Sunday morning I woke up at 4:45am. My wave was to go off at 7:38am, and transition opened at 6am. I’m not big on a BIG breakfast like some people, instead I like to have a BIG dinner, and when I mean BIG, I ate an entire 10inch pizza to myself the night before the race, plus some bruschetta. So, when I woke up I made my EFS bottles, packed up the car, and headed down to transition. About an hour before the race start I ate a PB&J Bonk Breaker, and 30min before the race I had one shot of EFS Liquid Shot (wild berry is my flavor preference). Transition was all set up, helmet upside down on bike, sunglasses in helmet, shoes already clipped into bike, water bottles and EFS liquid shot on bike, running shoes, race belt, liquid shot bottle in running shoes, and visor laid out! Last but not least, I pumped up my tires one last time, and I was good to go. It’s amazing how the first time I did this it felt like it was a lot to prepare for, and now I feel like it was so easy, so easy that I was afraid I forgot something. I always wonder what other people are doing in transition, I’m not one to just hang out, and meander around. I like to get in and get out. Fortunately Scott was there, so I didn’t have to leave my bag in transition and I could do my warm up without my wetsuit on. I wanted to see the pro’s start so we headed down to the swim start to watch. Next, I took 1 immodium, I do this before every race just to ensure that I won’t have to stop and poop. Seriously, nothing is worse than having to go #2 on the course, and I’d rather just stop myself up for the day, than have an accident.
Heading down to the swim start. P.S This is the first time I have worn my hair in double french braids for a race, and I LOVED it! My helmet fit on perfectly, my hair stayed out of my face, it will not become a tradition for races!
The Swim: 1.2 miles
I am always a little nervous before every race, my stomach gets a little twisted in knots, and I calm myself down with deep breathing. It works like a charm. We jumped into the water, and lined up, and I started on the front left, just in line with the buoys. They had a great countdown, and when the announcer said 1min, I let my feet come up behind me, so I was horizontal and when the gun went off, I just put my head down and started swimming. The start went perfectly. I had practiced race starts numerous times (thanks coach!), and I sprinted until I found some open space, or what I thought was going to be some open space, until…”I knew this was going to happen”, I thought to myself…I ran into the last wave that went off! There were people do breaststroke, and back stroke, and well I just moved around them. I then found this one girl who was going at the same speed as me, and we were just swimming along nicely together, drafting off one another, and then suddenly she just starts going diagonally right in front of me! “Well, that’s weird. Did she know she just did that? Did she know she is no longer heading toward the buoys?” “Just keeping swimming” “This isn’t so bad” “Am I working hard enough?” “Yes, your slightly out of breath, perfect!” “This must be a good pace, it feels right” Other than zig zagging around a few people, I pretty much went in a straight line. I tend to head straight to the buoys, and practically run into them every time, but it helps me so that I don’t waste time being out in no man’s land. I like taking the direct route.
Alrighty, I’m at the turn around, 1/3 done! Turn the corner…”Are you kidding me?” “Why am I not going anywhere? This is strange, I thought once we turned around we were going to have the current with us. Where did all this chop come from? I guess it’s windy. Are there motor boats out here? Are there rapids on this river? Where are the other pink caps? I only see green and orange from the other waves that went out ahead of us. I can’t be going that fast. Oh there’s a pink cap. Go catch her! Caught her, nicely done. Wow, this is taking a long time. I wonder how long I have been swimming. Oh my gosh, I have to burp! Just do some breast stroke and let it out.” 3 HUGE burps come out. “Wow, I feel a lot better, I was starting to feel gross for a second. There’s the dock! Okay pick up the pace for this last 100yds, let’s go!”
I hopped out, looked at my watch…40min…what? How did the happen? Oh well, moving on.
Swim time: 40:46 OUCH! avg pace 2:07/100m
“Wow, I feel good to be standing.” I take my swim cap and goggles off and then half of my wetsuit, and jog to transition. I felt really strong. I quickly put on my helmet and sunglasses and took off.
T1 time: 1:33
The Bike: 56miles
This was the first race where I was going to attempt to start with my shoes clipped in, and while biking get my feet in my shoes. It worked like a charm! Thanks Coach Nina for making me practice all those times! I hurried off with 2 guys in front of me. And at the first uphill passed them:) Wow, I feel great! The bike was AMAZING! It was simply beautiful, and the whole time I seriously had fun. I loved all the climbing, in fact, I got pumped every time I saw a hill, because I felt strong, and that’s when I would pass people. I had rented Zipp 404′s 650c for the race, and they were perfect for the conditions, which it was windy and had lots of climbing! The roads were beautifully paved and rarely did I have to worry about potholes or bumpy roads. It was just a really fun ride. About 2 miles into the race, I caught a 34yr old woman, and for the rest of the race we would play cat and mouse. Oh man, was this a mental challenge. I passed her on every climb and downhill, and then she would work to catch back up to me, and pass me on the flats. We probably changed position about 10x in the first 10miles, no joke! We probably went back and forth a total of 30x during the whole 56miles! Originally, I thought, this could be fun because we can work off each other, but the problem was that, every time she pulled in front of me I would have to drop off because of drafting rules obviously, which I had no problem doing but then her pace would slow, and I got really nervous 2x because there were a few times where I wasn’t actually trying to pass her, but her pace would slow so much that I would get into the drafting zone accidentally, and the first few times this happened, I then just passed her, but eventually she would just catch back up and pass me again, and then again her pace would slow, etc. This happened for the rest of the bike course. I didn’t know exactly how to deal with it, because I felt like I helped her to pick up her pace, and she never let me leave her sights, which was great for her, but bad for me, because she wouldn’t just sit behind me and keep me in her sights, she would pull in front of me every time! Which would cause me to have to back off, and on and on and on. You get the picture. I’m sure coach has some advice about how to deal with this in the future. And she also gave me advice that if I found someone who was going about the same pace as me, that mentally it can be nice to just kind of follow them, and stay 4-5 bike lengths behind, but then I don’t have to think as much, so I gave this a shot for a while but when there were about 5-6miles left, I cranked it into high gear and finally dropped her. Either way, I stayed positive, and knew that I still felt strong going into T2, and I definitely could have gone longer on the bike, which was also what coach Nina said to me, “When you get off the bike, you should feel like you could have kept going”. So, I kept that in mind during the 56miles. I still pushed it, and I probably could have pushed a little bit harder if there wasn’t the whole cat and mouse scenario. My nutrition was spot on! Because, I never was hungry (probably due to the entire pizza I ate the night before), and I had a swig of EFS Grape every 10min, and every 45min I had a shot of EFS liquid shot. It was perfect. I came off the bike raring to go!
Bike Time: 3:00:52, avg pace 18.58mph (total elevation gain according to Garmin 2,923ft)
T2: I love coming into T2! Yay for running, I think to myself, and I love how fast the transition is. Again, I don’t know what other people do, but I just throw on my shoes and go!
The Run: 13.1 miles
I can’t even begin to explain how I felt on the run! I was excited, happy, pumped, felt as light as a feather, like I was just flowing through the air. I couldn’t believe how good I felt, but all I could think about was how prepared I was for this race. Coach Nina prepared me perfectly! The run is where I excel, and of course I had so much fun just doing what I do best, run! I started out a little too conservative I think, but better to be safe than sorry. How, I know it was too conservative, and I know coach is going to have something to say about this, but I was talking to people…lol. Seriously, chatting, and cheering people on! I don’t know why, but I was in such a good mood, I couldn’t help myself. I got off the bike, found out only 3 girls were in front of me, and thought “this is awesome. This is really happening!” Then, about 3 miles in, a guy Nick, who coaches people, comes from behind and says to me, “You have amazing running form, seriously I haven’t seen running form that good in years! Where did you learn to run like that?” My response, “Wow, thanks, I don’t know, I played soccer.” And then he asked me what pace I was running, and he said awesome, you can be my pacer for the next 5-6 miles!” I said, “Sure” He totally boosted my spirits, and really pumped me up to go try to catch the girls in front of me. As I was approaching the turn around, I asked an aid station how many girls were in front of me, just to double check, and a guy said, “3″. So, at about half way, I started to pick up the pace. And even though I picked up the pace, my 3rd run split is the slowest, because it is mostly uphill! Anyway, I got back to the aid station where the guy told me there were 3 girls ahead of me, and this time he said, “I counted, there are only 2, go get ‘em!” That pumped me up! I worked hard the last 4 miles, and picked up into high gear. I ended up averaging 7:09min/miles and I felt strong. In fact, there’s a part of me, that of course asked do you think you could have maintained that the whole time, and of course my response was yes! But, I thought, good think you played it safe, because you are finishing strong, and it’s the first race of the season! People were pumping me up, left, and right. No one knew how far ahead the other girls were, so I just gave it my best shot to try to catch them. I sprinted to the finish, and just felt PURE BLISS! I thought, this is what racing is all about. Nutrition wise, I had water at every aid station, and about every 4 miles I took a shot of EFS liquid shot. It was perfect. I have never raced once without feeling kind of nauseous, and this was the first race, where I didn’t have one stomach problem. NOT ONE. Thank you First Endurance!!! Side note: this was the hilliest run course I have every ran! But, I love hills, as much as I don’t have access to hills around here, I was having the time of my life, and loving the course. At one point at about mile 3 or so, there is a really tough hill, that practically goes straight up, and I was like this is awesome!
Run Time: 1:41:49, avg pace 7:46 (total elevation gain according to Garmin: 436ft)
Total Time: 5:26:02
I received 4th place overall female for the half rev, and because the winner of the race was in my age group, that means I got 1st place in my age group! It was an AMAZING day!
I had a 5min PR, on a tougher course than my previous best time, so that is awesome! I have never earned an award before, total bonus!
And lastly, I have never felt so prepared for a race, or anything for that matter in my entire life. The whole time, all I could think about was how prepared I was for this race, and how “easy” it was all feeling. Easy, is relative, obviously I was pushing it, but again, nothing that I wasn’t prepared for or used to in training.
There is LOTS of room for improvement, and I’m so excited to see where the rest of this season will take me because this is just the beginning!
I want to first thank my boyfriend Scott, for being the best supporter a girl could ask for. He does not do triathlon, and he comes to my races, holds my bags, my bike pump, waits in lines with me, and obviously hangs out for 5+hrs while I race. I LOVE you!
Also, I want to thank my Coach Nina! I’m so excited about the direction you are taking me! I couldn’t have had this success without you!
And of course, my friends, family, supporters, etc.! Now….to just get working on those sponsors;)
Here are some final pictures from the awards ceremony:
Thank you Rev3 for putting on a terrific race!
When you check-in they take a picture of you, and they put it up on the big screen as you are crossing the finish line, very cool!
The Awards Ceremony!