Monday, September 13, 2010

HalfRev Race Report

So much to write about from this race I have to get it done quickly.

Race day started very early. Aimee and I were the home stay for a pro triathlete from Canada. Adam O'Meara is a second year pro and the FullRev was his A race. Adam was up early to get his food in and I woke up a little bit after him. I had a good nights rest but had a long way to go before my race started.

We left the house by 4:45AM so we could be on site by 5:30. The Full race started with the pro men at 6:50, pro women 6:53 and age groupers at 7:05. The HalfRev race wouldn't start until 8:30. I had plenty of time to prepare and talk with the bazillion of friends who were racing. I finally met Steve in a Speedo wearing his "bowl full of tutti-frutti" shorts.

I was able to watch Adam come out of the water and start the bike. I told him how far back he was from the leader and he was not happy, but it was information he asked me to tell him.



Aimee made it back from Dances with Dirt in Michigan in time for us to walk to the beach and get ready. Natalie got a picture of me before we went to the beach.



I jumped in the water real quick to spin the arms around and get used to the water temperature.....I also had to pee. I was surprised how cold the water was but that was fine. I said to some more friends in my swim wave and watched the first wave start. We were in the second wave of 18-24 and 40-44. There were 80 people in my age group (40-44) alone. Big field.





I lined up on the left side of the start line in the second row. The gun went off and we ran into the water. It was quite shallow for a while and once the water was up to my knees I dove in and started swimming. Being on the left side I didn't have any congestion and could see people to my right. A small chop in the water prevented me from breathing to the left. I just kept breathing right. I felt my sighting was doing well. We started catching the back of the previous wave and I had to pay attention during sighting to avoid these people.

At the first buoy we make a right turn and swim parallel to the beach. I was squeezing in between two guys from the first wave when the guy on my left hit my goggles with his hand. My left lense shifted but didn't come off. I swam another 20 yards and rolled over to drain the water and reposition my goggles. In no time I was back at it.

As we swam to the next turn buoy that was send us back to the beach the chop was behind me. I was able to get into a good bi-lateral race stroke. My sighting still seemed to be working well.

At the next turn buoy we headed towards the beach. I had to sight a couple of times to get a good line for the beach exit. All of the spectators were lined up the right with the exit arch on the left. It provided a good frame of reference.

The water temperature fluctuated as I swam towards the beach. The water was colder closer to shore and warmer further out. It was an interesting contrast during the swim and very noticeable.

I got closer to the beach and felt my left hand touch the sand. It was still deep enough to swim so I continued to do so. I could see people standing up too early and I pretty much swam away from them. With about a foot of water left I finally stood up and headed up the beach. I could hear Aimee and a couple of others cheering for me. I ran along the carpet into transition.



Swim time was 33:02 and I was 5th out of the water in my age group.

In transition I stripped off my wetsuit and started getting my gear on. Helmet first..as always. Socks and shoes next. I had arm warmers laid out to take with me but I was feeling good and didn't grab them. I grabbed my bike and headed towards the bike mount line. I had a good jump onto the bike and started my ride.

I was out of transition in 1:33.

I was feeling good and wanted to have a good bike ride. Being my A race I was being rather aggressive. But that didn't keep me ahead of two people from my age group who passed me in the first 6 miles. I still stayed within myself and rode my race.

The wind was from the WNW and a little stiff. Stiff enough to make a noticeable difference in my speed. I was consistently passing people who started the FullRev prior to me. If I recognized someone I would cheer them on.

Around mile 20 I was passed by two police motorcycles. A couple minutes later Bjorn Anderson passed me as he was into his second loop of the bike course at mile 58. After he passed me I never saw him again.

Heading into the town of Milan, short out and back, I saw my former coach Angela and Diane. They cheered loudly as I went by. As I went through the town square I saw my mom and dad waiting for me. Of course they had a hard time recognizing me so I made sure to point to them. Around another corner were several tri club friends cheering wildly as I went by. It was great to see so many people at this point.

Out of Milan there is a nice 6.5 mile stretch heading east. I was hoping for a nice push from the wind but the direction was not very beneficial. The wind was hitting us more from the side. I was still keeping a good pace through the rollers and taking my nutrition every 10 minutes.

At mile 30 the HalfRev course turns left and the FullRev course continues straight. After my turn I looked around and I was alone except for a rider ahead of me. I dug down and pedaled into the wind. Since I was alone on this road I decided to empty my bladder. As I stood to pee I looked behind me and saw a group of people about 1/4 mile behind me. I decided to wait for a pee break and continued on to the next turn.

As I was beginning to start the climb into the town of Berlin Heights I was finally caught by the group. I looked over and the first person I saw was Jody, followed by Frank, followed by about 10 other people. I noticed 3 people from my age group, one female, and guys from the younger age groups that started with my swim wave.

I know Jody and Frank. They race clean. Jody was the one pulling up front. I was pissed by what I saw, especially when I saw some guys from my age group. I soft pedaled for a little bit and even coasted down a hill to get some distance from these guys. This is when I took the time to empty my bladder since I wasn't pedaling anyways.

I pushed the anger of seeing some of my competitors in the pack and tried to stay focused on my own race. I also had to pay special attention to my legs as they were starting to cramp.

After we left Berlin Hts the course turns left into the wind. This was the longest stretch of chip 'n seal on the course. I was watching the group ahead of me when a motorcycle passed me. I looked up and realized it was a USAT official. I said to myself, "Bust their asses!!" I watched as she had the driver pull up behind the group and just sit there watching them. They were climbing a hill and the motorcycle just sat back to see what would happen after the hill.

The official watched the group for a couple minutes before pulling up next to the group. I'm pretty sure numbers were being taken. Unfortunately I have no way of knowing what penalties were assessed. I still felt good watching this unfold and knowing I was not a part of it. I knew I would have a clean race and not resort to drafting.

I'm still plugging away trying to save my legs from severe cramps. I saw my mom and dad again on the course and was surprised. They do know the roads though and knew where to go.

On the rollers I had to spin in the saddle because standing was causing my legs to spasm. They were rebelling from the hard effort I put them through during the first 35 miles. The course changes direction several times. Sometimes we had a favorable wind...sometimes not.

The final 10 miles were pretty much into the wind. At one point a guy came up next to me and commented on how he thinks he missed a turn. He was doing the full and asked if he was supposed to be returning to Cedar Point to start the second loop. I told him he missed it way back. Looking at a map now he rode approximately 10 miles before realizing his mistake. Overall he probably added 20 miles onto his ride.

Mentally I was still in good shape. I was over the drafting I saw. I was keeping myself under control to save my legs. I told myself to wait and see what the run was going to give me. I was ready to get off the bike, but not at the point where I needed to get off the f'in bike....if you know what I mean.

I finally entered the parking lot and headed towards transition. I reached down to pull the velcro straps. Each time my hamstrings yelled at me, "What are you doing?" I just hoped I could have a good dismount and not cramp up completely in front of the everyone watching.

I did swing my leg over and made a perfect dismount and ran into transition.



Bike time was 2:38:24 averaging 21.21 MPH. I was 12th back to T2 in my age group so I was passed by 7 guys, some who were in the drafting pack.

I racked my bike and took my helmet off. I grabbed my shoes and luckily had not problems putting them on despite needing to bend over. I knew I needed some salt, so I reached into my transition bag and grabbed the bottle of Thermotabs. I grabbed my hat which had my number belt inside it. As I ran out of transition people were yelling at me about needing my number. I kept going because I knew I was fine.

I put my hat on as I exited transition in 53 seconds.



I wrapped my belt around my waist and clipped it in place. Time to run...as best I could. My legs were killing me. Both quads and abductors were screaming at me. I had to keep telling myself to slow down and get used to the run. I couldn't completely stop because then the legs would win and stop me dead in my tracks. I guess I pulled a Jens Voigt and said, "Shut Up Legs. You will do what I tell you." I was starting to think that I would be reduced to a walking mess before this race was over.

I made it to the first aid station just past the first mile marker. I grabbed some water from a volunteer and kept walking in circles. I still couldn't stop. I dumped three salt tablets into my hand and shoved them in my mouth. I kept walking and talking with the ladies handing out water. I put down three more salt tablets and start to run again. I thanked them for being there.

At the second mile marker I hit the button and saw my mile split was 9:25. Not bad for taking the amount of time I did at the aid station. I didn't want to see a split like that again. My legs were feeling better by now. Still sore and crampy but not that bad.

Whenever the run course headed west we had the wind smack in the face. A couple of spots were between 5 story buildings that funneled the wind down the street. I felt like I was running in a wind tunnel.

As I try to write down my thoughts about the run I can't seem to put the words down in a way that conveys my feelings appropriately. Reliving the run is proving to be as hard as when I first took the steps.

Miles 3 and 4 are on long straight streets. I tucked behind a guy in my age group for a chance for him to shield me from the wind. I also saw my mom and dad for the 4th time along this stretch. Since I was moving slower, much slower than the bike, they could get some pictures of me. At the end of mile 3 I had a 8:09 split. Much better now with some water and Powergel in me.

I missed mile marker 4 but at mile marker 5 I averaged 7:38 for two miles, 15:16. Maybe my speed was coming back. I just kept going forward and listening to the directions offered by the volunteers. Follow the signs....follow the arrows...I just kept moving my feet in the directions the arrows pointed.

At the aid stations I grabbed the first water I found then grabbed a second water as I left the aid station. I was coherent about what I was doing. Suck down a gel and grab as much water as I could. I was also running alone a majority of the time. Many of my other races there were people all around. Not so much with this race. I had a few people to reel in but there really weren't too many targets to pull me along.

During mile 6 the course goes directly into the wind. This is when I felt the full force of the wind. But somehow my watch is telling me I had my best split with a 7:32 during that stretch.

Mile 7 was another long portion that was horrible to look at. I hadn't driven the course prior to I didn't know landmarks. I just buried my head and pushed on. As I made my way around a right hand turn I saw Rural Girl from the Evotri Team. She looked very focused (or was it drained) and I really couldn't muster the energy to cheer her on. Mile 7 resulted in a 7:52 split.

Now that I was halfway through the run I figured I would have no problem finishing. Keep on keepin' on...right? Well the body had other ideas. Another long straight to start mile 7. I made a left turn towards mile marker 8 and I could start to feel the length of the day catching up to me.

The wall was looming in front of me and my body just wanted to stop for a little bit. But I just couldn't let myself stop. Once I felt the relief of stopping I knew it would be hard to start again. And if I could stop once I would probably stop again. Or start walking. Or cramp up.

NO. I would not stop. I have never dug deeper than I did at that point. I just...wouldn't...let...myself...stop. And my body relented and continued to run for me.

Mile 8 somehow ended with a 8:12 split.

During mile 9 I saw my parents for the last time. They said I was starting to look tired at that point. I don't remember if I said anything but I was less than 4 miles from the finish. I saw Pharmie during a two way section and managed to cheer for her. Mile 9....7:52.....boy it sure did feel slower than that.

I caught up to and passed Cory from the BAFF team. He had started the run quite well and I was surprised to be with him again. As I passed him I encouraged him to stay with me. Unfortunately I didn't see him again until the finish line.

Heading back to the Cedar Point Causeway, 1st Street is about 1.25 miles. I could see the traffic lights down the road where we would turn left towards the finish. but it sure took me a long time to get down there. The intersection just never seemed to get closer. I was definitely focused inward and concentrating on moving forward. Mile 10 was along this part but I never saw the marker.

I made the turn towards Cedar Point and made it to mile 11. My two mile split was 16:31, average of 8:15 per mile. Wow, I was still holding my own. I saw Michelle from my team and cheered for her since it was her first Half IM. I also saw our homestay pro Adam heading out for his second loop.



I cheered for him and we slapped hands as we passed. Mile 12 brought me a 8:29 and I knew I was finally going to be okay.

I kept digging in for more energy to carry me to the finish. During the last mile I wasn't worried about finishing. I started to worry about what would happen once I stopped. Would my legs give out. Cramp up. Drop me to the ground. Oh well. I would just deal with it when I got there.



Back into the parking lot of Cedar Point, the volunteers and park staff were great controlling traffic and cheering for the athletes. I heard many people clapping and cheering me on to the finish. Near transition I heard Angela yelling for me and seeing a couple more people. Once I actually made it into the park I was alone for my finish.

As I hit the finish carpet I could see Aimee to the right and went to her. I wanted to give her a big hug and kiss but I was still afraid of my legs giving out before I made it to the finish line. I grabbed her hand and continued to the finish line. I heard the announcer call out my name as I waved my hands in the air to pump up the crowd.

I crossed the finish line 5:01:41 after starting with my swim.

A volunteer slipped a finishers medal around my neck. I was handed a shirt and water. I tried to keep moving in the finish area by walking in circles so my legs could slowly get used to no longer running.

I finished. I pushed it. I paid for it. I dug deep. Deeper than ever before. I survived.

Triathlon is a crazy ass sport. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. The people I have met, the places I have been, the things I have done are all priceless to me.

I thank Aimee for coming along for the ride with me. She has always been my #1 fan and supporter.

Thanks mom and dad for being on the course so much. Seeing familiar faces are always a treat.

Thanks to my teammates of Snakebite Racing for helping push me along through their own training and journey to the distances at Rev3.

Thanks to sponsors Bike Authority and Great Race Nutrition for supporting me and the team all summer with great service and products.

Congratulations to all who completed their Half and Full Rev races.

Game On.

6 comments:

Christi said...

Congratulations!

Trisaratops said...

AWESOME report! That wind sucked ROYALLY. I started calling the Causeway the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. UGH. Way to dig deep. You rock to infinity and beyond. It was so good to race with you--thanks for being there and for being my Iron Bro.

Great to see you and Aimee! Fun weekend all around.

Matty O said...

Awesome job! Man you killed the course with almost a 5hr flat time!

Great write up too. I was afraid that this being their first year up there that it would not go smooth. Happy to see it seemed that everything went well for you!

Keep up the good work!

MissFit Island said...

Yea!

Great race and great race report!

I saw a lot of people drafting too out on the course.

Anonymous said...

My Pro beat your Pro.

Big Country

Rural Girl said...

Hey, great job! It was nice to meet you.