RR: Rev3 Knoxville Half 05-11

Before Race – I arrived Friday after a nerve racking flight in which I brought my bike with me. Everything went fine, except it was a really small airplane so I got no sleep and I ended up with a kink in my neck.  Normally I’d work, not on this kind of plane.  No food either.

I delayed food (mistake) and then they wouldn’t let me check in early. So I sat in my car and did a conference call – because there was no time to get food before. So it’s 3:30 or so before I head out for food. I’ve missed second breakfast, lunch, and it’s past due for second lunch!! I’m STARVING! In typical fashion, I make some bad good choices. A Pizza (yes), and a couple of beers later I’m feeling pretty good. Head back to the room to crash a bit as I had a headache – which is very weird for me.

 

Later I met up with Tpenn and we picked up packets, I got some ART which cleared up the kink in my neck. Also bought some compression tights as I forgot to pack mine. They came with a promise of ice + beer at the finish, so I was SOLD! Saw CoachCarole as well and said howdy.

 

Got back, headed out for a 40min ez run. That felt REALLY good and during the run I met up with someone and we ran together a while, who I found out was also one of CoachCarole’s athletes! Small world! Got back, cleaned up and headed to bed early. Slept 9.5 hours. That’s about 2.5 more than normal for me!

 

Sat was pretty easy going. Dropped bike off for tuneup, met with up Tpenn again and we drove the course. Well, tried. The instructions were sending us up 1 way streets and there were some seriously unclear instructions. So we did many loops of Knoxville before getting on track. Glad we did drive the course – it set my expectations well. Hills, Turns, Blind corners. The entire freakin time. And pot-holes and man hole covers. Crazy.

 

One thing I noticed about this race. Hardbody central. I felt like a cow, riding the “Green Machine” (google it you yung ‘uns). I didn’t care too much, really, but I was a bit surprised. I did not see a single newbie. Usually there are some… and if you can’t SEE them… You ARE them… Huh. Well, I’m here so… let’s do it.

 

Tpenn and I went out for a nice Italian dinner out of town (no lines, SCORE) and then back to the hotel for sleep. I wasn’t nervous in the least. Tomorrow was a training day and it was all about execution. For the first time I was not at all concerned about time. I was just going to let the day unfold. I feel pretty pleased about this, because normally I’m slightly neurotic about times and expectations. I had none. I was at peace. Bring it.

Sunday AM came all too early, but not bad. I found coffee so I was golden. Twice.

 

Made the .4 mile walk to transition and got ready. Time to kill. Looked around for Tpenn, nada. Found Scott (CC’s other athlete) said howdy and mozied over to the huge PortaLine. I didn’t have to go, but figured by the time I DID I’d be up there. Yup. No worried, everything moving’ like it should… wandered to start.  In water start. Hopped in and let’s get this part started. I positioned about 2 back, center line. Wanted to move up a bit but with all the freakin hardbodies, I have to admit I was wondering if I was seeded too far up. We will fine out…

 

Swim – I hauled ass through the mosh pit from the get go. I focused on form and I think I did ok with it. I dealt with getting kicked in the face- hard enough to cut my nose and bruise it and knock off my goggles, I just fixed them and carried on. Sighting was pretty good, not perfect, but reasonable. Lots of body contact. No concerns. So overall, I rate it as a success. Shoulders and back certainly noticed I was wearing a wetsuit, I need more wetsuit time to get them used to it.  I kept getting boxed in between two folks. I saw many cap colors, so I know I infiltrated the prior wave, but I also noticed some passing me. Overall, I dropped what seemed like 2/3 of my wave before the  turn around. NOW… it was supposed to be 1/3 upstream, 2/3 down. My ass it was. I was getting splashed in the face and hitting constant chop. It was 1/3 down, 2/3 up. Whatever. It wasn’t nuts. However, I was thinking “cool, I nailed a 30min swim!” only to see my watch hit 40. FOOK! Whatever, RACE DUMMY RACE!

 

T1 – was a bit slow but not bad considering the distance.  5min (out of water to bike out) – it took me a ton of time to get to transition, the rough surface and my pretty feet weren’t happy about that.  Pretty uneventful.

 

Bike – except mile 1 (I need to slow the hell down, HR was 159)  I hit my HR target of 150 the entire time, +/- 2 – usually under not over. I could maybe have upped the exertion a bit and still done good I suspect. But today was all about EXECUTION. Can you EAT, DRINK, and PACE according to plan. The answer? Why yes I can…. 3:20 – considering the course, ok. Felt damn slow. I drank 4.5bottles of Ironman Perform/Gatorade Endurance and I ate 2 gels/hr and I added some other misc stuff I used before – so I managed about 450 cals/hour. I did well. I could have gone and done it all over again.  No worries. Overall, this course was a real PIA. Constant up and down. Except the pot-holes and train tracks, those were flat. But you had to be constantly watching. Tons of blind corners. But the course was well marked, well staffed, and well supplied (for me, there was a water shortage… those darn tornado victims were bogarting the water! Can you imagine? I didn’t care, I was drinking Gatorade off the course. But Red? What flavor is Red? Whatever it is, ick. Too sweet. Whatever, it sat ok. The bike was a complete success.  At mile 54 I dropped my friggin chain. UNREAL. About 200yds from a cop directing. He held traffic while I fixed it, got back on, and got going. That was nice of him! Makes up for the other dork of a cop who was INSIDE his car doing who-knows-what at one of the intersections. So not paying attention… NOT  a Rev3 Employee mind you.

 

T2 – better, even with getting socks on. No issues here. 2:38 official, but I hit the porta potties – so let’s say 3:38. I had to pee and thought more, but no. Never trust a fart…

 

Run – Target was 3 miles @ 155-165 – So took off and the legs came to me pretty fast, no issues there except my left toes seemed bunched up. Very odd. I just dealt with it and eventually they flattened. Actually, every ache and pain I had I decided to run through for a while and I’m glad I did, because they all went away eventually. If they got worse, I’d have stopped but they didn’t. Only at 8 did I do my usual squat to get my right kneecap back in optimal alignment, as it was getting tight and funky, and that was it.  I exceeded my hydration plan (5oz/mile was plan I was slightly higher) all Ironman Perform/Gatorade Endurance until 11 where I had some water. I hit my nutrition (1 gel every EVEN mile marker) – I didn’t do anything else and I really didn’t want anything else.  Did not pee again after T2. But I did within an hour of the end. So felt good about hydration (granted, it was cool, so that tells me if hot I need MORE). Tough course, 900ft of climb is similar to LasVegas just this was all mixed up. There was this monster hill around mile 5? I was running like a freakin banshee until that point. That just chewed me up but then I had a nice 2 mile downhill, so I held it.  2min off my 10k PR with a huge walker of a hill? Yeah I’ll take it.  I didn’t negative split the course though, impossible!

 

Splits

Mile 1 – 10:19 – 156 HR Avg

Mile 2 – 10:29 – 158 HR Avg

Mile 3 – 10:14 – 163 HR Avg

Mile 4 – 10:37 – 164 HR Avg

Mile 5 – 11:58 – 162 HR Avg * big hill walked big part of it

Mile 6 – 10:33 – 162 HR Avg

Mile 7 – 10:59 – 165 HR Avg * starting to tire, we were going downhill here

Mile 8– 12:10 – 164 HR Avg *long medium uphill

Mile 9 – 11:36 – 163 HR Avg

Mile 10 – 11:29 – 162 HR Avg * 10.5 is where the wheels starting coming off

Mile 11 – 12:05 – 153 HR Avg

Mile 12 – 12:30 – 159 HR Avg * wheels are officially off – I’m dying here

Mile 13.1 – 11:59 – 162 HR Avg * me massively pushing through here

 

My GPS got off track somewhere, as it put the course at 12.9.

 

2:26:38 run time (taking 1 minute off officially time and putting it into t2 for portapotty stop)

 

The thing I did differently than March was that after 3 miles, where I was breathing ragged and running hard, I did not pull back at all. I made the conscious decision to just hold it and see where it took me. To trust my fitness, to push the edge, and so what if I walked the last few miles. If I did, I did. But I was going to run this out as fast and hard as I thought I could without being absurd. I wanted to push through the mental “there is no f-ing way I can run a sub11 HIM run” because I was feeling like “maybe I CAN do this” so I wanted to test it.

 

Each mile I checked in with my body and said “can you keep this shit up?” and if the answer was “yes” or “maybe” then I held it. Only at mile 11 did I back off, because I was freakin dying at that point. The RPE went from a 7 (out of 10) to a 9 (out of 10) to a 10 by the last mile. I could barely see straight for the last .5miles, that section sucked.

 

Around mile 5 the ragged breathing turned into solid breathing, although the exertion levels stayed the same. I presume cardiac drift occurred about then. Whatever, I just kept going. I needed that walk break on the hill, it really helped. Unlike prior races, I didn’t walk EVERY aid station (I carry my nutrition and 40oz of hydration). I did walk 5, 8?, 10, 12 so I could get some more fluids and I grabbed one of their gels. Either 3 or 4. I needed those last ones just to recover a bit before I pushed on.

 

I’m absolutely thrilled. This is just 4min off my 13.1 best time (training) and 12 minutes off of the March run time. March was 8 minute faster than Cedar Point (and March was WAY harder run). And this was a much harder course than either (especially Cedar Point which was mostly flat). And Cedar Point was a 24 min run PR.  I fully realize how freakin unreal it is to drop 44 minutes in 1 year. Beyond expectations is what that is.  Very thrilled. The almost 2.5yrs of rebuilding my run is finally bearing serious fruit.

 

I actually passed people on the run. As in “more than one person” and they were NOT bleeding, NOT lying down, and NOT dead. That’s impressive for me. Got passed by only 20 (or 20 more than I passed), that too is a big acheivement.

 

Overall, a good confidence builder for my fitness leading up to Cda.

 

Lessons

  1. Need more wetsuit time (easy)
  2. Need more Saddle time (easy)
  3. Need to pace better on run for full IM – I’m still a tad nervous about 26.2 and how I’m going to “maximize my abilities” for that part.
  4. Maybe – deal with left achilles/soleus thing w/ Adam/Brandon?

I bounced back well too. I nothing Monday, ez bike Tues, ez swim Wed, then hard run Thurs and I popped out 4x sub10 miles in a 6mile run. So recovery was nothing like it used to be. That rocks. Ironman CDA… here I come!

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