Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rev3 Cedar Point: The Actual Race Report

The Swim: (48:59)
The conditions were 100% better than the day prior. It was a beach start, with really shallow water for the first 100 meters or so. I had to pee before the start! No porta jons around. After my Iron Girl experience (abnormal heart rhythm when I tried to pee in the water), I decided to take care of it before I got in the water. TMI for those non-triathletes, but I was warm for the swim! Some people were dolphin-diving at the start. I’m just not that coordinated. The swim was an upside down U. It took until the first turn for me to be really comfortable. The good news was minimal contact with other swimmers. The leg parallel to the shore was perfect…the current went with us, minimal waves. I knew most of my wave had pulled away, but I was swimming 1.2 miles and I knew I would make the swim cutoff so I didn’t care! That was my goal and I was meeting it. The last leg into shore was rough! Breathing in either direction = water in my mouth. The Rev 3 buoys in the water are great- large and bright. The inflatable on the beach at the swim finish is sponsored by Muscle Milk and is brown and white. It has a tendency to blend into the sand….really hard to sight on (my only constructive feedback for the race was that they should add some bright streamers to the inflatable). I swam as far as I could in the shallow water, and started peeling off my wetsuit as I waded/ran the last little bit. I had told my family not to worry about being there for T1, but as I came out of the water I saw them there. I got to High-Five my kids and my sister (who proceeded to tell me “Run Faster! Pick it up!!!”).

T1: (2:12)
A little run up the beach, across a mat on the parking lot, and into transition. I was near the end of a rack (Rev3 has the best transition racks that hold your bike tire), and got to my stuff quickly. I was wiped from the swim, seeing Jenn (a Rev3 staffer) in transition was a big help. She gave me some encouragement and I set out to catch up with the girls who kicked my butt on the swim. No socks for this one, which worked out fine (I sprayed TriSlide on my feet, and in both pairs of shoes before the race). I am happy with the time, as I was definitely feeling a bit sluggish.

The Bike: (3:08:59, 17.78 mph)
I liked this course (think Eagleman with more scenery and some “usable” rollers). There were enough hills to keep it honest, but nothing that would make anyone who rides in Columbia bat an eye. I seriously think I was the only one out there without aerobars (I pointed this out to my Mom the day before, as she was marveling at all the “odd” bikes she was seeing). That much more motivation to catch those fast swimmers. I kept passing women, but none in my age group. Uuuugh! I got one or two, but it took to the second half of the bike to really make progress. I ended up passing 9 of the 35 in my age group on the bike. That felt good. My nutrition went well. I had three large bottles and one smaller one. The three were filled with First Endurance Grape EFS, and the other with water. (No aerobars = no aerobottle). I felt good for the first half (averaging 18.7 mph). Then the wind hit. The second half was more spread out- a bit lonelier. I kept thinking of the awesome rides I’ve had this season (thank you Emily and my other MMTC riding buddies). I was also thinking about how much I had to pee (yes, there is a theme here), but I couldn’t do it on the bike. The last 10 miles was brutal with the wind…really had to work hard! Kept thinking about the run and hoping I had enough in the tank. I started taking Hammer Gel, and my left knee started talking to me. Nothing unbearable, but it was there.

T2: (01:19)
Really happy with this time! Again, I could have moved faster. Team Trakkers “Mom” Sharpie was working in transition, and cheered for me as I transitioned. She told me to dump water on my head because the sun was coming out after a dreary morning. (I would later regret my lack of sunscreen application).

What the kids did while I raced!!!!

Run: (Run/Walk) (2:28:15)
The first 3 miles felt good (I was averaging 9:30, heart rate was good, and feeling a little tired but good). The course was totally flat save one hill on an overpass. It wound through a lakeside park, and downtown historic Sandusky (very cool buildings). A portion was out and back. At mile 3, I saw two of my Trakkers teammates (mile 10 for them) on their way back. I cheered them on, got a high five, and tried not to dwell on the fact that we all started the swim together. By this point I really had to pee. I could tell that I had a chance of making it in under 6 hours, so I really didn’t want to stop. Walked a little after the rest stop, poured some water on myself, and the rest is history. Fast forward to mile 6. My left knee started to hurt. I walked a little stretch and ran again to the mile 7 marker. I just couldn’t run anymore. It HURT! The longer I ran, the worse it got. So I walked, and cried hysterically for about 30 seconds. A woman passed and said something encouraging. I started saying to myself “There is no crying in triathlon”. Over and over.
It was apparent I wouldn’t meet the 6 hour goal, but I was only at 5 hours. I had 3 hours to make the time cutoff. I would walk/crawl 6 miles to make it! I had set out to do 70.3, and I was determined to do it. I felt well-hydrated, nothing but the knee holding me back. Up ahead, I saw a guy limping along. We ended up side by side and started chatting. He was Joe from Pittsburgh, and on a good day would’ve smoked me on the run. He had a broken toe, and was struggling with a similar issue. We started talking and walking together. We decided to walk run- we pick the starting point and run until one of us couldn’t anymore. I thank the Tri Gods for Joe- I don’t think I would’ve run at all without him! People were so encouraging. I saw a lot of my teammates who were doing the full distance and got to cheer them on (including Kathleen, our pro).
Coming over the overpass and seeing the coasters at Cedar Point was amazing. I knew I could do it- I could finish 70.3 miles. It wasn’t fast and wasn’t what I had hoped for, but I could finish. I saved what I had so that I could run the last stretch. You go through the parking lot (past several of my Trakkers teammates, cheering like mad), into a back park entrance, to a long finish chute. There was my Mom at the start of the chute, and she sent my daughter out to run with me. This is what I had envisioned……. Sharing this accomplishment with my family. The knee hurt, but we ran to the finish and I smiled and smiled. It was amazing!!!!!
Check out he amazing photos here.

This was the first race all season that hasn’t resulted in a migraine post-race. Thanks Coach Mike for the nutrition plan! I realized that all I consumed for the first hour post was water, and ate some pasta salad, had a coke and a Muscle Milk. I got to see the pro winners finish the full, and enjoy the day. Several of my Trakkers teammates made the podium for the half and the full (one took second overall amateur female for the full…crazy fast). When I got to my car, there were several encouraging text messages, including some wonderful ones from my husband in Maryland. He made me feel so good, regardless of my time. It was a great race, great people, and an amazing venue.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rev3 Cedar Point Part 2: "Glitter in the Air"

"Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?
Close your eyes and trust it, just trust it
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face
And said I just don't care?

It's only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg, the sun before the burn
The thunder before lightning, the breath before the phrase
Have you ever felt this way?
It's only half past the point of oblivion
The hourglass on the table, the walk before the run
The breath before the kiss and the fear before the flames
Have you ever felt this way?"

This is one of my favorite songs these days. I've always loved Pink, but as I listened to my Ipod on race morning, I realized the song describes the sensation on race morning. You start the day in the Cedar Point race day started when I woke up and saw the generator lights down on the beach, illuminating the swim start. The Half Rev didn't start until 8:30, so there was time. There is something so exciting about race morning, before the sun rises. There is such promise in the breaking dawn. The day is unwritten....the results of my race unknown. Going through the pre-race ritual provides focus.

The Rev3 transition area is awesome. The bikes are racked by their tires, rather than their seats. It provides you a defined amount of space (which is always nice). At one point, I was setting up my transition area and looked up to see the American flag over the Cedar Point entrance. It was still at half staff in remembrance for 9/11. That was definitely one of those moments that makes you pause and reflect. When I looked back up a few minutes later, they had raised the flag because it was 9/12.

The great thing about Cedar Point was that we got to watch the pro 140.6 swim finish before our waves started. I got to hang out with Shane, husband of teammate Kathleen Calkins, and Emily and Ryan (a great couple!). The pre-race nerves were at a minimum.

We lined up for the start after seeing the pros finish. Anticipation building.....glitter in the air...time to go.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rev 3 Cedar Point Part 1: Pre Race

This was to be my first half iron distance race (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run). I was so excited to see my Trakkers teammates and the Rev3 staff, and spend time with my family. The venue was super family friendly, so we made it a family road trip. (Thanks to my dad for letting me use his car!) My Sister, Mom, and I headed out with the kids (ages 7 ¾ and 4) early Friday. After my daughter’s bout of car sickness, we had an uneventful trip.

The Hotel: Hotel Breakers…a great room with a view of the beach and the swim start.We had a suite, with a pull-out for the kids, and a mini kitchen (so my sister could have her oatmeal in the morning). Walking distance to the park, the finish line, and several places to eat. I was so happy I had picked the water view room. It really was great!

The Expo: No lines on Friday. It was great time for packet pickup, shopping, and a talk with Robert Kunz from First Endurance all about nutrition (I got to try one of the Triple Berry Liquid Shot samples...yeah!). (Good race gear: a Headsweats visor, Tyr slingbag, and Rev3 shirt, plus some samples). I got free ART and lots of other goodies.

The best part of the expo? Connecting with my Trakkers teammates. It is amazing how we have formed such a cohesive unit, even though some of us have never met. Thanks to Mama Bear Sharpie (and Facebook, Twitter, and blogging), we have gotten to know each other from all over the country. It is like coming home...seeing these people who have supported me and who I have cheered on throughout the season. Hard to explain but it made the weekend that much more special. Every time I saw green on the course, it was like seeing a sibling out there. Not to mention the Rev3 staff (Jenn sent the post-its I have at the beginning of this post. They hang on my fridge and provide more motivation than she could ever know).

Rev3 Night at Cedar Point: Cedar Point has never seen so much compression wear! They had select rides (all of the big coasters) open. Team Trakkers met up, and we were like little kids…racing from ride to ride ("Hey Coach. I did 5 x 100 meter runs between each coaster!"). I also got to spend time with my kids on the little rides. My Mom and sister were awesome support and kid wranglers the whole weekend. (My son loves to have meltdowns for me, and they know just how to get him distracted).

Swim Preview Saturday: My Trakkers teammates and I handed out TriSwim/TriSlide samples, meanwhile procrastinating our own swims. The air temps were chilly, and the water was ROUGH. You couldn’t see beyond the swells when you were swimming (I was more nauseated swimming than I had been on the coasters). I did my short scheduled swim, and hoped conditions would improve. Once again, it was great to have my teammates there. Ryan and his wife Emily are awesome swimmers, and they definitely made it less stressful. Of course Sharpie was out there...swimming with her broken arm. That is one hard core chick!

After the swim, it was mini golf with the munchkins. We had a blast. (I'm sure this was what my coach meant by "rest").

I convinced the kids to get in bed early (after a pre-race dinner at Famous Dave’s- not my ideal pre-race dinner but not a ton of choices when it poured down rain and everyone flooded the restaurants). I had everything packed and was ready for the morning.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I can't REALLY be old enough to be the Mom of a THIRD GRADER, can I? (Don't answer that). Holy cow, my baby started preschool this week, too. he looks like a little man in his uniform. When did all this happen? I used to be young and cool....ok, maybe young....never too cool. Now my babies are turning into little people. Several of my friends took their children off to their freshman year of college this year. They keep telling my time will fly by, and it certainly has. In honor of retaining some of my not-so-cool youth, tonight I'm watching Pretty In Pink (while I occasionally yell upstairs to remind my kids the meaning of "bedtime").

To top it off, I'm 4 days away from my first half iron distance race...70.3 miles. Thankfully the back-to-school craziness has been a good distraction. Now the pre-race nerves/anticipation have set in. I can't wait for the road trip to Cedar Point, and the sense of accomplishment I know I will feel when I cross the finish line.Having some of my family there will be awesome. I can't wait!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

One Week Until 70.3

One week from now, I will hopefully have completed my first 70.3 at Rev3 Cedar Point. I am so pumped for the road trip with my family and the Rev3 experience. Where else can you get such a family friendly race? Our hotel overlooks the swim start, and is just steps from transition.

I am so excited to see my Trakkers teammates and have Tommy "Trak" me online from home. Can't wait!