I missed my flight out of Portland this morning, meaning I missed my connecting flight, so I had a four hour layover in Denver. I’ve already eaten twice and walked the terminals a total of five times…and eaten my PowerBar RECOVERY bar, and it’s still an hour until my flight even starts boarding. Since I have the extra time, I thought this would be a good time to sit and recharge my toys,and write up my Rev3 Portland RR.
As most of you that know me and read my blog know, I July 7th was the four year anniversary of the car wreck that changed my life. I didn’t really realize it until I called my mom after I got into Portland Thursday night. So Friday morning I was asked,
“Do you know what tomorrow is?”
“Umm…a year since my last tetanus shot?” (inside joke…invoking three tetanus shots in a month…)
“It’s the day you left the hospital.”
I had a pretty big ‘Oh wow…’ moment. I spent most of Friday and Saturday alone, and thought, “You know…a kick ass race tomorrow would be pretty sweet because of the anniversary. So I asked to perform. I did.
Being three hours behind thanks to still being on EST, I had no problem waking up at 4am…before my alarm even. Normal morning rituals of coffee and crosswords, something to eat, then into my Pearl Izumi Rev3 race kit and out the door. A brisk 60* race morning might as well have been -12* since I’ve gotten used to the daily triple digits back home. Windows up and heat on in the Mustang (WHY would they rent me a Mustang? Don’t ask me. How much fun did I have in it? SOOO much fun. Tickets? Arrests? Somehow no…) I drove the 15 minutes to race site. The line was already out the park even though transition had only been open less than 10 minutes when I pulled up. I parked, and headed to transition, and was grabbed by Rev3 teammate Erin. We introduced ourselves and wished each other luck, and I went to set up my transition area. Another Rev3 teammate, Jordan, was racked just a few bikes down, and we said hey, wished each other luck, and I did my easy ride and run before transition closed at 7:45. Now I had :45 to kill before my wave went off. I watched the pros swim off, got in whatever you want to call the funny arm movements I call my swim warm up, and headed to the start line.
After sucking down my chocolate PowerGel (BEST. FLAVOR. EVER.)I, lined up in the front directly in front of the first buoy, I said my last ‘Thank you’, and went out 100% to the first turn. I like the thrash that is the swim start, especially in the middle of the pack of some 50 other athletes. Found my stroke at the turn, and held it throughout the swim. Straight into the sun on our way out, which made sighting the turn buyout an issue, but I felt like ideas actually racing the swim. A rare thing for someone who can’t seem to cut any significant time off their swim split. Not that my swim time would tell you that… I flew out of the water, and the volunteers say, “Slow down for the steps!” I replied under my breathe (I hope), “Slow down my ass…”. Run to my idea T position, 13th OA, stripped the BlueSeventy speedsuit, and left T in 10th OA.
The bike was a flat bike, on mostly brand new paved roads. Not TRISLIDE-ing my cycling shoes cost me a spot heading it of the parking lot and onto the roads as I fought to slide my foot in and another athlete passed me. No worries; I’m a decent cyclist, and I’ll catch you. PowerGel at the start, and into a slight headwind going out, another PowerGel on the way back in, holding about 220watts steady the whole time, and 22mph out, 25 back on the beautiful course along the river and staring at Mt Hood on the way back. Almost ate it on the flying dismount, but only because my front tire hit a divot and decided the bike wanted to go right, while I wanted to go left. Thanks to lots of practice controlling my bike by the seat, Cassia rolled along side me into transition. Erin snapped a fantastic picture of it. Kudos to her for being the team photographer for the day.
Fast T2, squeezed out PowerGel #4, and off on the run with two other guys. Guy 1 flew out huffing,and I knew he’d blow up, and guy 2 ran along with me, huffing, trying to up the pace when he was already above his threshold. At mile 1 I started putting distance between guy 2 and me, and watched guy 1 begin to slow. I really wanted to neg split each mile, especially the last 3 of the out and back course. Mile 2 came and the leader passed me going back in (he went 1:58:xx), and I started to actually push a little. I hit the turn around about a minute behind guy 1, and I could tell he was hurting. I picked it up, and knew I had a sub 2:20 performance within reach. I slowly cut down my paces, but I never really got above 90ish percent. I have this phobia of blowing up, and DNFing…so I hold back. The good news is that my coach and I have noticed that I can hold that 90% for a loooong time…but that’s another post. Anyway, I kept guy 1 about a quarter mile in front of me the whole way in, and put enough space between myself and guy 2 that I could enjoy running down the finish. I finished in 2:20:11, but I know that’s a 2:19:xx had I not jogged it in because I knew I wasn’t going to get caught.
Finisher’s medal hung around my neck, and timing chip taken, I started doing calculations of where I finished…top ten; right? If I…and then I was mobbed by a couple volunteers. I had told one of the vols the day before when I checked in my bike all about my wreck and the anniversary, and he apparently told the whole volunteer staff because I had 1000 questions and comments and congratulations cooing at me. It was really cool, and even better to know not only did I indeed finish top 10 and set a PR on a course that I had totally imploded on the year before, but I had been able to touch a couple lives. Very very cool. I hung out with my team, cheered the finishers on, and hung out in the NormaTec tent until awards. Rev3 again put on an amazing race, for both the age groupers and the pros, in both distances.
While it wasn’t Dibens that hung my medal on this time, it was Ashley Quinn, and she’s a celebrity too. All around solid day, set a Olympic distance PR in my PI and B70 gear, and using PowerBar nutrition. Have to say thanks God, and to my coach as well, especially for letting me take last week off (mentally and structure wise) after my week of being bed-ridden. I guess I’ll find out at Nationals what I’m capable of now at that distance when I’m not coming off down time 😉