2013 was a truly unique year of racing for me. It’s probably done at this point, although you never know… right now my body and mind say DONE but in a few weeks? The spirit may be back.
2013 started with a truly unexpected event of getting asked to join Team Rev3. I honestly didn’t remotely expect to get selected but it really shaped my year for the better. Before being selected I was somewhat adrift with my goals. Although this year was a “possible” 140.6 season from a family perspective, work was strongly disagreeing. We were immensely busy and still recovering from a couple tough years in a row. I needed to focus my time there and set things up for a future 140.6 year (2015 it looks like). So with that big goal out… now what?
Secondly, I wasn’t running. After a year of attempting an experiment on how to get me running again, stop chronic ankle issues, I pulled the plug and hired a run-specific coach. Well that means we didn’t know if I would be running in days, weeks, months or ?? You have to give things time. And after working with her only a few weeks it became clear we were looking at months. Hmmmmm…..
Well, once I got on the team I started thinking about my options. I didn’t HAVE to Race to participate, but I felt like a faker not racing. But I can’t run. So what’s left? Aquabike (Swim, Bike, NO RUN). Hmmm…. I like that. And Rev3 ALWAYS has Aquabike for EVERY distance they race (Olympic, Half, and Full). So there you go, I can Race. Maybe feeling like on training wheels (doing 2 of 3) but still, I can Race.
But better yet in 2013 they introduced an Age Group Series. They take your best two positions in 2013 and they give you points. 1st place = 1 point. 2nd place = 2 points, etc all the way down. Lower the points, the better. Huh…. That could be fun! Not that I’m super-speedy but especially on a flat/medium course I can hold my own. The top X people (based on age group/etc) get to go to Rev3 Knoxville 2014 and race for… well… stuff. Bragging rights at minimum and I suspect something else cool, as they always do something cool!
So it was decided. My “A” race wouldn’t be an “A” race, it would be a series. I would build my fitness to accommodate a SEASON of racing not a specific race. You never know WHO will show up at a race so I needed to spread my racing over a group of races which would give me the best odds. I think removed all the peripheral races from my thoughts. Well… except I held out hope I could still do Jhawk Latebird Sprint. That I left on the schedule but didn’t register yet.
Immediately I picked Knoxville (I love this course) as it was early season. Many people haven’t “woken up”. Next was Williamsburg as it was a first year. Dells and Cedar Point were local, so I needed to do those for sure. And Florida sounded like fun (FLAT), was in November, so how many people will still be out playing? We’ll see.
Life complicated matters… Williamsburg got knocked out due to a family conflict, so I added Maine. Lots of friends up there, so that sounded like fun but I didn’t expect to place well.
And then life complicated matters again… Florida is out again due to a family conflict. After hearing a call for Teammates for Branson and seeing it was also a first year, this sounded perfect. Of course now we’re looking at 4 races in 8 weeks, 2 family and 2 not. Wow. That’s going to be tough all by itself. School will be starting after race 1. So 3 races at the start of school year? That had me concerned. But after talking through it at home we decided to go with it.
So I did a swim meet in Feb and then State swim meet. I did “meh” at State. One 8th place ribbon (several 9th and 10th), nothing else, not a great showing. My swim times we so – so but honestly, that’s against REAL swimmers. Against Triathletes a mediocre “real” swimmer can do well. I was ok with it.
Rev3 Knoxville was here before we knew it. I love this race and this course and being on the team just made it over-the-roof fun. Even though it was 50s and raining all weekend. However, I landed my first Triathlon hardware ever – 3rd place Aquabike! Very excited – this Age Group series idea might actually be something I can do!
Due to a weird convergence of events – school getting out, mother in law available, a lull at work, I was able to take Liz and hop off for a weekend race to Rev3 Quassy! It was a last minute decision but everything just lined up. Had a great weekend, but 22nd place wasn’t nearly what I was hoping for. This race sells out every year and is VERY hilly. So my total points were 25 at the moment. Not real awesome but I have more races to come.
Now it was time to train for real. Knoxville and Quassy were warmups. I did no racing through the rest of June and July except the Crystal Lake 2 mile Open Water Swim…. Which I landed a 3rd place as well! I’ve gotten swim hardware in the pool, never in an open water race. It felt great. July was stupid hot in Chicago and I just can’t handle it, so I’m glad I wasn’t racing anyway.
First week of August I did the Warrior Dash for the 4th year in a row. I did run a bit, as my run was progressing, but mostly it was a run/walk/obstacle/walk/run repeat. With lots of beer at the end!
Next week in August Rev3 Dells came up. Took the entire family, the weather was perfect, but like Quassy it was extremely hilly too. Similar in total climbing to Quassy but very different character. I wasn’t having a great day so I ended up helping some people on course and just cruised it in, however, I managed an 8th place which improved my points now to 11 (from 25) so that was a big help!
Two weeks later Rev3 Maine was on deck. Tons of friends in that part of the country, had a blast that weekend, and I had a fantastic race. After continually doing hilly courses and landing very slow times, finally I had something to be proud of and landed a 4th place to boot! So now my points were doing to 7 and I was SO excited!
Two weeks later Rev3 Cedar Point was on the books. Another family trip but we decided to leave the kids with grandma and I’m so glad we did as it made Cedar Point the single best race weekend of the year – and many years. And I took a leap. After seeing 25 people in the HalfRev Aquabike division and only 4 in the FullRev I started exploring the idea of upgrading. All systems GO and I did it! It was brutal considering I haven’t ridden 112 miles since my last 140.6 race…. but I did it and managed a 3rd place finish! ANOTHER Podium? Holy crap. ZERO in 8 years and then TWO in one year. Awesome!! Now my points were 6!!
They posted the rankings and as of Cedar Point I’m FIRST PLACE in the Age Group Series for Aquabike.
NOTE: It’s more than 6 points because they add a faction to your points based on how far behind the guy ahead of you finished. This will prevent ties.
Two weeks later was Rev3 Branson. I didn’t think it was possible, but this course was hillier than Dells. But what an achievement of a race and a cool venue. Had a great weekend at the last Rev3 Race of the year. Placed 11th so no help on my age group series rankings.
FINALLY, a week after Branson I did Jhawk sprint… but since I’m STILL not running, I did a relay with my buddy Kevin who is marathon training. We did well but not well enough for hardware as we landed 5th place in the Mixed Age Group relays. If he was just 2 years older we would have rocked 2nd place in the old-people division!
So that’s it folks… My season is over. Will I do a cyclocross race before year end? Maybe. My favorite race is the Halloween one, but I haven’t been on my cross bike ALL year and I would have less than 2 weeks to prepare for it. We’ll see what the heart says that morning… but right now I’m thinking no.
Swim team season starts and there are only running races around Chicago at this point, so I suspect that may be a wrap for 2013.
But man… what a year it’s been!
October is a month of rest and recovery. Family vacation, scouting camping trip, and getting caught up at work are all high on the agenda. Starting in November I will work on flexibility, strength, and continue PT so I can restart my running. We’re making great strides and I suspect in a month or less I’ll resume running – barring any setbacks. So long as I’m running before Jan 1 I’ll be fine for the 2014 season…
What’s on deck for 2014? You’ll have to stay tuned. Hopefully a Rev3 laden schedule with a SAVAGEMAN ending. But one step at a time…