Rev3 Quassy Half Rev DREAM Race Report
I woke up at 4:00am. Everything was already set out the night before. All I had to do was get up, wake myself up, eat, and get out the door. I made breakfast - a bowl of oatmeal, three eggs, a banana with peanut butter, and milk/OJ - and got dressed. It can't hurt to be cautious, so I went ahead and applied the first round of BodyGlide. I rechecked the packing list and packed everything in the car. Before I headed out, I grabbed my mp3 player, hit play, and spent 15 minutes with the foam roller and magic stick.
I made it to Quassy by 5:30 and up to transition by 5:45am. First, I set my transition up, got the bike ready, rechecked the swim start/exit and water temp, and rechecked my gear. The rest of this time was filled with lying in the grass listening to my playlist. I watched the pros head off as I waited patiently on the beach. This was it, the first big test of the season.
As they hit the horn, a thought went through my head - "Get out of your head!" The nerves were gone as I ran into water and dove in. With a swim background, I'm better prepared than most for the swim and I took advantage of it. I took frequent breaths out to the first turn buoy as I dodged hands and feet. The field thinned out a bit and I start switching between swimmers to draft off of. I took the next couple buoys to ease off my pace and recover. Then I started slowly increasing the pace. The back half of the swim couldn't have been more perfect; a steady, strong pace while picking off the leaders. I was out of the water and across the timing mat in 31:00. Awesome!!
My legs felt like they could break a 5:00 mile and loved it. I got to my bike, stripped off the wetsuit smoothly, stepped in my water trough, slipped on the shoes, race belt, sunglasses, and helmet. I grabbed my bike and took off for the bike course. I hit the timer just before getting on the bike and turns out it was 3:15; not bad!
This was nothing short of 56 miles of luck and "you've got to be kidding me!!" The first 20 miles were net downhill with rollers and I took advantage of it as much as I could. I was at a 23 mph average by the time I hit the small town at mile 22. I took it easy for a couple miles before the hills and got in my second round of big nutrition. At mile 24, the 7 mile climb began. Overall, a few people passed me, but I did a lot of damage to those around me. Just like the preview day, I hit the top at mile 31 and felt awesome! Time for downhill!! Having dropped down to 19 mph average, I needed to make up some time. At 35 miles, I hit the out & back - I'll admit now that this was the worst 5 miles of the entire race. I made it a fartlek ride and got in my third big nutrition round. I hit the turn around and that's when I started the mantra "Do Not Break." Making it out of that section was like heaven! The last 16 miles went by like clockwork and I hit T2 at a perfect 2:40; 21 mph average. "Now it's time for pain!"
I was off the bike and to my spot before I knew what I was doing. The athletes around me hadn't gotten back yet, so it was easy to rack the bike, toss the helmet, switch shoes, and grab my hat before dashing for the start of 13.1 miles of planned pain. I ran out of transition one more time at 1:45 and repeated again "Do Not Break."
I headed out down Rt. 64, a 1.5 mile downhill to our first turn. My goal was to simply hit my goal pace while I loosened up my running legs. I grabbed two waters at the first station and they went right on my head. By the first turn, my legs were under me and I knew all I had to do was keep from breaking and I'd be golden. If I hadn't already been racing since 7:15am, I would have started tearing up right there.
I hit the first hill, slowed it up, made it up, and soared over the top. I had to pull myself back; I couldn't dig into the energy just yet. I could feel the fatigue right on the edge as I pulled up to the main hill of the course. I could see people all the way up; some jogging, some walking. This was my moment. I had mapped out the course, drove it, watched the videos, and visualized it. The only thing I planned for this hill was the words "Do Not Break." If I could make it up this hill without stopping, I could do anything. As the road started to incline, I put my head down and closed my eyes. I listened to my breathing, I paid attention to how my legs felt and allowed them to shorten the stride, I widened the arc of my arms, and I breathed a little deeper. "Just like any other training day," right? Knowing that I didn't have to do it again, I crested the top and just about wanted to celebrate right there and then. Don't worry - I didn't. I turned onto the out and back and focused back on nutrition - still 8.5 miles to go. On the way out, I let my legs recover and then back I pushed the pace. I hit the highest elevation and then started the two mile downhill. I had to slow a few times to preserve my hips and quads, but it felt amazing (as amazing as it can feel at that point in the day). And then I dug deep. I had been slowing down and knew that the last 5k had to be pushed in order to stay under 5 hours.
I hit the last out & back and drew energy from everyone out on the course. In training, I always run faster when I go by the local college or past other runners - the male ego at it's best I guess - so I did just that. I put on a "this is easy" face and tried to push the pace a second or two at a time. Before I knew it, the road began inclining and this was it, the last push. After who knows how many waters, I still felt the dehydration setting in. My legs had been screaming for a break since I started the downhill at mile 8 (it'd just been a kind request up until then). It would have been nice to have the finish line in sights earlier, but I played the mental games and rounded the last corner. There it was! I didn't even have the energy for a push, but I maintained my speed. Across the finish line in 4... 56... 15; a run of 1:40.
I'd love to say I felt awesome, jumped for joy, and was ready for another lap, but that's not true. I collapsed in the shade, poured cold water on my face until I turned blue, and enjoyed every bit of my finish line twinkie!!
One step closer! ...and so much more work to do.
Questions1. How do you mentally prepare for a race?
Do you visualize the race? Do you write out a dream report? Do you just wing it? Is it different for various races?
2. What's your next race and the ultimate dream goal for it?
I actually have a sprint tri Thursday, but Rev3 is my next big race and my goal is under 5 hours.
Swim fast. Bike smart. Run hard.