Monday, July 11, 2011

Rev3 Portland 70.3 Race Report

Holy crap. This came up on me without warning! When I signed up for it in January, I had big dreams of training all year long. Instead, life got in the way and we started to train about 6 weeks ago. We had maintained our fitness over the winter, but sport specific, well....we were lacking in the swimming and the biking. The running I had down, I did a marathon in May, so the 13.1 mile wasn't too overwhelming for me. The swim and the bike, that's a different story.

The Rev3 Portland course was supposed to be very hilly and challenging. Three weeks ago, they announced a venue change and the course ended up being as flat as flat can get. I was happy about that because I think a super hilly course would have handed me my ass. A flat course has its own pedaling for 56 miles, no coasting.

Since I hadn't put in the months of physical training for this event, I decided that I wanted to work on my mental performance. All my previous races have brought me to a point of EXTREME anxiety. I have gotten so anxious about these events that I have really been unable to enjoy the days leading up to them. On race day, I can barely stand to talk to anyone because I am so nervous. With this race being in our backyard - 15 minutes from home - we knew a lot of people racing. I wanted to be able to enjoy my friends and so I focused on not getting stressed out. I decided I was going to just enjoy the day. A nice swim, bike and run.

I feel like I accomplished my main goal. I was calm leading up to the event. Race morning, I felt great...I wasn't freaking out like usual. I really liked the way I felt!!

As with many half iron races, you drop your bike off the day before. I love that, much less to deal with on race day. It was interesting to see that the swim exit was about 1/2 mile away from the bike area. That meant that we would get out of the water and have to run 1/2 mile. That's something new, usually the bikes are right there. Other than that, it all looked usual.

Instead of the traditional bike racks, they had these bike boxes.

So easy to rack the bike. We dropped them off and headed for home. We got all our gear together and finally got to bed around 9:30.

Sunday night, after the triathlon, we had plans to go pick up our new puppy. I was awake at 4 am thinking about her, which helped me not really think about the event. We got up around 5, ate our usual breakfast, drank our coffee and got our nutrition mixed up for the day.

At most events, you arrive in the morning and they body mark you - meaning they write your number and your age on your arms and legs. Rev3 gives you temporary tattoos and you apply them yourself. Trevor and I had some idiot moments trying to do this! It took a few tries to figure it out and I actually ended up using a marker to write some of the numbers on us because we aren't smart enough to read directions!!!

After that debacle, we hit the road at 6 am. Right on time.

We got to the venue with plenty of time. There were only about 500 people participating, so it was a smaller group. I liked that! They were closing the transition area at 7:30 and my wave didn't go off until 8:30. That's a lot of standing around. Usually that would just be time for me to freak out, I wasn't going to allow that today!

We got our gear set up and saw all our friends - Carla (who I trained), Jan, Doug, Melissa, Brent, Mike, Sherri. Lots of familiar faces. I really loved that about this race. It was just like a training day with our friends!

We headed down to the water to take a look - the lake looked so calm. I love that, I was feeling good about the swim. My previous best swim time was 49 minutes, I wanted to beat that today and remain calm the entire time.

Before we knew it, they were singing the nation anthem, the pros were starting and it was time for my wave! I got into my wetsuit, kissed Trevor good luck and headed down to the water. I was feeling a little nervous when the pros went out, but by the time I got in the water, I felt good.

This lake was where we did our first triathlon, 3 years ago and I was sure I was going to die on the swim. I was excited to get into this water and show it how far I have come!!!

The countdown was on and then we were off. I was in the first wave of swimmers - all the women, in pink swim caps. 5 minutes later, another group swimmers - men under 40 in white swim caps. 5 minutes after them, the rest of the men in yellow swim caps. My biggest concern of the day was being swam over by the waves behind me. I figured I'd stay as wide as I could and just keep swimming.

I am always so worried about the swim and the truth is, every swim I've ever had has been pretty easy. I never get caught in the "washing machine" of arms and legs, I never get swam over, I've never been kicked or punched. In fact, I always feel like I am swimming alone. This day was the complete opposite and really allowed me to test my "no freaking out" goal.

I always wait a minute after the start and let everyone get out ahead of me before I start swimming. I did that today, but there were pink caps all around me for a while. After the first turn, things spread out and then the white caps came up on me. I was staying wide and they were still passing me on both sides. I kept reminding myself to stay calm and keep swimming, it would be okay. Then, some yellow caps started to pass. The waters were full and I was surrounded. I did pretty good at not panicking. It was time to make the final turn back to the swim exit, I was about 2/3 of the way done and BAM....I was kicked in the head - my goggles came off. The poor pink capped woman who kicked me stopped swimming and profusely apologized. Any women who were around me were swimming at my slow pace and surely felt the same way about the swim as me. I told her it was okay and tread water while I put my goggles back on. Anyone who swims knows that once you take your goggles off or get water in them, they can bother you for the rest of the swim - they are never as well sealed as when you started. I had to stop 2 or 3 more times to adjust them so that they wouldn't leak.

I just kept going and was finally at the swim exit. I looked at my watch - 48 minutes. One minute better than my previous best swim time. I would have been faster if I hadn't been kicked in the head!!! I was happy with my time! I made my way to the our special needs bags - that was where I had a pair of shoes to wear on the 1/2 mile hike to get my bike!

I am always so happy and proud when I get done with the swim. Here's a picture that captures that perfectly!!

Swim: 48.02

This was a slow transition due to the long run from one place to the other. When I got back to my bike, it was all alone. All the other bikes around me were already out on the course. That always make me laugh! I got all my gear ready, sprayed the suntun lotion and headed out for a nice, flat 56 mile ride.

Transition 1: 10:08

My goal for the bike was to finish in 3 hours or less. I knew that I needed to maintain an average of 18.7 mph to do that. The course was really flat. It was two out and backs, so I had the ability to really pace myself. I liked the out and back because I got to see all my friends multiple times. One by one they passed me - Trevor, Doug, Mike, Brent, Jan, Melissa, Carla. We had some friends who were out on the course to cheer us on, that was so uplifting!!

I was having a good time, cruising along. After we got past the 205 bridge, the road was REALLY rough. I had been in my aero position and it really hurt my arm to be jostled like that. My arm hasn't totally recovered from my crash last year and it bothered me a bit on this ride.

A little past the half way point, my stomach started to bother me. It could have been from the amount of lake water I swallowed. Due to the unusually hectic swim, I swallowed more water than usual and was actually burping it up during the last part of the swim. I also think it was the position I was riding in. We haven't practiced hours of riding in the aerobars. So I was bent over for 56 miles. I took a break and sat upright every now and then, but man, my tummy really hurt. I tried not to worry too much about the run. I was right on pace for the bike and I was focusing on the now, not what was next.

I pulled into the transition area, right on track.

As you can see from these pictures, not nearly as happy as after the swim!

Bike: 3:02

This transition felt really slow. I changed my shoes, sprayed the sunscreen again. It was getting hot and really sunny out. I felt super bloated and crampy in my stomach but figured I could just run that out. Oh and even better....there were people who were already done with the entire race while I was getting ready to head out on the run!

Transition 2: 2:55

Now onto the run. Yuck. I felt awful. My shorts felt too tight around my waist because I just felt so full. I had originally wanted to run at a 9:46 mile. There were water stations every mile. I went to plan B which was run from water station to water station, walk through them, pour cold water on my head and try to get my belly to loosen up.

I did not want to walk 13.1 miles. I wasn't going to do it. We were planning to pick up our new doggie later that evening and I knew that every minute I spent on that course was one less minute I could spend with her. So I kept going. I saw all my friends again and it looked like we all felt the same way. Hot and tired.

I was starting to wonder if my stomach would ever feel better. I tried to break down the miles to make them seem more manageable. I was running about 10:30 miles. I would be around a 10 minute mile until the water stations and I would walk until I saw my pace drop to 10:30, then I would run. I stuck by this the entire run until about mile 11. Then I had it. It was SO hot and my calves started to cramp a bit. So I walked from street post to street post and just kept moving forward.

As I made the final turn, I was SO happy to be done. I started to cry a little, I always do. This is a big thing for me, to continue to come do these things. I'm not fast, I finish closer to the end than the middle, but I give it all I've got and I really try to have fun. This was a fun day, it got close to crossing over into the not fun anymore zone, but it didn't. Even though you couldn't tell by looking at me here - this was about .1 miles to the finish...I was having a blast.

Run: 2:20
That is 3 minutes faster than my best half ironman run time, so that's good!

And you can't see my face in this one, but I was smiling from ear to ear. So proud of myself. 70.3 miles. They start the race clock when the Pros start and that was 30 minutes before I started. So subtract 30 minutes from what you see here.

Total Time: 6:24
My previous best half iron distance time is 7:04. That was on a really hilly course, so you can't compare the two. Getting done sooner is always better!!

Afterwards, I found Trevor, ate some food, stretched and shared stories of our day. Trevor finished in 6:02. He was 10 minutes faster on the swim and almost 10 minutes faster on the bike. A good day all around.

Rev3, short for Revolution 3 is an Ironman Brand competitor. In my opinion, they really gave Ironman a run for their money. This race had a lower entry fee, the support was amazing, we got two shirts - an event shirt and a finishers shirt, a medal, a visor (I LOVE visors). I haven't been too impressed with Ironman lately, as a company. I respect the Ironman Brand and their races, but am not really feeling the love as a participant. I felt like Rev3 really wanted to put on a good race, they wanted every participant to walk away with a great experience. Everyone I talked to did just that. All their other races are in the eastern half of the country. I'd like them to come out west and put on a 140.6. I'd totally do it

Here are the two shirts and visor they gave us and the shirt and visor that I purchased. Can't wait to wear them all!!

After that, he got the in car and headed to the Humane Society to get Asha. No recovery for us!!!

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