Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rev3 Race Report

(Finally) time for the Rev3 "race report."
As a rule, I'm not overly fond of writing race reports, but I'm willing to give it a shot. We headed for Connecticut on Saturday (June 5, not this past Saturday!). Dad had to work until alter in the afternoon so mom and I headed up on our own. This wasn't great, as neither of us knew how to get there and the Mapquest directions apparently didn't either. This resulted in sitting on the side of the NY Turnpike looking at a map and trying to decide on the best course of action. Thankfully, I figured it out and we made it in 4 hours- an hour over what the driving time should have been.

I planned on getting there in time to utilize their 1.5 hr open swim time, and I got there with just enough time to sprint for the beach, pull on my bathing suit and goggles, and hop int he balmy water for about 20 min. I chatted with some people, spotted Matty Reed and Natasha Badmann, got entirely too intimidated to even say hello, and generally got used to the water. It was warm, decent visibility, but lots of seaweed on the bottom, which freaks me out a bit.

Then, registered and went onward to our hotel about 20 min away. I had to check my bike but I was waiting on Dad to get there to help decide if I should go road or tri bike (the weather channel was predicting thunderstorms for the race day), and to check my bikes over. We got to the hotel early and had to wait for our room, but it was ok since Antiques Roadshow was actually happening in the hotel lobby (no joke!) It was pretty awesome giggling with mom about other people's "treasures."

Finally, Dad showed up and we headed back to Rev3. While checking my bike (road, in case you were wondering- I race well int eh rain on it and I've never ridden the new tri bike in the rain), I realized my transition spot (they were numbered) was literally the best seat in the house. It was right by the exit, set perpendicular to all of the other racks, and it was my bike and 4 others. Talk about easy to spot! I couldn't have asked for a better spot to put my stuff. While I was in transition, a guy with some really awesome tattoos came over to the fence and asked if I lived in Philly. I said I used to be there a lot and I race a lot in that area, and he said he absolutely had seen/talked to me before. So, I made a friend! Funny, he reminded me so much of Matt form the team, yet rather than only bike racing, he's strictly a triathlete! Matt wasn't thrilled with my comparison...

Anyway, we went to the briefing, got lost on the bike course while attempting to preview it, and got pretty substandard pizza at a place by the hotel.

Sunday at 4 a.m., Dad and I were up and getting ready. Because of the humidity, the Clif Shot Bloks (Margarita- yum!) that I had cut into smaller pieces (the regular size is too big) were stuck together, the tap water tasted terrible when I went to fill my bottles, and generally I wasn't feeling too hot.

We got to the race site and I was attempting to get a bagel down but just couldn't. I wasn't nervous, just kind of queasy. Still, I managed to hit the bathrooms enough times, get my wetsuit on and get down to the beach with time to spare.

I was expecting to be more panicky, but even standing in the water and sneaking up towards the front of the pack, I was feeling pretty relaxed. Then, the horn sounded and off we went! I got out quick, and got into a comfortable stride pretty fast. My goal was just to stay ahead of most of the pack, stay comfortable and not use up much energy at all on the swim, saving it for the bike. I think I could have pushed a little more, but I came out pretty well. There were about 20 women ahead of me, but it was a pretty huge pack we started with, so that wasn't too bad. This was my first BIG race, with an actual pro field and some pretty serious amateurs, so it was kind of intimidating. Still, I was feeling pretty good about my position as I left on the bike.

The bike course was VERY hilly- someone later told me it had about 2000 feet more climbing per loop that IM Lake Placid-- having never been there, I don't know, but it felt like a whole lot of climbing and not a whole lot of downhill or flat sections. I realized just how much road, cyclocross and track have helped my racing though- when it came to corners or technical sections, I was zooming past people! The bike went pretty well overall, nothing spectacular, other than being super stoked I managed to get water twice from aid stations, put it in my aero bottle, and toss the bottle while still riding. I drank, I ate, I felt pretty decent, and I was still trying to save stuff for the run. Finished with about 18.5 mph for my average speed, and with the amount of hills there were, I was pretty happy about that.

By the end of the bike, I was second in my AG, and about 30th overall. Even with forgetting to have my shoes unlaced and ready to go on, my transition time was pretty awesome, but as soon as I started the run, I could tell something was off. By now, it was about 85 degrees out and you could feel the humidity pressing down. I normally have no problems with running in heat or humidity, but as a kid I had exercise induced asthma, and it looks like that kicked in again. By mile marker 1, I was starting to really had trouble breathing, every time I took a breath, it came out a squeak. By mile 2, I was starting to get pretty freaked out. I kept pushing on though, wheezing like crazy and not being able to get a decent deep breath in. Finally, by mile 6, I had to stop to walk for about 150 feet or so, just so I could walk with my hands behind my head to open up my lungs to get some air in. The rest of the race, I was alternating between walking like that and running, and it was getting harder and harder to breathe. I couldn't drink or eat, I was starting to feel really sick and generally not good. But still, Death Before DNF!

I kept pushing, running when I could, walking when I couldn't. I was drenching myself in water at every aid station, just trying to keep my body cooled down a little. It wasn't helping all that much, but at least I was moving. Turns out I ran 9:40s, which is waaaay better than I expected, given how much I had to walk.

Finally, hit mile 13, and with the finish in sight, I realized that I had another woman coming up right behind me. I saw the finishing chute, and just gave it everything I had- who needs to breathe EVERY minute, anyway? I sprinted down the chute so I beat her by 4 seconds, surprising myself, and the announcer, judging by his commentary ("And look at her goooo!")

Finished, saw Mom and Dad, and laid down on the ground trying to breathe again. I ended up 50th female (out of 250 including pros) and 2nd in my AG, which earned me a pink Fuel Belt (so cute), and a $75 Cannondale certificate. Not bad!

It took all Sunday before I started feeling normal again, since eating and drinking and breathing were hard even after the race finished.

Pictures are forthcoming, though there aren't too many. Amazingly, my running pictures make me look much better than I felt at the time! Here's a preview:
Please note the sweet RUCX (Rutgers Cyclocross) top that I'm wearing. Represent!!

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