It’s been a long season, starting at RnR New Orleans back in February, and I still have my A race coming up. That may seem like that’s too long, but it’s pretty much the norm for me. The big races this season have been the Rev3 series. Rev3 brings in national athletes, and that really gives a snapshot view of how you rank. That’s important for me since I’m chasing my elite license, and it definitely keeps my humility close by. This past weekend’s Rev3 Anderson olympic taught me a lot, and ended the Rev3 series on a high note. Here’s the break-down…
(This is pre-race weekend. Skip down for just the RR. Yes; that means you Harvey)
My mom an I drove up to Anderson SC Friday afternoon. Anderson is about 2hours from my parents’, but that 2hour drive turned into something like 4 because of traffic. ‘That’s really bad traffic’ you say? No…There was a wreck ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY, but of course everyone had to slow almost to a stop to look. As soon as we passed that section, we were back to 75mph, for a few anyway. We stopped at Pilot/Flying J to top of the tank, and because my bladder was about to explode. After that quick stop, it was about 45 minutes to our hotel in Anderson.
After a quick check in, we headed down to the race expo to pick up my packet. Maybe it was because it was around 530, or because it was 2days before the race, but there was almost no one there. So a super smooth pick up, and getting my mug shot taken for the jumbo-tron, and it was back to the hotel. Well it was back to the hotel for all or 30seconds to drop off my packet before walking 20yards to FATZ for dinner. Once my mother and I had finished dinner, we walked down the strip of road our hotel was settled on to a movie theatre. We sat down to watch a late showing of ‘Contagion’, and for me to laugh at my mom’s OCD
And apparently the blue Sweetarts are new and replaced the green ones? Maybe I’m too young for that, or maybe I’ve just never been a big candy person. Anyway; ‘Contagion’ was pretty good, and once again I was sitting in front of a lady adding her own sound effects to the movie. No; she wasn’t on her phone, but she did make ‘eww’, ‘ahh’, and ‘OMG’ sounds any time something not totally sanitary popped up on screen; ie-cleaning and cooking a pig. Yeah; I shook my head too. Dinner and a movie done, we headed back to our separate rooms (my mom doesn’t like being around me race-eve. She says I get cranky; I say I get focused), and after a couple chapters in my book, I was out for the night.
Saturday entailed a SBR brick, as well as setting up T1(there were two separate transitions). TRAKKERS also had a TRISLIDE spray party at the warmup swim, so a couple of my teammates and I decided to ride the ~4miles from T2 to the swim start, spray, swim, and run before we checked our bikes in. Well we sorta turned early, and ended up away from T2, so after riding back T2, and driving to the swim start. We ended up missing the TRISLIDE party, but we were able to get in a practice swim. Once out of the water, Jill and I had a easy 15 minute run, and then checked in our bikes. After I made it back to my hotel, I pulled up the Kona coverage, and laid in bed with a book. I ended up falling asleep and missing team dinner. I woke up around 9pm with this feeling of anxiety; like I wasn’t ready for tomorrow. It took my a few minutes to get my head right, and change that anxiety into anticipation to race in 12 hours. With some prayer and focus, I’m pretty sure I fell asleep mumbling, “This is my race”, and with a grin. I made sure I kept this mentality throughout the whole event.
Rev3 SC consisted of a half iron distance(main event), and an olympic distance that also acted at the South Eastern Region College Club Championships. That gave me a broad view of where I am as an athlete with kids my age. But, back to race morning…The oly wasn’t set to go off until 9:25. That’s 90 minutes later than I usually start, so I was a little worried about nutrition and warm up. None of that became an issue, and if nothing else; I stayed calmer and more amiable race morning than I ever have before(though that may not be saying much). I got to watch the pros swim and T1, and that just fueled my excitement. A quick run and swim after sliding into my wetsuit, I toed the line with every male racing the olympic.
“GO!!” boomed through the speakers, and I immediatly took a straight line to the first turn buoy. That put me inside the first sight buoy since I started out front left, away from everyone else. The course was shaped like a C around a point in the lake, but I swam a diamond. Sight buoys are GUIDES, so I maybe swam 50m less than those who followed them. I’m not a super swimmer, and even less so in my wetsuit. The lifejacket, as my coach so generously calls it, puts me in perfect body position, but it changes my stroke. I kept my focus, but was frustrated at how tired my shoulders were after just 700m, so I let my arm just flop back into the water… HUH?! The suit was pretty much swimming for me! Glad I found this out before my A race in a few weeks, but still. It changes my stroke, but I did set a PR for a race swim in a lake, running out in 26:38. Not great, but far better than I’ve swam fighting the suit earlier this season. I even came out without the raw spot from the wetsuit rubbing on my neck thanks to actually spraying myself with TRISLIDE before the race. A very slow 1:33 T1 from the cold, and a almost disastrous flying mount for the same reason, and the bike leg began.
So the elevation profile for the race looked like there was only really 3 climbs…yeah… This course was hands down the hardest bike (and run) course I’ve ever raced. That includes the mile of climbing right out of T1. I can tell you I used my Granny gearing plenty, but that allowed me to stay seated and save heartbeats. I even held a better wattage on my Kestrel over this course than I did a few weeks ago at Tugaloo. For those of you local, think C-ville, but on steroids. Lots of focus, and pulling on my mantras. 1:09:35 bike split, and a fast(er) T2 thanks to just grabbing everything and putting it on once I started running.
Here comes the hard part. I wanted to get my legs completely back before I started running. If you’ve ever raced, you know that’s not possible, but I had a plan. I’d go out mod-hard the first mile, then pick it up the last 5, and track sess speed the final .2miles. It worked really well, keeping my pace around 7, until about mile 4. I don’t cramp, and I haven’t had a side stitch in…well not in a really long time. My nutrition strategy is to take in fuel (EFS drink) every 5minutes on the bike and run. It’s worked perfectly, but Sunday something happened. I had a huge stabbing pain beneath my 4th rib. I watched my pace slow, no matter how hard I pushed, so I walked a few seconds through the mile4 aid station. I took in a mouthful of water, and the pain got worse, so I said screw it to taking in anything and started breathing far deeper than needed, and BOOM, pain gone with in a quarter mile. My coach and I think it was a build up of air from not exhaling completely from the excitement of picking off ‘victims’ on the bike. With that gone, I dropped back down to my race pace, and ran down the last 2 miles. Now at the 6mile mark, you see the finishing chute. Well Eric (Rev3 RD) likes to make you look at the chute, but make you run around and away from it before you finally get to run down it. So I turn on everything I have left, only to be told I need to run around this field, uphill, then I get to finish. Here’s where I learned to dig. “You can puke at the line” I kept telling myself, and I finished the run in 45:51, and with only one heave.
This race was the end of a big block of racing and training built to give me a fitness boost going into my peak for the season. I’d raced Tugaloo (hardest oly in GA?) 2weeks before, and covered ~125miles in 2 days at the EC IMFL camp(blog coming), on top of travel and midterms. This race became a 2:24:15 PR for me, even with it ending a crazy 3weeks. Not to mention that this is now my favorite oly distance triathlon I’ve ever raced, and not because of this
Oh yeah; did I mention I took 3rd in my AG? Just like Tug, there were faster kids in my AG, but they were racing collegiate, so I’ll count it as another half podium.
Another amazing race put on by Rev3, and a fantastic end to their 2011 series. I’m already looking forward to racing them again in 2012, but I’m not allowed to talk about 2012 yet; Coach’s orders. Thank you TRAKKERS sponsors (Kestrel, AVIA, TYR, SBR Sports, First Endurance, RecoveryPump, Canari, Betty Designs) for the tools to race and recover, Rev3 for putting on an A+ event every race, and my support team(Coach, family, and God) for dealing with me, and pushing me to this point. You’ll keep me pushing through the finish line in Clearwater just a few weeks from now.