as I could just in case they had the same idea. I was going to BEAT them there. OMG that was the best port-a-potty stop I have EVER made! MUCH better. Back to focusing on running instead of clenching my butt cheeks... while running.
I had chosen not to carry anything with me. I knew there would be GU out on the course so I relied on that. I stopped at ALL but one of them. I ran through the first 4 or so and walked through the rest. Drinking and throwing water on myself.
I saw Carole (aka Mama Bear to us Trakkers) at around mile 6 or 7 and when I saw her I know I gave her the look of 'please have mercy on me and make this end'.. she asked if I was okay and told me to get some coke. I never drink the stuff, but between the chance meeting with Mama Bear and the next water stop I remembered others telling me that that stuff was like crack and really gave a nice kick. I sure could have used a nice kick. So at the next two water stops I had some coke. I'm sad to report that while the change in flavor was welcome it did not give me any more kick.
This run HURT! HARDEST run ever.. okay maybe outside of the Miami Marathon. That was pretty hard too! (only other long race I've actually RACED!)
It took everything in me to keep going. The good thing about that is that when I'm hurting I want to push as hard as I can because the faster I go the faster I get to stop! I struggled and pushed this entire run. I KNOW I could not have gone any faster. Yep, makes me feel pretty good. Bad news is that 1 mile AWAY from the finish I HAD TO poop again. SERIOUSLY!? Fine! FINE! FINE! So I hit the port-a-potty AGAIN. Again, much better. And on to the finish I went as hard as I could!
At the finish line we were given the opportunity to run down the shoot with an American flag in HONOR of the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. I thought we were going to get little dinky "4th of July" style flags that little kids play with. No way man. I should have known better. That's not the way Rev3 Rolls! I got a big huge flag to run down the shoot with! It was GREAT!
Overall: 5:38:43 AG:6/34 OA: 39/220 (not too shabby for starting out AG: 21/34 OA: 110/220 out of the water. Hmm where do we think I need to put most of my effort?)
Tom had just missed my big finish and he was disappointed that he wasn't there to get my photo, but he made his way back very quickly and I was so glad to have him there to be my support, my bike mechanic, sherpa, masseuse and bestest buddy in the world! Thanks honey! I truly appreciate your support!
We went and grabbed A Delicious burger and beer right on the course then came back to cheer on the Trakkers!
I got to see Kacie and Kristin finish their 140.6 almost together. It was Kristin's VERY FIRST and it was very emotional. They ran a lot of the run together and were able to push each other to THIRD in their Age Groups! So proud of my teammies!
And a quick PSA: Don't forget your sunscreen... even if it's supposed to be overcast. I'm not sunburned.. it's red because I SCRAPED the numbers off to see if they were going to be staying for a while. My arms look pretty much the same. NICE!
I'm so honored to be a part of the Trakkers team and to be affiliated with Revolution3 Triathlon. They put on a stellar event and as I've said one million times before they are all just great people!
Congrats to all my team mates and all the other athletes out there!!!