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I’m racing Half Rev Aquabike (1.2mile Swim/56 mile Bike no run!) as part of the Age Group Series. This means that if I race (2) Half Rev Aquabikes they will take my best (2) placements to determine if I get to race in the Age Group Series Championships in Knoxville 2014!
So this trip I was solo. Kiddos just started school Wed/Thurs so Thursday I worked from home and packed up my bike. It’s amazing how much stuff I can cram in that box. Of course, it weighs like 70lbs and is just a joy to lug around.
However, par for the course Princess Tri-Cycle (my bike’s name) decided to bite me when I messed with her shoes. I’ll spare you the pictures, but I ended up jamming my heel into the front gears… all the way. So I have 2x 1cm deep gashes and well, let’s just say I bled all over the place, cursed a lot, and now walking is just a joy. If I was doing the 1/2 Marathon… my day would be over I think. It hurt that much. I cleaned and bandaged it. Declined going to the Doctor because they would just stitch it up and tell me not to walk on it. Well, I’m gonna walk on it and it would tear the stitches and make it worse. I’ll just monitor it. Ug. Such an idiot. Why was I doing this with no shoes? I R NOT SMART.
Anyway…. Got the kids to school Friday and off I went to the airport for a relatively uneventful trip – except the plane was small and I had to balance my laptop on a 6in x 5in ledge. That was fun. Didn’t get much work done. Boooo
I arrived in time for the Team Dinner, see some online friends Adam/Monica and help with the Glow Run (heck no I didn’t run it!). I helped at the finish line giving out water. The glow run is such a great family event – tons of families came out to run the 1 mile and even a few the 5k.
Stayed until the final finishers (about 75 min, they had a baby stroller and part of the course was on SAND)! And declined the movie – I was TIRED! So I headed back to the hotel only to find my online friends there (Adam, Monica, Tom, and Cheryl) eating a Mexican place. They warned me off the food, I’m glad. I had a few chips and I was fine. They had more and let’s just say there was some suffering later that evening
that is LESS than the width of my bike case. And it’s heavy. And ONE handle. Thank goodness Adam was there, he helped me manhandle the thing upstairs. Getting it down Monday is going to be… interesting.
Put the bike together, because I just couldn’t NOT even though I was tired. Didn’t get to bed until midnight, but did discover a big problem… the handlebars wouldn’t stay put. The bolt going down into the bike secures into this metal tube and the tube should-not-come-out. Mine came out. I actually noticed this taking it apart, so I wasn’t too freaked out. I would bring it to the bike guys in the AM.
I collapsed and slept hard. Up in time to meet Adam for some breakfast and then head to the test swim where we spray tri-slide on people (one of our sponsors) as they suit up in their wetsuits and go out to test the water. I swam a bit with Adam and Monica when my tri-sliding responsibilities were up (after a walk back to expo to see if we could find more!) and the water was cold, for sure. Nothing serious, to me, but I can see others REALLY disliking it. Probably 60?
After the swim I walked back, got my bike and headed to the bike techs and dropped it off. No problem. 20-30min they said. Cool. Hung around the VIP tent and a couple of my Teammates wanted to go ride, so I said I’d run back and get my helmet and clothes while I wait on the bike. Did that (yes, ANOTHER trip… each trip is about a mile). Back, bike guys say ANOTHER hour. CRAP. Ok, tell Teammates to go ride, I have no idea how long it will be. Tested out the Normatec boots (one of our sponsors). OMG OMG OMG they are awesome!
Good thing, it was a good 90+ minutes before I had it back. Ok, finally let’s try it out! Get out and immediately detect a problem. It’s not shifting right in the big gears. I’m planning on using them A LOT on this course. Shoot. Back to the bike tech. While waiting I checked in the Rev3 Store and HOLY COW they have an XL Blueseventy Helix? OMG I’ve been looking for one since June, sweet! so guess what I got?!?! OH YEA!
Another 30minutes. Again try it and….. VICTORY! Princess Tricycle is back in business.
So I ride for 15min or so, listen to the course talk, drop off bike in transition for the night, and then head back to the hotel. At this point I’m hungry and I’m tired and I’ve been on my feet ALL DAY. NOT proper race prep. I go back to the hotel and take a nap. My feet, at this point, are screaming at me. My hips are sore, my back is tired. I’ve been limping around all day (due to puncture wounds) and I’ve rubbed my feet raw (combo of walking so much, walking funny, and sand). I think at this point I’ve hit 6-7 miles walking. I have to cut this out. I’m planning to race HARD tomorrow!!
I sleep for about 50min and feel great when I wake up (except feet which are SCREAMING). Check my wound, clean it again, apply another layer of liquid bandage and I get ready for dinner. We find a nice local place and sit inside so we can actually talk, then head back to the hotel. On the way back I realize I have not secured breakfast nor coffee. Breakfast I can do without, coffee I cannot. So we head to Dunkin Doughnuts, only place “likely” to be open and ask if they will be open at 4-5? Nope – 6. But we’ll call the manager. I remind them there will be about 1500 athletes and families wanting coffee starting at 4, so they’ll make a killing. I get a coffee anyway, because I trust nobody when it comes to securing my coffee!
I watch some really old TBS movies (black and white) which I prep my race stuff. Try to not fall asleep too early (or I will be up too early) and finally get to bed about 11 (10 my time).
Up at 4, coffee and food I brought, and off to transition by 5.
Talked to people, found some Teammates and online friends and said hello, did the usual pre-race routine and I was ready to get going. We had to walk about 1/4 mile to the start so I decided to wear my cold water booties to keep my feet from getting MORE trashed. They REALLY hurt at this point and I had a nice big blister on the left heel (and the puncture on the right). I waddled over to the start and got in my pre-race swim. I was not entirely calm and not nervous – a good balance. That’s exactly where I should be for a race that I plan to RACE… and RACE I planned to do. The plan was to go out EASY on the swim. I’m wearing a new wetsuit (only worn one other time) and last time I used this (type of) wetsuit my entire ARMS cramped bad about 1/2 way into the swim
I lined up to go. The first line of bouys was going to be a challenge as the sun was directly into your eyes, but the course was counter-clockwise which favors my “prefer to breath on the left but yeah I’ll breath on the right once in a while” racing style.
I seeded myself about 4 rows deep on the outside, so in the top 1/3 – which is about where I expected to place overall in the swim. I’d take a wider route to avoid getting into the fray and allowing me to stay in my grove AND use people to sight as well as the bouys – since both will be on my left.
OK it’s SHOW TIME ! We’re off!! I run down the beach (ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch) and then do a few dolphin dives and manage to settle in. The first few minutes were a bit messy but by I forced myself to SLOW DOWN. I was still passing a ton and being passed, so clearly people didn’t seed themselves well. They never seem to.
The entire first segment was pretty straight forward. After about 5 minutes I picked up the tempo a bit but tried to keep loose. Arms were ok, breathing ok, rotation happening, and even doing some bilateral breathing in there a bit. I couldn’t, however, see the bouys until we were on them. The sunlight and chop just made it impossible, so I used people to sight instead and drove a pretty straight course. 13min was about right, if the segments were even, but I didn’t think they were. So that was worrisome.
The second, longer, segment things were thinning out. We’re passing from folks from the earlier waves and I’m still having some trouble sighting and I’m drifting a bit. A bit in, a bit out, and then a bit in. I blame it on other people and that’s when I realized I needed to stop using people to sight and use the bouys it went better. This wetsuit is a huge improvement over my other one.. not as good insulation but the cold was very tolerable for me. 29 minutes, uh oh, that’s not good. Let’s pray there is a huge current to push me into the shore in, oh… let’s say 6 minutes? Yeah right. This annoyed me, actually, because I had a really solid tempo and the body was responding well, and I just felt like I was doing a decent pace. Like a sub35 minute pace for the 1.2 miles. But the clock says otherwise.
The final segment I got off course almost immediately, I wasn’t considering any currents and it pushed me too far in. I was passing people but when I got off course getting passed, so I straightened up and general did ok. I added some speed for the final segment, figuring I really didn’t need to use my arms much after this so let’s burn them up! Stood up… 41:30. WTF?!?!? Jesh, 6:30 off my target. Danggit. I manage up the beach and strip the wetsuit to my hips (OMG the Helix is amazing, zip and pull and the thing just FALLS off you!) Official time was 42:48
I tried running a bitch for the photographer… dumb. That hurt. Like really hurt, not sore, but hurt. Walked. Waddled more like it because now my ankle was pissed.
The trip to transition was LONG. 1/3 mile? Seemed longer to me. Got passed by 2 teammates on the way. Got to my bike and did a quick transition and then waddled my way out… passing those same teammates who were still at their bikes. So there is something right 9:31
Got on the bike and immediately started spinning away. The PLAN was to spin fast but not a hard gear for a minute or two, then progressively shift up as the legs allowed, and then take the exertion up to high zone 3 heart rate and/or around 200watts power and hold it for, hopefully, slightly less than 3 hours. Secret goal was sub 2:45 but that seemed to be a stretch since I’ve not done ANY flat/fast training and ANY flat races this year. Just hills, hills, and more hills (Knoxville, Quassy, Dells).
So I immediately start passing people, which is an awesome boost. I’m feeling good and the legs are happy still. I am practicing the new trick from my physical therapist in where I need to suck in my lower ab and clench my glutes to pull my pelvis into a better position – so my hamstrings don’t cramp – which is what keeps happening. This is a new trick so I don’t have much endurance, but it seems to be working ok.
Immediately I see the character of this course. Rollers. I was told it was “pretty flat” which is not true, it is constant smallish rollers – ones where if you are going fast enough and do not let up the power DOWNHILL (no resting) you will fly up 95% of the next hill. And indeed, that is what it was.
I settled into a nice steady pace with Low Z3 and 230 watts. Knowing the watts were too high and the HR too low, I just kind of held that and/or backed off a tiny bit while my body got into the groove. Soon enough… High Z3 and 200-220. Perfect. I mentally took a snapshot and said to myself HOLD THIS. And hold I did.
I steadily passed people the entire course. I had a few people that we went back and forth on, and except Jonathan in the Green Jersey, I passed and dropped every one of them. Uphill they would get me, Downhill I’d get them. It was fun and motivating to keep up the exertion. The course was very pretty and the roads in reasonable shape, so all I had to do was RIDE.
I was able to keep my nutrition and hydration on perfect schedule, however, about 90min in I started getting tired so I had another Powerbar Gel – adding an extra 100 calories, and that perked me right up. I ended up taking in 2 additional Gels during the ride and it worked out. I had 3 bottles, which was also perfect. The weather was wonderful and only started getting hot about 2 hours in – but then again it was probably my exertion mixed with “a little” sun. I was also wearing my Aero helmet and that’s hot. I got a bottle of water from the aid station and used the little hole in the top to pour water on my head – worked perfectly.
I was watching my time every 10 miles. To keep on pace I wanted to hold 30min per 10 miles (20mph). That would bring me in at 2:48ish. First 10 I was 33. Second was 32. Darn it, I’m loosing time, at this rate I won’t be able to make sub3 (I would be 3:06 or so). Third was 33. Dangit. Getting nervous! Fourth, however, was 29 so I’m making up some time… I laid down the hammer. I decided the next 16 minutes were going to be time trial style – all out. Fifth came at 33. SHOOT! Lots of turns I had to slow down on. I have 20 minutes – assuming the course is PERFECT… I then just put it all out there. Went to max race pace for the final 6. Threw up in my mouth a little. It was going to be close… the turns were killing me…. arg another small hill? Shoot. Ok, people, GET-OUT-OF-THE-WAY!!! Finally the end is near… I can see it… Dismount here…. RUN…. Hit the watch….. 2:58:xxx WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTT!
Thank goodness my race was over at T2. I was tanked. I took a while to recover before I could walk over to rack the bike, get my recovery drink, etc. I grabbed my compression tights and started wandering out and then decided maybe it would be best to sit down and put them on, which I did. Helped a volunteer explain to a couple over-zealous racers that they couldn’t get their bikes out yet… there was a ton of people still coming in.
Wandered over to Expo and met up with some Teammates, race the finish line and whooped up the crowd for Terry (don’t know who she was but nobody was cheering so we had to fix that!!). Got my medal!
And then met with online friends, including John who rode up from Boston just to visit!!
And got me some post-race food – MAINE STYLE!
Now that’s what I’m talking about!!
Hung out with friends, cheered Cheryl into a 12 MINUTE PR on the half!! (that’s huge!) and got me some more Normatec lovin’
Legs were doing ok, but I needed some downtime. So we went back to the hotel, stood in the ocean a bit, cleaned up and said our goodbyes
I napped and then went back to the finish for the Final Finishers. As always, one of my favorite parts of the day. I love see the personal triumphs of these folks. In typical Rev3 style ALL staff ALL Volunteers ALL Team were there. Medical crew, finish line, and they even had food. Yes, I saw (2) lobster boxes and I bet they were for our final 2 finishers.
Once everyone was in I wandered a bit, did some people watching, and worked on deciding what to do for dinner. I think I chose wisely…
See you again Maine!!