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After packing up the car early on Friday morning, I hit the road right after work on my way down to Connecticut to stay with the family. I grew up only about 20 minutes from the race site, so it was great to spend some time with the family too. While there are a ton of reasons that I was so psyched about this race originally, that was definitely a big one.
That being said, it probably wasn’t the greatest idea to stay out until 1a.m. at the bar with my mom, sisters and neighbors. Oh well. I’m not that focused on time anyway. I decided that (for a number of reasons, especially the bad-ass course) this was all about the “experience” this weekend, not the “race.” I still have a lot to learn before I can start getting in the mindset of “racing” 70.3s.
After rolling out of bed early on Saturday with a mild headache, I headed off the the race site to meet up with Team Trakkers for a short run and to man the booth for the morning. Bree Wee, Lisa Mensink and Chris Thomas joined us too. They were very kind to us age groupers and didn’t leave us in the dust.
At the Trakkers booth I was helping set people up with GPS devices so that family/spectators could track them during the race on the Web. Because Trakkers is still in still in early beta, cell service isn’t the greatest on the course, there were plenty of hiccups. Even despite some product issues, people were still really amped to try them out, knowing that there was a good chance that it might not even work at all. It was great to see people supporting the idea behind the product, even when the product hasn’t fully come out yet. Good times and I got to meet some cool people.
After doing a short bike on the run course with Kellie, chatting it up with Christine, Javier and Phil (seriously, who WASN’T a this race?), I called it a day and went home to do final race prep for Sunday’s race.
I went out to dinner with Team Trakkers and Michael Lovato showed up. I’m not usually not one to sit there and drool over pros, and get just as motivated by seeing age groupers do amazing things out on the course, but sitting down and chatting about his plans for prepping for Kona this year was pretty cool.
I actually got a pretty good night’s sleep! I never sleep that well before a race, so this was an accomplishment in itself. The alarm went off at 4:20 a.m. and I shoveled some cereal, juice and some mini corn muffins down my face, and I was on route to the course by 5:00.
Set up transition. Triple checked everything, set up my Trakkers GPS and off I went to the swim start. Apparently they had changed up the wave times, and I wasn’t sure what time I was supposed to be going, so I didn’t get a chance to warm up. I just splashed some water down my neck into the front of my suit, jumped into the middle/back of the pack and off I went.
The warmup/commute/race strategy worked wonders for me during my two half marathons this year, so that was the plan again today. Keep it extra cool on the swim (don’t worry about maybe giving up a few minutes), warm up on the bike (and never really push the pace, the course is hard enough, it will push back), and once I get my running legs under me THEN I can start racing.
And I even got my own name printed all fancy on my bike rack. Classy, right? Rev3 doesn’t mess around.
I started off pretty smooth. My arms/back was a little tight, but not too bad. I definitely wished I had warmed up, but it was fine. If anything it helped me stay nice and slow. Some jerk was constantly tapping on my feet every two strokes. I’m fine with having you draft off of me, but when I am leading the pack, I have no one else to draft from, and I get the feeling that you might have a foot fetish, I’m done. A few breast strokes to the right, I watch him give me the sad puppy dog eyes as he swims past, and I get back into my rhythm.
Time: 37:11 (1:46/100yds)
Exiting transition I got to use some of my cyclocross skills and did a running mount. Went perfect and I blew right pas that awkward pack of people that always gets clogged up with people who leave their bike in to hard of a gear. SaWEET.
I started off nice and smooth, kept my cool on all the hills and still managed to pass a bunch of people while climbing. I guess my bike has gotten a lot stronger! I normally aim at taking down one bottle per hour and it is a little bit of a chore to stay on schedule. I found myself easily sucking down each bottle in about 50 minutes. I was proud of myself for staying ahead of schedule. Two bottles of Infinit. Two bottles of CeraSport (the course drink). Looking back (only just now) CeraSport has only 160 calories, while my Infinit has about 280. I probably should have sucked down a GU with each bottle, and taken in a fifth bottle. While I kept the pace pretty cool, I just didn’t realize that the hills had taken so much sweat out of me. Stupid mistake. Seriously though, this course was a beast. But if it was easy, they would call it football, right?
I hopped off the bike feeling pretty cool and collected, not yet noticing any dehydration, but sucked down the very last bit of the remaining bottle on my bike. I even popped my feet out of my shoes with .5 miles to go and did a rolling dismount off the bike. Cyclocross definitely made me a lot more confident about my bike handling. Great stuff.
My run legs weren’t quite there when I started. I kept it super slow and easy to let them switch over, but it wasn’t happening. I took a one minute walk break at each mile marker and sucked down some water. When I was running, I felt good and held a decent pace (mabye around 9:30?). When I decided it was time to start walking, not so hot. Eventually around mile 5 or so, I could feel my pulse pounding in my head. My HR was only 156, but my head was pounding. My lack of water on the bike had fully caught up to me.
I upped my water intake and walked through each water stop to try and offset it, but it was too late. The hurtin’ was in full effect. To make it worse, the run course totally changed from the original course taht I ran. WAY Harder. The good part was that the first 10 miles was one long out and back that wrapped around the lake, so I got to see a bunch of the pro women and everyone else as we ran. It was fun to see everyone and cheer ’em on. I love the run because it is the only part of racing where you can be a little social and make some friends.
I had to drag myself a little, but I eventually made it to the line. One girl that I caught at mile 12, and hung on my hip for the last mile yelled out “Let’s Do This!” as she sprinted past me. I think we had very different interpretations of “this.” She wanted to kick my ass. I had no interest in sharing the finish line and let her go without a second thought and happily ran straight through the line all by my lonesome.
Run: 2:24:12 (11:00 min/mile)
It was a whole 28 minutes over my first 70.3 last year where I was undertrained and injured, but I’m still calling this my new PR. Not anywhere near the 6ish hours that I was hoping for, but given how seriously tough the course was, I have no regrets (well, except for the whole nutrition thing). Other than that, It was an awesome experience. (Notice, I said experience, not race. Hopefully One of these days I’ll be racing this distance, but that day hasn’t come yet).
The post race festivities began. I sucked down a Corona, two burgers and jumped back into the lake to try and cool of the legs.
Rev3 half iron triathlon in the books. Amazingly hard, but even more fun.
Oh yeah. And that new bottle of sunscreen that I bought? It doesn’t do much if you don’t use it.
Hanging out with Bree after the finish.